Success Center

Chemistry Challenge Exam


At this time, SMC is conducting virtual testing for the Chemistry Challenge exam. 

Schedule a Chem Challenge

The Chemistry Challenge Exam is only required of students wishing to enroll directly into Chemistry 11 (General Chemistry 1) who want to bypass Chemistry 10 (Introductory General Chemistry). All other students are not required to take the test.

Please note: Outside Chemistry Challenges are not accepted at SMC. You will need to complete the SMC Chemistry Challenge Exam if you do not meet the Course Prerequisite completed or AP Exam requirements.

Do I need an appointment?

No, testing takes place during normal testing hours. You must bring a government issued photo identification. We reserve the right to request two forms of ID.

Who is eligible to take the Chemistry Challenge Test?

Any student who wishes to place into Chemistry 11, provided he/she has not attempted Chemistry 10 (e.g., has a W or another grade in class) or is currently enrolled in Chemistry 10.

What is the Purpose of the Chemistry Challenge Exam?

The test serves two purposes:

  1. It acquaints students with the skills that are needed to succeed in the introductory chemistry series; and

  2. It serves to identify those students who are eligible for placement into Chemistry 11.

For some students, the examination will be a warning that their chances of obtaining a satisfactory grade in Chemistry 11 are very slight and they should improve their skills by enrolling and completing Chemistry 10 first.

What is the name of the Chemistry Challenge Exam?

SMC uses the California Chemistry Diagnostic Test to assess students' skills in chemistry. This is a timed, computerized test consisting of 44 questions. Students will be given 50 minutes to complete the test. You will be given scratch paper, pencil, calculator, and the periodic table to use on the Chemistry Exam. No outside calculators or electronic devices are allowed in the Testing Center.

What is the content of the Chemistry Challenge Exam?

This test consists of questions based on high school chemistry and high school mathematics. Topics and skills tested may include:

  • Math: solving simple algebraic equations; use of proportions and percentages; solving word problems.

  • Chemistry: the majority of items are concerned with concepts addressed in Chemistry 10, including elements and their properties, chemical formulas, concentrations of solutions, gases, oxidation numbers, redox reactions and the concepts of acids and bases.