Study Guide for Chemistry Placement Exam


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Atomic structure and isotopes 

  • Define atomic number and mass number
  • Explain how subatomic particles are distributed in an atom
  • Explain the role of subatomic particles in determining identity, mass and charge of an
    atom or ion
  • Select atoms that are isotopes of one another
  • Calculate the numbers of protons and neutrons in an isotope from mass number or full
    atomic symbol
  • Determine the mass number and write full atomic symbol from numbers of protons and
  • Calculate the number of electrons, protons, and neutrons in an atom or ion
  • Predict if electrons are lost or gained to form anions or cations

Periodic properties and the periodic table

  • Locate the following on a periodic table of the elements: metals, semimetal, and
    nonmetals; halogens, alkali metals, alkaline earth metals, noble gases, transition metals,
    lanthanides, actinides, and main group elements
  • Use the periodic table to predict trends in atomic radii, electronegativity, metallic
    character, or similar chemical properties
  • Classify/identify an element as a metal, semimetal, or nonmetal based on properties or
    location in periodic table
  • Associate elements with the group/family to which they belong
    Organization of matter into molecules and ions 
  • Describe the difference between or identify representations of: atoms and molecules,
    elements and compounds; diatomic and polyatomic molecules; homonuclear and
    heteronuclear molecules
  • Know which elements in the periodic table exist as molecules in their elemental state and which as atoms

Chemical and physical changes, States of Matter 

  • Distinguish between physical and chemical changes
  • Describe or recognize differences in the organization of matter in solid, liquid or gas
  • Determine if heat is absorbed or released when different phase changes occur

Electronic structure 

  • Predict the number of valence electrons an atom has based on location in periodic table
  • Represent valence electrons in atoms with dots around the element symbol (Lewis
  • Predict the type of ion an element will form based on where it is in the periodic table
  • Recognize the shape of atomic orbitals

Chemical bonding

  • Predict if the bond between two atoms is an ionic,  covalent or a metallic bond
  • Use electronegativity to determine if a bond is polar or non-polar

Chemical formulas and Nomenclature

  • Predict the formula of an ionic compound formed from two ions
  • Identify the ions from a formula
  • Use rules of nomenclature to name ionic and molecular compounds and acidsto write 
    names or formulas

Mass and mole relationships

  • Use a chemical formula to predict relative amounts of an element in the formula 
  • Calculate the molar mass given a formula
  • Convert between molar mass, grams and moles


  • Balance chemical equations 
  • Use mole ratios from chemical equations to calculate mole amounts of reactants and 
  • Perform basic stoichiometric calculations using gram amounts of substances and a 
    balanced chemical equation
  • Solutions, molar concentration and dilution
  • Calculate the molar mass given a molecular or ionic compound formula
  • Convert between moles, molar concentration and volume of solution
  • Convert between grams, moles, molar concentration and volume of solution
  • Perform dilution calculations

Enthalpy Conventions

  • Define exothermic and endothermic reactions
  • Define the sign of the enthalpy change for exothermic and endothermic reactions
  • Predict if heat is absorbed or released during exothermic and endothermic reactions
  • Predict if the temperature of the system increases or decreases during exothermic and endothermic reactions

Dimensional analysis, unit conversions and significant figures

  • Perform conversions between different unit systems
  • Use appropriate significant figures in calculations and measurements
  • Calculate the density of a substance from mass and volume information