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Chem 131, 161 & 171 Placement Exam

Who needs to take the Prechemistry Assessment?

Effective as of Fall 2017: All students who wish to enroll in CHEM 131, 161 or 171 at UH Manoa for the first time must take the Prechemistry Assessment and obtain a passing score to enroll in these classes. It is your responsibility to take the exam sufficiently early that you have a qualifying score before your registration window and to follow the rules outlined below.

During open exam periods you can take the exam from any computer at any time. The placement exam for each semester will be activated on the morning of the start date and will remain accessible until 5:00 PM (FIRM) on the testing end date indicated below, unless otherwise indicated. If you need to take the exam after the first Friday of the semester, please contact the Chemistry Department at

Students needing assistance with the exam should contact UH Manoa’s Kokua Program before attempting the exam to make arrangements.


  • There is a 60 minute time limit.
  • You may take the exam TWICE during the enrollment period for any given SEMESTER, but the attempts MUST be at least 24 hours apart.
    • DO NOT “Begin” a second attempt before the 24 hour grace period. Second attempts that begin before the the 24 hour grace period will count as a zero.
  • NOTE: This is NOT a practice exam.
  • You will need a calculator and a periodic table

Testing Periods

Semester Testing Begins Testing Ends
Summer / Fall 2024 March 1, 2024 – 8:00am August 23, 2024 – 5:00 pm
Spring 2025 October 14, 2024 – 8:00am January 10, 2025 – 5:00pm

 Sample Questions

The following SAMPLE QUESTIONS are provided to illustrate the material covered on the Prechemistry Assessment exam. The chemistry department does NOT provide answers.

Students who score:

  • 20/25 or above may register for Chem 171 OR 161. Chem 171 students must enroll in Math 241 first. Please note: Chem 171 is a one-semester accelerated course generally intended for engineering majors. The majority of students will want to take Chem 161.
  • 16/25 or above may register for Chem 161.
  • Between 8 and 15 may register for Chem 131.
  • Below 8 on both attempts – students are advised to strengthen their math background before attempting Chemistry at UHM.

The exam is waived if you meet one of the conditions below.

  •  a grade of “C” not “C-” in CHEM 151 or CHEM 131  (Chem 161 only)
  • AP Chem score of 3 (161 only), 4, or 5
  • A waiver to register for Chem 171 requires an AP score of 4 or better, or a grade of “B” not “B-” in CHEM 161

If either of these are visible in your STAR record, then you should be able to register for Chem 161 automatically, otherwise eligible students can request a waiver via the override request form found here.

Registration After Passing the Exam

Scores will be automatically reviewed by the department, and an authorization code entered if you pass, which will appear in your STAR record under “Campus Reports by Semester” as “Manoa Chemistry Placement Test Score”. Typically, this process takes one or two business days. You will not receive notification after the code is entered though. Please be patient and do not contact the department during this time. If after two business days the code if not visible in your star record, please contact the department at

Remember that the “test score” you see in your STAR record is not your actual exam score, but simply an authorization code to determine registration eligibility:

“Manoa Chemistry Placement Test Score 3”: Allows registration in Chem 131

“Manoa Chemistry Placement Test Score 6”: Allows registration in Chem 161 (not 131)

“Manoa Chemistry Placement Test Score 7”: Allows registration in Chem 171 or 161 (not 131)

EFFECTIVE FOR FALL 2017: We have changed the coding system to incorporate Chem 131. The old codes of “1” for CHEM 161 and “2” for CHEM 161 or 171 are still recognized by the registration system though.

Accessing the Exam

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Laulima is currently experiencing a known issue with the search function. If you cannot locate the test, try this:
1. log on to Laulima and search “CHEM”
2. the UH Manoa Chemistry Placement test should show as the 4th or 5th search result
3. join the site

The UH Manoa Chemistry Placement Exam can be accessed on Laulima during testing periods by following these INSTRUCTIONS. You need a account to access.
2-chemistry-placement-exam-instructions_page_1 2-chemistry-placement-exam-instructions_page_2

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