Course Spotlight: Cultivating Confidence in CHEM 1061 and CHEM 1065

This blog post is the first in our Course Spotlight series which breaks down what to expect in CSE students’ most common first year courses. Check it out for information and tips on grading, study habits, resources and more!

Most CSE students must complete CHEM 1061: Chemical Principles I and CHEM 1065: Chemical Principles I Laboratory as part of their major requirements. Concurrent enrollment in both CHEM 1061 and CHEM 1065 is required although the two classes are separate. The following Q&A with Dr. Michelle Driessen, Professor & Director of General Chemistry, breaks down what to expect in the courses, grading, study tips, resources and more.

What can I expect to learn from this course? 

General Chemistry I (CHEM 1061) covers everything from atomic structure to molecules and their interactions with one another. You will likely have seen some of this content in high school, but you will dive deeper into most of the topics.  Note that stoichiometry is part of expected prerequisite knowledge (placement modules) and is not covered in this course.

General Chemistry I Lab (CHEM 1065) is the lab course that supports exploring the topics in CHEM 1061 in a hands-on setting.  You will learn to develop experimental protocols, troubleshoot, and work with a team in this course.

How are grades usually calculated in this course? 

CHEM 1061 is graded based upon attendance/participation, homework and around 6 exams each semester.  The grade lines are typically provided in your section's syllabus and are not curved.

CHEM 1065 lab is graded based upon your ability to meet the outcomes in each of the grade categories.  See details here:

What study tips do you have for students?

Engage with the material early and consistently.  If you aren't fully understanding the material, seek out advice from your instructor right away.  The more quickly you get on track, the better your chances for success.

What resource(s) exist to help support my academic success?

There is a tutor room staffed throughout the week in Smith 124.  The schedule and additional support information is posted here:

When should I contact my instructor vs. my TA?

Lecture questions should be directed to your lecture instructor.  Lab questions should be directed to your lab TA and escalated to and your lab instructor if not addressed.

Additional advice from CSE advisors:

Make sure to work on the ALEKS modules prior to the start of the class! While you need an 80 to start with CHEM 1061/1065, getting your module score up to 100 will provide you with a stronger foundation heading into CHEM 1061/1065.