Special Notes




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First Year Courses

Special Notes

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First Year students are expected to be familiar with the following basic material from their high school courses:

  1. The names and symbols of the first twenty elements in the periodic table plus a similar  number of other common elements and of ions;
  2. The common valences of the above elements and the periodic nature of these valences; 
  3. The concepts of the nuclear atom, atomic number, and atomic weight;
  4. Formulae and nomenclature of some simple molecules and ions;
  5. Chemical equations and their use in calculations relating to the reactants;
    Calculations involving concentrations of solutions, amounts of material, and the units used;
  7. The concept of "ideal" behaviour in gases;
  8. The concept of acids, bases, and salts;
  9. Use of units, especially SI units;
  10. Mathematical operations appropriate to elementary chemical calculations;
  11. Some simple experimental laboratory techniques.


If you choose CHM (138H + 139H), and later discover that you want to specialize in chemistry (or a closely allied field), will it be possible to do so?

Yes, but you are again advised to consult the Department.  Both the combination CHM(138H + 139H) and CHM 151Y are acceptable pre-requisites for second and later year Chemistry courses. The Department strongly encourages potential specialist and major students to take CHM 151Y, but a good performance in CHM (138H + 139H) will certainly provide adequate preparation for later year courses.


Whichever chemistry course(s) you choose, this is how the course will be organized:

  • Your class time in chemistry will consist of 3 hours of lectures a week, a 3-4 hour lab once every two weeks and 12 tutorial hours per session.
  • The course mark comprises a term work component and the final exam mark.  Term tests are scheduled at regular intervals during the session.  These, together with the laboratory work, account for the term mark.  A detailed marking scheme is announced at the beginning of each session.

Lectures: Attendance at the lectures is essential.  A course syllabus giving proposed lecture outlines will be distributed during the first week of classes.  Students are urged to "read ahead" in the relevant chapters of the book.


Tutorials: In each course students are assigned to a tutorial group that meets either weekly or biweekly, depending on the course.  The tutorial allows you to meet in a smaller group with a teaching assistant to discuss any difficulties (lecture or laboratory) that you encounter.  Problem solving skills will be emphasized and a short quiz will be written by students.


Laboratories:  Each student will attend a laboratory period once every two weeks.  One demonstrator is available to each group of about 16-24 students to discuss problems and questions connected with the experimental work.  The laboratory manual includes full instructions and some background material, and it is essential that students read the appropriate section before coming to the laboratory.  Although the emphasis is on basic experimental techniques of observation and measurement, some simple instrumentation is also introduced. The laboratory mark is based on individually written experimental reports, an assessment of both the preparation for, and the performance in, laboratory classes, and possibly a written examination.


Assistance: The lecturers will announce office hours during which they can be consulted about problems with lecture material.  Tutors and laboratory demonstrators are also very useful sources of extra help.  The Department’s computing facility (UCL) can provide students with the opportunity to further study or review background material.  The facility is open to first year students at scheduled times.


Problem Sets: Both the course textbook and the associated study guide contain many excellent problems of varying difficulty.  Students are encouraged to work at these, to seek help when necessary, and to use the solutions manual. Supplementary problems will be taken up at the tutorials.


Tests: Periodic mid-term tests will be set, in addition to a final examination.  The total mark for the course will be based on the tutorial quizzes, the tests, the final examination, and the laboratory.  Details of the course-marking scheme are specified in each course syllabus.