Fall 2022 ASE Information:
5.111: Offered virtually on Friday, August 12th at 12pm ET
5.12: Offered in-person on Tuesday, September 6th at 9am ET
First-Year Students & Incoming Transfer Students: Please register online here by July 15th. Please note that students must pass the 5.111 ASE in order to take the 5.12 ASE. If you are registered for the 5.12 ASE, we will reach out to you after the 5.111 results are available.
Upper-class Students should follow the instructions listed below. Petitions for the Fall 2022 ASEs are due to the Registrar’s Office by July 14th.
Please feel free to reach out to the Office of the First Year or the Chemistry Education Office with any ASE-related questions.
Please note that to be eligible to take an ASE, you cannot have attended or been registered for the subject or any of its variations (5.111, 5.112, or 3.091). An exception can be made if you never attended the class and submitted a drop form within the first week of the term.
Incoming First-Year and Transfer Students
If you are an incoming first-year or transfer student and your background in chemistry is exceptionally strong, you should consider taking the 5.111 ASE. A passing grade on this exam will earn you credit for 5.111, thereby fulfilling your General Institute Requirement in Chemistry.
Incoming first-year students who pass the ASE will receive a grade of P, and transfer students will receive regular (letter) grading. For first-year students, if you do not pass the ASE, no record will appear on your transcript, although a record will be kept of your attempt to take the exam. For transfer students, the grade you earn on the ASE will be posted to your transcript. You will not be allowed to take the 5.111 ASE again.
The 5.111 ASE is held only once a year, just before the start of the fall term. Registration is required and opens each summer.
Please review the information about the 5.12 ASE.
Upperclass and Second-Term First-Year Students
The 5.111 Advanced Standing Exam in chemistry is administered at the same time, and is the same exam, as the 5.111 ASE for incoming first-year students. ASE grades (A-F) will appear on your transcript. They are not included in the calculation of your GPA.
You must complete a petition requesting permission to take the exam and stating that you have not taken the exam before or attended 5.111, 5.112 or 3.091. Please visit the MIT Registrar’s Advanced Standing Examination page to print out the petition form. Your advisor and the Academic Administrator in the Chemistry Education Office (6-205), Jennifer Weisman, must sign this petition. Please make sure your advisor’s room number is on the petition. Once completed and signed, please submit your petition to the Records Office (5-117).
Please review the information about the 5.12 ASE.
Q & A: Taking the 5.111 Advanced Standing Exam
What is the Purpose of the 5.111 Exam?
The purpose of the Advanced Standing Exam is to test whether your proficiency in chemistry is of a sufficiently high level for you to place out of, and receive credit for, the chemistry component of the MIT Science Requirement. Chemistry is one component of this core Science Requirement, fulfilled by the successful completion of 5.111, 5.112, or 3.091. This exam is not the equivalent of the Advanced Placement Exam administered by the Educational Testing Service or the IB exam. Rather, it is an exam which tests whether you have mastered the material covered in our introductory courses. This material is substantially more advanced than material covered in a typical two year high school course of advanced placement chemistry.
What Kind of Exam is the 5.111 ASE?
Like most MIT subjects, chemistry is oriented toward problem-solving rather than memorization. Nearly all of the problems on the Advanced Standing Exam involve calculations or analysis of information. None involve mere memorization. For example, there are no questions like: “Name the metals that are liquids at room temperature” or “What color is lead chromate?” In preparing for this exam, spend your time learning to solve problems quickly and accurately.
Many of the problems on the exam have numerical answers. Most of the credit for solving a particular problem will be given for providing the correct answer together with a clear demonstration of how the answer was obtained. Correct logic that leads to an incorrect numerical answer will receive some credit, but usually no more than 30-50% of the point value of the problem. The exam will be accompanied by lists of required physical constants, equations, and a periodic table of the elements. You may not use notes or books during the exam. You will be allowed 3 hours of time to work the exam.
What Type of Problems Will Be on the Exam?
The content of the Advanced Standing Exam parallels the major topics of Chemistry 5.111 and 5.112, which are taught from lectures, workbooks, and class notes, as well as from a textbook.
What Should I Bring to the Exam?
Bring a scientific calculator (no graphing calculators) and a writing implement with you to the exam. Sophisticated calculators with extensive memory, cellular phones, and smartphones will not be allowed. Bring your MIT ID. Do not bring notes or books to the exam. Water will be provided in the exam room.
How Do I Find Out My Exam Results?
If you are a first-year student, your advisor will have the results of your exam when you meet with her or him. If you do not receive credit for 5.111 by passing this exam, your advisor may use your performance on the exam to recommend whether you enroll in 5.111 or 5.112, but the decision is ultimately yours. There is no minimum performance-level on this exam for entry into 5.112. Upperclass and transfer students will receive an email from the department with instructions for reviewing their exam.
5.111 and 5.112 content can be found at MITOpenCourseWare (OCW). Here you will be able to review topics, watch lecture videos and work practice problems. The typical format of problems that you will be asked to solve is exemplified on this 5.111 Final Exam and Answer Key. Note that this exam does NOT include all topics covered in the course or on the ASE exam.
OCW Class Sites:
The textbook for 5.111 and 5.112 for Fall 2019 is Principles of Modern Chemistry by Oxtoby, Gillis and Campion, 8th edition. Chemical Principles by Atkins and Jones was used previously.
5.12 ASE Incoming First-Year and Transfer Students
The 5.12 Advanced Standing Exam is offered on Registration Day just prior to the fall term. Registration is required and the link is available during the summer. You will be contacted about taking the 5.12 ASE upon successful completion of the 5.111 ASE or receipt of transfer credit for 5.111.
5.12 ASE Upperclass and Second-Term First-Year Students
You must complete a petition requesting permission to take the exam and stating that you have not taken the exam before or attended 5.12. Please visit the MIT Registrar’s Advanced Standing Examination
page to print out the petition form.
Your advisor and the Academic Administrator in the Chemistry Education Office (6-205), Jennifer Weisman, must sign this petition. Please make sure your advisor’s room number is on the petition. Once completed and signed, please submit your petition to the Records Office (5-117).