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Gerard Rowe, University of South Carolina Aiken
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Joined: 05/17/2011 - 8:29am

Foundations of Inorganic ACS Exam

I know that some in the VIPEr community had a hand in this exam's creation.  Has anyone had enough time to form an opinion about it yet?  I was thinking about switching to this exam for my Intro Inorganic course because the "normal" exam has lots of material that we never cover.  What I'm hoping for is an exam that focuses a lot on transition metal chemistry and "advanced general chemistry".

Barbara Reisner, James Madison University
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Joined: 11/17/2007 - 11:01am

Gerard, I think you'll find that the Foundations of Inorganic Chemistry exam focuses much more on "advanced general chemistry" and coordination chemistry. It is a very different exam than the traditional Inorganic Chemistry exam.

When we wrote this exam, we made a conscious decision to target this exam to the foundation audience. Many foundation courses are taught for a lower division audience. Some questions are directed towards foundation students who are in a course with organic and p-chem prerequisites, but a student in a course with only a general chemistry prerequisite can answer most of the questions. I think the number that they can answer depends mostly on what topics you cover in your course. (And as we all know, there are many flavors of inorganic chemistry courses.)

Here is an approximate breakdown of the exam. All of these numbers are approximate and auestions can fall into more than one category.

  • 20% coordination chemistry with very limited organometallic chemistry
  • 20% covalent bonding / MO theory
  • 10% acids, bases and solvents
  • 10% atoms and electronic structure
  • 10% solids
  • 10% redox chemistry
  • 10% symmetry
  • 10% main group

There are 60 questions on the exam and I expect that the students in my sophomore level class can answer 49/60 questions based on what we cover or review in my class. (I spend very little time on acid-base chemistry and cover almost no redox chemistry. If I did, almost every question would be appropriate for my students.)

I hope that gives you a better idea of what's on the exam! I was really pleased with the way that my students performed.