All students planning on taking CHEM 2031 General Chemistry I lecture must take the General Chemistry Assessment Test or GCAT.  The GCAT assesses your level of preparedness for General Chemistry I.  It covers material commonly taught in high school chemistry and college-level preparatory chemistry courses.  Your performance on this assessment will demonstrate that you meet the prerequisites for CHEM 2031 General Chemistry I at the University of Colorado Denver.

What is the GCAT?  The GCAT is an online, open-book, timed assessment test consisting of 28 multiple choice questions.  Your score on this assessment will help evaluate how prepared you are for General Chemistry I.  If your score indicates that you are not prepared, you will be offered a variety of options including enrolling in CHEM 1000 Foundations for General Chemistry, attending the Learning Resources Center I-Prep sessions, using on-line tutoring, or self-study.  You have two chances to take the GCAT.  Only your highest score will be kept.

Who should take the GCAT?  All students planning on taking CHEM 2031 General Chemistry I lecture must take the GCAT.  You are encouraged to take the GCAT before you register for General Chemistry I, so you have time to resolve any gaps in your preparation.  After you have registered for CHEM 2031 General Chemistry I lecture, your professor will contact you to validate that you have taken the GCAT.  If you have not yet taken the GCAT, your professor will require that you do so before the start of the semester.

Where can I take the GCAT?  You can take the GCAT on Canvas.  Here’s how to register:

1.  Go to:
2.  Log in to Canvas with your regular Canvas username & password

3.  You will see the message “Enroll in General Chemistry Readiness Assessment Course”

3.  Click the "Enroll in Course" button
4.  Click "Go to Course" to access the course.

Note, once you are enrolled, you will also be able to access the GCAT course from the "Courses" menu in your regular Canvas account.  You may have to click "All Courses" to find the General Chemistry Readiness Assessment course. For help, contact CUOnline Help Desk at 303-315-3700.


How can I prepare for the GCAT?  The GCAT covers the following topics:

  • Scientific Notation
  • Algebraic Manipulation of Equations
  • Classification of Matter
  • Physical & Chemical Changes Conservation of Energy
  • Units of Measurement
  • Reliability of Measurements
  • Structure of the Atom
  • The Periodic Table & Periodic Law
  • Predicting Ion Charge
  • Atomic Mass, Molar Mass & Avogadro’s Number
  • Inter-converting Grams, Moles, Molecules & Atoms
  • Chemical Formulas & Molecular Models
  • Identifying Ionic & Molecular Compounds
  • Formulas & Names of Ionic Compounds
  • Formulas & Names of Molecular Compounds
  • Percent Compositions of Compounds & Elemental Analysis
  • Writing & Balancing Chemical Equations
  • Simple Reaction Stoichiometry

If you wish to review the material prior to taking the GCAT, you can download a detailed list of topics from the course page on Canvas.  To help you review, each topic includes a pointer to the section in our General Chemistry textbook: Tro, Principles of General Chemistry, 3rd Edition, published by Pearson Education, Inc. For some structured help, you can attend the Learning Resources Center’s Intensive Preparation (I-Prep) sessions.

Any hints for taking the GCAT?  

  • When you are ready to take the GCAT, allocate 2 hours during which you will not be disturbed.Gather your textbook (any General Chemistry textbook will be helpful), your calculator, and a pencil & scratch paper.Once you start the GCAT, you will have 2 hours to complete the test.You will not be able to pause the timer, so be sure you have allocated a full 2 hours when you will not be disturbed.
  • There are 28 multiple choice questions on the assessment.You can go back and forth between the questions, so if you don’t know the answer to a question, you can skip it and come back to it later.Try to answer all the questions before time expires.There is no penalty for guessing, so if you are not sure about an answer, try to eliminate as many options as possible and then choose from the remaining answers.
  • After you submit your answers, you will receive your score.If you score 75% or better, you are ready to take General Chemistry!If you score indicates you need more preparation to be successful in General Chemistry, you will be offered several options to get ready.You may choose from self-study, assistance through an online tutoring system, help from the Learning Resource Center’s I-Prep sessions, or even enrolling in a preparatory course CHEM 1000 Foundations for General Chemistry.