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Before the Exam

Below you will find topics to study and suggestions to ensure a successful test-taking experience

BACKGROUND PREPARATION:  To ensure your best performance on the exam, please use high school, online or other resources to review:

  • Stoichiometry.
  • Naming/identification of elements; compounds; polyatomic ions; acids & bases; chemical formulae.
  • Periodic table and properties.
  • Atomic structure.
  • Gas laws.
  • Solutions and concentration (dilution).
  • Phase changes and energy changes of reactions.
  • Math skills (through pre-calculus).
  • SI system of units; temperature units and conversion.

Some free web sites for background information:

These sites cover most topics in a first-year chemistry high school or college course. These sites have many videos covering topics beyond the level of the CPE, so select those videos with topics that match up with the list above. (“Videos on chemistry”)


Ensure a distraction-free environment for the sixty (60) minute duration of the examination. No communication with another person or computer/internet source is permitted save for accessing the CPE.

Make sure your calculator (capable of exponential and logarithmic computation) is charged and/or that you have extra batteries. Have an extra pen or pencil and scratch paper available. Once the CPE is entered, the clock is irrevocably started. These are the only materials permitted. No equation sheets or other aids are allowed.

Read all of the section on Taking the Exam BEFORE actually starting the CPE.