Chemistry and Physics Placement and Exemption Exams

Chemistry and physics offer exemption and/or placement exams for students with significant prior coursework in these areas who want to begin their study at Wellesley with upper level courses. Relatively few students will have the background needed to do this, so please give some thought to whether these exams will serve your needs. Sign up for any of these exams using the placement exam sign up form on MyWellesley. All exams are given during orientation.


In Chemistry, the usual first course is Chem 105, followed by Chem 205.

- To begin instead with Chem 120 (an intensive one-semester course that covers the content of both 105 and 205), students should take the Chem 120 placement exam during orientation. Students with a score of 5 on the Chemistry AP or a 5 or higher on the Chemistry IB (upper level) may start with Chem 120 without taking the placement exam.

More information about choosing your first course in Chemistry is available online here.

In Physics, the usual first courses are Phys 104/106 or Phys 107/108 for students with a stronger math and physics background.

- To begin instead with Phys 108, students with strong math and physics backgrounds should take the Physics placement exam during orientation (for placement into Phys 108).

- To begin instead with a 200-level course in Physics, students with strong math and physics backgrounds should take the Physics exemption exam during orientation (for exemption from Phys 107/108).

More information about whether these Physics exams are right for you is available online here, and more about choosing your first course in Physics is available online here.