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Preparation for General Chemistry

Course Code: CHEM 1104
Faculty: Science & Technology
Department: Chemistry
Credits: 4.0
Semester: 15
Learning Format: Lecture, Lab
Typically Offered: Fall, Summer, Winter
course overview

This course is a basic introduction and is intended for students with little or no background in chemistry. Topics will include scientific notation, SI units, significant figures, unit conversion, classification of matter, elements and atomic structure, naming compounds, chemical equations, classification of reactions, the mole, stoichiometry, energy, gas laws, solutions, acids and bases and the pH scale.

Course Content

1. Introduction

Introduction to Chem 1104, scientific approach to problem solving, the scientific method, models in science. Scientific notation, SI units, uncertainty in measurements, significant figures, dimensional analysis, unit conversion, density.

2. Matter

Matter, physical and chemical properties and changes, elements and compounds, mixtures and pure substances, separation of mixtures.

3. Elements and Atomic Structure

Symbols and names of the elements, atomic structure, ions, isotopes, periodic table.

4. Nomenclature

Ions, ionic versus molecular compounds, naming ionic compounds, binary molecular compounds, ionic compounds containing polyatomic ions, acids.

5. Chemical Reactions

Evidence for chemical reactions, chemical equations, balancing, ionic and net ionic equations, reactions of acids and bases, strong and weak acids.

6. Classification of Chemical Reactions

Redox, precipitation and acid-base reactions, synthesis, decomposition, combustion and single displacement reactions.

7. Chemical Composition

The mole, molar mass, mole calculations, percentage composition, empirical and molecular formulas.

8. Stoichiometry

Mole-mole relationships, mass calculations, limiting reactant, percentage yield.

9. Energy

Nature of energy, temperature and heat, measuring energy changes, heat calculations.

10. Gases

Pressure, temperature, Boyle’s Law, Charles’s Law, combined gas law, ideal gas law, STP, Dalton’s Law of Partial Pressures, Kinetic Molecular Theory of Gases, stoichiometric calculations involving gases.

11. Solutions

Concentration units, calculations involving solution concentration, solution preparation, standardization, stoichiometric calculations involving solutions.

12. Acids and Bases

Definition of an acid/base, writing equilibrium equations for acids/bases dissolved in water, pH scale, calculations of solution pH.

Laboratory Course Content

Experiments will be selected from the following list:

  1. Introduction and Analytical Balance
  2. Chemistry in the Kitchen
  3. Physical and Chemical Changes
  4. Mass Measurements
  5. Volume Measurements
  6. Types of Chemical Reactions
  7. The Mole
  8. Factors Influencing the Rate of Chemical Reactions
  9. Molarity of a Dilute Hydrochloric Acid Solution
  10. Graphing
  11. Charles’s Law and Absolute Zero

Methods of Instruction

This course will be presented using lectures, class discussions, class demonstrations, and problem sessions. Videos, computer simulations, and the Internet and any other audio-visual aids will be used where appropriate. Close co-ordination will be maintained between laboratory and classroom work whenever possible. This will be accomplished by discussing laboratory work in class, using lab periods for problem solving and choosing experiments which will illustrate the practical aspects of the course material.

Means of Assessment

  1. Lecture Material (76%)
    • Two or three in-class tests will be given during the semester (30%) 
    • A final exam covering the entire semester’s work will be given during the final examination period (30%) 
    • Any or all of the following evaluations, at the discretion of the instructor: problem assignments, quizzes, class participation (5% maximum), presentations, research assignments, group work (16% in total)
  2. Laboratory work (24%)
    • Laboratory reports will be written on pre-formatted report sheets and graded either satisfactory (S) or unsatisfactory (U). Unsatisfactory reports may be re-submitted. 


A student who misses three or more laboratory experiments will earn a maximum P grade.

A student who achieves less than 50% in either the lecture or laboratory portion of the course will earn a maximum P grade.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate mathematical skills by solving simple linear equations, calculating results using numbers in scientific notation, and explaining how to test for direct and inverse proportionality. 
  2. Explain the difference between accuracy and precision when making scientific measurements, and calculate the range and percentage error of a series of measurements as indicators of these quantities. 
  3. Carry out all calculations using the correct number of significant figures. 
  4. Distinguish between elements and compounds, pure substances and mixtures, and chemical and physical changes or processes. 
  5. Given the symbol of an element, give the name, or given the name, write the symbol. 
  6. Explain the law which is the basis of the Periodic Table of the Elements. Name the seven major families or groups in the Table. 
  7. Given the formula of any inorganic compound, give an acceptable name, or given the name, write the formula. 
  8. Given the names of reactants and products in a chemical reaction, write the balanced equation, or the balanced net ionic equation, for the reaction. 
  9. Given the equation of a chemical reaction, classify it as one or more of the following types: precipitation, redox, acid-base, synthesis, decomposition, combustion, or single replacement. 
  10. Given the mass of a compound, calculate the number of moles, molecules, or atoms within the compound. 
  11.  Given the formula of a compound, calculate the percentage composition, or given the percentage composition, find the empirical formula of a compound. 
  12. Given the masses of one or more reactants, and the balanced equation for the reaction between them, calculate the mass of the product formed. 
  13. Given the masses of one or more reactants, the balanced equation for the reaction, and the actual yield obtained in an experiment, calculate the percentage yield. Solve problems involving heating a pure substance. For example, given four of the following quantities, solve for the fifth: heat absorbed or evolved, mass of the substance, specific heat capacity, initial temperature and final temperature. 
  14. Solve gas problems involving Boyle’s Law or Charles’s Law. 
  15. Use the Ideal Gas Law to calculate the molar mass or the density of a gas, given sufficient data. 
  16. Explain the Kinetic Molecular Theory of Gases, and use it to explain any of the experimental gas laws. 
  17. Given the mass of solute and mass or volume of the solution, calculate the molar concentration, or the mass percent of the solute in the solution. 
  18. Perform stoichiometric calculations on reactions involving reactants/products in solution (using molar concentrations) or reactions involving gaseous reactants/products (requiring the use of the gas laws). 
  19. Give the Bronsted-Lowry definition of acids and bases. 
  20. Given the concentration of a strong acid or strong base, calculate the [H3O+], [OH-], pH and POH of the solution

course prerequisites

Math 11 (C or better) or equivalent


Courses listed here must be completed either prior to or simultaneously with this course:

  • No corequisite courses


Courses listed here are equivalent to this course and cannot be taken for further credit:

  • No equivalency courses

curriculum guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester/year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

course schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.