Answers to Common Questions
- What is CHEM Matters?
CHEM Matters is an optional preparation course (CHEM 0999) for university level chemistry courses, namely first year introductory chemistry (CHEM 1001/1002). The aim of this week-long course is to prepare students with basic information and skills they require to be successful in future chemistry courses. This program is offered to incoming Carleton students entering programs in the Faculty of Science who will have to complete CHEM 1001/1002 in their first year. During CHEM Matters, the subjects covered are chosen based on literature reports and direct observation of students’ difficulty. Some subjects are reviews of high school material, while others tackle subjects and practices that will help students better conceptualize and solve problems in CHEM 1001/1002.
- Is CHEM Matters mandatory?
No, CHEM Matters is not mandatory. The course is designed to help solidify basic and fundamental chemistry skills for students who feel they could use some improvement before starting first year.
- Who should attend CHEM Matters?
This program is offered to any incoming Faculty of Science students who will be taking CHEM 1001 in first year. We suggest that students register for CHEM Matters if their high school chemistry grade is below 80%, or if they feel they could benefit from practicing and developing a stronger fundamental basis in chemistry.
- Should students attend CHEM Matters if they have strong chemistry grades?
Registering for CHEM Matters does not necessarily need to be a reflection of your grades. If you’re achieving high grades in high school chemistry courses, you likely already have strong chemistry fundamentals and might not need this course. CHEM Matters is designed to instill confidence and understanding of the most basic beginning steps to solving chemistry problems that many students lack.
If you feel lost in chemistry classes and find that you don’t know where to begin when solving problems, CHEM Matters might be a great fit for you. The pace of learning will be dictated by the group of students that attend, but you may feel under-challenged during the week if you already have strong chemistry skills.
- When is CHEM Matters offered?
CHEM Matters will be offered from Monday August 30th to Friday September 3rd, inclusive. The program will have a mix of pre-recorded lectures and live sessions.
- How much does CHEM Matters cost?
The fee for CHEM Matters is $100 including HST.
- What is included in the cost of the program?
The registration fee covers the cost of the instructor, two diagnostic tests, and access to any online materials. There is no required textbook for CHEM 0999, but it is based around material that will be covered in CHEM 1001/1002. Any problem sets required will be provided to students to download from the course’s Brightspace page.
- How do students pay for CHEM Matters?
The fee for CHEM 0999 will be added to each student’s account for the Fall 2021 semester. Payment for CHEM Matters needs to be made immediately following registration as to avoid incurring interest or late fees. Students can visit Student Accounts Receivable for information on how to pay fees. Once registered, students can view their account summary on Carleton Central.
- When and where do students register for CHEM Matters?
Registration for CHEM Matters closes at noon on August 26th 2021. If a student wishes to register after this point, they must contact the Science Student Success Centre at (613) 520-2600 ext. 3111 or email
- If a student gets an error message when trying to register for CHEM 0999, what should they do?
If you get an error message during registration, you should:
- Make sure you’re in your time ticket slot, and
- Ensure that the deadline to register for CHEM Matters hasn’t passed.
If you’ve checked these things and you’re still not sure of the error’s cause, please contact the Science Student Success Centre at (613) 520-2600 ext. 3111.
- If students cannot attend the course or change their mind, what can they do?
You can withdraw from CHEM Matters through the Registration tab on Carleton Central with a full fee-adjustment up until noon on August 26th 2021. After that date, the course is non-refundable.
- What topics are typically covered?
Topics are chosen based on observed student difficulties in chemistry courses. Most topics will be review of high school material, while others may enforce fundamental concepts and preparing for first-year type questions. Topics include:
- Simple chemical reactions: identifying correct stoichiometry and balancing, calculating moles of reagents, assessing neutralization reactions and titrations, review of relevant mathematical operations used in typical chemistry problems
- Units: converting between units of mass, volume, concentration etc. that are common in chemistry problems, identifying and using SI units
- Physical properties of solids, liquids and gases: comparing density and volume, using the ideal gas law to solve for different variables
- What supplies do I need for CHEM Matters?
You will need a working computer with internet access. Notes and handouts for class will be posted on Brightspace. It is recommended that you print out the notes beforehand and have paper or a notebook for taking notes and solving problems. You will also need a scientific calculator to solve problems.
- What happens if a student has to miss a day of CHEM Matters?
CHEM Matters is only a week-long course, so it’s important that students plan to attend every day. Since there are a limited number of available spots for the program, please only register for CHEM Matters if you are able and plan to attend the five days of class. If extenuating circumstances prevent attendance unexpectedly, students should contact the instructor as soon as possible.
- If students cannot attend CHEM Matters, is there a course like this offered anywhere else?
CHEM Matters is a unique opportunity for students (you!) to really hone essential skills that allow for future success in chemistry courses. It is not meant to be a summary of first-year or high school and won’t touch on all topics in the curriculum, but rather will help build a strong basis for problem solving and understanding in chemistry in general.
If you can’t attend the program and are planning to take first year chemistry at Carleton, you should review your high school notes and problem sets to prepare. Neither this review nor CHEM Matters is a replacement for good study habits and hard work, though; those things are up to you! If you have difficulty when you arrive to Carleton, you should visit the Science Student Success Centre for tips and information about succeeding in first-year science courses.
- Where should students be directed if they have additional questions?
For administrative questions about CHEM Matters, please contact the Science Student Success Centre at chemmatters [at] carleton.ca or call (613) 520-2600 ext. 3111.