Preliminary Course "Chemistry (major)"

The preliminary course in chemistry is designed to prepare participants for university-level study. This is done by recapping important knowledge and methods that were covered in high school and will be required in the university classroom. Beyond that, however, participants will also practice learning strategies and approaches for dealing with contents, problems and assignments that are indispensable for a successful university career, in chemistry and other fields. 

Course description


  • Mathematics
    • Proficiency in mental arithmetic (at least tables up to ten)
    • Fractions
    • Rule of three/ratios
    • Powers and roots
    • Quadratic equations, binomial formulas, quadratic addition, pq-formula
    • Polynomials
    • Functions: Power function, root function, polynomial functions, exponential function, logarithm function, trigonometric functions, ...
    • Transforming equations
    • Differential calculus (incl. product rule, quotient rule, chain rule)
    • Integral calculus (especially "area under a curve," integration as "inverse differentiation")
    • Vector calculus (scalar product, cross product, straight line representations, plane representations, ...)
  • Chemistry
    • Stoichiometric calculation (structure of matter from atoms, amount of substance, molar mass, concentration, ...)
    • Gas laws (ideal gas equation, partial pressures, stoichiometry in gas reactions, ...)
    • Mass action law (gas reactions, reactions in solution, reactions involving solids/solvents, Le Chatelier's principle, solubility product, ...).
    • Acids and bases (Brönsted acid-base definition, pH-value, strong and weak acids/bases, pKS-/pKB-value, degree of dissociation, buffers, ...)
    • Atomic structure, periodic table (nucleus, electron shell, quantum numbers, trends in the periodic table, ...)
    • Chemical compounds (ionic compounds, covalent compounds, structure of simple ionic compounds and of molecular compounds, ...)
    • Electrochemistry (redox reactions, electrolysis, electrochemical voltage series, Nernst equation, ...)
  • Physics
    • Dealing with physical quantities, units, equations, ...
    • Dealing with measurement data, determining functional relationships
    • Basic principles of mechanics (distance, velocity, acceleration, oblique throw, force, kinetic and potential energy, work, power, momentum, circular motion, gravitation, ...)
    • Basic principles of electromagnetism (charge, current, voltage, resistance, electric work, electric power, capacity, ...) 


In 2020, the preliminary course in chemistry will be delivered as a four-week online course (Sept 28 - Oct 23, 2020). As in previous years, it will consist of four components.

  1. Plenary sessions (online meetings or webinars)
    daily from 09:15 am to approx. 11:00 am
    The main purpose of the plenary sessions is to give students an idea of the level at which issues are discussed in university-level chemistry and to show them approaches to solving trickier problems. In addition, the course will provide input on more general topics of studying, e.g. learning techniques/study strategies, time management, motivation, ...
    Please note that the plenary sessions are not for absolute beginners. Basic knowledge and mastery of simple techniques are required to follow the discussion of issues and tasks. Ideally, participants should have acquired that knowledge during their high school career. With the help of the online materials provided, participants are expected to refresh their knowledge in the self-study periods of the course. In each plenary session, participants are informed which materials to work on in preparation for the next session.
  2. Small-group tutorials (online meetings)
    daily from 11:15 am to approx. 01:00 pm
    The small-group tutorials are primarily designed for an in-depth exploration of the contents covered in previous plenary sessions and related study materials. This is done primarily by working on trickier problems. In addition, the tutors are of course available to answer questions about the content of the plenary sessions and the online materials.
  3. Online contents
    Extensive online contents are available, consisting of learning modules and tests, especially for the "calculus part" of the preliminary course. The learning modules offer short and concise recaps of essential mathematics topics covered in high school. The main purpose of the tests is to give students the opportunity to find out whether they really master the computation techniques to the extent that is necessary for understanding the contents for the plenary sessions (and the degree program in chemistry). The minimum level of preparation for the plenary session is taking and passing the relevant test prior to the corresponding plenary session.
    Self-study periods
  4. Independent preparatory and follow-up work for the plenary sessions is an integral part of the preliminary course. This is what the online materials are for. In addition, participants receive advanced problems to solve independently (“homework assignments”). The purpose of working on these assignments is to gain a deeper understanding and to practice learning methods needed when studying chemistry.
  • Chemistry (BSc)
  • Chemistry (Teaching Degree)
  • Food Chemistry (State Examination)
  • Molecular Biomedicine (BSc)



Monday, Sept 28, 2020 to Friday, Oct 23, 2020

  • Lecture: 9:15 am - 11:00 am
  • Tutorials: 11:15 am - 01:00 pm

Lectures and tutorials are offered online. After registering for this course, you will receive more information on PreCampus in time before the course begins.



Dr. Ulrich Keßler



Dr. Ulrich Keßler


Registration for this course starts on August 1, 2020. 

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