Undergraduate Course

Department of Chemistry University of Oxford

Preliminary Examination of Chemistry

The Moderators wish to remind candidates of the following:

1. Candidates should be aware that the examinations will be more demanding and of different form from those they were used to at school.

2. The Inorganic Chemistry, Physical Chemistry and Mathematics for Chemistry papers will include a compulsory section (Section A) and a further section (Section B) from which a choice of questions can be made. The format of the Inorganic Chemistry, Physical Chemistry and Mathematics for Chemistry papers follows that of recent years. The format of the Organic Chemistry paper follows that of the last few years: a three hour examination in which there are two sections.  Section A consists of questions on organic chemistry and Section B will contain two questions on biological chemistry. Candidates will be required to answer five questions, at least one of which must be chosen from Section B. Specimen papers as well as last year’s papers showing the format are available at http://www.chem.ox.ac.uk/teaching/PrelimsExamsindex.html.

Starting in 2009/2010 there have been some changes to the course. Past papers will still be a good guide to content and style of questions, but candidates should refer to the course handbook for the detailed syllabus.

3. The use of hand-held calculators is permitted and may be required in the Inorganic Chemistry, Organic Chemistry and Physical Chemistry papers. Calculators will not be provided at the place of examination therefore candidates should bring their own to these papers. Calculators may not be used in the Mathematics for Chemistry paper. Calculators must meet the conditions set out in Appendix B of the Undergraduate Course Handbook, and candidates are required to clear any user-entered data or programs from the memories of their calculators immediately before the start of each examination. The examiners and invigilators have the right to inspect any calculator during the course of the examination.

4. Except in special circumstances no candidate may sit Prelims without having completed the practical work.

5. Formula Sheets will be available in the Mathematics for Chemistry paper; these sheets will contain exactly the same information as that distributed in Hilary Term.

6. Copies of the Periodic Table will not be provided and nor may they be taken in.

7. Knowledge of the course "The Physical Basis of Chemistry" may be required in any of the examinations.

8. The pass mark in all papers will be 40% but students are advised that a pass at this level may be less than adequate to prepare them properly for the Second Year.

9. The examinations will be held in Ewert House in Summertown; please see the map (on web) for the location. Candidates are reminded to take their University cards to the examination and to make sure they put their 'candidate number' and not their 'OSS person number' on each of their answer booklets.

10. Once the results have been released via the online Student Self-Service, an automatic email is sent to each student to notify them that the results can be viewed.

11. This letter is being sent solely by email to all candidates. Up to date information regarding the Prelim examinations can be found on the web at the following address


Dr. M.R. Galpin

Chairman of the Chemistry Moderators
March 2019