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Laboratory


Laboratory Program


The laboratory work component of each unit consists of a series of nine 3-hour sessions, one per week for selected weeks throughout the semester. Your first laboratory session is in week 2 and includes an introductory talk on laboratory procedure and safety. During this session you will also be allocated a workspace and group. You will need to know your laboratory workspace allocation to register properly for the online pre-work.

The laboratory work is in two parts:

  • On-line pre-work, a short quiz based on the experimental details in the laboratory handbook. This is to be completed in your own time before you come into the lab. There is no pre-work for SSP (CHEM1903 or CHEM1904) students.
  • The experimental part, conducted in the lab under the guidance of a demonstrator who will help you in all aspects of the practical work and its underlying theory. Your observations, ideas and hypotheses are recorded in a log book which remainss the property of The University of Sydney.

Week by Week Program


Note that your laboratory group will be assigned in your week 2 laboratory class. It matches the colour of your laboratory handbook which you will receive in this class.

Assessment of Laboratory Skills


15% of your final mark for each Unit of Study comes from the practical course. In addition, you must pass the practical course to pass the unit of study. Students must attends a minimum of 90% of the scheduled practical sessions. Attendance records are kept. If you fail to wear adequate eye protection and footwear and a laboratory coat, you will be marked absent. Students missing more than one laboratory class may be given an AF ("Absent Fail") grade in their unit of study.

You must pass the laboratory course (50% or greater) in order to pass the unit.

Please read the information on what to do if you are unable to attend a lab session.

The breakdown of marks is:

  • On-line pre-work quiz (3%)
  • Attitude and attendance (3%)
  • Log book (4%)
  • Laboratory skills (5%)

Missed or Know You Will Miss Your Laboratory Class?


If you know you are going to miss your timetabled laboratory slot due to a pre-arranged commitment (sport, music or theatrical rehearsal, work etc), you can catch the experiment up at an alternative session by following the 'catch up' link below. It is your responsibility to plan ahead if you have a clashing sport or theatrical event!

If you miss a laboratory session due to unforeseen circmstances (illness etc), your preferred option should also be to catch up the laboratory work. You can apply for Special Consideration (choose "attendance") but unless you can demonstrate that you are unable to catch up the experiment at a later date, the most likely outcome will be an instruction to catch up your experiment within 2 weeks of getting better.

Note that most experiments are available over a large number of sessions, over many weeks. Near the end of semester, these tend to fill quickly, so you are strongly advised not leave unfinished experiments until the end of semester, and do so at risk of failing to complete the laboratory course. Without special consideration, you can book a session for up to 2 weeks after the missed experiements. With special consideration, you can contact the first year office to book a session beyond the 2 week window. The box below shows which experiments are available in which sessions and in which weeks. It does not show whether there are free workspaces available:
To organise a catch up lab session, please use the booking tool under "Missed or know you will miss your laboratory class?" in "Laboratory Program" on eLearning.

Laboratory Exemptions


There are no automatic exemptions from the practical course for any students.

If you completed the current semester series of experiments in previous years you should complete the online lab exemption request as soon as possible, and no later than the end of week 4 to apply for an exemption. Follow the link in Blackboard to Laboratory Resources. Each case will be treated on its own merits, based on attendance records and marks obtained in the laboratory course previously. Students granted a practical exemption will receive a pro-rata mark calculated from their previous practical marks.

Chemistry 1 Laboratory Handbook


This is required by all students, except those doing CHEM1903 and CHEM1904 and those with a practical exemption.

It will be issued free when you register at your first laboratory session in week 2 of semester. Do not lose it, as a replacement copy (available from the First Year Enquiry Office) will cost you $10.

The Handbook contains all the information you require for the laboratory sessions. You observations and ideas are recorded in a separate log book which remains the property of The University of Sydney.

The experiments are not necessarily done in numerical order - to make sure you know which experiments are programmed for each week, you need to consult the timetable above - this is also on the information sheet issued in your first laboratory class and on your LMS site.

Links to pdf files of the content of the laboratory handbook are given here:


   Semester 1

   Semester 2


What you need to bring each week


All chemical apparatus necessary for the practical course will be provided by the School of Chemistry. You need to bring:
  • A copy of the experiment(s): preferably the Laboratory Handbook

  • Eye Protection - a pair of safety glasses (obtainable when you buy your laboratory book or from the Union for about $5.00).
    The wearing of eye protection is compulsory at all times whilst you are in the laboratory. If you fail to wear adequate eye protection, you will be asked to leave and will receive a fail for that laboratory session. There are no exceptions.
    A limited number of spare pairs of safety glasses will be available for hire from the Service Room for a non-refundable fee of $2.00. You will only be allowed to hire safety glasses a maximum of two times. After that, you will be asked to leave and will receive a fail for that session.

    At the discretion of the Laboratory Supervisor, normal spectacles, not sunglasses, may be an acceptable alternative but only if they are of an adequate size - see lab notice board for minimum dimensions.

  • Footwear - covered footware must be worn during all lab classes. Students wearing open sandals, thongs and those with bare feet will not be permitted in the laboratory.
    If you fail to wear adequate footwear, you will be asked to leave and will receive a fail for that laboratory session. There are no exceptions.

  • Laboratory Coat - wearing of a laboratory coat is compulsory. This must meet Australian Safety Standards: it must be white, long-sleeved, be made of cotton or a cotton/polyester mix and be long enough to offer adequate protection.
    If you fail to wear a laboratory coat, have it unbuttoned or have the sleeves rolled up, you will be asked to leave and will receive a fail for that laboratory session. There are no exceptions.
    Laboratory coats and glasses are available on campus in the Co-Op Bookshop and in the Wentworth Newsagency, as well as in many hardware stores. Alternatively, you can purchase a 'Faculty of Science' branded coat as well as lab glasses online via the eStore.

  • A hair band - if you have long hair, you must tie it back

  • A calculator.

Laboratory on-line pre-work


CHEM1903 and CHEM1904 students do not need to complete on-line pre-work.

You must complete the on-line pre-work for the relevant experiments before the laboratory session. The on-line pre-work can be accessed via the Internet, either from one of the Uni Access Centres or from home. To enter the web site:

  1. Log on to eLearning (help with using eLearning)
  2. Follow the link to your Chemistry Unit
  3. Follow the link to 'Laboratory material'.
This will be explained fully in your introductory lab session. Information essential to your understanding of the experiment can be found in both the on-line pre-work and in the introduction to the experiment in the Laboratory Handbook.

Completing the on-line pre-works and associated quizzes forms part of your overall assessment for the semester.

Exemption From the Laboratory Program


There are no automatic exemptions from the practical course for any students.

This page contains information on laboratory exemption in the normal semester units. For information on laboratory exemption for the Summer School units, see the 'Laboratory Exemption in Summer School' page.

There are no automatic exemptions from the practical course for any students. If you have previously taken and passed a relevant laboratory course at The University of Sydney, you may be able to claim exemption from the laboratory course. You may apply for exemption from the practical course by completing the relevant form. Applications for exemption should be submitted in the first week of semester Each case will be treated on its own merits, based on attendance records and marks obtained in the laboratory course previously. Students granted a practical exemption will receive a pro-rata mark calculated from their previous practical marks. If you apply for exemption, you will be notified of our decision by email. We will access all applications close to the start of semester. You should not assume that you have been granted exemption until you receive notification and should therefore attend your practical sessions until you receive this. We do not grant exemption from exams or quizzes (or assignments if applicable to your unit). These form an important part of the learning structure of the program.

Course fees are set by the Federal Government and exemption from the laboratory does not effect course fees, in Summer School or in normal semester.

Laboratory program


A list of the experiments for your unit, with links to the relevent pre-lab information, is available on your unit web area: Arrangements for students on the Special Studies Program (CHEM1903 and CHEM1904) will be announced in lectures.


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