Placement & Proficiency
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For questions or information, 
please contact:

Placement & Proficiency
(217) 244-4437


Monday - Friday
8:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Proficiency Testing

The purpose of any proficiency test is to find out whether you have mastered the knowledge and the skills that are taught in a particular course well enough that you are prepared to succeed in the subject’s subsequent courses. If so, you earn credit for the course and you are allowed to enroll in the subsequent course if you wish. The advantage to earning proficiency credit is that, if you decide to continue studying the subject, you can skip the lower-level course and begin studying at a higher level. Even if you decide not to continue studying the subject, that credit on your academic record will count towards graduation, and it might fulfill a Gen Ed requirement.


  • The French Proficiency Exam and the Spanish Proficiency Exam will be offered on August 29, 2017. Click here to sign up.
  • The Japanese Placement Exam and the Korean Placement Exam will be offered on August 25, 2017. The Japanese test will begin at 12:00 noon in Room G20 FLB.  The Korean test will begin at 9:30 a.m. in Room G27 FLB.  Click here to sign up. You should allow two hours to complete the test. Strong performance on these tests does NOT earn course credit, but it CAN fulfill the General Education LOTE requirement.
  • A Chinese Placement Test will be offered at the start of the semester. An online registration form will be available later this month. Please check back.


Academic credit is awarded on the basis of sufficiently high scores on the ACT English subtest, the SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing subtest, the Advanced Placement (AP) exams, the International Baccalaureate (IB) exams, and certain Advanced Level (A Level) exams as well as on the departmental proficiency tests which are administered on campus usually during the first week of classes in fall and spring semester.

AP and IB exams, as well as the ACT and the SAT, must be taken prior to enrolling in a college or university. Your scores will be evaluated for credit when they are received, and any credit earned will be automatically posted to your academic record. Some AP and IB scores earn elective credit, while others earn course credit. All credit counts towards graduation.

In compliance with the amendment to the State of Illinois “College and Career Success for All Students” Act, Advanced Placement test scores of 3, 4, and 5 and International Baccalaureate test scores of 4, 5, 6, and 7 are now accepted for credit to satisfy degree requirements. The AP rules went into effect for incoming undergraduate students enrolling in the 2016-2017 academic year, while the IB rules went into effect for incoming undergraduate students enrolling in the 2017-2018 academic year. Depending on the exam and the score, the credit earned will translate either as elective credit or as specific course credit.

  • Click here for our FAQ about the Illinois law.
  • Click here to scroll through the new AP policies for 2017-2018.
  • Click here to scroll through the new IB policies for 2017-2018.


Placement testing and proficiency testing have two very different purposes. Incoming students who do well on a math, science, or LOTE placement test will qualify for – and may wish to consider taking – a departmental proficiency test.

New students are NOT REQUIRED to register for and take an on-campus departmental proficiency test just because their placement test score qualifies them to take it. It is simply an option to consider. Continuing students who have not yet earned college-level credit in a subject may also register for its departmental proficiency exam. Departmental proficiency tests are usually given at the beginning of each fall and spring semester. Usually you are allowed to attempt a departmental proficiency exam only once, but for some exams you are allowed to attempt it twice. Given that different departments have different policies, you should always check with the department first.

If you score high enough on a departmental proficiency exam to earn credit, the department will inform the Registrar to record it on your academic record. You do not need to do anything more. Credit earned will be reflected on your DARS report. Your grade for the test will be "PS" which means "pass."  PS grades are not included in GPA calculations.

If you do not score high enough on a departmental proficiency exam to earn credit, you should contact the department that administered the test to find out your score and your course enrollment options.


To learn more about specific proficiency exams and course credit, click on a link below.