Placement Testing
Placement and Proficiency Testing
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Placement and Proficiency
Room 247 Armory
(217) 244-4437
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Information about Science

All undergraduate students are required to fulfill the University's General Education requirements, one of which is Natural Sciences & Technology. To earn your undergraduate degree, you must complete six hours of Natural Sciences & Technology courses. Depending on your major and program, you might take two Life Sciences courses, or two Physical Sciences courses, or one course from each subcategory.

Online placement exams are available in chemistry, physics, and molecular and cellular biology. Other subjects, such as astronomy or geology or nutrition, do not have a test for placement into their introductory courses.

Please note that you are allowed only one attempt at the online science placement tests. Your science course placement will be valid for one year. This means, for example, that if you choose not to enroll in a chemistry course during your first or second semester, you may still follow the placement when you register to take a chemistry course in your third semester. However, after that, you would need to take the departmental proficiency exam in order to obtain an updated evaluation of your knowledge level.


Please check to see what your College requires. For example, the Grainger College of Engineering requires that all of its incoming freshmen take the chemistry and the physics (and the math) placement tests, even if you expect to earn AP or IB credit. In contrast, the College of Media does not require that its incoming freshmen take a science placement test; you would take it only if you plan to enroll in a chemistry course, or in a physics course, or in a molecular and cellular biology course.


Please check to see what your College requires. If you have studied chemistry, physics, or molecular and cellular biology in high school but you have not earned college credit for the subject AND you plan to continue studying the subject, you need to take its placement test. On the other hand, if you wish to take a science course that is not one of these three for which we offer placement testing, then you do not need to take a science placement test. Be sure to discuss your plan with your academic advisor.

Test Accommodations

The Physics and MCB Placement Tests do not have a time limit. The Chemistry Placement Test has a 45-minute time limit. Students who need extra time can request authorization for extended time from the Division of Disability Resources and Educational Services (DRES). You must have already been accepted to Illinois before you can apply for accommodations. For more information, please contact DRES.