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 already got the knowledge and the skills that are taught in a particular course even though you have not taken the course. If you do well on the proficiency test, you can earn academic credit in the subject, and it is assumed you are prepared to succeed in the subject’s subsequent courses.

Academic credit is awarded on the basis of sufficiently high scores on the ACT or SAT, the Advanced Placement (AP) exams, the International Baccalaureate (IB) exams, and certain Advanced Level (A-Level) exams. Sufficiently high scores on our departmental proficiency tests can also earn credit. Departmental tests are administered on campus usually the week before classes start or during the first week of classes in both the fall and the spring semesters. NOTE: Most of our departmental language proficiency exams do not award course credit in the language, but strong performance does fulfill the General Education language requirement.

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. Learn about the amendments to the State of Illinois “College and Career Success for All Students” Act.


Placement testing and proficiency testing have two very different purposes. Incoming students who do well on a math, science, or "language other than English" placement test will learn which course they should start with for their first year at Illinois. They might also qualify for – and 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 particular subject may also register for departmental proficiency exams in that subject.