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Placement and Proficiency
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Subjects with Departmental Proficiency Exams    (last updated November 23, 2020)

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There are many exams that allow an incoming student to try to earn proficiency credit. In addition to the Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate exams that you can take in high school, you have ample opportunity to demonstrate your proficiency in the sciences and the humanities by taking a departmental proficiency exam once you come to campus. Currently enrolled students are also allowed to take a departmental proficiency exam if they have not already earned credit for the course or for a higher-level course in the subject.

Departmental proficiency tests are usually given at the beginning of each fall and spring semester. Usually you are permitted to attempt an exam only once, but there are a couple exams that you are allowed to take twice. Given that different departments have different policies, you should always check with the department first.

If you are a new incoming student who deferred your Fall 2020 admission, you will be eligible to take a departmental proficiency exam when you come to Illinois. For example, if you deferred your Fall 2020 admission to Spring 2021, you can take the January 2021 proficiency exams - but you cannot take the proficiency exams that are offered in December 2020 during Finals Week. Departmental proficiency exams are available to currently enrolled students only.


Click on a subject below for more specific information.

  1. Integrative Biology

  2. Molecular and Cellular Biology

  3. Chemistry

  4. Computer Science

  5. Economics

  6. Languages other than English (LOTE)

  7. Math

  8. Music

  9. Physics

  10. Psychology 100

  11. Rhetoric

 

To try to proficiency out of an introductory course not mentioned above, contact the department that offers the course.


SHOULD YOU SIT FOR A DEPARTMENTAL PROFICIENCY EXAM?

Any student who just missed earning proficiency credit from the AP Calculus exam, the IB Math exams, the AP Physics exams, or the IB Physics exams -- and any student who scores well on the Chemistry and/or Physics Placement Exam -- should seriously consider taking the departmental proficiency test. If you believe you know the material well, it is probably worth your while to attempt the proficiency exam. Your academic record is not affected if you fail the exam (most likely, you would simply enroll in the course that you attempted to proficiency). Remember, usually you are allowed only one attempt at any particular test.

If a departmental proficiency exam also offers course placement, you will need to check with the department for your placement results.


IMPORTANT!

Duplicate credit earned through AP, IB, departmental examinations, or any other means will not be granted. This means, for example, that if you already earned MATH 220 credit through the AP Calculus exam, you cannot earn MATH 220 credit again by taking the Math Department's MATH 220 proficiency exam. Credit for a particular course will be awarded only once.