Mathematics Proficiency Examinations


(Revised January 21, 2021)

The next proficiency exam is set for Saturday, January 16, 2021, 9am - 12 noon CST (3 hours), online. Eligible continuing students may take one exam at that sitting. New freshmen/new off-campus transfer students who begin their studies at the University of Illinois in Spring 2021 may take up to two exams in January, including one on the January 20, 2021 conflict date. Continuing students wishing to take a second exam may sit for the next exam in June 2021.

The Department of Mathematics offers proficiency examinations in Math 220, 225, 231, 241, 285, 286, and 415 to allow students to obtain college credit by demonstrating proficiency in the course material. A proficiency examination is comparable to a three-hour written final examination in that course, and a grade of B- or better is needed in order for course credit to be awarded. Proficiency examinations are not for placement or diagnostic purposes, but are only for awarding credit to students who demonstrate thorough knowledge of the course material.

These examinations demand more than an elementary acquaintance with the course material. The student must have solid command of the concepts and problem solving skills for the course and therefore should attempt a proficiency examination only after proper study and preparation. Students may get a course syllabus from the Department of Mathematics syllabi webpage. An online search can provide study guides, practice exams, and even actual exams for recent offerings of these classes. (Note: Fall semester Math 231 EL1/EL2 sections include material that is not part of the Math 231 proficiency exam.) Students needing credit for Math 221 may use Math 220 to fill any such requirement.

Timing and Sign-Up for Proficiency Exams

Proficiency examinations are given twice during the fall semester, once near the beginning of spring semester, and once during the summer session. Students may register for only one exam for each exam date.

Registration for each exam does not open until two weeks prior to the exam date.

Click here to register for proficiency exam

Conflict Option

Students who cannot take the exam at the regular time because of religious obligations, conflicts with other proficiency exams outside the Math Department, scheduled University classes/labs, and other compelling academic conflicts, may request to take the conflict option. Conflict exams are usually scheduled for Wednesday evening following the regular Saturday exam time. To request the conflict option, contact at least one week before the exam date, indicating the proficiency exam you would like to take and providing details of your conflict (e.g., course and name/email of instructor in case of a conflict with a class). Conflict requests are subject to approval by the Undergraduate Office and will only be granted for compelling reasons such as those mentioned above (but not, for example, to accommodate personal travel schedules). When registering, list "conflict request" in the Accommodations question in addition to emailing.

Special Accommodations

Students who would like to request a special accommodation such as extended testing time or a proctored non-Proctorio online exam will need to contact the Mathematics Undergraduate Office immediately after registering for the exam.

Cancelling Your Exam

If a student wishes to cancel their registration for the exam, they will need to fill out the following form: Click Here to Cancel Your Exam

Cancellations will be accepted until 11:59 pm on the Wednesday before the exam.  If a student signs up for an examination but does not appear and write it, that will count as an attempt (see "Number of Attempts" below). However, a student may cancel a signup without penalty up until 11:59 p.m. Central Time on the Wednesday prior to the exam.

Proficiency Exam Date

Registration Opens

Signup Deadline


June 2021 TBD



 Online via Moodle

August 2021 TBD





August New Student Proficiency Exam

For Math 220 only, a two-hour, multiple-choice exam on the material covered in Math 220 is given only to new first-time freshmen and new transfer students. For Fall 2020, the exam will take place on Saturday, August 15, 2020, from 9 a.m. - 11 a.m. CDT, with advance registration REQUIRED. This multiple-choice exam will be taken online through Moodle; students must have reliable internet access during the testing period and must have a system compatible with Proctorio, the required proctoring software. Students should follow the instructions at to set up their device for Proctorio prior to the exam date.

Registration for this exam will open on Friday, July 31, 2020, and close at 12 noon Central Time on Wednesday, August 12, 2020. New freshmen and new transfers who register and are eligible for the exam will be enrolled in the proficiency Moodle by Friday, August 14, 2020.

Note: this exam is not available to those who will be University Laboratory High School students in Fall 2020.

Students with a religious conflict or who need disability-related accommodations, such as extended testing time, should contact with reason for conflict or request for accommodations (including their approved letter of accommodations) no earlier than July 31, 2020, but as soon as possible after that date.

You may take an exam for Math 220 at other times, but it will be a 3-hour exam.

Number of Attempts

For Math 285, 286, and 415 only one attempt per student is allowed. Two attempts are permitted for Math 220, 225, 231, 241. If you have previously taken one of these courses and received a grade, you are not eligible to sit for the proficiency.

Examination Conduct and Materials

All students sitting for proficiency exams agree to abide by the academic integrity and confidentiality expectations for our exams. Students may not use outside help of any sort, including calculators, notes, books, online materials, or assistance from others. Students must agree to maintain the confidentiality of the exam and not disclose exam questions to outside parties. Expectations and sanctions related to academic integrity are laid out in the university Student Code at

Students wishing to sit for a math proficiency exam must have reliable internet access during the testing period and have a system compatible with using Proctorio, the required proctoring software for these exams. Accommodations are possible for a proctored non-Proctorio online exam.

Most exams also require the ability to scan handwritten solutions to free-response questions into a pdf (typically using a cell phone or tablet) and upload the pdf to Moodle.


The assigned grade is Pass or Fail. Results of the proficiency will be available in the Grades section of the proficiency Moodle at within 2 business days after the exam date.

Please note that students cannot view their exams to see what they missed.

If a student passes their exam, it will take one to three months for the credit they have earned to appear on the official university record. Those who pass may use a screenshot of their Moodle result as interim proof of pass.

Note: The Department of Mathematics does not enforce prerequisites, and you do not need our approval to register for the next math course.


Contact Information

If you have any questions regarding mathematics proficiency exams, please contact:

Mathematics Undergraduate Office
313 Altgeld Hall
(217) 244-7310