Mathematics Proficiency Examinations


(Revised July 3, 2020)

More detailed information about the August 2020 proficiency exams will be provided soon.

Students wishing to sit for one of the Fall 2020 math proficiency exams must have reliable internet access during the testing period and have a system compatible with using Proctorio, the required proctoring software for these exams. Students registering for any of these exams must agree to abide by an academic integrity statement. Those sitting for the August 29 or October exams must have the ability to scan their solutions to free-response questions to a pdf and upload the pdf to Moodle.

All of the usual proficiency exams, including linear algebra and differential equations, will be offered on the August 29, 9 a.m. - 12 noon test date. Registration will open two weeks prior to the exam. Registration will close, tentatively, on August 24 at 12 noon Central Daylight Time.

Students with a DRES letter of accommodation (LOA) who are requesting accommodations, and students needing a conflict exam (typically for a religious conflict) may share those requests (and if relevant, the LOA) between the time they register for the exam and 12 noon on Monday, August 24, by emailing

The August New Student Math 220 exam will be held on Saturday, August 15, from 9 a.m. - 11 a.m. Central Daylight Time. This 2-hour online exam is restricted to first-time freshmen and first-time transfer students only. Registration is required and will be open two weeks before the exam date, closing three days before the exam date, to allow sufficient time to verify that those registered are new students and have them added to the proficiency Moodle.

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 in the first week 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 timeTo 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 wheelchair accessibility, extended testing time, distraction free environment, etc., will need to contact the Mathematics Undergraduate Office AFTER registering for the exam.

Cancelling Your Exam

The cancellation deadline for the June 2020 proficiency exam is noon on Monday, June 15, 2020, to allow for waitlisted students to be added. 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 pm on the Wednesday prior to the exam.

Proficiency Exam Date Registration Opens Signup Deadline Location
9 a.m. CDT, Saturday, August 29, 2020 Friday, August 14, 2020, 12 midnight CDT Wednesday, August 26, 2020, 12 noon CDT Online via Moodle
9 a.m. CDT, Saturday, October 3, 2020 Friday, September 18, 2020, 12 midnight CDT Wednesday, September 30, 2020, 12 noon CDT Online via Moodle
January 2021 TBD     TBD

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. Central Daylight Time, 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 Daylight 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

Students are expected to turn off or silence their cell phones and put them away before entering the exam room. Cell phones are not to be checked or used again until the student leaves the exam room. Anyone found on their phone during the exam will be asked to turn in their exam and leave the room.

Students should arrive at the exam 30 minutes prior to the start time to check in and find their seat. Anyone arriving after the designated start time will not be allowed to take the exam and will be asked to leave.

Important Information on Exam Materials

The exam and any scratch paper MUST be turned in at the end of the exam.

No exam materials will be allowed out of the room.

You may only bring a pencil and i-card to the exam. Calculators and notes are not allowed.


The assigned grade is Pass or Fail. Results of the proficiency will be available online within a week of the exam date. Instructions to access your results will be given at the exam, and an email will be sent out with further instructions once all exams have been graded.

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

If a student passes their exam, it will take anywhere from one to three months for the credit they have earned to appear on the official university record.

Contact Information

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

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