Mathematics Proficiency Examinations


(Revised September 21, 2021)

The next proficiency exam is set for Saturday, October 2, 2021, 9 a.m. - 12 noon CDT (3 hours).  Eligible students may take one exam at that sitting. Students wishing to take a second exam may sit for the next exam in January 2022. 

Please read all the information on this page.

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.

October 2, 2021, Math Proficiency Exam Registration Link:

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 must contact immediately after registering for the exam. Students with disabilities should make sure to register with DRES and include the official DRES letter of accommodations; the Mathematics Department cannot review medical information or use high-school accommodation letters.

Cancelling Your Exam

If you wish to cancel your registration for the exam, please fill out the following form: Click Here to Cancel Your Exam

Cancellations will be accepted until 11:59 a.m. 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 a.m. Central Time on the Wednesday prior to the exam.

Proficiency Exam Date

Registration Opens

Signup Deadline


October 2, 2021,9 a.m. to 12 noon
(Conflict exam will be online only,
October 6, from 7 to 10 p.m. CDT)
September 17, 2021
September 29, 2021
Room 314,
Altgeld Hall
January 2022, TBD TBD TBD TBD
June 2022, TBD TBD TBD 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. The date and location for the Fall 2022 August New Student Proficiency Exam is yet to be determined.

Note: this exam is not available to those who will be University Laboratory High School students in Fall 2022.

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) at least one week before the exam date.

Students 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 Zoom proctoring.

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