Mathematics Proficiency Examinations


The June 20, 2020, proficiency exam will not take place on campus. An online alternative is being discussed, and a final decision should be made by the end of May. Please check back here for further news. Fall exam dates and information are to be determined and announced later.

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 time; for the January 25, 2020, proficiency exam, the conflict date is Wednesday, January 29, 2020. 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 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

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 am, Saturday, June 20, 2020 Friday, June 5, 2020, midnight Wednesday, June 17, 2020, noon Online/decision pending
9 am, Saturday, August 29, 2020 Friday, August 14, 2020, midnight Wednesday, August 26, 2020, noon TBD
October TBD October TBD October TBD TBD
New Student Proficiency Exam

For Math 220 only, a one-hour, multiple-choice exam on the material covered in Math 220 is given only to new entering students on the Thursday of New Student Welcome Week. For the Fall 2020 semester, this exam will be given on Thursday, August 20, 2020, Room 1320 Digital Computer Lab (DCL)

No sign-up is necessary. Please arrive at 12:30 p.m. to check in; the exam begins at 1:00 pm. You must bring a valid photo ID and your UIN number. No calculators are allowed. For information about the material covered in Math 220, please see the syllabus for Math 220.

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