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Proficiency Exams

Departmental proficiency examinations are offered in most 100-level and in a limited number of 200-level courses.  The purposes of the examinations are to allow students to receive credit for knowledge acquired previously and to allow students to enroll in more advanced courses or to add breadth to their academic programs.  Proficiency examinations are optional and recommended only for students who are unusually skilled in the discipline in which the examination is taken.  Specific information about the nature of a given examination, study guide availability, or alternate test dates should be obtained directly from the appropriate departmental or school office.

Registration for Proficiency Examinations is coordinated by the Registrar Service Center (RSC). Detailed information in regard to proficiency examinations can be found in the Undergraduate Catalog. For questions regarding registration for a departmental proficiency exam contact the RSC at 309-438-2188.

Exams are administered at 1:00pm on the Friday before classes begin in the fall and spring semesters. Report to the room listed after the name of the department in which you are taking the examination. The registration deadline is mid-July for fall exams and mid-November for spring exams. Late registration will not be accepted. For specific dates, please contact the Registrar Service Center at (309)438-2188.

There is a $10 registration fee per exam which will be billed to your student account. Only those students who officially cancel their registration through the Registrar Service Center prior to the exam date, will have the registration fee removed. A confirmation of your registration for the examination will be e-mailed to the address provided. However, there are several requirements to qualify for exam registration:

  1. You may only take one proficiency examination each semester.
  2. You may not take an exam for which you have already earned a letter grade (including WX/NC/CR) or have received transfer credit for.
  3. No course credit will be awarded for a proficiency examination which is at a lower level than a course previously enrolled in or one that substantially duplicates the content of a course taken previously.
  4. You must be currently attending or be admitted to Illinois State University for the semester in which you wish to take the exam.
  5. You may take a proficiency exam only once.
  6. Some departments/schools require a written project or performance examination.
  7. Students with disabilities should notify the appropriate departmental office of the need for any special accommodations prior to the date of the examination.

Proficiency credit is awarded by the examining department.  All examination credit is then recorded in the Record's Office.

Additional Requirements

School of Information Technology

The School of Information Technology requires a major programming project to be completed prior to the exam. You should contact the department at (309)438-8338 at least one month before you take the examination.

Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures

SPA 214 - Students who come in with strong oral skills in Spanish can receive credit for SPA 214 by taking an Oral Proficiency Exam with one of our faculty.

Students may take the OPE if they meet any of the following:

  1. grew up in a Spanish-speaking / bilingual household
  2. attended a Spanish immersion school
  3. regularly converse in Spanish with friends or family members without much difficulty
  4. earned a score of 5 on the AP Spanish Language or Literature Exam

Students must register to take the OPE by mid-July.

The OPEs will be administered the Friday before classes begin each semester.

**Students who have an OPI official rating of Intermediate High or above will automatically earn credit for SPA 214. Please submit OPI transcript to the LAN department office (STV 114) to apply for credit.

Exams Offered

Want to take a proficiency exam?

If you are interested in taking a proficiency exam, take a look at exams offered.



Illinois State University

Office of the University Registrar
Normal, IL 61790-2202

Phone: (309) 438-2188

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