Students interested in taking math, foreign language classes, College Writing, or general chemistry at WashU may be required to take placement exams. Most of these exams can and should be taken online during the summer.

Calculus and Math

The Mathematics Department provides a placement exam for all students taking calculus. We ask that all students (Architecture, Art, Art & Sciences, Business, and Engineering) who are planning to take a calculus course during their time at Washington University in St. Louis take this test online.

If you are planning to take Calculus this fall, be sure to take the Placement Exam prior to talking to your adviser and registering for classes.

Questions about Mathematics should be directed to Blake Thornton.

Access the Calculus Placement Exam and Math Department website.

Computer Science

This exam is for students with computer science background or programming experience, regardless of intended major.

Students with a score of 4 or 5 on the CS AP test automatically receive credit for CSE 131; those students need not take the placement exam, but if they want to reassess their readiness, they are welcome to take it. Students with a lower score on the CS AP test will not receive credit for CSE 131, but as with all students, CSE 131 will be waived completely or in part by passing all or some of the placement exam (see below). 

The placement exam determines one of the following outcomes: 

  1. A student may be recommended to take CSE 131 in its entirety. 
  2. A student may be recommended to begin in a CSE course beyond CSE 131. 
  3. Same as (2), but completion of specific CSE 131 modules may be required or recommended. 

Questions about the Computer Science Placement Exam should be directed to Professor Ron Cytron,


Dance Placement Class

Tuesday, August 18, 4:00-6:00 PM
Mertz Dance Studio, 207 Mallinckrodt Center (Main Level) 
Performing Arts Department

All new students with interest in dance at WashU are strongly encouraged to attend the Dance Placement Class. This class is not an ‘audition,’ but a chance for students new to dance at WashU to meet dance faculty, dance majors, and learn information about program curriculum, events, and performance opportunities. The class format is informal, including a short ballet barre, followed by modern and jazz combinations to determine appropriate entry level to these course sequences. No signup or preparation required. 

Who Should Attend: 
  • Any student with prior training, interested in dance courses above introductory level. 
  • Students who are pre-registered for a course above introductory levels are tentatively enrolled and required to take the placement class to determine appropriate level. 

For more information, contact Professor Cecil Slaughter, or Professor David Marchant,

Foreign Language

You will be placed in the appropriate level class based on your placement score, previous study of the language, as well as recommendations from your four-year adviser. Policies for credit vary by department.

You do not need to take the on campus Foreign Language Placement Exam if:

  • You do not wish to study a foreign language.
  • You will be starting a new foreign language.
  • You have taken the College Board Advanced Placement Test or Achievement Test (SAT II) in Russian only, and you plan to continue studying Russian, your score will provide us with the necessary information for placement.

You do need to take a Foreign Language Placement Exam if you wish to continue your study of a language.

The following exams should be taken online prior to speaking to your academic adviser about course registration.

The following exams will be offered on campus during Bear Beginnings:

Arabic, Chinese, Modern Hebrew, Hindi, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Urdu

Students must register online through the College of Arts & Sciences to take one of these exams during Bear Beginnings.

If you have studied Classical Greek in high school, please contact the Classics Department for placement information.

General Chemistry Diagnostic Exam

If you are planning to take Introductory General Chemistry I (Chem 105) or General Chemistry (Chem 111A), you are required to take the diagnostic exam. The two-hour timed exam can be accessed from the Chemistry Department website. You will need your WUSTL Key to access this exam.

The exam will be available May 25, 2020 through July 3, 2020.

Questions about Chemistry should be directed to Dr. Jia Luo.

Music Auditions

Music Department auditions will take place in August 2020 at the 560 Music Center.

If you wish to participate in department ensembles or private lessons, you must schedule a placement audition. Ensembles include orchestra, wind ensemble, Jazz band, choirs, and more. Visit the Music Department website for more information about ensembles, audition requirements, and to sign up for a placement meeting.

Questions about Music Auditions should be directed to Jamie Perkins, 314.935.3913.

Writing Placement

If you need to take the Writing Placement Exam, you will be notified via email in late May with instructions about the online exam. The College Writing Program will notify you and your academic adviser of your placement via email one to two weeks after you complete the exam. It is important you complete this before attending Summer Start, or before you speak with your academic adviser if you are not attending one of those programs. If you are not required to take the exam, your adviser will know your placement by late May.

Semester placement is determined by the College Writing Program and is based on a variety of factors, including participation in varsity athletics, first-year programs through the College of Arts & Sciences, etc. Students in some special programs such as Mind-Brain or Ampersand Ireland take College Writing in the fall semester, while others such as Text & Traditions take it in the spring.

For more information about College Writing or about writing placement, visit the College Writing website or contact the College Writing Program.