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.
All first-year students registering for Introductory General Chemistry I (Chem 105) or General Chemistry I (Chem 111A) in the fall are expected to take the online diagnostic exam before they register courses for Fall 2021. The two-hour timed exam can be accessed from the Chemistry Department website. You will need your WUSTL Key to access this exam.
Questions about Chemistry should be directed to Dr. Jia Luo.
This exam is for students with computer science background or programming experience, regardless of intended major.
You should complete this placement exam if you hope to place out of CSE 131-Introduction to Computer Science. Note that a score of 4 or 5 on the AP Computer Science A exam does give credit for CSE 131.
If you plan to take the CSE placement exam, you should complete this exam before you arrive on campus this fall, but completing it as soon as possible is recommended so you can plan accordingly for your fall course schedule. The CSE department will contact you with the results of your exam within one week after you complete the exam.
The results of this exam will not give you any course units for CSE 131. The outcome will tell you if you already have enough knowledge to bypass taking CSE 131 at WashU.
These are the possible results from this placement exam:
- you should enroll in CSE 131
- you are ready to move forward to the next Computer Science course after CSE 131 (and have fulfilled the CSE 131 requirement)
- you should do a portion of the material in the intro course on your own (to fulfill the CSE 131 requirement) before moving forward to the next Computer Science course after CSE 131
The goal of the placement exam is to help place you in the Computer Science course you are best prepared for.
This exam is meant to assess your knowledge of the material covered in CSE 131-Introduction to Computer Science. While it’s expected that your answers will be in Java, it’s OK to provide code in other languages for the purposes of assessing your knowledge of concepts. You may discuss the exam with an instructor of CSE 131, but asking other people for help is considered an academic integrity violation. You may use any reference text or notes you have, on paper or online, but you may not submit work that is not your own. There is no time limit on this exam but it shouldn’t take you more than 90 minutes.
For any questions regarding the computer science placement exam, please contact Bill Siever.
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.
Students must register online to take a Foreign Language Placement Exam. Placement Exams should be taken prior to speaking to your academic adviser about course registration.
If you have studied Classical Greek in high school, please contact the Classics Department for placement information.
For Russian placement, contact Professor Palatnik.
Students interested in participating in a music ensemble – such as Jazz Band, Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Choir, Wind Ensemble – will need to sign up for a short placement meeting with the Music department’s faculty. Information about each of the ensembles as well as the requirements for auditions and information on how to sign up for a placement meeting can be found on the Music department’s website.
Questions about Music Auditions should be directed to Jamie Perkins.
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 Summer Start.