Proficiency Exams

Undergraduate Proficiency Examinations

The Mathematics Department offers proficiency examinations for selected courses. Depending on the course, and their performance on the exam, students may earn one of two types of proficiency pass:

  • Full-Credit proficiency. A student earning full-credit proficiency for a course can get credit for the course as though he/she took and passed the course. The course will appear on the students university transcript with a designation such as to "By examination". The student will also receive any credits towards graduation that are normally provided for passing the course.
  • Mathematics Department internal proficiency. A student earning internal proficiency for a course (referred to below as course X) is considered to have passed the course for the following purposes:
    • If course X is a requirement for the math major or math minor, then that requirement is considered to have been satisfied.
    • If course X is a prerequisite for another math department course (referred to below as course Y) then that prerequisite is considered to be satisfied. To register for course Y, a student who has proficiency credit for X (and has satisfied all other prerequisites for course Y) will be given a prerequisite override from the undergraduate office. (In the case that the course Y is offered by another department, the student will need a prerequisite override from the department offering course Y. A student who has received internal proficiency for course X, may request that the math advisor contact the offering department informing the department offering course Y that the student has passed a proficiency exam for course X. The offering department has the final decision whether they will accept that as satisfying the prerequisite for course Y.)
    Course X will not appear on the student's transcript and will not earn credits toward graduation.

Full-credit proficiency exams

Full-credit proficiency exams are offered for courses 135, 151 and 152.  Students receiving at least a grade of B on the proficiency exam can receive full credit for the course if they wish. The course will appear on the transcript as passed ``by examination''. A student getting a C on the proficiency exam will not receive full credit for the course, but will be granted Mathematics Department internal proficiency as described above. A student getting a D on the proficiency exam does not receive any type of credit and has to take the course.

Mathematics Department internal proficiency exams

The department offers internal proficiency exam for course 250. Internal proficiency exams are occasionally offered for other courses in unusual situations. The internal proficiency exam for 250 is offered to students who have completed the honors calculus course 291, or to other students with the approval of the math advisor or the honors committee chair (who will notify the undergraduate office of the approval). Once this approval is obtained, the student should schedule the exam through the math undergraduate office. The proficiency test for 250 may be waived for students with a grade of A in Math 291. Proficiency credit for 250 requires a grade of at least B on the exam.


  • A student must have the required prerequisites for the course in which the proficiency exam is to be taken.
  • A proficiency exam may not be taken in a course in which a student has previously enrolled and received a grade. Additionally, a student who has was previously enrolled in Math 123 cannot take a proficiency exam in either of the Calculus I courses Math 135 or Math 151.
  • A proficiency exam may not be taken in a course for which a student is currently registered (at Rutgers New Brunswick) and for which classes have started.
  • A student may take a proficiency exam in a given course only once.


Proficiency exams are offered at fixed times throughout the year (except near the beginning or end of a semester). A student may arrange to take the exam by contacting the Mathematics Undergraduate office, The student should allow one to two weeks for scheduling the exam.

The Math Placement Exam

Incoming freshmen can demonstrate proficiency in courses 025, 026, and 115 by taking the math placement exam. After completing at least 8 hours of provided review activities, students can also take the placement exam a second time. The higher of the two scores is used to determine placement.

In the past, the math department offered proficiency exams in courses 025, 026, and 115. These proficiency exams are no longer available, as students can now take the placement exam twice. There is no third attempt or any other way to circumvent the results of the placement exam.

The placement exam may also be appropriate for certain transfer students and continuing students who have not taken any of the courses 025, 026, 111, 112, or 115 at Rutgers yet. Please contact the Math Advisor for advice about this.

For technical assistance with the placement exam, please contact the Office of Testing and Placement.