Carnegie Mellon University

Placement Exams

Some courses are taken at various levels. Students are encouraged to work closely with their AAC Advisor to see if the exam (Calculus, Computer Programming, English, Modern Languages) is needed. Students should also refer to credits received through Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate or Transfer Credit.

The Mellon College of Science (MCS) will not administer the calculus assessment online over the summer. Instead, MCS will administer a proctored calculus assessment on campus.

There will be a 2-hour assessment for 21-120 (Differential and Integral Calculus) followed by a 2-hour assessment for 21-122 (Integration and Approximation). If passed, the assessment for 21-120 will allow students to be eligible to take the 21-122 assessment. It does NOT give students course credit. It allows students to take the next level calculus course in the fall.

If eligible to take the 21-120 assessment, students must register.

A student who passes the 21-120 assessment will be eligible to take 21-112 or 21-122 or 21-256 in the fall.

What about advanced standing credit?

If students take the Calculus AP exam, scores will give CMU calculus credit:

  • Calculus AB, score 5 = 21-120, Differential and Integral Calculus, 10 units

  • Calculus BC, score 5 = 21-120, Differential and Integral Calculus, 10 units, and 21-122, Integration, Differential Equations and Approximation, 10 units

Note: Students who have taken any AP CalculusAB or CalculusBC exam are not eligible to take any CMU Calculus Assessments.

Students are encouraged to discuss CMU courses with their Academic Advisors, specifically regarding AP or IB credits already received. Taking a course when credit from AP or IB has already been received means that course credit will be removed from the students record.

Who should take the Computer Science Placement Exam?

  • If an incoming student wants or needs to register for a Computer Science course here at CMU, they may need to complete the Computer Science Placement Exam. There are several different Dietrich College majors and minors that require completion of Computer Science courses. Requirements for our majors and minors here.

  • If a student has not been exposed to computer programming through a formal course or training and wants or needs to register for a Computer Science course at CMU: they should NOT take the Computer Science Placement Exam, but simply register for either 15-110: Principles of Computing or 15-104: Introduction to Computing for Creative Practice. Students should ask their academic advisor which course is more appropriate for them.

  • If a student has been exposed to computer programming but never took Advanced Standing exams or any programing course at a college level, and they want or need to register for a Computer Science course at CMU: they should take the Computer Science Placement Exam. Their score on this exam will determine which course they should register for.

  • If a student has been awarded Advanced Standing Credit or is transferring in a college-level Computer Science course, they do not need to take the placement exam, the credit they receive as a result of their Advanced Standing or Transfer courses will determine the computer science course level they should enroll in at CMU.

Accessing the Computer Science Placement Exam

  • Incoming students can access the Computer Science Placement Exam via an online Computer Science Assessment Test canvas course for which an invitation is sent via e-mail to students during the summer prior to their enrollment.


  • If a student has any questions as to whether they should taking this placement exam or how to access it, they should discuss this with their AAC Advisor.

The English Placement exam is meant only for students who have identified themselves as non-native English speakers or in instances where English is not their first language.

All Dietrich College first-year students will take The First Year Writing Requirement Course (FYW). Some students, based on this assessment, will take 76-100, Reading and Writing in an Academic Context in the fall and the First Year Writing Requirement (76-101 or Two of the three mini courses: 76-106/76-107/76-108) in the Spring.

CMU does not give credit for the First Year Writing Requirement Course based on an any typical advanced standing credit (including Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, or college credit taken elsewhere).

If you have any questions regarding the English placement exam, please contact the English department.

If a student does not plan on taking a language course (other than English), a placement exam in languages is not necessary. A language course is not required by Dietrich College, although many language courses fulfill the General Education requirements, and many students do elect to take a language. Some majors have a language requirement, please review all major requirements in the Dietrich College Course Catalog.

If a student wishes to study a language and does not have prior experience (including formal coursework or personal experience) with that specific language, then the placement exam is not necessary. A student may register for one of the Elementary level language courses (ex., 82-101, 82-111, 82-121, 82-141, 82-161, 82-171, 82-191).

If a student wishes to study a language and does have previous experience (including formal coursework or personal experience) with that specific language, then the placement exam is required.

How do I access the language placement exam?

Visit the Dietrich College Modern Language department’s Placement Testing webpage to for further instructions and access to the placement exams for each of our offered languages.

If students have technical difficulties while taking these tests, please contact Sue Connelly.