New Students - NIU - Testing Services

New Students

NIU Testing Services

Adams Hall 128
DeKalb, IL 60115-2828

815-753-3701 (fax)

Regular Office Hours

8 a.m.- noon
1-4:30 p.m.

Testing for New Students

The testing procedure for new students can be confusing. There are several optional and required tests available. To select what tests to take to help you enroll in the right classes or to receive class credit, read through this page and follow the links for more details. 

  • New students must test before they attend orientation. Students cannot test on their orientation date. Begin by identifying the required/optional tests you may take. Then select the testing date that best fits your schedule and register for your exams online or by contacting Testing Services.
  • New freshman and transfer students are required to complete testing before attending orientation. Students cannot test on their orientation date. For current test dates and times, view the NIU Testing Schedule. By participating in testing before you enter NIU, you will be able to choose classes at orientation that will put you on the right path toward graduation.
  • Students with disabilities should immediately contact the Disability Resource Center at 815-753-1303 to see what documentation they need from you. Students with disabilities should work directly with the Disability Resource Center to set up placement exams with accommodations.

All Students

Placement Exams

Placement exams help you and your advisor select appropriate math, foreign language, and/or chemistry classes during orientation. The type of placement exam(s) you take depend on your course of study, major, and completed courses in high school or college. For some majors, placement exams are required. For more information, read the placement exams page or contact Testing Services. Register online for NIU placement exams. Math placement exams may also be taken at community colleges around the state of Illinois through the Math Accuplacer testing program.

Proficiency Exams

New students may take proficiency exams that allow you to get college credit for classes taken before enrollment at NIU. Proficiency tests are optional and are available in several subjects. View a complete list of proficiency exams available at NIU. Students can register for BIOS 103-105 and CHEM 110 exams online. To register for all other proficiency exams, contact Testing Services. For more information, read the proficiency exams page.

Credit by Examination (CBE)

Similar to proficiency exams, students may earn course credit by achieving a passing score on several national standardized tests through AP, CLEP, DSST, and IB programs. More information about earning credit by examination can be found in NIU's CBE brochure and on the credit by examination page.

Core Competency Exams

New students can be exempt from NIU core competency courses by passing exams in oral communications, English, and/or mathematics. These exams are optional. A passing grade reduces the number of general education hours necessary for a bachelor's degree at NIU, but it does not reduce the number of hours required for a degree. For more information about core competency testing, review the core competency exams page or contact Testing Services.

Nursing Students

Nursing students who received an ACT score of 23 or lower may take the Accuplacer Reading Comprehension exam to meet the reading standards of the School of Nursing. This exam may be taken at NIU or at community colleges throughout the state. For more information, read the Reading Accuplacer page.

Education Students

Education students who received an ACT score of 21 or lower must pass the Test of Academic Proficiency before enrolling in the NIU initial teacher licensure program. For more information, read the Educator Licensure TAP page.