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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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.
Credit by Exam Brochure (PDF)