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SIUE Proficiency Examination Program

What SIUE courses can I take through the proficiency program?

In general, proficiency examinations are available for all General Education Skills and Introductory courses. In addition, some advanced General Education courses and some departmental courses may offer proficiencies. Click here to see the list of proficiencies offered through SIUE.

Once I have selected a course, what do I do next?

For OUT-OF-CLASS proficiencies, you will need to come to Testing Services in the Student Success Center, Room 1246 and complete a Proficiency Form. You will then be directed to a contact person. This may be a department or office that will make the necessary arrangements for you to take the test. For IN-CLASS proficiencies, you will need to talk to your instructor and/or the department chair.

What is the difference between an out-of-class proficiency and an in-class proficiency? Most of the courses that offer proficiency tests are out-of-class proficiencies. This means that you MAY NOT be enrolled in or registered for the course you wish to proficiency.


Out-of-class proficiencies require you to complete a Proficiency Form. Proficiency Forms are available in Testing Services, Student Success Center, Room 1246. It is not possible to take a proficiency for a course if you are currently enrolled in the course and have been in the course long enough to receive any type of grade, even a W, WP, WE, or AU. If you are registered, you will need to drop the course by the "the last day to withdraw without receiving a grade" as stated in the semester bulletin.


In-Class proficiencies are given at the discretion of the instructor and/or the department. If you are given the option of completing an in-class proficiency, you should be enrolled in the class and remain on the class roster for the duration of the semester. At the completion of the semester, the instructor will assign the grade, noting it was earned as an "in-class proficiency." Courses completed by an in-class proficiency will not receive any refund of tuition or fees. In-class proficiencies should be taken early in the semester so students may pick up additional coursework if they so desire.

When are the tests given?

Some proficiency tests are given by appointment and others are at preset times, such as once a semester. Specific information can be obtained from the contact person for the course. Contact information is included on the proficiency list web page.

Click here to go directly to the proficiency list web page.

What is the best way to prepare for the test?

Reading lists are available for some courses, and other courses require you to use the current course textbook as your primary study materials. When you pick up your course proficiency form or talk to the contact person for the course, more information will be provided to you.

How can I obtain the textbook(s) for the course?

After the second week of the current semester, you may rent the textbook(s) from Textbook Service. In order to rent the textbook(s), you must present your Proficiency Examination Form and Cougar Card and pay the current rental fee per credit hour for the textbook(s) at Textbook Service. You also must return the textbook(s) to Textbook Service by the textbook return deadline for the current semester. If you do not return the textbook(s) by this deadline, you must also pay the current replacement fee for the textbook(s).

Is there a fee to take the test?

Some tests do have fees, please call 650-1246 to discuss your particular test .

Do I have to be a currently enrolled student to take a proficiency test?

No. However, you must have a past SIUE transcript or will have one in the future. If you are not currently enrolled, any proficiency credits earned will be placed on an SIUE transcript after you have completed a semester of work at SIUE. If you have attended SIUE in the past and already have a transcript, the scores will be entered on your last active semester.

How many times can I take a particular test?

You may take a proficiency test for any course only once.

How does a proficiency test affect my GPA?

Departments shall determine grades on proficiency examinations based on either an A, B, C, no credit scoring option, or a Pass/No Credit scoring option. After a student has completed a proficiency examination, credits and grade points are granted as follows:

  • For a grade of A, B, or C on a proficiency examination, the academic record shows the name of the course, hours of credit granted, the grade earned, and a notation "out of class proficiency" or "in-class proficiency." The grade earned counts in the grade point average.
  • For a Pass score, credit is given without a calculated grade. The academic record shows the name of the course, hours of credit granted, a grade of "P," and a notation "out-of-class proficiency" or "in-class proficiency." The grade earned does not count in the grade point average.
  • For a grade of D or F on a proficiency examination, no credit is awarded. The academic record shows nothing regarding the proficiency examination. However, the proficiency examination grade report forms are retained in the student's file for reference.

If I have taken an advanced course in an area, can I take the proficiency for an introductory course in that area?

For certain departments, you may take a proficiency for an introductory course. The departments of Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Computer Sciences, Mathematics & Statistics, and Physics have policies that prohibit taking a proficiency in a lower level course if you have had a more advanced course in that area.

What types of tests are given as proficiencies?

Depending on the course, some may be essay and others objective. The contact person/department for the course will be able to answer this question. Contact information is included on the proficiency list web page.

For additional information, you may contact Testing Services in the Student Success Center, Room 1246, phone 618-650-1246. General information regarding the proficiency program, as well as other methods of earning credit by examination, is printed in the SIUE Undergraduate Catalog and is available on-line by clicking here.

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