Undergraduate Tests

University Course Placement Tests

Math Placement

The University of Oregon Department of Mathematics uses the ALEKS Placement, Preparation and Learning (PPL) assessment to determine readiness for mathematics courses.

ALEKS PPL is a web-based program that uses artificial intelligence to map a student's strengths and weaknesses. It is approximately 30 questions. Students report spending anywhere from 60–90 minutes to complete the assessment, but the test is open for 24 hours once begun. If the assessment is not completed after 24 hours, students will have to start over.

New students are expected to take a math placement assessment prior to attending IntroDUCKtion. These students will need to claim their Duck ID. Continuing students needing to register for a math class will need to meet course prerequisites which could require them to take the ALEKS math placement assessment.

The assessment results will be used to determine the most appropriate course(s) for each student as they begin their college coursework in mathematics.

There is no cost to students for taking the ALEKS Math Placement Assessment.

Learn More

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Second Language Placement

Continuing and CEP Students

Students with qualifying scores on the Advanced Placement, International Baccalaurate, or CLEP languages exams do not need to take a placement test. There is a $10 fee for a language placement test.

French, German, and Spanish

The French, German, and Spanish placement tests are un-timed computer adaptive tests that are designed to help a student to determine readiness for first or second year language study.  These tests on average take 30 minutes or less. Results from the placement test will provide guidance and options for their registration.

Japanese 

Students with previous background in Japanese, as well as those wishing to register above JPN 101, are required to take the Japanese placement test. The test is un-timed and consists of a listening section and reading, grammar, vocabulary and writing section. In addition to the listening and written test, an oral interview with the Japanese program faculty is required. Students will need to contact the Department of East Asian Languages and Literature, 541-346-4041 to set up an appointment for an oral interview.

Chinese 

Students with prior background in Mandarin Chinese, either as native speakers or through prior course work, are required to take a placement exam before enrolling for any Chinese classes. The Chinese placement test is a three-part, 55 minute, multiple choice test consisting of a listening, grammar, and reading comprehension section. In addition to the listening and written test, an oral interview with the Chinese program faculty is required. Students will need to contact the Department of East Asian Languages and Literature, 541-346-4041 to set up an appointment for an oral interview.

Register for a Test

Students with questions about placement into other languages should contact the appropriate department.

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Writing Placement

All students are required to complete two terms of writing in order to receive their degree. This requirement is met by completing WR 121 and either WR 122 or WR 123. Most students will take WR 121 and WR 122. The Composition Department manages and grades writing placement tests and waivers.

Standardized test scores determine placement in the writing courses. Native English-speaking students are placed into their first term of writing based on SAT or ACT scores. Please refer to the Registrar’s Office for information on standardized test scores and placement in writing courses.

Transfer students who have completed writing courses elsewhere should consult the Registrar's Office for information about equivalency.

Non-native English speakers can consult the American English Institute (AEI) for more detailed information about placement in writing courses. AEI places students in oral skills, reading, and writing courses according to Accuplacer placement tests administered by the UO Testing Center during registration. AEI offers courses in oral skills (AEIS 101 and 102), reading (AEIS 107) and writing (AEIS 110, 111 and 112) to prepare students for academic writing at the university level. 

We strongly recommend that students complete the AEIS courses before taking WR 121 because they introduce students to important conventions about American academic writing. Developing these skills in AEIS courses will prepare students to be more successful in composition program courses.

Writing Waiver Exam

This exam is for students who believe their writing skills are in advance of what they would learn in WR 121 or WR 122 and wish to be exempt from one of the university’s required writing courses by demonstrating writing proficiency.

The exams must be taken in sequence. In order to take the WR 122 waiver exam the student must have completed the WR 121 requirement in some fashion. The test cannot be repeated and is limited to a waiver of one course per term. Students wanting to take the WR 122 exam should be prepared to furnish proof of successful completion or waiver of WR 121. 

The Writing Waiver Exam is given during the first week of fall, winter, and spring term. Waiver exam results will not be available until after week three of each term. There is a $10 fee for the Writing Waiver Exam.  

The essay exams are read anonymously by three members of the Composition Committee of the English Department and graded pass or no pass. No record is placed in the official files of students who do not pass the exams. Such students are expected to take the appropriate writing course(s) and may not retake the same exam. Students who pass the exams will have an exemption by exam notation (for either WR 121 or WR 122) placed on their transcripts. No credit is awarded for either examination.

The English Department does not return the exams to students, and they do not use them as a teaching device by offering explanations of why essays did or did not pass.

Each exam will require the student to read a brief selection of prose and write an essay that addresses a question the student creates based on the reading. A two-hour time period is allowed for each exam. Computers are available for word processing the exam.

Each reader makes an independent assessment of the overall quality of the essay according to these standards:

  • Does the essay have a clear, reasonable, and thought-out thesis? Is the logic of the argument reasonable and valid? Does the stated thesis represent the actual argument of the rest of the paper?
  • Is the thesis developed adequately, consistently, and effectively with appropriate supporting evidence? Does the essay progress in such a way that the ideas build on each other between paragraphs?
  • Does the essay demonstrate critical reading ability by analyzing the source reading? Does the writer successfully draw on the article for support or counterarguments, while still maintaining an independent argument?
  • Are the sentence and paragraph structures, diction, grammar, and mechanics of the essay correct and effective?

Because a passing essay demonstrates proficiency in the control of writing skills which WR 121 and WR 122 are designed to teach, the WR 122 exam is assessed with these additional criteria in mind:

  • Does the logic of the argument include a reasonable and valid reason? 
  • Is the writer able to identify not only the main argument in the source reading, but also the logical structures or assumptions in the source reading? Does the writer address the source reading in an ethical fashion?
  • Does the style of the writing demonstrate sufficient clarity, sophistication, and individuality? 

Register for the Writing Waiver Exam

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College Admission Tests

ACT®

The ACT® test assesses high school students' general educational development and their ability to complete college-level work.

The multiple-choice tests cover four skill areas: English, mathematics, reading, and science. The optional writing test measures skills in planning and writing a short essay. The ACT® is a paper and pencil test that is offered six times throughout the year.

Information on test dates, test centers, registration, and fees can be found here.

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SAT

The SAT Reasoning Test is the nation's most widely used admissions test among colleges and universities. It tests students' critical thinking skills and knowledge of subjects that are necessary for college success: reading, writing, and mathematics.

The SAT is typically taken by high school juniors and seniors. It tells students how well they use the skills and knowledge they have attained in and outside of the classroom—including how they think, solve problems, and communicate. The SAT is an important resource for college admission.

Each section of the SAT is scored on a scale of 200–800, with two writing subscores for multiple-choice questions and the essay. It is administered seven times a year in the US, Puerto Rico, and US territories, and six times a year overseas.

SAT Subject Tests

SAT Subject Tests are designed to measure students’ knowledge and skills in particular subject areas. Students take the Subject Tests to demonstrate to colleges their mastery of specific subjects like English, history, mathematics, science, and language. The tests are independent of any particular textbook or method of instruction. The tests' content evolve to reflect current trends in high school curricula, but the types of questions change little from year to year.

Many colleges use the Subject Tests for admission, for course placement, and to advise students about course selection. Used in combination with other background information (high school record, scores from other tests like the SAT Reasoning Test, teacher recommendations, etc.), they provide a dependable measure of academic achievement and are a good predictor of future performance.

Some colleges specify which Subject Tests they require for admission or placement, others allow applicants to choose which tests to take. 

All Subject Tests are one-hour, multiple-choice tests. There are five general subject areas:

Find more information about registration, test dates, test fees, and test preparation materials here.

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Credit by Exam

Credit by examination allows formally admitted undergraduate students to challenge undergraduate university courses without registering for the courses. Students seeking to receive credit by examination must be registered for the term in which the exam is given. Credit by examination may be earned only in courses whose content is identified by title in the University of Oregon catalog.

Students should contact the Office of the Registrar to complete an Academic Requirements Committee petition to determine eligibility for credit by examination. Students must then obtain faculty and departmental approval before the exam can be scheduled. Students are billed an examination fee of $25.00 per credit hour. Find the most current and up-to-date information on the credit-by-exam policy here.    

Successful credit by examination is shown as transfer credit on the UO transcript and may be recorded as a pass (P) or graded (A, B, C, D), consistent with the options listed in the class schedule. Credit by examination may not be counted toward the satisfaction of the graduation residency requirement or for fulfillment of the requirement to complete 45 credits graded A, B, C, D at the University of Oregon. However, credit by examination may be counted toward the requirement to complete 168 credits graded A, B, C, D, P* from all institutions attended.

The following are not available for credit by examination:

  • Courses numbered 0–99; Field Studies (196); Workshop, Laboratory Projects, or Colloquium (198); Special Studies (199); courses numbered 200 or 399–410
  • First-year second-language courses
  • 100-level mathematics courses and MATH 211, 212, 213
  • English composition courses (WR 121, 122, 123)
  • An elementary language course taught in the student’s native language
  • A course for which a CLEP examination is available
  • A course that substantially duplicates credit already earned
  • A course that is more elementary in nature than credit already earned
  • A course in which the student is already enrolled for credit
  • A course for which the student has received a grade of A, B, C, D, P, P*, I, X, or Y
  • A course for which the student has already taken and failed an examination for credit

Contact the Office of the Registrar, 541-346-3243 for more information. See also CLEP exams to gain credit and bypass classes. 

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General Education Development Certificate (GED)

The University of Oregon Testing Office serves as an official test site for the General Educational Development Certificate (GED). The GED allows individuals without a high school diploma to earn a high school equivalency certificate. Successful completion of the GED can enhance a person's employability as well as qualify them for admissions to community college, university, or other post-secondary educational programs. 

You can take the GED online. Register and schedule tests through the MyGED® portal.

Watch tutorials in English and Spanish on the 2014 GED test:

Computer Skills Tutorial—English
Computer Skills Tutorial—Spanish
Mathematical Reasoning—English
Mathematical Reasoning—Spanish
Reasoning through Language Arts—English
Reasoning through Language Arts—Spanish
Science—English
Science—Spanish
Social Studies—English
Social Studies—Spanish

Questions? Email us at testing@uoregon.edu.

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