Placement Exams

professor at a chalkboard

Exams to take over the summer

Many students plan to take a placement exam during the summer, though they are not required for all students. Students in Weinberg and McCormick should look closely to see what tests are applicable for them; students in SESP, Bienen, Medill, and Communication will need to look at tests if you plan on pursuing a foreign language, math, or chemistry course. 

All placement exams must be taken online between June 1 and July 31 (unless otherwise noted).


If you plan to take a Chemistry course at Northwestern during the 2016-2017 academic year, you must take the department's entrance exam by July 31. This requirement applies to all students regardless of the program you are entering or any AP, IB, or other college placement exams. 

Students planning to take either General Chemistry (Chem 101) or Accelerated General Chemistry (Chem 171) are also required to take the ALEKS math skills assessment prior to July 31.  To take ALEKS, go to and login with your Northwestern NetID and password.

Learn more on the Chemistry page.


The ALEKS math skills assessment is required for students planning to take any math courses listed below, regardless of their AP scores in math.

Exam Link:

Calculus course numbers and titles: 

MATH 211: Short Course in Calculus
MATH 212: Single-Variable Calculus
MATH 220: Differential Calculus of One-Variable Functions
MATH 224: Integral Calculus
MATH 230: Differential Calculus of Multivariable Functions
MATH 285: First Year Math for MMSS
MATH 290: Linear Algebra and Multivariable Calculus
MATH 291: Intensive Linear Algebra and Multivariable Calculus

For more information, visit the Mathematics department website.


The Math Placement Exam is required for all McCormick students regardless of AP/IB scores and must be completed by July 31. During Wildcat Welcome, you will receive a math placement recommendation based on your exam score.

Foreign Language

If you've previously studied a foreign language (Arabic, Latin, Chinese, French, Japanese, Korean, German, Hebrew,  Hindi-Urdu, Italian, Persian (Farsi), Portuguese, Russian/Slavic, Spanish, Swahili, or Turkish), and you plan to continue your studies at Northwestern, you'll need to determine at what level to begin. Departments teaching these subjects may also use your scores on the Advanced Placement (AP) Examination and/or SAT II in lieu of a Northwestern placement exam to help you plan an appropriate academic program.

Visit the Foreign Language Placement Exams page for a list of all languages.