Placement Exams

professor at a chalkboard

Placement and assessment exams are hosted online during the summer from June 1-July 31. The requirement or need for you to take any placement exams are dependent on the school of your major. You have seen a bit of info on page 26 of Purple Prep about the summer exams, but you can find more information below.

Chemistry Initial Chemistry Assessment

This assessment is required for all students who plan to take any chemistry course at Northwestern, including students with AP Chemistry credit, by July 31. Every student receives access to this exam within their Canvas account (you receive an email when access is granted around June 1). Receiving access and the email does not mean you must take the Initial Chemistry Assessment, but simply allows you access if you need to take it.

This assessment can be found when logging into Canvas, under the courses section. For more information on the assessment, visit the Department of Chemistry website.

Language Placement Exam

If you previously studied a language, visit the department website for that language to determine whether you need to take an exam or how AP/IB scores count. Access the online language placement exams to complete by July 31. 

*You will take this exam during Wildcat Welcome, not online during the summer

View Weinberg's language requirement webpage for more information (applicable for all Northwestern students).

Department of Mathematics Math Placement Exam

This math placement exam is required for any student (except for McCormick students) planning to take a calculus course while at Northwestern, regardless of AP or IB exam scores. Every student receives access to this exam within their Canvas account (you receive an email when access is granted around June 1). Receiving access and the email does not mean you must take the math placement exam, but simply allows you access if you need to take it. For more information about the placement exam, visit the Department of Mathematics website.

Physics Placement Exam

Credit for Physics 130-1, 2 and Physics 135-1, 2 may be earned by passing a placement exam. These exams are offered once a year during Wildcat Welcome Week. For more information please contact Dr. Deborah Brown, Director of Placement: d-brown4@northwestern.edu. Please note: the physics placement exam is not a requirement for students who plan to take first quarter physics at Northwestern. However, students who pass a physics placement exam will receive NU transcript credit that satisfies the prerequisite for the next quarter of the sequence.

McCormick School of Engineering Exams and Assessments

For engineering students, you must take the McCormick math placement assessment, the McCormick physics assessment (Dossier), and the Department of Chemistry initial chemistry assessment (above). For more information, and to access your McCormick Dossier, visit the engineering website