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Placement Exams and Credit Transfer


Weinberg College places students in classes on the basis of their preparation and/or performance on exams such as the AP or IB or an exam administered by Weinberg’s biology, chemistry, language, or math departments.

Most Weinberg placement exams are offered online and can be taken any time between June 1 and July 31.  Many students need to take more than one placement exam. Our best advice is to start early and take no more than one exam per week.

Students planning to take any Northwestern chemistry course must take an initial Chemistry Assessment, even if they have taken AP or IB examinations in chemistry.  For more information on the initial assessment and courses for first-year students, visit the Department of Chemistry website.

The math placement exam is required for all Weinberg students planning to take any Northwestern calculus course, even students with high AP or IB scores. For more information, visit the Department of Mathematics website.

Physics offers a Physics 135-2 Equivalency Assessment Exam to aid in placement for students. The assessment exam is not required unless you earned a 5 on the 2020 AP Physics C (Electricity & Magnetism) exam and there is a need for placement into 135-3.  For more information on timing and format, please consult the department webpage ( or contact Dr. Deborah Brown, Director of Placement:

Biological Sciences Placement Exam:  This optional exam is recommended for students with a strong background in biology who think they could be ready for BIOL_SCI 202 Cell Biology. The exam covers core competencies in the molecular biology subject area and goes further than most high school AP/IB biology classes. Any student interested in taking this exam should sign up here by July 6, 2023: The exam will be offered from 07/10/2023 – 07/23/2023 and can be accessed via Canvas. 

Language placement varies from department to department but, in general, if you plan to continue studying a language you have previously studied (even for a single term) and have not earned an AP or IB score high enough to satisfy the foreign language requirement, then you should plan to take the placement exam. When in doubt, take the exam!

For more information on language placement consult the following departmental websites:

Asian Languages and Cultures (Chinese, Hindi, Japanese Korean, Urdu)
Classics (Ancient Greek and Latin)
French and Italian
Jewish Studies (Hebrew)
Middle Eastern and North African Studies (Arabic Turkish, Persian/Farsi)
Program in African Studies (Swahili)
Slavic Languages and Literature (Czech, Polish, Russian)
Spanish and Portuguese


AP and IB exams

If you took Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate exams, consult the AP/IB credits chart for information on whether you have earned credit for your scores. For a complete explanation of Weinberg's policies regarding the us of AP and IB credit, see our AP/IB Exams pages.

If you took college courses while in high school, you may be able to transfer those credits to Northwestern. Read more...

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