This page is not longer being maintained. Please visit the new UMD Mathematics website at

Math Home > Undergraduate Program > Credit, Placement, Advising > [ Search | Contact | Help! ]

Credit by Exam

Students: please read very carefully below if you may take credit-by-exam. Being aware of the rules and advice below can be very relevant to your success on the exam and to avoiding a bad transcript event.

The University in some cases allows students to obtain academic credit for a course through a Departmental Proficiency Examination ("credit-by-exam"), if the relevant academic department makes it available. Before applying for credit-by-exam, review the University policies on Credit-by-Exam. Note especially,

  • credit-by-exam cannot be given for a course in which the student has remained registered at UMCP beyond the Schedule Adjustment Period (this includes the case that the transcript notation is "W");
  • credit-by-exam cannot be used to change a grade;
  • credit-by-exam may be taken at most twice for the same course;
  • when credit-by-exam is to be used for a CORE or major requirement, the credit-by-exam must be taken for a letter grade (not Pass-Fail);
  • a fee is charged each time a student arranges a test for credit-by-exam.
Note also,
  • One situation in which credit-by-exam can be an appropriate option is the situation in which a student has taken a similar course at another institution which for some reason does not transfer to UMD (perhaps a topic is missing; perhaps the course was in high school; perhaps there is difficulty in assessing the course).
  • Credit-by-exam is not intended to be an option by which a student gets credit for a UMD course by auditing it and then taking the Proficiency Examination.  In addition, credit-by-exam is not appropriate for students who "self-study" and later apply to take the exam.
  • The Undergraduate Advising Office reserves the right to deny CBE applications which it deems are inappropriate.
Here are cautions on preparation and permission.
  • Students are expected to be serious and prepared for the credit-by-exam.  Students are NOT allowed to bring notes to the exam.
  • Please! A student should review some final examinations from previous semesters which are on file at the Mathematics Department's TESTBANK, to prepare and to assess readiness for our credit-by-exam proficiency examinations, which strongly resemble those final exams. It is also very wise to check the list of topics for a course in our online syllabi; a student can drop a letter grade on an exam by being unprepared for one topic. We often see students who think they are well prepared do very poorly on our proficiency exams -- avoid this scenario.
  • The credit-by-exam is not a "no-stakes" test -- you can decline to accept the letter grade from a graded test, but even in this case you have something to lose by a bad performance:
    • If you turn in the CBE exam for grading and do not accept the grade, then you get a W on your transcript for the course -- not good.
    • In general, a student who has a credit-by-exam graded and receives a score of less than 50% will not be permitted to have a second try for an exam for that course.
    • If you take the CBE exam for a course and do not hand it in for grading (don't hand it in if you think the grade will be bad!), then you will not get anything on your transcript, but it will still count as a "try" -- you get at most two tries for credit-by-exam for any math course.
    • If you register to take a CBE and later need to cancel  the registration, please kindly provide notice one business day in advance.  Failure to provide notice one business day in advance will count as a "try."  There will be no refunds for missed exam.

Steps for taking credit-by-exam

  1. Go to the Undergraduate Office (big window in the Rotunda) in the Mathematics Building, or to Room 1117 in Hornbake Library, and pick up a Credit-by-Exam form. Graduate Students can pick up forms at the Graduate School, Room 2117 South Administration Building (also know as the Lee Building). 
  2. Fill out the form and bring it to the Undergraduate Office window in the Rotunda of the Mathematics Building along with a copy of your current transcript and current registration.
  3. After the Undergraduate Program Chair approves and signs the application, make an appointment to take the exam at the next available test time (see below for the next date).
  4. Before you take the exam, you must go over to the Bursar's Office in the South Administration (Lee) Building and pay the credit-by-exam fee. The exam will not be given if you cannot show proof of payment.
  5. When you take the exam, you have the option to not turn it in for grading. In this case, nothing at all will appear on your official transcript. (However, it will still count as a "try" in the math department: you get at most two tries on credit-by-exam for any course.) If you think you will get a bad grade, then you probably don't want to turn the exam in for grading; if you turn it in for grading, you will get a grade or a W on your transcript.
  6. After you take the exam, the department will find someone to grade it. The grading procedure may take longer in the summer, over breaks, and during holidays. Usually, it takes less than one week.
  7. After the exam has been graded, you must come in to the Undergraduate Math Office and sign a form saying that you either accept or reject the grade. If you do not contact us within eight (8) weeks of the date you took the exam, your paperwork will be sent back to Hornbake Library and put on file. They may not allow you to take credit by exam again if you are negligent in keeping your exam appointment or in signing your paperwork. A grade cannot be submitted to Records if you do not sign the form.
  8. If you do not accept the grade, then instead of the grade your transcript will have recorded a "W".

Upcoming credit-by-exam dates

Credit-By Exam is normally offered 4 times a year, in January, April, August, and November.
You should generally complete the application for a credit by exam at least a week before it is given, to allow for the preparation of an exam. The department will try to accommodate later signups but this might not be possible.
The day of the test, 15 minutes before the test you need to go to MATH 1117 to show your receipt.  Then you will be told the room at which the test will be given.

Upcoming Credit-By-Exam dates:

  • November 30, 2011 (Wednesday)
  • January 18, 2012 (Wednesday)
  • April 23, 2012 (Monday)
  • August 22, 2012 (Wednesday)
These exams are generally given 12:00-2:00 P.M. A MATH 246 exam takes 20 minutes longer (i.e. is given 12:00 - 2:20 P.M.). If you have questions, please contact: Ida Chan, Mathematics Advisor, 301-405-7582,