McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science   Northwestern University
Department of Computer Science Northwestern University

CS Placement Exam Administration

You are about to begin taking the placement exam.
Before you do, please read the following.

Make sure you have time and a quiet space.

You will have a total of seventy-five (75) minutes in which to complete the exam. If for any reason you stop taking the exam before you click the submit button you will not be permitted to retake it at a later date.

Be sure that you have a full seventy-five (75) minutes available to take the exam. You have only one opportunity to attempt the exam. If you are taking the exam at home, make sure your phone line and Internet connection will be available for the full 75 minutes.

Be sure that you have minimized distractions. If you are taking the exam at home, make sure someone else is there to answer the phone or door. If you are taking the exam in a computer lab at your high school, make sure you can have a suitable environment for the full time of the exam. Headphones and/or stereos may be distracting; You might do better without them.

Have a text editor open and ready.

This exam requires you to write code. Some quesions require only a single line of code, others require more. These lines of code must be entered into the small text area following each question.

The answer text area is not a good area in which to develop longer answers. It's small and provides only very basic editing features. Instead, we strongly recommend that you have a text editor running simulataneously. Read the question, write your answer in your text editor, edit it, copy it, and paste it into the appropriate text area.

Use programming references sparingly.

You can have programming books with you, but looking things up will cost you time. It's best to write your answers without going to the books, then check things you're unsure of. Substantial partial credit is given.

If you find you are depending very heavily on a text to answer the questions, you should ask yourself if you really want to skip introductory programming. You may be setting yourself up for failure in a later course.

Ignore the score given at the end of the exam

The on-line system will always say you received 0 points, because it is incapable of grading your code. Your code will be evaluated by members of the computer science department, who will determine your actual score and placement. Your freshman advisor will be able to help you find your placement.

Getting started

You must use a working Northwestern NetID and associated password to take the exam.

You must have a web browser with both Java and Javascript, e.g. Netscape version 4.0 or above, or Internet Explorer version 4.0 or above.

Once you click on the link to the exam below, you will be prompted to enter your new Northwestern NetID and associated password. Once that is entered, you will begin taking the exam, so make sure you are completely ready first.

Your web browser (Netscape or Internet Explorer) will show the time remaining for your test period at the bottom of the window. If you do not press the final SUBMIT button within the seventy-five (75) minutes allotted, your exam will be invalidated!

Should you have any questions at this point, send e-mail to

Good luck on the exam!

I want to look at the exam description again I have my NetID and password and want to take the exam.
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