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Michael Stoff, Director 305 East 23rd St, CLA 2.102, (G3600) Austin, TX 78712-1250 • 512-471-1442

Credit by Exam and Plan II Core Requirements

General information on Testing and Test Credits

 The University of Texas and the College of Liberal Arts accept and counts toward the degree all credit granted by UT's Instructional Assessment and Evaluation office (formerly known as the Measurement and Evaluation Center). Plan II does not decide what credits students receive for AP or other test credits. Although students may receive credit for many tests (with the appropriate scores) not few can be used to "place out of" Plan II core requirements. For instance, a student may be able to claim credit for an introductory Chemistry course, but those credit hours will not exempt the student from any particular Plan II requirement. But the chemistry credit hours will count toward the students math/science required hours and toward the total number of hours required to graduate. The AP English and SAT II English tests are exceptions, in that any credit earned from those tests will "evaporate" and will not count toward elective or required credit hours. The credits from the AP English or SAT II English or writing tests will not be accepted in lieu of the Plan II world literature course.

At the IAE office site, you’ll see that UT is quite generous in the credit hours students are allowed to claim through test credits. UT gives credit, with grades, for most, perhaps all, AP exams and SAT II tests, according to a formula that varies by subject. The number of hours credit depends on the exam, the subject, and the grade. At the web site, you’ll find all kinds of great tables that explain credits awarded for specific scores on every test imaginable.

It is not at all uncommon for Plan II Honors students to enter with 20-70 hours of credit through testing (35-45 hours credit is the average). Those credit hours do not make Plan II students “sophomores” or “juniors” though. In fact, Plan II students do not usually graduate in less than four years; Plan II is not a “fast-track” program. We do not encourage our students to rush through their undergraduate education. But test credit hours do give students “air” in their degree plans that make it easier to incorporate internships and study abroad programs, to add a second or third major, or to explore more non-required courses for the sake of intellectual stimulation and exploration.

Should you or shouldn't you:

There are pros and cons involved in claiming extra test credit hours too. We encourage all first-year students to discuss these issues with their Plan II academic advisers at summer orientation or during their first semester, but PRIOR to petitioning to have the test credits added to their official UT transcript (which happens during the first semester).

  • Con: An example of the downside is that UT students who complete their degrees and have no more than 3 credit hours over the minimum required number of hours to graduate, receive a $1,000 tuition refund. So, if a student claims more hours than needed, and graduates with extra hours, he/she forfeits that refund. They count all credit hours, whether or not the hours count toward the degree.  This includes courses dropped with a "Q."
  • Pro: On the “pro” side, students with more hours register earlier during registration periods than those with fewer hours. This is not as critical an issue for Plan II students as it is with most other students since the Plan II courses are reserved for Plan II students. However early registration times do offer a better course selection overall.

No credit by examination will appear on your official transcript until you instruct the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL, formerly MEC) to report it to the Registrar. To have credit reported you must  petition using your UT EID. Credit by examination is accepted as credit only; it will not affect your cumulative grade point average. You will be assessed a fee of $4 per credit hour for the credit by examination you request.  After credit has been reported to the Registrar, it cannot be changed.

Although you may petition as soon as you are admitted as a student at UT Austin, your course credit will not be recorded until after you have started classes at UT Austin. After you attend your first classes at UT Austin, you may petition at any time during your studies at UT Austin.  The test scores will remain accessible.

Incoming first-year Plan II students:  Please always consult with your Academic Adviser in the fall semester prior to claiming credit!

If you take a course for which you have earned credit by examination prior to petitioning for that specific course, you are no longer eligible for credit by examination in that course. You must petition for your credit by examination within 10 years from the test date.  There is NO RUSH TO CLAIM CREDIT.  Once you have the testing agency send the scores to UT, the scores will sit in an “electronic vault,” safely waiting for you until you claim them, which can be as late as (early in) the semester you graduate.

Some of the decisions on whether to take SAT II or AP tests might depend on the subject of the test.  The tables showing tests scores and the resulting credits at the MEC’s Web site might help to clear up questions.  You’ll see that UT is quite generous in the credit hours they allow students to claim through test credits.  UT gives credit, for most AP exams and SAT II tests, according to a formula that varies by subject.  The number of hours credit depends on the exam, the subject, and the grade.  At the Center for Teaching and Learning  web site, you’ll find all kinds of great tables that explain credits awarded for specific scores on every test imaginable...

Plan II Core Requirements and Test Credits:

Students also will find that every credit earned through testing will not necessarily help them advance faster toward a degree. In Plan II, for example, everyone must take the year-long world-literature course.  This is the defining course for Plan II. The AP English Literature and AP English Language exams and the SAT II writing exam credits will not count toward any requirements for Plan II students.

Another good example is Physics. Approximately 25-30% of entering Plan II freshmen enter with 10 or more hours of introductory Physics credit. They are still required to take the Plan II Advanced Theoretical Physics course (3 hours) or TWO advanced chemistry or two other advanced physics courses (6 hours) in its stead.

Many students earn credits (from 5 hours to 19 hours) if they studied a foreign language in high school. Ditto math/calculus, biology, world/European history, government, etc. The credits one may earn for the Calculus AB exam (maximum 4 hours credit) will not complete the Plan II math requirement. Students are still required to take the Plan II math course (3 hours) or the second semester of the calculus (4 hours). But, again, as is true with Physics, those math credit hours will count toward the minimum of 18 hours in math and/or science that each Plan II student must complete.

It is almost always worthwhile to take the Biology and Government exams. The American History exam will count toward the state legislated requirement of 2 courses in American History and the European History exam can fulfill the Plan II requirement of 2 semesters of a non-US History course. (But then students miss out on some of the best classes offered at this University and some of the most fascinating faculty on campus.)  You'll see more information below.

English/writing

In Plan II, for example, everyone must take the year-long world-literature course.  Neither the SAT reasoning test writing section (which generates credit for RHE 306 with a score of 600 or more), the ACT writing section (which generates credit for RHE 306 with a score of 26 or higher), nor the English Language and Composition AP exam (which can generate credit for RHE 306 with a score of 3, 4 or 5) or the English Literature and Composition AP exam (which will earn credit for E 316K with a score of 4 or 5) will place a Plan II Honors student out of any required classes.  If you are planning to take one of those tests—don’t bother.  The credit will disappear as soon as you have completed the World Literature course.

Math, Physics, Biology & Chemistry

It is not possible to place out completely of the Plan II math requirement with test credits.  You do not have to take any kind of placement test for math if you are planning to take the Plan II math course, rather than the two semester sequence of calculus (M 408C and M408D), or the three semester calculus sequence (M 408K, M 408L, and M 408M).  If another major or degree requires calculus (Plan II/Engineers, Plan II/Business students and other Plan II/science majors have to complete the calculus sequence), the Plan II student must complete either the two- or the three-semester calc sequence.  If calculus is not required, a Plan II Honors major may complete math requirements with the Plan II Honors math course, M310P.  That course is offered in the spring semesters.

The SAT II Math (level 1b or level 2b) exam earns (with the appropriate score) credit for  M 305G.  Although that course does not fulfill Plan II math requirements, it will count toward math/science hours.  A Plan II Honors student will still be required to take an additional 4-hour calculus course OR the Plan II Math 310P course. 

Calculus-AB

The AP test credits one may earn for the AP Test in Calculus-AB exam (a score of 5 earns credit for M 408C) will not complete the Plan II math requirement.  Students are still be required to take the Plan II math course (M 310P, a three hour course) or the second semester of the calculus (M 408D).  A score of 3 or 4 earns on the Calculus AB exam earns credit for M 408K, which leaves M 408L and M 408M to complete the three-semester sequence and fulfill the Plan II Honors math requirement.

Calculus-BC

Ditto the AP Calculus BC exam on which a score of 3, 4 will earn credit for M 408 C--leaving the next required course in the sequence, M 408D to complete the requirement.  A score of 5 on the AP Test im Calculus-BC earns credit for M 408K and M 408L, leading to M 408M (or M408D or M427L) to fulfill the requirement.   The Plan II math course, M 310P, is a non-calculus based modern math course that most “non-math/non-science type” students enjoy.  Occasionally, we see a science or engineering student take the Plan II math course in addition to the required calculus course(s), just “for fun.” 

But, again, those math credit hours will count toward the minimum of 18 hours in math and/or science each Plan II student must complete.

AP Physics

The same is true with AP Physics credit hours.  Approximately 25-30% of entering Plan II freshmen enter with 8-10 or more hours of introductory Physics credit.  Our students  are still required to take the Plan II Advanced Theoretical Physics course (3 hours) OR TWO advanced chemistry (6 hours) OR TWO other advanced physics courses (6 hours) in its stead.  But those lower-divisions Physics credit hours will count toward general Math/Science hour requirements.  They are also requirements for pre-med.


AP Chemistry

AP Chemistry won’t place you out of any Plan II science requirement.  But, as with Physics, it will count toward Math/Science requirements and will move you along with pre-med requirements.  You receive credit for CH 301,  CH 302 and CH 204 with  a score of 4 or 5.  Those three Chemistry class are required in the first two semester for pre-meds.


AP Biology

The AP Biology test WILL place you out of the Plan II Biology course, BIO 301E with credit for BIO 311 C and BIO 311 D, but only with a SCORE OF FIVE (5).  Those two course credits fulfill the pre-med LOWER-division Biology requirements with the exception of the required lab course.

Foreign Language

Many students earn credits (from 5 hours to 27 hours) if they studied a foreign language in high school.  You will be required to take placement tests in a language if you’ve previously studied the language and wish to continue classes at any level in the same language, so that you register for the correct level of language class.  If you haven’t taken the placement tests, or have not received the scores from your tests when you register, you’ll find that our professional and peer advisers are quite skilled at estimating the appropriate placement depending on your high school courses and recommending a class.

History & Government

The AP American History exam will count toward the state legislated requirement of 2 courses in American History.
The AP European History exam can fulfill the Plan II requirement of 2 semesters of a non-US History course.  (AP World History will NOT fulfill the Plan II non-US History requirement.)

If an incoming student has taken AP US Government, or a concurrent enrollment class that does not contain a Texas Government component, then he/she has to take the UT Texas Government test to receive credit for one semester of US Government at UT Austin.  The AP Government test generally earns Texas students credit for GOV 310L, one semester of the two semester US Government requirement.  HOWEVER, eligibility for credit is not based on AP scores alone, so no AP scores are listed to fulfill that course credit.  The UT Austin Test on Texas Government must be taken on the UT Austin campus, before GOV 310L credit is earned.  UT Austin Test on Texas Government information:  https://web.austin.utexas.edu/diia/treg/index.cfm#

SEE http://www.utexas.edu/student/admissions/ate/problems/government.html, for detailed information on testing and transfer classes for the Government legislative requirements.

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