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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), 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 Center for Teaching and Learning (testing) 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 $6 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

The AP English Language and AP English Literature test scores are the only scores that (with the appropriate scores, of course) will NOT count toward some kind of required or elective course hours.

In Plan II, for example, everyone must take the year-long world-literature course we offer in small sections, because our faculty strongly believe that this is the defining course for Plan II.   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 not 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 and won’t even count toward elective credit.  Save your money and your energy and put it toward something useful.

Math, Physics, Biology & Chemistry

AP Chemistry won’t place you out of any Plan II science requirement.  But, it will count toward Math/Science requirements.  You receive credit for CH 301,  CH 302 and CH 204 with  a score of 4 or 5.  

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).  

Math

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 calculus sequence (M 408C and M408D), or the three semester calculus sequence (M 408K, M 408L, and M 408M).  In lieu of the Plan II math, students may complete the entire two or three semester calculus sequence.  (Our Plan II/Engineers, Plan II/Business students and other Plan II/science majors take the calculus sequence instead of the the Plan II math, M310P.)  

The credits one may earn for the Calculus AB exam (score of 3 or 4 earns credit for M 408K, a score of a 5 earns credit for M 408C) will not complete the Plan II math requirement.  Ditto the AP Calculus BC exam on which a score of 3 or 4 will earn credit for M 408C, a score of a 5 earns credit for M 408K and M 408L).  Students are still required to take either the Plan II math course (3 hours) or finish one of the two calculus sequences.  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.

Generally it is not recommended that students planning to pursue Pre-med claiming credit for any of the prerequisite courses such as Biology, Chemistry and Physics, visit the Health Professions Career Design Center for more information: http://cns.utexas.edu/images/stories/health_professions/advisingaids/Health_Professions_FAQ.pdf

Math Assessment:  ALEKS

To help you prepare for college level mathematics courses at UT Austin, the College of Natural Sciences and the Department of Mathematics requires the UT Math Assessment.  For more information visit: http://cns.utexas.edu/academics/placement/math-assessment

ALEKS is NOT required for Plan II students who will take Plan II Math (M 310P) rather than a calculus course.   Students who do not need a calculus sequence, will simply take Plan II Math.

Plan II students who need calculus (engineers, many science majors, some economics and business majors) will probably take calculus.  Talk with an adviser at Orientation.  This can be complicated.

Who must take the UT Math Assessment?  
  • All incoming College of Natural Sciences (CNS) students must complete the UT Math Assessment prior to their orientation meeting.
  • All incoming Engineering students will be contacted by their college regarding math placement.
  • All other incoming students enrolling in a mathematics or statistics course are required to obtain the minimum placement score by noon on the 5th day of the semester.
  • Incoming students with credit from  AP Calculus AB (scores of 3, 4 or 5) or AP Calculus BC (scores of 3, 4 or 5) do not need to take the ALEKS exam.  The AP calculus exam score will determine the next calculus class.  

The SAT Subject Test in Math is no longer required for students in the College of Natural Sciences and will not be used for math placement.

AP Physics

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.

Chemistry Assessment:  ALEKS

To help you prepare for college-level chemistry at UT Austin, the College of Natural Sciences (CNS) and the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry requires the ALEKS placement examination of all incoming non-CNS majors and all continuing students, regardless of major.  See: http://cns.utexas.edu/academics/placement/aleks-chemistry-assessment

Who must take the UT Chemistry Assessment?   
All students wishing to enroll in CH301 must complete the assessment
Students new to UT, regardless of major.  
Continuing students at UT, regardless of major.
A score of at least 85% on ALEKS is a prerequisite for CH301.

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 guessing the appropriate placement depending on your high school courses and recommending a class.  Later on, you can add/drop to change course level if necessary.  The language home department (French, Spanish, Danish.....etc), can help you change levels if necessary.

History & Government

The AP American History exam (score of a 4 or 5) will count toward the state legislated requirement of 2 courses in American History.

The AP European History exam (score of a 4 or 5) 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.  But with the appropriate score, the AP World History test can earn one semester of history credit toward a history major or minor, or elective credit.)

But those students miss out on some of the VERY BEST classes offered at this University with some of the most fascinating faculty on campus.  The HISTORY DEPARTMENT ROCKS!  It all depends on what classes you took in high school, how good your “test-taking skills” are, your time and money restrictions, and a hundred other things.

If a 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:  http://ctl.utexas.edu/programs-and-services/student-testing-services/exam-details?examID=155

However, the Texas Government exam is the ONE EXAM we tell our Plan II student to NOT (REPEAT, NOT!) schedule during orientation.  It usually overlaps with Plan II specific meetings.  That test is offered every single month and does not have to be taken before you begin classes.  You’ll see at the link below, it’s offered throughout the year.  It’s just a 20 question test that’s not a big deal.  It is definitely not a wise idea to schedule that and miss out on anything Plan II at orientation.

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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