Skip to content Skip to navigation
See our Campus Ready site for the most up to date information about instruction.Campus ReadyCOVID Help
School of Engineering

Computer Science & Engineering Placement Exam Frequently Asked Questions

Computer Science & Engineering Placement Exam Frequently Asked Questions

If your questions are not answered below, please contact engrplacement@ucmerced.edu.

1. Do I need to take a placement exam?

All incoming students are encouraged to take the CSE placement exam.

All incoming freshman intending to major in Computer Science & Engineering or Applied Mathematics with a Computer Science emphasis are required to take the CSE placement exam.

All incoming transfer students intending to major in Computer Science & Engineering or Applied Mathematics with a Computer Science emphasis are required to take the CSE placement exam.

2.What about my AP scores?

Regardless of having AP scores, all students are requested to take the CSE placement exam. AP Comp Sci A exam is the only AP Computer Science Exam accepted at UC Merced.

3. What about my IB scores?

UC Merced currently does not accept IB scores for Computer Science.

4. What if I took a college course?

Regardless of having college course credit, all students are requested to take the placement exam.

5. How many questions are on the exams?

There are 40 questions on the exam.

6. What are the time limits on the exams?

There is one hour time limit. *These are timed exams that cannot be paused. The exam will be submitted once time runs out.*

DO NOT BEGIN THE EXAM UNTIL YOU ARE READY TO COMPLETE THE EXAM IN ONE SITTING.

7. Where do I go to take the placement exams?

Please log into your portal (https://connect.ucmerced.edu) using your UCM Net ID and password. After you log in, click on the CatCourses link at the top right of the page. Once the link has opened, click on the Dashboard tab and you will see your placement exams there.

8. How many times can I take the exam?

You are only eligible to take the exam once, prior to your first term at UC Merced.

9. What information do I need for taking the exams?

The Computer Science placement exam evaluates basic computer literacy skills. The specific topics being tested are:

  • Hardware components of a computer
  • Installing the Operating System
  • Application Software
  • Internet Technologies

10. Can I use outside resources to assist me in the exam?

The exam is constructed so that someone who spends time looking up answers or using outside resources will not do as well as someone who knows the material. 

11. What if something goes wrong while I'm taking the exams?

Should you have issues with while taking the placement exams please contact us at engrplacement@ucmerced.edu. Exceptions are approved on a case-by-case basis only and submitting a request does not guarantee that you will be permitted to restart the exam. In your request, include the reason(s) you were unable to complete the exams, your student ID number, and your UCM email address. 

12. What information do I need for taking the exams?

You need your UCM Net ID (email address without the “@ucmerced.edu”), UCM student ID Number (100******) and password (same one used for checking you email). If you cannot find your UCM information, contact studentsfirst@ucmerced.edu or (209) 228-7178.

13. I had testing accommodations for the SAT/ACT/AP or in my high school. Can I get similar accommodations for the CSE Placement exams?

We may be able to provide testing accommodations to you depending on what is needed. Please contact Student Accessibility Services through https://access.ucmerced.edu/student-accommodation-request. 

14. What if I DON'T take the placement exam or if I miss the deadline?

Unless you have AP credit or transferable college credit, you will be placed into the preparatory level.

If you feel you had extenuating circumstances that prevented you from completing the exam by the deadline, you may request to take the exams by exception by sending an email to engrplacement@ucmerced.edu. These exceptions are approved on a case-by-case basis only and submitting a request does not guarantee that you will be permitted to take the exams after the deadline. In your request, include the reason(s) you were unable to complete the exams by the deadline, your student ID number, and your UCM email address.