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Placement Exams

Placement exams may be required for Chemistry, Math, and English classes. Carefully read the information below to learn which placement exams you will be required to take.

Accelerated BIS2A Fall Course/Exam
*This exam is available ONLY for students admitted into the College of Biological Sciences

The College of Biological Sciences will offer an alternative section of BIS 2A beginning Fall 2014. Students with a strong foundation in the basics of metabolism, heredity and cell structure are encouraged to consider this alternative section of BIS 2A. Admission into the course is by examination. The placement exam will be administered by the College of Biological Sciences during summer Orientation.

This accelerated section will be taught by National Academy member Dr. John Roth. Material will be similar in breadth to that covered in other sections of BIS 2A but is organized around unanswered biological questions. How did life originate? Why does all life run on redox reactions? Could natural selection operate without a system of inheritance? What's the point of multicellularity? The most interesting aspects of biology are its many unanswered questions, not its accepted truths. The goal is to convey a personal view of how biology makes sense and help students develop their own frameworks. Reading will include some primary literature and popular science papers.

Students unable to take the exam during summer Orientation will have one opportunity to do so at the beginning of fall quarter. Any questions regarding the course, placement exam or advising should be directed to the Biological Academic Success Center (BASC) at (530) 752-0410 or email cbsundergrads@ucdavis.edu.


All students wishing to enroll in Chem 2A/2AH must pass BOTH the Precalculus and the Chemistry Placement Exams; with the following exceptions:

Students who have scored 5 on the College Board Advanced Placement (AP) Exam in Chemistry as recorded in their application file are not required to take the Chemistry Diagnostic Test.

Students who have scored

(i) 4 or 5 on the AP Mathematics AB exam or
(ii) 3, 4, or 5 on the AP Mathematics BC exam or
(iii) 700 or above on the SAT Math

as recorded in their application file are not required to take the Precalculus Qualifying Exam to enroll in Chem 2A but must file a petition form with the Chemistry Department.

Please visit the Student Academic Success Center web site or the chemistry department's web site for additional information.


ALL students who register in MAT 12, 17A, 21A, 21AH, or 36, will be required to take the Precalculus Diagnostic Exam. This means we will no longer accept SAT-M or AP scores.

For MAT 17A or 21A (required for all CBS majors), or 16A if planning to change out of a CBS major, you are required to take the Precalculus Diagnostic Exam regardless if you passed MAT 12 (or an equivalent course elsewhere). Please review the math department web site for additional information.

Students who have satisfied the "A" or higher level of a specific calculus series (i.e., 16A, 17A, or 21A) at a community college or with appropriate course equivalent AP scores (see AP scoring chart in the General Catalog) are eligible to register for the next math level ("B or C") without taking the Precalculus Diagnostic Exam. The math department will not drop you from this continuing level course.

Be sure to register for fall courses and attend alternative classes until you are absolutely sure of your course placement. Staff in the Biology Academic Success Center will be available to help with schedule adjustment questions the first week of fall quarter during drop-in advising (530) 752-0410.

You may only take placement exams TWO times per quarter. If you take the exams during Freshmen Orientation that counts as one time for FALL.


The Entry Level Writing requirement must be satisfied by all students to earn credit for college level English courses and some GE writing component courses (see GE requirements in the 2010-2012 General Catalog Supplement). It is important to register for the appropriate workload English course in fall quarter if you have not satisfied this requirement. The requirement may be satisfied by passing the Analytical Writing Placement Exam (taken by most freshmen in May of their high school senior year) or with appropriate AP/SAT scores.

Please refer to the UC Davis General Catalog for specific information about completing the entry level writing requirement. If you need workload prep class (or more) to satisfy the entry level writing requirement, please take these classes every quarter until the requirement is satisfied. Students will be dis-enrolled at the end of the first academic year if the requirement is not satisfied by that time and will be required to complete an appropriate course at a community college before returning to UCD.