The idea of testing out of a course can be an exciting one for students – especially those eager to get on with their education as fast as possible. Proficiency exams, though, can be a dangerous proposition too. If taken under the wrong circumstances, for example, they can end up causing poor grades in classes they are prerequisites for.
You’ve reached out The most important thing to do before testing out of a class is to speak to someone with knowledge of your situation. A counselor or department faculty member can offer all the insight you need on whether or not testing out of a class will truly benefit you.
It’s not your weakness If you find yourself struggling with a subject, but are just good enough to pass a proficiency exam take the class. College is a time for you to master skills more than it is a time to simply get grades, or rather avoid possible bad grades. You don’t want to find yourself struggling with writing years down the road, and wishing that you had taken that English course. Save testing out for subjects that you’re comfortable with, not the other way around.
You can demonstrate proficiency It’s one thing to be able to pass a proficiency exam, but it’s a whole different ballgame to be able to demonstrate your abilities on a regular basis. If it’s a language class (one of the most commonly tested-out of courses), ask yourself if you could get by in the language’s country without using English, for example.If you can’t demonstrate the knowledge, you may as well take the class so that if you ever need to – practically or in a career – you can.
You know what’s next Sometimes the simple fact is that you are well versed in a class’s material (you took AP classes in high school or you took a similar class at a previous college, for instance) and you’re ready to move forward. If this is the case, make sure you know which class, if any, is up in the series so that you can prepare for it appropriately.