Placement Tests and Transfer Credits

Due to the different standards of incoming freshman, Cornell allows you to take placement tests to place out of certain requirements. For example, CS1110 is a requirement for all CS majors, but can be placed out of.


Most placement tests happen before school starts, during orientation week. Check the website (google “placement exam” or “advanced standing exams”) for more details of time and location.

Second Language Requirement

Cornell has a second language requirement for A&S, and unless educated in a non-english speaking high school, you aren’t exempt. However, you can take a placement test to exempt yourself. The Chinese placement exam just involves writing an essay. Prepare for it. Don’t fail.

Common Classes to Place out of:

  • Calc1/Calc2: If you didn’t take A level math or equivalent, you might need to take one or both of these classes. If you’re confident in your calc, try taking the placement test. These classes are required for many higher level classes.
  • CS1110: The intro CS class. It is one of the best CS classes out there, but every other cs class has this as the requirement. Taking a placement test for this basically lets you get a 1 semester headstart on your CS major.

Transfer Credits

Things you learnt before college that are usually taught in college allows you to “transfer” credits to your college graduation.

A Levels/IB allows you to transfer an obscene amount of credits, equivalent to more than a full semester here.

Look at the college website for more details. To go through the transferring process, you need the original copy of your results, but this can be done anytime during your Cornell years.