Purdue University - Department of Computer Science - CS 18000 Proficiency Exam
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CS 18000 Proficiency Exam

CS 18000 (Problem Solving and Object-Oriented Programming) is the first course you will take as a student in the Department of Computer Science. This course focuses on software development using the Java programming language.

We recommend that all incoming students take this course even if you think you might be able to skip it.

Here's why:
  1. Few schools have a first course equivalent to CS 18000.
  2. Even students who take an excellent AP CS course in high school and who score a 4 or 5 on the AP exam rarely learn everything that we teach in our CS 18000.
  3. Students learn how we do homeworks, labs, projects, and exams in CS 18000. This knowledge will be useful in every other CS course.
  4. With all the difficult courses in CS, it is nice to start with a course in which you already know quite a bit.
  5. CS majors will have to make up the missing credits for graduation by taking an additional 300 level course.

But, for those students who would like to try to skip CS 18000, we have a CS 18000 Proficiency Exam. The passing rate is only about 10 percent. Usually, only students with a lot of Java programming experience pass the exam.

About the Exam

The exam is a combination of multiple choice questions and writing a Java program. It is based on CS 18000 final exams.

Generally, the exam is the week before or the first week of classes each semester and scored in time to make schedule changes. Students should be sure to communicate with their advisor prior to the semester in which they want to attempt the exam. Students will receive details about the time and location prior to the exam date.

Preparing for the Exam

To prepare for the CS 18000 Proficiency Exam we recommend that you go through the CS 18000 class slides. Make sure that you understand every module thoroughly.

In addition, we recommend the following materials.

Free Resources

Start Concurrent: An Introduction to Problem Solving in Java with a Focus on Concurrency, Wittman, Mathur, and Korb 

Think Java: How to Think Like a Computer Scientist, Allen B. Downey and Chris Mayfield, Version 6.1.0, 2016.

Oracle Java Website

Introduction to Programming Using Java, David J. Eck, Version 7.0, August 2014

Not Free (But Worth Buying)

A Comprehensive Introduction to Object Oriented Programming with Java, Thomas Wu. NOTE: Any version of this book is fine. You do not need the latest version.


To register for the exam:

  • If you are a computer science major, contact your academic advisor to express your desire to take the exam.
  • If you are not a computer science major, then email csug@purdue.edu with your first name, last name, PUID, Purdue email address, and indicate that you want to register for the exam.

Information for Non-CS Majors and CODOs
As a non-computer science major, you have the ability to take the CS 18000 proficiency exam to bypass CS 18000, though it will not grant any credit or grade for the course.  Therefore, passing the exam does not help in attempting to CODO into computer science as you are still required to earn a grade of at least a B in at least one computer science course to be eligible to be considered for CODO.

The computer science academic advisors strongly recommend that non-computer science majors take CS 18000 to put them in the best position to CODO to computer science and to prepare academically for the next set of courses in the computer science major.

Last Updated: Dec 3, 2018 4:20 PM

Department of Computer Science, 305 N. University Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907

Phone:(765) 494-6010 • Fax: (765) 494-0739

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