CS 200/300 Placement Self-Assessment

The Computer Sciences Department offers an opportunity for degree seeking students to bypass CS 200 Programming I through a self-assessment.

What is the CS 200 self-assessment?

  • The self-assessment is a way for a student to gauge if they are ready to take CS 300 Programming II without having credit for CS 200 or 220
  • It is generally for students with significant programming experience
  • Students who skip CS 200 and enroll directly into CS 300 do not receive credit for CS 200. There is no retro credit option. The CS major does not require credit for CS 200; however it is a prerequisite to CS 300. 
  • The self-assessment is not for students who are awaiting AP scores.

Who should consider the self-assessment?

Students who have “significant programming experience” can include: 

  • students who took an AP/IB class but not the test
  • students who took a course transferring in as CS electives
  • students who took programming courses and are confident in their abilities
  • students who learned significant programming skills through self-study or industry training

A student should also consider their experience and confidence in the following:

  • I have written multiple programs that contain hundreds of lines of code.
  • I am comfortable defining my own custom methods that better organize that code.
  • The code I wrote makes appropriate use of control structures: if, else, while, for.
  • I am able to identify and utilize appropriate data types (including arrays) to store data.
  • I am confident in my development skills: testing, code tracing, and debugging.
  • I am confident in my ability to determine whether a program meets the requirements.

What is the process?

If a student would like to request access to the CS 200 Self-Assessment, please follow these steps:

  1. Contact the CS advising staff by email at advising@cs.wisc.edu and request access to the self-assessment. You must have a UW wisc.edu email account to complete the assessment.
  2. Complete the three self-assessment activities in the Canvas Course:
    1. Complete the CS 200 exam. 
    2. Complete a programming assignment. Students will be asked to upload their solution, and a screenshot of the results.
    3. Complete a reflection exercise.
  3. After completing all 3 portions of the self-assessment, please email CS Advising (advising@cs.wisc.edu).  They will respond with next steps.
  4. All portions of the CS 200 Self-Assessment must be completed by the add deadline for the semester.  Any student that completes the assessment after this date can get access to CS 300 for the following term.

How to decide whether to bypass CS 200?

When a student is determining whether they should bypass CS 200 or not, they should think about the following:

  • Did I understand what I was doing in the self-assessment? 
  • Did I feel confident in my programming knowledge and ability to complete each part of the assessment?

Any questions, please feel free to contact CS Advising at advising@cs.wisc.edu.