CSE 20 Testout Exam

What is the CSE 20 testout exam?

The CSE 20 testout exam offers a way for students with a working knowledge of Python to skip CSE 20 and proceed directly to CSE 30 or other CSE classes.

Please see the list of exam topics for details on the skills covered in the exam.

CSE 20 testout exam dates and registration

The 2022 CSE 20 testout will take place in July and September. Here are the registration links and dates:

July 2022 (registration link)

  • July 19 (Tuesday), 5pm PDT: registration deadline for July testout exam (strict).

  • July 20 (Wednesday), 6-9pm PDT: testout exam.

Note: the exam is being held in the evening because we have heard from many students who work during Summer that they prefer (and in fact, need) an evening time.

September 2022: TBA. The exam will most likely be in mid-September.

Students must register for the exams they intend to take. Students can register and take both July and September exams. If a student registers and later decides not to take an exam, it is not necessary to "unregister" or otherwise notify us.

CSE 20 Testout format and instructions

The exam is electronic; students do not need to come to campus, they just need to be in a place connected to the internet and where Google Apps are available. A @ucsc.edu account is required to take the testout.

Please study the exam instructions carefully before taking the exam, and take the exam sample.

Who should take the CSE 20 testout?

We strongly encourage every incoming student to take the CSE 20 testout exam.

The CSE 20 testout exam offers every student valuable feedback on their knowledge of Python. We advise every student, including those who have a CSE 20 waiver due to an AP or IBH class, to take the exam, especially if the AP or IBH classes were taught in a language other than Python. Students whose knowledge of Python is weak may have a better learning experience at UCSC by taking CSE 20 first, than by enrolling directly in classes for which they may not be fully prepared.

Preparing for the CSE 20 testout exam

The following resources, among others, are available for students who wish to prepare for the testout exam.

We suggest students play a little bit with Google Colab before the exam to familiarize themselves with it. We also suggest that they set it up with 4 indentation spaces (click on the gear symbol on top right, click on Editor, choose 4 spaces for indentation).

F.A.Q. (Frequently Asked Questions)

  • I registered to the testout exam, but now I don't want to do it any more. What should I do? Just don't do it. There is no penalty for registering but then not taking the test.

  • I am not sure I am ready for the testout exam. Should I still take it? Yes. There is no drawback in taking the test. The test outcome is used only to enable you to skip the CSE 20 requirement; it is not part of any transcript, so failing it carries no negative consequences.

  • How many times can I try the testout exam? You can take both Summer offerings of the exam.

  • Can I take the CSE 20 testout during the year? No. During the regular academic year, you can enroll in CSE 20 in order to satisfy the CSE 20 requirement.