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CS 115 Bypass Exams

The University of Kentucky allows currently enrolled students to obtain credit for classes by special examination. Follow this link to see relevant portions of the university regulations.

This is under section of the Senate Rules:

Special Examination: Any full-time or part-time student enrolled in the University, and in good academic standing, shall have the right to request a special examination for credit in any course offered in the University System, regardless of whether the student has audited the course, is currently enrolled in or has studied for it independently.

1. Application for a special examination must be made in writing. Undergraduates will address requests to the chair of the department in which the course is given, or to the office of the academic unit responsible; graduate students. to the Director of Graduate Studies in the department in which the course is given. Approval of requests from undergraduate students rests with the department chair; from graduate students, with the Dean of the Graduate School acting upon the recommendation of the Director of Graduate Studies.

2. The request for special examination may be denied by the department chair or the office of the administrative unit responsible, or the Dean of the Graduate School acting upon the recommendation of the Director of Graduate Studies, if it is decided that the student has not furnished evidence that he/she is reasonably prepared to take the examination. or that the course is of such a nature that credit by examination is inappropriate. (The fact that a student has failed the course within the last semester may be regarded as evidence that the student is unprepared to take a special examination.)

3. The instructor may schedule the examination at his/her convenience, but must offer it within a reasonable time after the student has submitted his/her request. * The phrase "reasonable time" is not meant to convey a precise time period and should be fitted to the particular circumstances. (RC: 2/1/89)

4. The examiner shall inform the Registrar of the student's grade in the course. A student currently enrolled in the class who successfully completes a special examination shall be formally removed from the official roll by the Registrar, unless the student is dissatisfied with the results; in which case he/she may continue in the course and be graded in the usual manner. The instructor then may or may not include the results of the special examination in computing the final grade. (US: 9/20/93)

5. Credit earned by special examination may be counted as residence credit by the dean of the student's college. The limits on maximum loads are waived in cases where the excess is due to special examination credits.

6. The student, with the department or division chair's consent, may take the special examination on a Pass/Fail basis, including any course not otherwise available under the Pass/Fail bption. Credit derived in this manner shall not reduce the number of courses permitted under the Pass/Fail rules. (See Section V.. 5.1.4)

If you decide to take the grade you earned from the bypass exam, you are automatically dropped from the class if you were enrolled. If you decide NOT to take the grade you got from the bypass exam and elect to continue in the course, the grade on the bypass exam will not affect your final grade in the class.

CS-115 Topics and Material Covered:

For the current textbook used in the class follow this link: Text Book. Additional information can be found at the current course web site. Specifically, the syllabus is at this link.

The CS-115 Special Examination:

There are two parts to the CS 115 Special Examination: a conceptual test and a programming component. A passing grade requires 70% on each part.

The conceptual portion of the material is evaluated using a paper examination that has approximately 50 questions. It will either ask for pseudocode or will say "in the language of your choice." You can expect that this will take up to two hours to complete. This exam is CLOSED note, CLOSED book.

The programming component will be similar in difficulty to the last lab test given in the class. You will be given a problem and you will have 50 minutes to implement a solution in a language of your choice. Arrangements will be made in advance to provide access to a compiler or interpreter as needed. The student is expected to use the data and control structures presented in the class.

The Examination Process

The necessary steps are:

  1. Determine from your college if credit-by-examination is allowed for CS 115 in your intended program of study. Those in other colleges should check to make sure of any policies that they may have about special examination credit.
  2. Make sure that you are eligible to take a Special Examination. In order to take a Special Examination, you need to be a currently enrolled student and be in good academic standing. You do NOT have to be enrolled specifically in CS 115 in order to take the Bypass Exam, just enrolled at the university.
  3. Fill out the Application for Special Examination form available at the Registrar's Office (Funkhouser Building). When selecting the grade option make sure that if you select pass/fail that your college will allow CS 115 taken on a pass/fail basis to be used to satisfy college requirements.
  4. The form must be signed by the director of undergraduate studies, acting for the department chair. The current DUS is Dr. Jurek Jaromczyk (jurek@cs.uky.edu). His office is at 315 Davis Marksbury Building. For CS 115 the form must also be signed by Dr. Debby Keen (keen@cs.uky.edu). Her office is in 215 Davis Marksbury Building. You need to get these signatures and return the form to the Registrar's office.
  5. The registrar will send additional paperwork to the CS department that is used to record your grade on the examination.
  6. Once you have turned the form in to the registrar, you must schedule and complete the written examination at one of the times listed below. See Dr. Keen for scheduling. There is a time limit of two hours on the written portion.
  7. Since 70% is required on both parts the written portion will be scheduled first. A student taking the exam and getting less than 70% on the written portion will not be allowed to take the programming component nor will the student be allowed to retake the exam during the same semester. If the student is successful at the written exam, the programming component will be assigned. This is equivalent to the second lab test given to CS 115 students. It is given and completed in 60 minutes. It can be done in any language which the department can support, e.g. Python, C++, Java.

    To find the current semester times that the written exam will be given following the link below:

    The location will be communicated to you when you do the paperwork to apply for the exam. Please make sure you send the email to Dr. Debby Keen (keen@cs.uky.edu) to verify you are taking the test.

    Following the completion of both parts of the examination, the department will send the grade to the registrar. The components are weighted as: content/written exam 60%, programming component 40%.

    Plan ahead! The process of signing up for the exam can take a few weeks! Don't expect to just walk in and take it. You need to have the paperwork done first (and of course, study!). After you take the exam, don't expect the grade to appear instantly on your transcript. Depending on the time of the semester, the registrar can take as much as a month to process the grade form.

    Here are a few frequently asked questions about the 115 bypass. Most are answered elsewhere on this page.

    • Question: If I take the bypass exam and don't like my grade can I continue on with the class? 
      Answer: Yes, you can ignore the exam grade.
    • Question: If I take and pass the written and then later on the programming component and get the grade I want, does it automatically give me the grade in the class and I no longer need to attend my scheduled class? 
      Answer: Correct.
    • Question: If I were to take the exam and not get the grade I wanted, but at the end I got the grade I wanted in the class, do I get the final grade or do you average them in? 
      Answer: No, the exam grade is ignored and has nothing to do with what you did in the class.

    Advice: if you decide you are going to take the Bypass Exam and you are enrolled in the course, do NOT just stop going to class and stop doing the assignments! If you take the Bypass Exam, decide you don't like that grade and want to continue in the class, you will NOT be allowed to go back and make up all the work that you did not do! Keep up the work until you actually have the Bypass Exam grade in hand.