CSE 20 Testout Exam

For more information including the most up to date information on how to register for the testout exam, testout format, resources to prepare, and FAQs can be found here


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 courses. 

CSE 20 is the introductory class to Python in the Computer Science and Engineering Department at UC Santa Cruz. CSE 20 is a required class for all new CSE students (joining UCSC in Fall 2019 or later), except for those who have a waiver. The waiver can be obtained in four ways: 

  • Receiving a score of 4 or 5 on the AP CS: Exam A in high school, or

  • Receiving a score of 5, 6, or 7 on the International Baccalaureate CS Exam, or

  • Having passed a course that articulates to the equivalent of CSE 20, or

  • Passing the CSE 20 testout exam.

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 quickly in classes for which they are not fully prepared. 

CSE 20 Exam Dates

The 2021 CSE 20 testout will take place in July and September. 

July 2021

  • Registration Deadline: July 13th, 5:00 pm PDT (register here)
  • Testout Exam: July 14th,  6-9pm PDT


September 2021

  • Registration Deadline: TBD (check back in late summer)
  • Testout Exam:  TBD (check back in late summer) 

Precise dates to be announced for September test. Generally, it will take place either the week before classes start, or in the first week of classes. 

Students must register for the exams that 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.