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Credit by Exam & Challenge Exams

We realize that when you enter Pima you might have already gained the knowledge and/or mastered the content of certain courses.  Therefore students have the opportunity to earn college credit and/or bypass certain courses through assessment of prior learning.

National Standardized Tests

Successfully pass these national exams to earn equivalent College credit.

Credits earned through this process:

  • may meet general education requirements
  • may or may not transfer to other colleges or universities - exams are re-evaluated upon transfer to another institution
  • does not fulfill the requirement of completing 15 credits at PCC
  • cannot be used in qualifying a student for veterans benefits
  • are not eligible for financial assistance.

Challenge / Proficiency Exams


For-credit challenge or proficiency exams allow you to take an examination for credit in a course when you believe you have the same knowledge through some other experience (e.g., native language speaker or job experience). These exams are offered under limited circumstances at the instructor’s discretion.

Contact the instructor for permission to take an exam for credit before registering for the course. A student must register and pay for the course before completing the exam. The instructor usually will require the successful completion of the course’s final exam, which may have a written and/or oral component.

Bypass Courses

Other challenge or proficiency exams allow you to bypass lower-level courses to accelerate your progress toward earning your degree or certificate.  For some of these tests you do not need to register or pay for the course, nor will you earn college credit if you pass the exam.

These examinations are offered in Biology (to bypass BIO 156), Chemistry (to bypass CHM 80) and French, German and Spanish language classes. Learn more about each of these tests on the College Assessment Center website.