Challenge Exams

We offer challenge exams for two of our introductory programming courses.

CSCI 102

Fundamentals of Computation

CSCI 102

Fundamental concepts of algorithmic thinking as a primer to programming. Introduction to C++.

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CSCI 103

Introduction to Programming

CSCI 103

Basic datatypes, assignments, control statements, input/output, functions, arrays, structures, recursion, dynamic memory, file handling. Programming in C/C++.

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Exam Request Form

CSCI 102 - If you have taken a prior introductory programming course in Java or C++ you are eligible to take the CSCI 102 challenge exam. Students who have a score of 4 or 5 on AP Computer Science A may automatically waive CSCI 102.

CSCI 103 - If you have taken a prior semester length introductory programming course in C++ and covered all of the following topics in detail, you are eligible to take the CSCI 103 challenge exam: basic datatypes, assignments, control statements (if, switch, for, while), input/output (printf, scanf, cin, cout), functions, arrays, linked lists, structures, recursion, dynamic memory, and file handling. Continuing USC students who begin their computer science studies with CSCI 102 at USC must take CSCI 103 at USC.  CSCI 103 cannot be skipped with the challenge exam. Students are not eligible to take their computer science or engineering course work in transfer after matriculating to USC.


  • Students who have previously attempted or are currently registered in CSCI 102 or CSCI 103 are not eligible to take the challenge exam.
  • Students who have previously taken the challenge exam cannot retake the exam
  • Passing a course challenge exam does not guarantee D-Clearance/registration in courses. Students will need to submit their D-Clearance Request on myViterbi and will be notified via email IF they are given clearance
  • The Thomas Lord Department of Computer Science takes academic integrity violations seriously. Using outside tools like ChatGPT to gain an unfair academic advantage is prohibited. Utilizing outside tools will result in students automatically failing the Challenge Exam and being reported to the Office of Academic Integrity. Students will not be able to retake the Challenge Exam. No exceptions.

Only request an exam if you are prepared and ready to take itDO NOT submit duplicate requests. Our response time is 1-1.5 weeks. If you have already taken the exam DO NOT submit a request to retake the exam.

Please note that challenge exam requests will be processed after the add/drop deadlines of each semester.