Information about the ES2 Spring 2020 Exemption Exam


Date: Wednesday October 23rd, 2019
Time: 12pm to 1pm
Location: SEC/Robinson 253 (map)

ES2 Exemption Exam Content:

The ES2 Exemption Exam is designed to identify students for whom taking ES2 would not be beneficial to their education (e.g. they already have had significant prior exposure to the ES2 content). See the section below for more details of the ES2 requirement based on Major.

See more about the overall course content for ES2 to understand the topics covered.

Exam Programming Language: You (the exam taker) can choose to answer the exam questions in the language of your choice (e.g. based on your background and strengths). At the start of the exam you’ll identify the language in which you’ll be answering the questions, and then use that language throughout the exam.

  • Matlab
  • C
  • C++
  • Java
  • Python

Exam Topics: The exam mostly tests programming basics (user input of data, assignment statements, use of variables and variable types, program control statements, logical and relational conditions, loops, arrays, functions and sub procedures, use of common intrinsic functions, and formatting program output) and the application of those basics to solve typical engineering problems. These include:

  • Data Manipulation: converting data to appropriate formats for analysis
  • Data Analysis: doing statistical analysis on data sets
  • Simple Modeling: modeling systems (physical or theoretical) in code
  • Quantifying Error: identifying and minimizing error in a solution

Exam Format: The ES2 Exemption Exam is a one-hour written exam where you answer the questions by writing code snippets in the language of your choice (from given list above). The exam will be assessed on the basis of your general knowledge. Minor programming syntax details may be overlooked. You may bring one two-sided sheet of notes (8.5×11”) to the exam, but computer or phone access is not allowed.

Practice Exam:

The Practice Exam is designed to match the style/format of the Exemption Exam (cover page, exam instructions, etc). Note the Practice Exam is LONGER than the actual, hour-long Exemption Exam (e.g. more example questions included in the Practice Exam). For access to the Practice Exam for the Fall 2019 ES2 Exemption Exam, please contact Professor Ethan Danahy ( who will be administering the exam.

Details of ES2 Requirement:

As a degree requirement, many majors in the School of Engineering (and Engineering Psychology majors in A&S who matriculated prior to fall 2018) have ES2: Introduction to Computing in Engineering as a degree option or requirement (see details in chart below). An exception may be granted to those students who can demonstrate proficiency in the ES2 course material.

Note that recent updates to departments’ degree sheets for Class of 2023 (matriculating Fall 2019) with regards to ES2 has changed the degree requirements of ES2 for different majors. Here is the current information for several of the majors:

  • Biomedical Engineering (BSBME): ES 2 or COMP 11
  • Chemical Engineering (BSCHE): ES 2 or COMP 11
  • Civil Engineering (BSCE): ES 2 or COMP 11
  • Environmental Engineering (BSEVE): ES 2 or COMP 11
  • Computer Science (BSCS): COMP 11
  • Data Science (BSDS): COMP 11
  • Electrical Engineering (BSEE): both ES 2 and COMP 11 are required
  • Computer Engineering (BSCPE): both ES 2 and COMP 11 are required
  • Engineering Physics (BSEP): ES 2 or COMP 11
  • Mechanical Engineering (BSME): ES 2 or COMP 11
  • Human Factors Engineering (BSHFE): both ES 2 and COMP 11 are required

For more details, and to see information for other majors not listed above, please visit the Engineering Degrees webpage.

Based on the above information, the general guidance (beyond BSEE, BSCPE, and BSHFE for whom ES2 is required) is as such:

  • If you plan to major in Computer Science or Data Science, or minor in Computer Science in addition to another engineering major, you should take COMP 11.
  • All other majors can choose to take either ES2 or COMP11.

If your major/degree sheet requires ES2, and you pass the ES2 Exemption Exam, you are excused from the ES2 requirement, but the test is worth zero credits towards graduation. Thus, students needing the ES2 requirement on their degree sheet will still need to replace the ES2 requirement with another course bearing the “SoE-Engineering” course attribute, as identified in SIS.

For any questions regarding the ES2 requirement, major degree sheets, or selecting appropriate classes, please contact one of the following:

  • Your assigned faculty advisor
  • Dean Jennifer Stephan (Dean of Academic Advising and Undergraduate Studies, SOE)
  • Dean Chris Swan (Dean of Undergraduate Education, SOE)

More Information:

For more information about the ES2 Exception Exam, please contact Professor Ethan Danahy ( who will be administering the exam.