CSE 101

Waiver Exam Information

A waiver exam is available to students who, through other means, feel they have mastered the key concepts, competencies and skills that are taught in CSE 101.

Please read the following questions and answers, then contact the CSE 101 Course Instructors if you need further information.

Question Answer Other Important Information
What is (or is not) the waiver exam?

The waiver exam is a hands-on exam which measures a student's competency in concepts that are taught and tested in CSE101. If, via completion of the waiver exam, a student demonstrates competency in sufficient topic areas, he or she will be deemed to have passed the waiver exam.

Successful completion of the waiver exam does not give a student transcript credit for CSE 101, nor does it count in a student's completed credit total. If the waiver exam is accepted by a student's academic unit, it simply excuses the student from any academic requirement for CSE 101. The three credits which otherwise would have been resulted from taking CSE 101 must be filled with another course.

Results of the waiver exam are presented to the Office of the Registar which records successful completion of the waiver exam in each student's academic record.

Students should consult their advisor before attempting the waiver exam. The CSE department evaluates performance on the waiver exam as it relates to judging student competency in subjects covered by CSE 101; it does not determine if the waiver exam is a satisfactory substitute for CSE 101 in a student's academic plan.

Only your academic unit can decide if the CSE 101 waiver exam (or any other waiver exam) is an acceptable substitute to actually taking the CSE 101.

Who is eligible to take the waiver exam?

Any individual who is a registered MSU student may take the waiver exam. However, a student is not eligible to take the waiver exam if any of the following conditions exist:

  • Student has previously taken the waiver exam (regardless of outcome);
  • Student previously registered for the waiver exam and did not cancel his/her registration before the cancellation deadline;
  • Student previously received a grade in CSE 101 (regardless of grade received);
  • Student was previously enrolled in CSE 101 and did not drop the course prior to the end of the enrollment period at the start of the semester (drop with refund).

In general terms, a student is not eligible for the waiver exam if he/she has previously taken the waiver exam or if he/she has been enrolled in CSE 101 for a period of more than a few class days.

Student enrollment at MSU will be verified with the Office of the Registrar. Students wishing to take the waiver exam have responsibility for ensuring they are in "enrolled status" with the Office of the Registrar.

Students taking the waiver exam are required to present picture id at the exam.

For whom is the CSE 101 waiver exam intended?

The waiver exam is offered for students who feel they have mastered the concepts and skills which are taught in CSE 101 course, possibly by taking a similar course elsewhere, but who have not taken the CSE 101. The waiver exam tests these concepts and skills with a combination of exam problems, including objective-type questions and hands-on problems which must be solved using various computing tools such as Microsoft Office in the Windows environment. General topic areas include:

More detail regarding course topics may be viewed at CSE 101 List of Topics.

The Windows operating system and Windows Office 2016 software is the platform used by MSU and CSE 101. The waiver exam is based on that environment.

Waiver exams on other hardware / software platforms are not available.

When will the next CSE 101 waiver exam be offered?

The next waiver exam will be held on: Thursday 08/24/2017 at 10:00 AM EDT/EST (location to be determined).

Although we do not anticipate an "over-subscription" for the waiver exam, we reserve the right to schedule additional times/locations in the event additional seats are needed. Additional times/locations will scheduled as a result of demand issues, not to accommodate individual student conflicts.

You must register in advance as described below. A student will not be permitted to take the waiver exam without prior reservation and confirmation of attendance. Students are responsible for notifying the CSE 101 Course Instructor at least two days prior to the scheduled waiver exam if they have not received confirmation of expected registration.

There is no guarantee of scheduling of future waiver exams, however, given sufficient demand, we plan to offer a waiver exam immediately before each regular semester (given feasible scheduling as per university calendar).

May I take the waiver exam during a semester in which I am enrolled in CSE 101?

You may register for the waiver exam if you are enrolled in CSE 101 for a future semester. However, you may not register for a waiver exam that is offered during the semester in which you are enrolled in CSE 101.
This would apply only in the event of a waiver exam offered in the middle of a class semester.

A student is responsible for dropping any future enrollment in CSE 101 if they pass the waiver exam. Under no circumstances does the CSE Department, CSE 101 instructors, or other parties associated with CSE 101 bear any financial responsibility for any university charges related to student enrollment in CSE 101.

May I take the waiver exam if I am a transfer student?

If you took a course at a prior school that is accepted as an equivalent course to CSE 101, you have already satisfied any requirement for CSE 101. If you are in this situation, there is no reason for you to take the waiver exam and you will not be allowed to take the waiver exam.

If, however, you did not transfer an equivalent course, you may register for the waiver exam.

Students must critically evaluate course transfer eligibility to evaluate whether a course a) transfers as an "equivalent", b) transfers as general credit, or c) did not transfer. A course deemed to be "equivalent" satisfies the CSE 101 requirement.

A course that transfers as general credit does not satisfy the CSE 101 requirement.

The following link is a resource to use for initial checking of how various courses transfer into MSU: MSU Course Transfer Site.

If you have any doubts about this issue, talk with your academic advisor before attempting to sign up for the waiver exam.

How do I register for the exam?


You should complete the information on the Waiver Exam form no later than Monday 08/07/2017 at 05:00 PM EDT/EST, in order to register for the next Waiver Exam. No applications will be accepted after this date.

Registration Cancellation

If you initially register for the Waiver Exam but choose to not take the exam, you must send notice of your wish to cancel your reservation by e-mailing the CSE 101 Course Instructor(s) at the following email address(es): wulfekuh@msu.edu,ohlk@msu.edu,ande1989@msu.edu no later than Monday 08/21/2017 at 08:00 AM EDT/EST, or you will be billed for the exam (see question regarding fees below), and will be ineligible to register for a future waiver exam. No cancellations will be accepted after this date.

The waiver fee will be assessed if a student registers for the waiver exam and does not cancel his/her registration prior to the cancellation deadline, whether the student actually takes the waiver exam or not. The student is responsible for ensuring their registration was canceled (e.g., by way of cancellation confirmation email).

Students who wish to ensure they cancel within deadline should do so well before the deadline to cancel to allow time for a confirmation reply before the cancellation deadline. No accommodation will be given for missing the cancellation deadline.

What is the cost to take the waiver exam?

A fee of $50 is assessed for the waiver exam. This fee was established in consultation with the Office of the Registrar and is levied to cover the expenses of managing, proctoring and grading the exam as well as activities relating to recording the results of the exam in the student's record. The posted fee is like any other fee that might be added to your student account (e.g., a library fine or other fee).

The waiver fee is assessed on each student who registers for the waiver exam and does not cancel prior to the cancellation deadline, regardless of whether the student sits for the waiver exam or not.

How do I prepare for the exam?

It is assumed that anyone registering for the waiver exam possesses a sufficient level of knowledge from prior coursework and/or other experience in the topic areas that are part of the CSE 101 curriculum. As a result, a student registering for the waiver exam should not have to incur significant effort learning new topics. Students should review the List of Topics that are part of the CSE 101 curriculum to ensure they are knowledgeable in the areas covered in CSE 101.

Because the waiver exam is intended to test skills a student has already attained, we do not offer any study/review sessions for the waiver exam, and CSE 101 helprooms are not available to assist students in preparing for the waiver exam.

What are the logistics related to the actual exam?

The waiver exam will be administered in two segments and a break, with the following schedule:

  1. Segment 1: 10:00 AM - 11:55 AM
  2. Break: 11:55 AM - 12:05 PM
  3. Segment 2: 12:05 AM - 02:00 PM

Times may be adjusted as a result of any technology issues, and students should plan for an end time of 2:30 in the event that severe system problems occur.

Exam problems, associated computer files, and a flash drive will be distributed at the beginning of each exam segment. Students will submit their solutions via file upload to a designated website, and/or via the exam-provided flash drive.

All exam resources will be strictly controlled and any student not turning in all exam resources (e.g., exam paper, scrap paper, or flash drive) at the end of the exam segment will be subject disciplinary action at the university level.

Exam time remaining will be periodically displayed and/or announced.

Students are also expected to monitor time displayed at their workstation and to manage their time so that they have uploaded and/or submitted all exam materials when time is called. Absent proctor-verified system issues, any file(s) saved after time is called will not be accepted as valid exam submission(s).

What resources may I use during the exam?

The waiver exam is closed-book, closed-note, closed-Internet. Accordingly, students do not need to bring anything to the waiver exam, including paper or writing implements. (These will be provided at the exam.)

Students may use off-line Microsoft Office help.

No electronic devices, other than those that are part of the university testing environment may be used during the exam. This includes but is not limited to calculators; notebooks, laptops or tables; phones; or any other devices.

Except where explicitly directed to in exam instructions, students may not use or access any external resources or communicate with third parties during the entire time period of the exam. (This includes any break times between exam segments.)

Any violation of exam provisions by a student including use of non-allowed resources will result in termination of the student's waiver exam and university filing for disciplinary action, with no recourse for the student.

What assistance is available during the exam?

Students taking the waiver exam are expected to complete the exam without assistance, however, exam proctors may assist with any of the following:

  • Questions regarding exam instructions: Exam proctors will take questions regarding exam instructions to ensure there are no errors. Unless there are errors in the instructions, exam proctors will not interpret the meaning of instructions or validate what students think the exam instructions are asking for. In the event of any errors, the exam proctor will publish/announce corrections to exam specifications.
  • Questions regarding system issues: Exam proctors will assist students with system/software errors. They will not assist students with user errors. Depending on the nature of the error, the proctor will evaluate the situation to determine if it is in fact a system error and if any accommodation for time is warranted, or they will inform the student that the problem is not a system error.

In the event of any system errors, students must notify their proctor immediately. No accommodation will be given for delay in alerting the proctor to such problems.

What are grading logistics and how will find out my results?

Each exam will be independently graded by two graders, then reviewed by CSE 101 course faculty for final grading confirmation.

Results will be communicated via student email within one to two weeks after the exam is administered. Concurrent with this communication will be a reporting of waiver exam results to the Office of the Registrar and to the student's advisor if advisor information was provided with the student's waiver exam request form.

Reporting to student's advisor assumes that student specified the correct advisor information in the waiver request form.

Detailed grading results and/or copies of the waiver exam will not be available for student review.