Prerequisites, Advisories and Challenge Exams

For all Computer Science classes, a solid understanding of Algebra (at the level of Math 60 or higher) is strongly recommended. Higher math is helpful but not needed. English language skills are also required. (ESL 160 or higher recommended.)

Advisories and Prerequisites are listed in the schedule and catalog. Advisories include topics instructor will assume students already know. Taking the advised courses first will greatly increase the likelihood of success in the class. If you are interested in taking a course that has an advisory and you have not taken the advisory course at City College, the course instructor is the best person to talk to about your background and preparation for the course.

If you haven’t taken a prerequisite for a course, you will not be able to register for the course unless you do one of the following:

  • Document that you have passed an equivalent course or have equivalent experience. Follow the instructions for the Prequisite Challenge Process here, then e-mail the documents to the department chair at


  • Pass the prerequisite challenge exam, which is given by appointment. It is a short 30-minute multiple-choice exams specific to the course. We have sample questions posted below for the most common exams. While CS 110B and 111B don't have any prerequisites, if you're interested in taking CS 110B or 111B, you'll also see some questions you should be able to answer prior to taking one of those courses.

    Prerequisite Challenge Exams are given outside Batmale 456. Contact the CS Department Secretary, Cherron Hunter, at 415/239-3655 or e-mail to make an appointment. Be sure to bring the following items to the exam:  Your City College student ID and a Picture ID.

    You will get the results of the exam immediately, and should be able to register for the class within 48 hours after completion of the exam.

    You will only get one opportunity per registration period to take any individual challenge exam.

More general Advice on Choosing Computer Science classes is available too.