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Should you take a language placement test?

The Global Studio offers computerized placement testing in Chinese, French, German, Russian, and Spanish.  If you have acquired knowledge of any of these languages--through either formal or informal learning--and want to continue learning at the University or Richmond, you should consider taking a placement test.  If you have no experience with the language you wish to study, you do not need to take a placement test.  You may need permission to enroll in the first-semester course; talk to the appropriate departmental coordinator to get this permission.

When should you take a placement test?  

Placement tests scores are valid for one year.  You should plan to take the placement test during the year when you may enroll in a course in the language you have studied.  If you hope to earn an exemption from COM 2 based on your current proficiency, you should take the placement test as soon as possible.  

You do not need to take a placement test if you scored any of the following: 

  • 3 or higher on the AP exam in your language;
  • 5 or higher on the IB Higher Level exam in your language;
  • 630 or higher on the SAT II in your language.

Students with any of these scores have earned a COM 2 exemption and should enroll in a 300-level course.  

Placement in Spanish

Unless they qualify for a COM 2 exemption in Spanish based on AP, IB, or SAT II scores, all students with previous knowledge of Spanish should take the placement test before their first enrollment in a Spanish course.  (All Spanish courses are designated as LAIS courses.)  The Spanish placement exam is available on any computer with an internet connection, and students should read the instructions, take the test, and place themselves.  Students who qualify for a COM 2 exemption based on their placement test score should print out their score and take it to the LALIS office on the third floor of the Carole Weinstein International Center.  They will have to do a writing sample and an oral interview to gain a COM 2 exemption.

Placement in Chinese

New students who do not qualify automatically for a COM 2 exemption in Chinese should place themselves into a Chinese course based on the guidelines below and with the help of the summer advising staff.  They should then take the placement test in Chinese during orientation and talk with a Chinese faculty member to confirm their placement.

Students with 0 - 2 years of Chinese should place themselves into Chinese 101.  Students with 2 - 4 years of Chinese should place themselves into Chinese 201.  Students with more than 4 years of study or who speak Chinese at home should contact a member of the Chinese faculty for placement help. 

Students already on campus should take the placement test and take their score to one of the Chinese faculty members to confirm their placement.  

Placement in French

Students who do not qualify automatically for a COM 2 exemption in French and have taken 4 or more years in high school should take the placement test to see if they qualify for a COM 2 exemption and placement at the 300-level.  

Students with 2 - 4 years of French may safely place themselves into French 221.  However, if it has been a year or more since your last course, take the placement test.

Students with 1 - 2 years of French should definitely take the placement test and consult with the Director of the Intensive French Program.

Placement in German

Students whose standardized test scores qualify them for a COM 2 exemption (see list at top of page) should enroll in a 300-level course.  They do not need to take a placement test.

The German program is not an intensive program; it is possible to enroll in German 102 or 202  in the spring without taking German 101 or 201 in the fall.  Your placement test score will indicate whether you should consider this option.  New students with more than one year of previous study of German should place themselves in German 201 and take the placement test during orientation.  Students already on campus should take the placement test before enrolling in a German course.

Placement in Russian

New students who do not qualify automatically for a COM 2 exemption in Russian should place themselves into a Russian course based on the guidelines below and with the help of the summer advising staff.  They should then take the placement test in Russian during orientation and talk with a Russian faculty member to confirm their placement.

Students with 0 - 2 years of Russian should place themselves into Russian 101.  Students with 2 - 4 years of Russian should place themselves into Russian 201.  Students with more than 4 years of study or who speak Russian at home should contact a member of the Russian faculty for placement help. 

Students already on campus should take the placement test and take their score to one of the Russian faculty members to confirm their placement.