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Placement Testing

The Global Studio offers computerized placement testing in Chinese, French, German, Russian, and Spanish. Students of Arabic, Italian, Japanese, and Portuguese should consult the appropriate program director about placement or exemption from COM 2. The computerized tests are web-based and normally require 20 to 30 minutes to complete. Students receive their scores immediately; scores are valid for one year. In general, students should take a placement test only once during each academic year. All tests but Spanish are administered in the Global Studio.  

Placement tests are not mandatory but are highly recommended for students enrolling in a language which they have previously studied formally or informally.  Consult the Should you take a language placement test? page for recommendations for modern languages.  

The Spanish placement test is available to anyone with a University of Richmond netID and password from any computer with an internet connection. Students planning to take Spanish should use these instructions to take the test and place themselves. If they have technical problems, they should contact the Global Studio. Questions about placement should be directed to the Director of the Spanish Intensive Program.  Incoming students should take the Spanish placement test during summer registration if they plan to register for a Spanish course in the fall semester. Please note: due to server maintenance during the summer, access to the test may be interrupted. News about these interruptions will be posted on the Global Studio blog. Please check the blog if you have trouble gaining access to the test.  One may log into the Spanish placement test only three times in one year, so read the instructions carefully.

There are several placement testing times scheduled during First-Year Student Orientation and the first week of classes in August; all tests are available during these times. After the first week of classes, the Chinese, French, German, and Russian tests are available by appointment

Placement into language courses depends upon a combination of previous study, previous experience with the language, and placement test results. Placement advising is available when students take the test and from the relevant language program directors at any time.

Scheduling a Placement Test

Several testing sessions are scheduled during Fall Orientation and during the first week of classes; times for August 2018 are posted below. Schedule changes are posted on the Global Studio blog. For languages other than Spanish, incoming students planning to continue their language study should take the placement test during orientation or the first week of classes. At other times of the year, e.g., before registration periods, students may schedule a test by using this form to request an appointment with the Global Studio director.

A test is not scheduled until the student has received an email confirmation of time and date.

Testing Times in August 2019

All tests are given in the Global Studio (INTC 226).

  • 9am-6pm on Monday, August 19
  • 9am-6pm on Tuesday, August 20
  • 9am-3pm on Wednesday, August 21
  • 9am-6pm on Thursday, August 22
  • 9am-6pm on Friday, August 23

Placement Guidelines

Students who have completed the equivalent of 202 or 221 in any language are encouraged to enroll in a 300-level course. Specific advice on course selection is available from the departments of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures and Latin American, Latino, and Iberian Studies. Students who are exempt from COM 2 in a language have completed the equivalent of 202/221 in that language. (If these students have difficulty registering for a 300-level class, they should contact the appropriate departmental office.)

Students who are uncertain of their placement or who wish to enroll in a higher-level course take a computerized placement test (Chinese, French, German, Russian, Spanish) or consult with instructors of the relevant language (Arabic, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese).

If a student's years of high school language education and placement test score do not match (and placement is lower), the student should consult the appropriate language program director: Julie Baker in French; Ted Peebles in Spanish; and the German instructor for the course they would like to take. Students of Chinese and Russian should plan to consult with the designated professor (check with the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures for the name) after taking the placement test.

Students with three to four years of high school background do NOT belong at the elementary level; they should register for the intermediate level (221/201). Students with two to three years of Spanish should register for 151. Spanish students should take the placement test to verify their placement. For LAIS/Spanish and French 121, there is a block on registration requiring departmental (program director) approval to prevent students from placing themselves into 121 based on placement test score. The elementary course is for BEGINNERS in the language. The intermediate (221) course is a review of structures that students have undoubtedly seen in high school and is only intensive in the amount of time in class (five days a week with professors/two practice sessions with undergraduate assistant teachers). For more information, please consult the French and Spanish guidelines.

Placement test scores can only move students up a level or qualify a student for exemption from the COM 2 requirement altogether. Students with four or more years of high school language experience are thus strongly encouraged to take the placement test.