Language Placement Exams

Placement Testing Accommodations

Students who need testing accommodations on placement exams due to a disability must submit their request to Disability Resources by completing a New Student Application, along with any necessary documentation. When accommodations are supported, Disability Resources will generate a verification letter students may provide the placement test coordinator.

Chinese Placement Exam & Back Credit

All students entering the Chinese Language Program must be placed in courses appropriate to their existing level of ability.  The elementary courses are designed for true beginners who have minimal or no background in the subject.

For those who have substantial aural-oral proficiency but with little or no ability in reading and writing, special courses--Chinese for Heritage Speakers (106, 107 and 206, 207)--are available, and admission to these courses is through a placement test. Students who have any previous exposure to the Chinese language, except through enrollment in Washington University courses, are required to take the placement test before enrolling in any language course above the elementary level. In addition, students returning from a non-Washington University study abroad must also take the placement test, even if they were enrolled in Chinese classes on campus before going abroad.  Because it is very important for both students and instructors that students are in the classes they are best suited for and which will help them the most to learn Chinese, there will be no exceptions to this requirement.

The placement test is comprised of five parts: listening comprehension, grammar, vocabulary, reading comprehension, and the oral interview. For reading, students have the option of simplified or traditional character version of text. It takes approximately 2 hours to complete. You do not need to prepare for this test, since it is designed solely as a means to determine your language proficiency.

The placement test is regularly administered each fall before classes start. The Chinese placement test can also be done on the web.

For the Traditional Chinese placement exam, students may self-enroll here: https://wustl.instructure.com/enroll/XDGJRN

For the Simplified Chinese Placement exam, students may self-enroll here: https://wustl.instructure.com/enroll/K7REKX

After completing the test online you must set up an appointment to take the oral portion of the exam by contacting the Chinese Language Coordinator, Ms. Wei Wang.

Students who test into second-year Chinese and satisfactorily complete (with a grade of B– or better) at least one semester of language study may petition for 3 units of retroactive credit; students who test into third year or above and satisfactorily complete (with a grade of B– or better) at least one semester of language study may petition for 6 units of retroactive credit. Credit is limited to 3 units for testing into second year and 6 units for testing into third year or above.

L04 211 or 212 = 3 units for 102D
L04 360 or 361 = 3 units for 102D and 3 units for 212

Note, courses in the Heritage Chinese track are not equal to courses in the regular Modern Chinese track, and therefore, are not eligible for back credit. Native speakers are not eligible for back credit, so evidence of secondary or post-secondary study of the language is required.

Please note that students with native language proficiency as determined by the Chinese language section, as well as students who enroll in a course below their placement level, are ineligible for retroactive credit units. Students who misrepresent the extent of their background so as to gain entrance to a course at the elementary or intermediate level will be dropped from that course.

Japanese Placement Exam & Back Credit

Placement tests are required for all students entering our language programs, with the exception of those students who have had no previous knowledge of the language and are planning to enroll in the first semester of the first year of instruction. Students who test into second-year Japanese and satisfactorily complete (with a grade of B– or better) at least one semester of language study may petition for 3 units of retroactive credit; students who test into third year or above and satisfactorily complete (with a grade of B– or better) at least one semester of language study may petition for 6 units of retroactive credit. Credit is limited to 3 units for testing into second year and 6 units for testing into third year or above.

L05 213 or 214 = 3 units for 104D
L05 412 or 413 = 3 units for 104D and 3 units for 214

Please note that students with native language proficiency as determined by the individual language section, as well as students who enroll in a course below their placement level, are ineligible for retroactive credit units. Students who misrepresent the extent of their background so as to gain entrance to a course at the elementary or intermediate level will be dropped from that course.

Japanese Placement Exam

The placement exam consists of two parts: written and oral. [FL22 enrollment in Japanese courses: complete the first three steps by 5pm on Monday, August 22.]

  1. Complete the registration form for the placement test.
  2. Before accessing the Canvas link, go to the Tsukuba Test-Battery of Japanese website and take the SPOT (Simple Performance-Oriented Test) Test developed at Tsukuba University, Japan. (SPOT is used widely in Japan and abroad for level-placement purposes and assessing Japanese proficiency level.) Click on the "For Individual" test application. On the next page, click "agree" and then select the test option: SPOT90 + Grammar90 + 漢字SPOT50.

The test will take approximately 30-60 minutes and requires a headset. Please set aside enough time in a quiet place when you take the test. Your results will come back immediately via a PDF file which you will submit to us in Canvas. 

  1. Access the Canvas link to submit the PDF file and complete the Essay Test in Canvas.
  2. After you complete the essay test, you will schedule the oral interview test which will take place on Friday, August 26 via Zoom.  If you are unable to schedule an interview during this time due to a conflict, please contact the Japanese Coordinator (Dr. Mano Yasuda) as soon as possible. 

Korean Placement Exam & Back Credit

Placement tests are required for all students entering our language programs, with the exception of those students who have had no previous knowledge of the language and are planning to enroll in the first semester of the first year of instruction. Students who test into second-year Korean and satisfactorily complete (with a grade of B– or better) at least one semester of language study may petition for 3 units of retroactive credit; students who test into third year or above and satisfactorily complete (with a grade of B– or better) at least one semester of language study may petition for 6 units of retroactive credit. Credit is limited to 3 units for testing into second year and 6 units for testing into third year or above.

L51 217 or 218 = 3 units for 118D
L51 417 or 418 = 3 units for 118D and 3 units for 218

Please note that students with native language proficiency as determined by the individual language section, as well as students who enroll in a course below their placement level, are ineligible for retroactive credit units. Students who misrepresent the extent of their background so as to gain entrance to a course at the elementary or intermediate level will be dropped from that course.

The Korean placement exam is available online in Canvas. Students may self-enroll here: https://wustl.instructure.com/enroll/HMMLCK

After completing the written exam, students must contact the Korean Language Coordinator Dr. Mimi Kim to schedule the oral exam (students taking the exam during the summer will be provided instructions upon completing the written exam for how to sign up for the oral exam). Include your WashU email and student ID number when emailing.