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PhD Reading Exams Overview

PhD students may complete the PhD Reading Examination requirement administered through the Stanford Language Center in a numbers of ways.  The process is designed for maximum flexibility for the student.  Students should select one of three options:

  1. Take a reading course in the relevant language and become certified by the instructor as having met the requirement. Check in Explore courses for when the following courses are offered:

    German – GERLANG 250: Reading German
    French – FRENLANG 250: Reading French
    Spanish – SPANLANG 250: Reading Spanish
    Italian – ITALLANG 250: Reading Italian
  2. Complete a two-hour examination (offered quarterly) that encompasses both comprehension and some translation in the cognizant language.  Check this website for days and times when these examinations are offered each quarter.  
  3. Take the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages Reading Proficiency Test (RPT).  Languages in which a PhD student may take the RPT are Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.  An Advanced Mid rating is expected to complete the PhD Reading Examination level.  This examination is offered during business hours at the convenience of the student.  Contact the Language Center to arrange an appointment. 

    The ACTFL RPT is a standardized test for the global assessment of reading ability in a language. RPTs measure how well a person spontaneously reads a language when presented with texts and tasks as described in the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines 2012 – Reading, without access to dictionaries or grammar references.

    This is an internet-based exam administered on a computer in the Language Center (Building 30).  The exam takes around one hour and consists of 15-20 short reading passages with three multiple choice questions per passage.   Shortly after completion of the standardized test, an official rating of reading performance from Language Testing International is reported.  This nationally-certified rating in reading may be listed on the curriculum vitae.

If a student’s performance is insufficient in one of the above three options, they may exercise another of the options in subsequent quarters.