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Placement Testing

About Placement Tests

The Language Center administers placement tests to all students who intend to continue studying a foreign language at Stanford. The purpose of testing is diagnostic: it assesses students' current language abilities in order to match them to the course most suitable for that level. Accurate initial placement is a key factor in successfully learning a foreign language. Placement exams in each language consist of both text and oral components. Proficiency testing measures what students are able to do with the language. 


For most languages, after completing the online text portion of the examination, students proceed to the oral portion (procedures vary by language and time of year). The majority of languages placement testing occurs in the summer and beginning of fall quarter. For French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Russian, and Spanish, the online examination should be completed as soon as possible in the summer and an online oral interview appointment should be secured no later than July 15.  Placement testing during the academic year is more limited, with some languages only conducting placement tests at the beginning of fall quarter. For planning purposes, please check the placement testing page for each language for details on the required components and the testing schedule. The combined results of oral and written components determine the most appropriate course for the student who decides to continue studying that language, whether to fulfill the language requirement or for personal or professional interest.


Remember these tests are for placement purposes, and are not achievement tests. Rather than receiving a score, you will receive a placement into a class where you can maximize your learning.  Your placement results will only be known to you and to members of the Language Center who direct placement testing. They will not be reported to all members of the department or recorded on your transcript.

Guidelines

If you have no prior experience with the language, you do not need to take a placement test. Enroll in the first quarter of the first-year sequence. All students with any prior exposure to a language they intend to continue studying at Stanford, including formal study or home background, must take a placement test in that language before enrolling in a course.

  • If you have minimal experience with the language and believe you should start at the very beginning, take the placement test. Students with any background (study or home background) in a language may not self-place, even into beginning-level courses.
  • Even if you have AP, SAT II or IB scores that fulfill the undergraduate language requirement, you still need to take a placement test if you plan to continue in that language at Stanford.
  • If you are continuing in a language for which you do not see a scheduled placement test, please email the Language Center to inquire about arranging a test: languagecenter@stanford.edu
  • Because of the nature of language acquisition and maintenance, placement test results are valid for one calendar year. After one year, the placement test must be retaken if you intend to study the language at Stanford or overseas and have not yet done so.

Testing schedules and procedures vary by language. For more information on the schedule and procedures for a specific language, please click on the appropriate link for that language on this page. If you have further questions, please contact languagecenter@stanford.edu.

Honor Code

While taking any placement test, remember that you are subject to the Stanford Honor Code and Fundamental Standard.  Specifically, you are not permitted to receive outside assistance on these examinations.  "Outside assistance" means, among other things, the use of books, notes, dictionaries, grammar books, spell checkers, grammar checkers, translation tools, cutting and pasting foreign language items from the web, and composing items in writing before speaking.

It is very important that you do your best on this exam and that you do not receive any help with it. In order to make good judgments about your language placement in Stanford programs, we need good information about your level and knowledge.

Arabic Placement Testing

Classical Greek Placement Testing

Filipino Placement Testing

French Placement Testing

German Placement Testing

Hebrew Placement Testing

Hindi Placement Testing

Italian Placement Testing

Japanese Placement Testing

Korean Placement Testing

Latin Placement Testing

Modern Chinese Placement Testing

Persian Placement Testing

Portuguese Placement Testing

Russian Placement Testing

Spanish Placement Testing

Vietnamese Placement Testing