Foreign Language Placement

If you are planning to continue with the language you have previously studied in high school, you must complete the appropriate language testing. It is recommended that even if you are planning to study a new language at Willamette, you should take the placement test in the language you are currently studying. This strategy will allow you the greatest flexibility when planning your schedule and making future course decisions.

As a general rule, two years of high school study in a language are roughly equivalent to one year of college-level study in that same language. Of course, the strength and emphasis of individual high school language programs vary greatly, so that placement testing is necessary to assign students to the level of study that is appropriate. If you have studied a language in high school, but still wish to start out in an entry-level course in that language, it is still necessary that you complete the placement test.

If you need to complete placement testing, please carefully review the instructions that follow to determine what kind of testing is required for your intended language. These tests are meant to measure your language level as of this moment and to help you find the best level for beginning your study at Willamette. You should not use language texts or dictionaries as aids, for this will result in inappropriate placement and you will find it difficult to complete the course at your assigned level. Foreign language placement tests are effective for two semesters, after which you must retake the placement test before enrolling for your first semester in a foreign language.

Note: Remember you cannot completely satisfy the B.A. language requirement on the basis of written placement testing alone. All students whose placement test results suggest they are beyond the second year level of study will be required to confirm this placement with an oral interview during the Opening Days program. Placement results and additional information on placement will be available from your advisor when you arrive on campus.

Classical Languages (Ancient Hebrew, Greek or Latin)

Placement testing for classical languages is highly individualized since these languages are the least frequently taught in high schools. Students who have classical language backgrounds must contact one of the following faculty members over the summer prior to registering for classes in June so that a determination of their placement can be made.

Chinese

Placement testing in Mandarin Chinese is highly individualized, given that few students arrive at Willamette having previously studied this language. Students who have studied Chinese must contact the following faculty member prior to registering for classes in June:

French

Required placement testing is available online. The placement exam must be completed before course registration begins in June.

German

Required placement testing is available online. The placement exam must be completed before course registration begins in June.

Japanese

Required placement testing for those students who have previously studied Japanese consists of a one-hour placement test with a brief listening exercise. It is designed for students with two years or more of high school Japanese. There are two sections to the test, the second being for advanced students seeking placement above the second-year level. Students are encouraged not to use texts or dictionaries during the test for it may lead to erroneous placement. The required placement testing is available online. For those without access to the internet, please telephone Sandy Dubuque at (503) 375-5306 to request a printed version of the Japanese Placement Exam. You must complete and return this placement test before you can register in the language.

Russian

Students who have any background in Russian language and who would like to take Russian language courses in the fall must complete the language placement exam prior to registering for classes in June, so that a determination of their placement can be made.  The required written placement test is available online. For those without access to the internet, please contact Sandy Dubuque at (503) 375-5306 to request a printed version of the Russian Placement Exam. You must complete and return this exam before you can register in the language.

Spanish

Required placement testing is available online. The placement exam must be completed before course registration begins in June.