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Placement & Proficiency Tests

Language exams are for University of Michigan students who are planning on furthering their language study (place-in) or want to test out of a language requirement (place-out). Registration is required for some of the exams and is noted below with the test date information. Questions regarding exams should be directed to the listed contact person. Students should bring a valid UM ID card to the exam with a pencil. 

Test information for Fall term is initially updated on the site in early June, with locations finalized by early August. Test information for Winter term is updated on the site in late November. ALC also offers placement exams over the summer for incoming first-year and transfer students in preparation for their orientations.

After taking an exam, students are notified by the language program of their scores.Test scores are also uploaded into Wolverine Access within seven business days and, therefore, visible to School/College administrators. Questions about language waivers, receiving credit for an exam, etc. should be directed to a student's general advising office. 

NOTE:

  • Placement exam results are valid for one year. Students who do not enroll in the language course appropriate to their placement within one year of their test date may be required to retake the placement test.
  • If you have no prior knowledge, you should not take the proficiency test but should enroll in the first semester of the language.
  • There is an exemption from the LSA language requirement for students whose first language is not English AND they completed High School in the target language. Students who qualify for an exemption should speak with their general advisor.

Non-UM Ann Arbor students who require a proficiency exam should contact alc-studentservicesassistant@umich.edu. 

Chinese Language Tests

First-Year/Transfer Orientation

Registration Required: Register Here

Following registration, you will receive a Zoom link before the test date. Students who test above 200-level will receive notifications from the Chinese Language Program to schedule a verification interview.

Questions about the exam should be sent to Dr. Kening Li (keningli@umich.edu)

Fall/Winter

Thursday, October 28, 2021: 2:00-4:00PM

Thursday, December 2, 2021: 2:00-4:00PM

All exams will occur remotely on Zoom.

Registration Required: Register Here

Chinese contact: Kening Li (keningli@umich.edu)

Frequently Asked Questions about the Chinese Placement Exam

  • What is the Chinese Placement Exam and what is its purpose?
    • The Chinese Placement Exam is a test administered by the Chinese Language  Program to find out the Chinese proficiency level of the test takers, which in turn will help us to determine what courses they may start to take at U-M and/or whether they can place out of the language requirement as stipulated by their college, school, or program.
  • Who should take the Chinese Placement Exam?
    • Anyone who has prior knowledge of Chinese (either through formal learning or family background), has never taken Chinese courses at U-M, and would like to either continue to take Chinese or place out of a language requirement.
  • What does it mean by placing out of the language requirement?
    • The College of Literature, Science, and the Arts (LSA) requires every student to have fourth-term proficiency in a language other than English. If you have previous knowledge of a second language, choose to take the placement exam of that language, and place above the fourth term of that language, you are considered to have placed out of the language requirement. If you are not a student within LSA, please refer to the requirements for your college.
  • What is a heritage speaker? Should heritage speakers take the Chinese Placement Exam?
    • We consider a heritage speaker someone who came from a Chinese-speaking family but did not grow up in a Chinese-speaking area such as Mainland China, Taiwan, or Hong Kong and had a chance to use (hear and/or speak) Chinese to a significant degree in their lives. We distinguish them from true native speakers of China who grew up in the previously mentioned area using Chinese constantly. Heritage speakers should take the placement exam if they want to place out of the LSA language requirement or continue to take Chinese courses at U-M.
  • If I can only speak and understand by hearing Chinese but don't know how to read or write at all, should I still take the placement test?
    • Yes, you still should take the exam. You should at least complete the speaking part of the test so that we can determine whether you should be assigned to the heritage or non-heritage track.
  • I went to school in Mainland China, Taiwan, or Hong Kong and I want to use Chinese to fulfill my language requirement, should I still take the placement exam?
    • Students who have completed at least one year of Middle School or High School in these locations, or meet any of the other requirements listed at the top of this page should speak with their general advisor (Newnan, Engineering, etc.) about an exemption to the language requirement and should not have to take the Chinese Placement Exam. Since elementary schools in Mainland China typically include Grade 6, students who have finished their elementary school education in a Chinese school (i.e. not in an international school) in Mainland China fall into the group mentioned above. The same applies to students who have finished the 6th Grade in Taiwan or Hong Kong. 
  • I am a native speaker of Chinese. Can I still take Chinese courses at U-M?
    • First we distinguish heritage students from true native speakers of Chinese. Here by native speakers, we refer to those who grew up for most part of their childhood in a Chinese speaking area such as Mainland China, Taiwan and Hongkong and have finished up to the 6th grade in a local Chinese school. Although most of our courses are only for non-native speakers (including heritage students), we do offer two courses at the highest level which are open to both non-native and native speakers. These two courses are ASIANLAN 403: Introduction to Chinese Linguistics and ASIANLAN 445: Chinese Language Pedagogy. Additionally we highly recommend students on the borderline (eg. those who attended a Chinese elementary school for some years but did not finish it) to take AsianLan409: Classical Chinese in Modern Context. To take these courses, please contact the instructors directly for permission.
  • Do I need to take the Chinese Placement Exam if I plan to take courses in a different language?
    • It depends on your purpose. If you plan to use Chinese to place out of a language requirement, you need to take the Chinese placement exam whether or not you plan to take courses in a different language.
  • Do I have to take the Chinese Placement Exam as an incoming student or as a first-year? When is a good time for me to take the exam?
    • You do not necessarily have to take the test in your first year. We suggest you take the exam before the semester when you plan to take Chinese, but no sooner than one year before as the result is only valid for one calendar year. The closer you take the exam to when you plan to enroll in courses, the more accurate the placement will be. Note that no student is guaranteed to meet a language requirement even with prior knowledge and so you will need to plan ahead in case you place below where you would like and need extra time to complete the language requirement through coursework. We do not teach every level every term.
  • What is the format of the Chinese Placement Exam?
    • The exam has two main parts. The first part is a reading test that contains multiple-choice questions testing the student's mastery of Chinese grammar and vocabulary. It may also have a passage to test reading comprehension. The second part is a speaking test where students need to verbally respond in Chinese to given prompts. No handwriting of characters is needed on the exam. If you test above the fourth-term, a further verification interview will be arranged for you where your handwriting ability may be tested among other skills.
  • How long is the Chinese Placement Exam?
    • The length of time that it takes to complete the exam varies from person to person, but it ranges from one to two hours.
  • Is the placement exam online or on paper?
    • Currently, the placement exam is entirely online and we proctor it via Zoom.
  • Is the Chinese Placement Exam in simplified or traditional characters?
    • We offer the test in both versions and you will have the option to choose the version that fits your needs during the exam.
  • Is the Chinese Placement Exam open-book?
    • It is a closed-book exam. You should complete the questions completely independently without any outside assistance from books, the internet, other people, or any other source. This way the program can make the most accurate evaluation of your proficiency.
  • How can I sign up for the Chinese Placement Exam?
    • You should visit THIS WEBPAGE to register for a test given at a specific time in advance. The Zoom link for the testing session will be sent to you via email a couple of days before the exam.
  • How do I prepare for the Chinese Placement Exam?
    • We do not expect you to prepare for the exam as it is an assessment of your current skills, however, you can review the textbook series used in our courses: Integrated Chinese Volume 1-4.
  • How often and when is the Chinese Placement Exam offered?
    • We usually offer the placement test twice a semester and at the end of August right before the fall semester begins. In addition, we may also offer the test multiple times for incoming first-year students throughout the summer.
  • Where and when can I see the result of the Chinese Placement Exam? Will the result be sent to me via email?
    • Results are posted on Wolverine Access within 7-10 business days following completion of the exam. If you are considered a native speaker, the result will be sent to the advising office in your college/school instead of being posted to Wolverine Access and will take longer to appear on your file. Test results are not reported individually via email.
  • I have another engagement at the time that the exam is being offered, can I reschedule?
    • We offer the test multiple times a year and do not have the capacity to accommodate individual testing. Please try to make the test at one of the scheduled times.
  • What if I wanted to place out of a language requirement but did not place high enough?
    • We encourage students to complete the exam early for this reason. You should continue to take Chinese courses starting from the course you are placed into.
  • Am I required to take the course I am placed into? Do I have the option of taking other courses if I want to?
    • You MUST start from the course you are placed into. You can take other courses later as you fulfill prerequisites. If you attend the course you placed into and both you and the instructor agree that the level is not correct for you, you can ask the instructor to request reassignment to a more appropriate level.
  • Will I earn credits for taking the Chinese Placement Exam?
    • No credit is earned from completion of the Chinese Placement Exam regardless of placement or program. Most programs, however, are proficiency-based and can be met through the exam. For example, the LSA Language Requirement and Asian Languages and Cultures minor prerequisite can be met without credits using a placement exam score.
  • If I took the exam before but didn't take Chinese immediately and now I am ready to enroll in Chinese, should I take the exam again?
    • Test results are valid for one calendar year. For example, if you take the test in Summer 2021, the latest time you can enroll in a Chinese course without having to retake the exam is for Fall 2022. You need to retake the exam if the gap is more than one calendar year.
  • Can I retake the exam soon after my first attempt?
    • You cannot retake the exam within a year from when you last made an attempt unless you have studied Chinese in a serious way and feel that your proficiency has changed considerably such as through a study abroad program. In that case, you can request to retake the test before the year is up.
  • Although I have some prior knowledge of Chinese and my proficiency is at a certain level, I would like to review my Chinese from the very beginning. Can I start from ASIANLAN 101: First-Year Chinese I which does not require a placement?
    • ASIANLAN 101 is for absolute beginners. Please take the placement exam to be placed into the course that suits you best and save the space in ASIANLAN 101 for people who truly need it.
  • I didn't take the Chinese Placement Exam and I enrolled in ASIANLAN 101 as it does not require taking the test, what will happen?
    • The instructor of ASIANLAN 101 will see your performance in class and if they believe that you should be in a higher level, they have that right to disenroll you from ASIANLAN 101 and move you to another course.

Japanese Language Tests

Summer First-Year/Transfer Orientation:

The Japanese Placement Exam will be available anytime between May 10 and August 15, 2021. Complete the online portion of the placement exam here. Following the online portion, you will be asked to schedule an interview with one of our Japanese instructors.

Questions about the exam should be sent to Ayaka Sogabe (asogabe@umich.edu) or Yoshihiro Mochizuki (mochiey@umich.edu).

Fall/Winter:

Purpose: Place-in and place-out, computer based

Registration Required: Yes

If you are intending to enroll in Japanese in Winter 2021, you can sign up for the Japanese Placement exam here. No placement test will be required if you have never studied Japanese.

The Japanese Language Program offers the Placement test remotely. Our placement exam consists of 1) Grammar, 2) Reading Comprehension, 3) Writing, and 4) Interview. Please read the directions carefully before starting the exam and follow them as you proceed.

Make sure that you make an appointment for the interview portion of the exam with one of the instructors. Interviews will be offered remotely from 11/5-12/18/20 and 1/11-1/15/21.

Korean Language Tests

Fall 2021

Purpose: Place in or place out

Please read the following guidelines carefully:

  • The Korean placement exam consists of four parts. Please note the dates when each part is administered carefully.
    • Part 1 (October 16-31): Registration (Qualtrics)
    • Part 2 (October 16-31): Online exam (Canvas) - 90 minutes
    • Part 3 (November 1 at 9:30pm): Writing exam (Canvas & Zoom) - 50 minutes
    • Part 4 (selected students only; November 4-5): Interview (Zoom) - 20-30 minutes
  • Registration (part 1) will open on October 16th at 12:00am and close on October 31st at 10:30pm. Upon registration, you will see a link to a Canvas site where the online exam (Part 2) is available. You can complete registration (part 1) and the online exam (part 2) anytime between October 16 and October 31.
  • A writing exam (Part 3) will be conducted on November 1st at 9:30pm (21:30) with a live proctor present in Zoom (https://umich.zoom.us/j/99028354924)
  • An interview (Part 4) will be conducted for selected students only when the proctors deem the interview necessary to make the final placement decision. Students who need to take the interview will be contacted by email to schedule their interview.
  • The results will be available no later than Monday, November 8th.
  • You will not be notified of your score automatically. You may view your placements via Wolverine Access > Student Business > Academic Records > View Placement Exam Results
  • NOTE: Your placement test results does not guarantee a space in the class. You need to register for the class yourself based on the test result. If the class is full, you can contact the instructor of the class to request an override. The instructor reserves the right to approve or reject your request.
  • If you want to request your placement result before it is posted, or petition the placement test result, please email Dr. Soyeon Kim, Director of the Korean Language Program, at ksoyeon@umich.edu.
  • Exam results/placements are valid for only one year. Retakes are only permitted after the results expire. Under special circumstances, retakes within this one-year time frame may be permitted.
  • Any stuent who has completed any of the following criteria automatically meets the language requirement and can receive an exception without taking a placement exam:
    • At least one year of middle or high school in native language
    • Continuing instruction of native language throughout high school
    • "O" Level exam result of passing in any language other than English
    • "A" Level exam results of D or better in any language other than English
    • SAT II exam results of 600 or better in any language other than English
    • IB exam results in High levels (HL) of 4 or above in any language
    • AP exam score of 4 or 5 that places them into the 5th term or higher of a language

If you meet one/any of these criteria, please contact Dr. Soyeon Kim (ksoyeon@umich.edu) for the exception.

Registration Required: REGISTER HERE

Korean Contact: Soyeon Kim (ksoyeon@umich.edu)

Korean Placement Test Schedule

The Korean placement and proficiency exam is administered three times a year: Summer Orientation (June-July), November, and March. The exact dates will be announced on this page when available. Please email Soyeon Kim (ksoyeon@umich.edu) for questions.

South Asian Language Tests

Bengali, Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu, Tamil

Contacts:

  • Bengali: Faijul Hoque (drhoque@umich.edu)
  • Hindi and Urdu: Syed Ali (ekhteyar@umich.edu)
  • Punjabi: Pinderjeet Gill (pjgill@umich.edu)
  • Tamil: Vidya Mohan (mohanvid@umich.edu)

Fall/Winter:

Tuesday, November 2, 2021 -  1:00-2:30pm

In Person. Location TBA.

Sign up for an online placement interview here.

Please email Syed Ali (ekhteyar@umich.edu) if you have questions regarding this exam. 

For a placement exam in Sanskrit or Tibetan language, please contact the department at alc-studentservicesassistant@umich.edu

Southeast Asian Language Tests

Summer First-Year/Transfer Orientation:

Filipino

Enroll in and take the online exam through Canvas. You will then be asked to schedule an interview by contacting Irene Gonzaga (igonzaga@umich.edu).

Indonesian

Enroll in and take the online exam through Canvas. You will then be asked to schedule an interview by contacting Agustini (agustini@umich.edu)

Thai

Enroll in and take the online exam through Canvas. You will then be asked to schedule an interview through the LSA Advising Appointment System.

Vietnamese

Every semester, students can register for a Vietnamese Placement Test that will determine a student's proficiency level within the language.

The placement test consists of both Written and Oral sections. The date for the Summer 2021 will be in August 2021 - the official date will be confirmed by August 2, 2021. 

If you are interesting in taking the Vietnamese placement test, you should visit the Canvas site and fill out the Google form linked here and try to answer all the questions in Vietnamese as best as you can. The form serves as your registration to the Placement test and is the first step to be qualified to take the Summer 2021 exam. 

Contact Cô Thúy Anh Nguyễn (tanguyen@umich.edu) for further information.

Fall/Winter

Filipino

Place-in and Place-out language exams are by appointment only. Please email the contact person to set up a time for an exam.

Filipino contact: Irene Gonzaga (igonzaga@umich.edu)

Indonesian

Place-in and Place-out language exams are by appointment only. Please email the contact person to set up time for an exam.

Indonesian contact: Agustini (agustini@umich.edu)

Thai

Place-in and Place-out language exams are by appointment only. Please email the contact person to set-up a time for the exam.

Thai contact: Aimkamon Bunmee (aimkamon@umich.edu)

Vietnamese

Every semester, students can register for a Vietnamese Placement Test that will determine a student's proficiency level within the language.

The placement test consists of both Written and Oral sections. The date for the Summer 2021 will be in August 2021 - the official date will be confirmed by August 2, 2021. 

If you are interesting in taking the Vietnamese placement test, you should visit the Canvas site and fill out the Google form linked here and try to answer all the questions in Vietnamese as best as you can. The form serves as your registration to the Placement test and is the first step to be qualified to take the Summer 2021 exam. 

Contact Cô Thúy Anh Nguyễn (tanguyen@umich.edu) for further information.