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Language Placement & Validation Tests

Who is required to take an RLL Placement Test?

You are required to take a placement test before enrolling in an RLL language class if you meet all three of the following criteria:

  • You have previously taken French, Italian, Portuguese, or Spanish; and
  • You plan to continue study in that same language at U-M Ann Arbor; and
  • You do not have AP/IB credit for that language

If you have no prior knowledge of the language, you do NOT need to take the placement test; you are eligible to directly enroll in either the 100 (intensive) or 101 (standard) level course.

What if I have AP/IB credit?

Students who have not yet received their AP or IB scores by the time they arrive for U-M orientation are encouraged to take the placement exam. Students who have received AP or IB credit for Spanish, French, Italian, or Portuguese do not need to take the placement exam.

If AP or IB credit for the language has already been posted to your U-M transcript, you are automatically eligible to enroll in a fifth term language course (i.e. Spanish 277 or 278, French 235, or any course beyond 232 in Italian or Portuguese). View the RLL AP/IB webpage for additional information.

If you received a 4+ on the AP or IB-HL exam but that credit is not yet on your transcript, you may send a screenshot of your score to rll.placement@umich.edu. RLL will update your registration eligbility to allow you to enroll in the appropriate course without taking the placement test. Note that sending a screenshot to RLL for registration purposes is unrelated to receiving AP or IB credit on your transcript. If you did not specify the University of Michigan as a recipient of your score when you took the exam, you will need to submit your official score report to the University of Michigan via the College Board or International Baccalaureate Organization in order to receive credit.

Should I study for the test?

No. Preparation is not necessary for the placement test – it is intended as a tool to place you in the course most appropriate for your skill level.

How many times can I take the test?

Only once. You may not take the same placement test more than one time.

When is the test offered?

The French, Italian, and Spanish placement exams are online tests. They are available prior to the start of each term, during the backpacking/open enrollment periods, and throughout the spring and summer. The specific availability of each language test is listed in the tabs below. Details about registering for the tests are also listed; they are different for incoming and continuing students.

The Portuguese placement test is offered by individual appointment only. Details are listed in the tab below.

How far in advance should I take the test?

If you are an incoming student interested in the French, Italian, or Spanish placement test, you must take the test at least ten business days prior to the start of your orientation visit so that you are able to receive your results by the time you register. Students who do not take the test in time may not be able to register for a language course during orientation. Results cannot be expedited. 

If you are a current student, you should plan to take the French, Italian, or Spanish test at a time prior to your registration appointment (usually during backpacking).

All students interested in the Portuguese placement test should read the details in the tab below. Appointments are only available during the academic year (September through April).

What if I require special testing accommodations?

If you are an incoming first-year or transfer student, you should complete this accommodations request form at least two business days before you plan to take the online test to request accommodations.

If you are a current student who has already registered with Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD), for French, Italian, and Spanish you should email a copy of your accommodations letter to rll.placement@umich.edu with your request for accommodations at least two (2) business days in advance of when you will take the test. For Portuguese, please include this information in your request to take the test.

How long does it take to receive my results?

It typically takes 2-3 business days for your results to become available. Results cannot be expedited, so please plan accordingly.

How can I view my results? 

If you are an incoming student, you will not see your placement result immediately. You will receive it during orientation. 

If you are a current student, be aware that it takes 2-3 business days for scores to process. You will NOT be notified of your score automatically. You may view your placement results at: Wolverine Access > Student Business > Academic Records > View Placement Exam Results.  

In which courses could I be placed?

You may be placed in one of the following courses: 101 (elementary), 103 (elementary review), 231 (second year, first semester), or 232 (second year, continued). In Italian, you may also be placed into 102 (elementary, continued). To navigate the RLL language sequence and help you in your course selection, please reference the RLL Course Progress Chart (PDF).

If you place beyond the 232 level, you are eligible to test out of the LSA language requirement. If you take the placement test online, you will be required to validate your placement in person before the language requirement is satisifed (see the language-specific tabs below for more information). 

What if I have questions about my course placement?

For questions about your placement during the Fall and Winter terms, you should consult the course coordinator of the course into which you have been placed. In the Spring and Summer terms, please contact rll.placement@umich.edu.

What if I have severe trouble learning a foreign language?

LSA students who believe they have a learning disability that interferes with their learning a foreign language may petition the LSA Academic Standards Board for a language substitution. Information and instructions on how to petition for a language substitution can be found in the Waivers and Substitutions section of the LSA website.

What if I plan to enroll as a Community Resource student through AAPS?

Please review RLL's Community Resource page to confirm your eligibility to participate in the program and whether you need to complete a placement test. You may then contact rll.placement@umich.edu for test access.

What if I have read this and still have questions?

Email rll.placement@umich.edu.

French Placement Tests

New and Incoming Students

New and incoming students (including transfer students) must register for an orientation session to obtain placement exam access and information. Each student, once they pay the U-M enrollment fee, will receive information directly from the Office of New Student Programs (ONSP) regarding orientation and the French placement test. ONSP can be reached at onsp@umich.edu or (734)764-6413.

Continuing Students

If you intend to register for a French class, you may take the online placement test. Please contact rll.placement@umich.edu for online access.

Please note that if you intend to test out of a language requirement without taking any classes, you should not take the online test. Instead, you should register for an in-person placement test session. Testing sessions are available during backpacking and registration, and at the beginning of each semester. Testing times begin on the hour.  Please arrive 5 minutes before test is scheduled to begin. Students arriving after the start time will not be permitted to take the exam once the exam has begun. You will need to present your MCard and have your phone with you for Duo log-in.

Click here to register for an in-person French Placement Test session.

French Validation Tests

Students who place into FRENCH 235 on the online placement test are eligible to meet the language requirement for their school or college by taking an in-person, proctored exam called the French Validation Test.

Click here to learn more about the French Validation Test.

Italian Placement Tests

New and Incoming Students

New and incoming students (including transfer students) must register for an orientation session to obtain placement exam access and information. Each student, once they pay the U-M enrollment fee, will receive information directly from the Office of New Student Programs (ONSP) regarding orientation and the French placement test. ONSP can be reached at onsp@umich.edu or (734)764-6413.

Continuing Students

You may contact rll.placement@umich.edu for access to the online placement test.

Note that the online placement test cannot be used to test out of the language requirement completely (without taking a class). If you place out of fourth semester Italian through the online test, validation will be required. Students who are eligible for validation based on their Italian placement will receive instructions on this process.

If you placed out of fourth semester Italian and would like to complete validation, please contact rll.placement@umich.edu.

Portuguese Placement Tests

Portuguese placement tests are given by appointment only. If you are interested in taking the Portuguese placement test, please contact rll.placement@umich.edu to schedule an appointment. 

Spanish Placement Tests

New and Incoming Students

New and incoming students (including transfer students) must register for an orientation session to obtain placement exam access and information. Each student, once they pay the U-M enrollment fee, will receive information directly from the Office of New Student Programs (ONSP) regarding orientation and the Spanish placement test. ONSP can be reached at onsp@umich.edu or (734)764-6413.

Continuing Students 

If you intend to register for a Spanish class, you may take the online placement test. Please contact rll.placement@umich.edu for online access.

Please note that if you intend to test out of a language requirement without taking any classes, you should not take the online test. Instead, you should register for an in-person placement test session. Testing sessions are available during backpacking and registration, and at the beginning of each semester. Testing times begin on the hour.  Please arrive 5 minutes before test is scheduled to begin. Students arriving after the start time will not be permitted to take the exam once the exam has begun. You will need to present your MCard and have your phone with you for Duo log-in.

Click here to register for an in-person Spanish Placement Test session.

Spanish Validation Tests

Students who place into SPANISH 277 on the online placement test are eligible to meet the language requirement for their school or college by taking an in-person, proctored exam called the Spanish Validation Test.

Click here to learn more about the Spanish Validation Test.