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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 if you meet all three of the following criteria:

  • You have previously taken French, Italian, Portuguese, or Spanish; and
  • You do not have AP/IB credit for that language; and
  • You plan to continue study in that same language at U-M Ann Arbor OR you plan to test out of the language in order to fulfill a language requirement.

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. 

Students with any prior study of the language who register for 100 or 101 without taking the placement test will be dropped from the 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 eligibility 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.

What if I have the Seal of Biliteracy on my high school transcript?

The Seal of Biliteracy on a high school transcript doesn't equate to a specific placement level in our program and does not satisfy the LSA language requirement.

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.

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 Language 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.