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Language Placement & Validation Tests


Who is required to take an RLL Placement Test?

Any student who has taken French, Italian, Portuguese, or Spanish previously and plans to continue study in that same language at UM-Ann Arbor must take the placement test prior to enrolling in an RLL language class.

If you have no prior knowledge of the target 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 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. 

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 for sessions throughout the spring and summer. The availability of the language tests is listed in the tabs below. Details about registering for the tests are also listed; they are different for incoming and continuing students. Please understand that it is not possible to schedule a French, Italian, or Spanish placement exam for one student.

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 five 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 rushed. 

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 student, you should write to the Office of New Student Programs before your stay on campus or before you plan to take the online test to request accommodations on the placement tests.

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 VISA 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 rushed, so please plan accordingly.

How can I view my results? 

If you are an incoming student, you will not see your placement result immediately, rather 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 via: 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). If you place beyond the 232 level in French, Italian or Portuguese you will have satisfied the LSA language requirement. For Spanish, you may be required to validate your placement, for more information please see the Spanish tab below. To navigate the RLL language sequence and help you in your course selection, please reference the RLL Course Progress Chart.

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 the RLL Main Office

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 on the Petitions for Requirement or Policy Exceptions portion of the LSA website. 

What if I have AP/IB credit?

Information for students with AP/IB credit can be found here.

What if I have read this and still have questions?

Email the RLL Main Office.

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

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.

Winter 2020:

Due to COVID-19, we will not be holding proctored French Placement Test sessions in Winter 2020. If you need to take the placement test to register for a class, please contact rll.placement@umich.edu for online access. Note that the online placement test cannot be used to test out of the language requirement completely (without taking a class). Students intending to test out of the language requirement may register for a proctored session in the fall.

Fall 2020:

Click here to register for a French Placement Test session.

French Validation Tests

New and incoming students who place into FRENCH 235 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 and to register for a testing session.

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

If you need to take the Italian placement test, please contact rll.placement@umich.edu for online access. 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, in-person validation will be required.

Portuguese Placement Tests

Portuguese placement tests are given by appointment only. If you are interested in taking the Portuguese placement test, please contact rll.mailbox@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 

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.

Winter 2020:

Due to COVID-19, we will not be holding proctored Spanish Placement Test sessions in Winter 2020. If you need to take the placement test to register for a class, please contact rll.placement@umich.edu for online access. Note that the online placement test cannot be used to test out of the language requirement completely (without taking a class). Students intending to test out of the language requirement may register for a proctored session in the fall.

Fall 2020:

Click here to register for a Spanish Placement Test session.

Spanish Validation Tests

New and incoming students who place into SPANISH 277 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 and to register for a testing session.