How do the language placement exams work in relation to the foreign language requirement?

Will doing well in the placement exam (let's say Chinese) force me to take the intermediate/hard classes? If that's the case, will purposely doing poorly allow me to take the beginner courses throughout my four semesters?

In other words as well, what's the benefit of doing well in the language placement exam versus doing poorly?

I apologize for the long post, the college/class system is extremely different in my country.


When I took the placement exam at the beginning of freshmen year, my impression was that they wanted to put you in a class you'd be comfortable in and wouldn't be super stressed in. For me, after the written part of the exam, where they'd gauge your reading and writing skills, there were professors who talked to you for 5-10 minutes to gauge your listening and speaking skills. The professor gave me a sample passage to read, asked me about my background in the language, and gave her honest thoughts on where I could be placed. For Chinese specifically, I know there's a heritage track where the classes are catered to who grew up in a Chinese household so their listening/speaking might be better than reading/writing.

It's honestly up to you - doing well on the placement exam would indicate the classes you could take, but you don't have to follow the suggestion and can take an easier class. Usually the challenge is if you don't do that well on the placement exam but want to take a higher level course - in that case you'd want to prep a little before the placement exam and reach out to the professors of the language classes you want to take.

Wallowing Whale, January 20, 2020 3:45 pm