Foreign Language Placement Examinations

SAT II Subject Test

We strongly encourage you to take an SAT II Subject Test for a foreign language. The last testing date applicable towards credit at U.Va. is the May/June test. If you are unable to take the exam, then you must take the College's Foreign Language Placement Test during Summer or Fall Orientation.

For specific foreign language placement and exemption available based on SAT Subject Test scores, consult the Foreign Language Placement Index.

Advanced Placement (AP) exam

Your AP test scores could grant you course exemption and academic credit hours. To see if this applies to you, reference your AP exam scores with the Foreign Language Placement Index.

Higher-level International Baccalaureate (IB) exam

The College awards no credit for standard-level IB examinations.

Scores of 5, 6 or 7 on higher-level IB exams may qualify a student for advanced placement, introductory-level credit or exemption from the Foreign Language Requirement. Consult the IB Exam Placement Index for placement and exemption available.

Scores below a 5 on the higher-level exam may be sufficient for higher-level placement with no credit. The appropriate language department makes all decisions on placement and the awarding of credit.

The College of Arts and Sciences accepts only IB scores sent directly from IB North America.

College Summer and Fall Orientation Foreign Language Placement Tests

Placement exams for Latin and Russian are offered during Summer Orientation sessions. Placement exams for Spanish, French and German are online and should be completed before attending Summer Orientation.

  • They have taken an SAT II Subject Test
  • They have earned credit through the 2020 language course level as a result of their AP test score
  • They have already taken the online French or Spanish or German placement exam
  • They plan to start learning a new language at U.Va.

Students who miss Summer Orientation may take a placement test on the Monday of Fall Orientation before classes start. They should register before for the language level they think is appropriate, then adjust their schedule after the exam. This is risky, as the course of the correct level may be full at this time.

For specific foreign language placement and exemption qualifications based on the scores of these exams, consult the Foreign Language Placement Index.

NYU 16-point Foreign Language Proficiency Test (for foreign languages not taught at U.Va.)

If you wish to try to earn exemption in a language not taught at U.Va., you must attend a mandatory meeting before classes start. This will register you for the NYU 16-point Foreign Language Proficiency Test, which is usually administered in September.

For details on registration, dates and fees, contact Dean Christine Zunz, cmz9m@virginia.edu, (434) 924-4276, to schedule an appointment.

The NYU Proficiency exam tests three skills: listening, reading and writing. Students answer questions on a listening comprehension passage, translate into English and into the test language, write a short essay in response to a general topics and write a more complex 350-word essay about abstract ideas.

Students are given three hours to complete the 16-point exam. Dictionaries and other reference materials may not be used. The tests do not require knowledge of technical terms or specialized vocabulary.

Results will be available to students who take the test eight weeks after the test date. Keep in mind:

  • You must score at least 14 out of 16 points to be exempted from your Foreign Language Requirement.
  • If your score is 13 or below, you must start a new language or continue a language you began in high school in order to satisfy the College’s foreign language requirement.
  • No credit is awarded for any score (including the highest score).
  • No placement in a higher or lower level course is given for any score.
  • You will not be reimbursed if your score is 13 or below.

The NYU Proficiency Testing page has more information, including the languages available for testing.