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Placement Test FAQs

The Department of World Languages and Cultures at TCNJ offers courses in Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Russian and Spanish.

Latin is offered in the Department of Philosophy, Religion, and Classical Studies.

American Sign Language is offered in the Education of the Deaf & Hard of Hearing program, in the School of Education, Department of Special Education, Language & Literacy.

1. Who needs to take a placement exam?


If you want to study a language you started in high school, you must take a placement test unless you qualify for an exemption (see Question 2). If you want to start a new language, you don’t have to take a placement test and can simply enroll in the first level (101 or 151).

Transfer Students 

If you’re a transfer student, have completed one or two semesters of a language at another college or university, and plan to continue studying that language at TCNJ, you MUST take the placement test in that language.

2. What’s the purpose of the placement exam?

The placement exam determines the course level at which you should start or continue your language studies.

3. Who is exempt from the placement exam?

Students who have received any of the following:

  • 650 or higher on the College Board Subject Test
  • 5 on the AP exam
  • the NJ Seal of Biliteracy

are exempt from the language requirement.

Students who have taken the AP Exam in a language are encouraged to wait until receiving the results before taking the TCNJ placement test.

4. What if I completed 4 or more years of language study in high school?

Students who completed 4 or more years of language study in high school are required to take the placement exam. Even if the placement exam places you into the first-semester course (either 101 or 151), you cannot get credit for it if you have completed 4 or more years of the language in high school, with the exception of Latin. Students who have taken Latin in high school and place into Latin 101 will receive credit for that course.

5. Are there placement exams for every language?

Online placement exams are offered in French, German, Italian, and Spanish.  To go to the placement exam, see Question 5 below.

In-person placement tests are conducted by the program coordinators for the languages below:

Arabic:            Nelly Taha    

Chinese:          Jia-Yan Mi     

Japanese:       Holly Didi-Ogren

Russian:          Alex Berg       

For information about testing out of your language requirement with another language, see Question 10.

6. What do I need to do to take the online placement exam?

Registered students can take the exam online at:

7. How long will the placement exam take?

You will be allowed 40 minutes (and no more) to take the placement exam. The exam will automatically shut down after the allotted time.

8. How long do I have to wait to get my score?

Test scores will be available immediately after completing the exam. Make sure to write down or print your score and register only for the course in which you placed.  Please be aware that it may take about a day for the score to appear in the Transfer Credit Report on PAWS.

9. Does my placement test result automatically enroll me into the class?

No. Your placement score simply tells you your appropriate course level.

10. What happens if I place out of the elementary language sequence?

If you receive the maximum score and place out of the elementary sequence (101, 102, 103) you may choose to continue with more advanced courses. Your test results email will state “This score qualifies for [LANG] – EXEMPT.” Contact the department chair to discuss your options. Students who test out of the elementary sequence (with the exception of Latin) will need to contact the Department of World Languages and Cultures to make arrangements to validate their score. Once you have validated your test result, your language requirement is fulfilled.

11. I’m a native/heritage/fluent speaker of a language that’s not taught at TCNJ. Can I use my proficiency in this language to test out of my language requirement?

If you would like to be tested for exemption in a language not mentioned here, The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) may offer a proficiency exam for it. The test is an interview via webcam on your computer by an oral proficiency examiner, and lasts from 15-30 minutes. You can see the list of languages, get more information, and register at their website,

A few languages can be tested by TCNJ faculty as well, such as Hebrew, Polish, Korean, Portuguese, and Ukrainian; contact the Department of World Languages and Cultures for more information.

If you demonstrate an Intermediate Low level or higher on the oral proficiency exam, you will fulfill your language proficiency requirement.

12. What if I still have questions?

For Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Russian and Spanish
Contact:  Department of World Languages & Culture
Phone:  609.771.2235

For Latin and Greek
Contact: Dr. Holly Haynes, Co-Coordinator of Classical Studies
Phone: 609.771.2106

For American Sign Language
Contact: Barbara Strassman, Deaf/HOH Education Coordinator
Phone: 609.771.2805