The College of New Jersey

Apply     Visit     Give     |     Alumni     Parents     Offices     TCNJ Today     

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.

Revised 04/22/2021

1. Who needs to take a placement exam?

All students wanting to enroll in French, German, Italian, or Spanish need to take the placement exam.

For Chinese or Japanese, only students who have studied the language before, or already speak the language because they grew up in a home where that language was spoken, should contact the director of that program to determine their proficiency level. Students who have no background with the language do not need to take a placement test and can be enrolled in the first level.

2. How do I take the placement exam?

For French, German, Italian, and Spanish, the test is online at this link. The pre-test questions will direct you how to proceed based on your responses. Students are allotted 40 minutes to complete the test. The placement exam determines the course level at which you should start or continue your language studies. Results will post to PAWS overnight, at which time you’ll be able to enroll in the appropriate course.

Students who already speak one of these languages because they grew up in a home where that language was spoken should contact the director of that language program to determine their proficiency level.

French: Dr. Ariane Pfenninger apfennin@tcnj.edu
German: Professor Karen Fenner fennerk@tcnj.edu
Italian: Dr. Simona Wright simona@tcnj.edu
Spanish: Dr. Joe Goebel, Jr. goebel@tcnj.edu

For Chinese or Japanese, the program directors for those languages conduct the exam in person, whether the student has studied the language formally or speaks it at home. Students who need a placement exam should contact the appropriate program director for an in-person exam.

Chinese: Dr. Jia-Yan Mi mi@tcnj.edu
Japanese: Dr. Holly Didi-Ogren ogren@tcnj.edu

3. Who is exempt from the language requirement?

Students who have received any of the following:

  • 650 or higher on the College Board Subject Test
  • 5 on the AP exam
  • 7 on the International Baccalaureate Higher Level examination
  • an ACTFL certificate with a rating of Intermediate Low or higher

are exempt from any language requirement for their major, pending confirmation by the department chair. Students who wish to take a language course still need to take a placement exam.

Incoming first-year students who took a language AP exam are encouraged to take the language placement test even if they are still waiting for their test results. An AP score of 5 fulfills the language proficiency requirement, and the Office of Records and Registration will record that score in PAWS. Students who fulfill their language requirement with their AP score may typically continue in that language at the 200 level if they wish, and apply those courses toward an academic minor in that language.

Students who enter with an Associate of Arts or an Associate of Science from a New Jersey community college (not from anywhere else) are exempted from all liberal learning requirements, including the language proficiency requirement. However, students whose majors require language courses above the 103 level (such as International Studies, Spanish/Spanish Education, or World Languages and Linguistics) will need to take the placement exam to start or continue their language studies to fulfill the level required by their major.

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

Your test score will display immediately after submitting your last answer. You will also get your score in email. Scores will post to PAWS overnight, at which time you’ll be able to enroll in the appropriate course.

5. 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. Students who have completed four or more years of study (or its equivalent) in high school in French, German, Italian, or Spanish will not receive credit for 101 if they place into it. In this case we recommend that you fulfill your language requirement with a different language. Students who have taken Latin in high school and place into Latin 101 will receive credit for that course.

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

No. Your placement score simply tells you the appropriate course level to enroll in.

7. What happens if I earn an exemption score on the online test?

Students will be instructed to contact the Department of World Languages and Cultures office to validate their exemption score. These students should make an appointment by writing wlc@tcnj.edu.

8. 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, www.languagetesting.com.

A few languages can be tested by TCNJ faculty as well, such as Hindi, 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.

9. What if I’m a transfer student?

Transfer students who plan to continue studying a language at TCNJ must take the placement test in that language. Students will receive transfer credit for the levels they place out of.

Students who enter with an Associate of Arts or an Associate of Science from a New Jersey community college (not from anywhere else) are exempted from all liberal learning requirements, including the language proficiency requirement. However, students whose majors require language courses above the 103 level (such as International Studies, Spanish/Spanish Education, or World Languages and Linguistics) will need to take the placement exam to start or continue their language studies to fulfill the level required by their major.

10. What if I still have questions?

For Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, and Spanish
Contact:  Department of World Languages & Culture
Email: wlc@tcnj.edu
Phone:  609.771.2235

For Latin and Greek
Contact: Dr. Holly Haynes, Co-Coordinator of Classical Studies
Email: haynes@tcnj.edu
Phone: 609.771.2106

For American Sign Language
Contact: Steven Singer, Coordinator of the Education of Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Program
Email: singers@tcnj.edu
Phone: 609.771.2805

Top
Get ready for fall registration! See class schedules and more at our Advising Newsletter.Learn More
+ +