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Foreign Language Placement Test

All new students who have studied a foreign language in high school must complete a foreign language placement test online in Chinese, French,  German, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Russian or Spanish. You should complete this by July 14, so that you will have your placement before you begin registration.  Students who have studied Arabic or Hebrew (Classical or Modern) will need to take a brief placement exam once you have arrived on campus.

If you scored 3 or higher on an AP exam (4 or higher on AP Latin) or 6 or higher on an IB foreign language test, be sure to have your score sent to Wake Forest. That score will determine your foreign language placement.

If it is after July 7 and your AP/IB scores have not been applied to your academic record or you do not know the results of your AP/IB scores, complete the Foreign Language Placement test. AP/IB takes precedence over placement by the Foreign Language Placement Test, so your placement will be adjusted if a late-arriving AP/IB score so indicates.

Before You Start

You will take your foreign language placement test in WIN. To complete the test, you will need the following:

  • A computer with a high-speed Internet connection (such as DSL or cable modem service) and a Web browser. You must use Internet Explorer to take the Spanish or French exams.
  • Speakers or headphones (French or Spanish exam only)
  • MAC USERS: Students using Macintosh computers have often experienced difficulties if they take the test in French or Spanish (these tests include a listening section). If you are taking one of these two tests, try to get access to a PC, unless you scored 3 or higher on your AP test. In that case, it should not matter because you will be instructed to exit the test after the second or fourth screen.
  • An uninterrupted block of time. Approximately one hour and a half for French or Spanish and one hour for any of the other languages (Chinese, German, Italian, Japanese, Latin or Russian). Completion times will vary by individual.
  • Information concerning foreign language requirements is available in The Undergraduate Bulletin. Your academic adviser can also assist you in understanding your placement score and the foreign language requirement during Orientation.

Frequently Asked Questions

I have AP credit in a language. Do I still need to take the exam?

If you have 3 or higher on an AP exam (4 or higher on AP Latin) or 6 or higher on an IB foreign language test, you do not need to complete the Foreign Language Placement exam.

Please note that Wake Forest MUST receive your scores directly from The College Board (www.collegeboard.org/ap).  The Wake Forest College code is 5885. You will not be allowed to register for the upper-level language courses until your scores are received. If you have additional questions regarding Advanced Placement, please contact the Registrar’s office at 336-758-5207.

I have studied language X in high school, but have no plans to continue studying that language in college. Do I still need to take the placement exam?

Wake Forest policy states that a student must take a placement exam in any language studied in high school even if he/she does not intend to continue with it. In the past, students have needed to return to a previously studied language. Taking a placement exam is not a commitment to study that language. It is simply a matter of having a record, in case it is needed.

Can I take the placement exam on a language that I have not studied?

No.

Do I have to take the placement exam if I am a native speaker of a language other than English?

Students for whom English is a second language do not usually take a placement test in their first language, but may do so for any third language they have studied. They are generally exempted from the basic requirement in foreign language and literature, and should contact the Language Review Committee for International Students through David Levy, Associate Dean for Faculty Governance.

If I lose my Internet connection while taking the exam, will I have to start over?

If you lose the connection, all the work that was submitted by that time will have been saved. When you reconnect, you will see the last screen you were working on and will be able to continue from there.

Can I speak with a professor of a language if I have non-technical questions?

The following professors have agreed to answer questions about the placement exam for particular languages (since some of these professors might be out of town during part of the summer, the best way to contact them is by email):

  • Arabic: Darlene May — maydr@wfu.edu or 3336-758-5908
  • Chinese: Yaohua Shi —shiy@wfu.edu or 336-758-3994
  • French, Italian, & Spanish: Luis González — gonzall@wfu.edu or 336-758-5428
  • German: Grant McAllister — mcalligp@wfu.edu or 336-758-4023
  • Hebrew: Kenneth Hoglund— hoglund@wfu.edu or 336-758-5120
  • Japanese: Yasuko Takata Rallings — takatay@wfu.edu or 336-758-1999
  • Latin: James Powell — powell@wfu.edu or 336-758-5333
  • Russian: William Hamilton — hamilton@wfu.edu or 336-758-5803

What class should I take if I decide to start a new language?

If your experience in a previously studied language was not very successful, you should start the new language in Lang 111 (first-semester language class). If your experience was successful, you can start at the Lang 113 level. Lang 113 is for students who have studied another foreign language, are highly motivated, and have a good grasp of grammar and grammatical terms.

How do I know my placement results?

As soon as you have completed the exam, you may see your placement by going to the “Virtual Campus” tab in WIN and selecting “Your Foreign Language Placement Results.” Your results will come in the form of a class placement (for example, “Spanish 153″ or “French 111″).

How do I interpret my placement results?

An example using French follows:

  • French 111: First semester of French in college. Lowest possible placement.
  • French 113: First and second semesters of college-level French in one semester. It means that instead of two semesters, you can complete the first year of French in one semester.
  • French 153: Third and fourth semesters of French in college. You will need just one additional semester to complete the equivalent of two years of college-level French. After French 153, you take either French 212 or French 213 to satisfy the language requirement at Wake Forest.
  • French 154: Students who place at this level can complete the third and fourth semester in college in three classes a week because they have a higher proficiency level than students placing into French 153.
  • French 212/213: Students will need just one of these two courses to fulfill their basic foreign language requirement at Wake Forest.
  • French 214: The Honors section of French 213, for students with very strong high school preparation. Students with an AP score of 3 or higher or an IB language score of 6 or higher also place into French 214.
  • French 216: For students with very strong high school preparation and/or extended study or residence in a French-speaking country. This class satisfies the foreign language basic requirement and counts toward a minor/major.

Numbers may vary slightly depending on the language. Consult the catalog or ask your adviser.

Can I register for a course at a higher level than the one I placed into?

Yes. If you feel that your placement is too low, you can enroll in a higher-level course at your own risk. In most cases, you will need the permission of the professor. You should contact the professor, who will give you a POI (Permission of Instructor) number if he/she approves you to take his or her class.

Can I register for a course at a lower level than the one I placed into?

No. The Wake Forest placement policy states that you must enroll in the course at the indicated level, or at a higher level. It is possible to appeal your language placement, but only after the semester starts, and you have attended a couple of classes at the indicated level. At that time, you should consult the professor of that course for information about the appeals process.

Placement Appeals

We recognize that sometimes the placement test fails to bring out a certain weakness or deficiency, and the student may need personal accommodation in order to arrive at the right placement level. In that case, the student may appeal his/her placement to a departmental representative (placement appeals officer).

If you decide to appeal, you still must go to the assigned class for the first couple of sessions (as indicated in The Undergraduate Bulletin) to see how it “feels,” to discuss any reservations with your instructor, and to identify specific problems. Then, if you still think you should change to a lower level after trying the indicated one, make an appointment with the placement appeals officer. The following professors are the appeals officer for each language or will tell you whom to contact.

  • Arabic: Darlene May — maydr@wfu.edu or 3336-758-5908
  • Chinese: Yaohua Shi —shiy@wfu.edu or 336-758-3994
  • French: Stéphanie Pellet — pelletsh@wfu.edu or 336-758-4383
  • German: Grant McAllister — mcalligp@wfu.edu or 336-758-4023
  • Hebrew: Kenneth Hoglund— hoglund@wfu.edu or 336-758-5120
  • Italian: Roberta Morosini — morosir@wfu.edu or 336-758-7181
  • Japanese: Yasuko Takata Rallings — takatay@wfu.edu or 336-758-1999
  • Latin: James Powell — powell@wfu.edu or 336-758-5333
  • Russian: William Hamilton — hamilton@wfu.edu or 336-758-5803
  • Spanish: Luis González — gonzall@wfu.edu or 336-758-5428

He/she will interview you to determine whether there is a major deficiency that justifies reassignment to a lower level. If so, then he/she will notify the Registrar and department in writing, and you may then “add/drop” to the other course. Without that written approval, a unilateral switch to a lower course will result in zero credit for it.

Note that it is to your advantage to continue with a language you have started, and in the course you’re placed in if you’re capable of it. Going down to a lower level will extend the time needed to fulfill the foreign language basic requirement. On the other hand, in most cases no special appeal is needed in order to try a higher level that you believe you’re capable of; you should contact the professor of the course to explain your background and request permission to enroll.