Do I need to take a placement test?

Students with no previous knowledge of the language do NOT need to complete a placement test and should register in an introductory level course (1010 or 1110).  The exception is ARABIC – all students need to contact the instructor for placement.

  •  Note that French language courses are offered through the Department of French.

Students who have already taken a course in the language at Carleton University just need to register for the next course in the sequence of study.  Note that students are not permitted to repeat language courses in which they received a passing grade.

If you have some exposure to the language, you are required to take the placement test to finalize your registration in the course.  If you are entering our program for the first time AND have acquired some proficiency in this language in the past through a previous course or personal experience, please do not register in language courses until you complete a formal placement. You will need the results from this placement before you can register in upper-level courses.

What is considered previous knowledge of this language? having taken a language course (somewhere else), speaking the language with friends and family, having visited/lived for more than 3 months in a country where the language is spoken, or being able to communicate in the language, etc.

When can I take a placement test?

You are not required to pre-register for a test.  Drop by room 358 St Patrick’s Building with your student ID card a few minutes before the test time.  You will be given an hour to complete the written portion of the test. There is an oral interview for most languages.  You might meet with an instructor directly following your written test, or they might contact you for an oral interview by telephone, skype, or schedule a meeting with you.   If you cannot take the test on the days and times listed below, or if you have any questions about the placement test, please email

Students currently registered in High Schools may complete the placement test at their school through their Guidance Counselor.  Students wishing to do so should have their Counselor contact at the School of Linguistics and Language Studies for test arrangements.

Placement testing is available for courses offered in the Early/Full SUMMER (March to May); Late SUMMER (March to June); FALL (March to September) and WINTER (March to September and October to December).

Placement Testing Schedule  October 1- December 12, 2017 (Winter 2018 courses only)
German, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Ki-Swahili, Korean, Portuguese and Spanish* Tuesdays 9:30 a.m. and  2:00 p.m. (358 SP)
American Sign Language contact Celia Young for testing arrangements
Arabic Mondays and Wednesdays 1:30 p.m. (358 SP).
Chinese contact Laura Luo for testing arrangements
Russian* contact Marina Sabanadze for testing arrangements
* Heritage language classes are also available in these languages.  These classes are for students with extensive previous exposure to the language and may require a different placement test.  Please check the Heritage languages page to see if this applies to you.

IMPORTANT: once classes start, you will be assessed again by your instructor.  If your proficiency is found to be wrong for the course, you will be required to drop the course.  If, by the end of the registration period, you do not attend class, and your proficiency cannot be confirmed by the instructor, you will be withdrawn from the course by the Registrar’s Office. The School cannot guarantee you a place in another course level.

How to prepare for the placement test

In order to complete this test to the best of your ability, we recommend that you spend some time refreshing your skills prior to the test. Good preparation will make it easier for instructors to accurately place you. You don’t have to study for weeks, but you might consider one or more of the following activities:

  • read online articles that interest you
  • watch subtitled films or listen to music, preferably with the lyrics (again, the web helps)
  • look through any old texts or other material you may have
  • look for local community newspapers and radio or TV programs in the language
  • seek out speaking opportunities with others who speak the target language