Getting an accurate picture of your language skills helps ensure that you are placed in the language level best-suited to your needs and current proficiency.  Get assessed as early as possible, you may need to change your registration.  Space in language courses is limited.

Placement Testing is now ON-LINE.  Testing procedures vary depending on language.  See IMPORTANT notes below.

All students who have NEVER taken a language course at Carleton must complete a Language Background Questionnaire (even if you have no experience in the language or you have already earned credit in a language course at another institution).  This questionnaire asks questions about your previous experience with the language you wish to study.  It takes only a few minutes to complete and the result will help determine whether or not you will also need to write a more comprehensive placement test.

Greyed out "Begin Questionnaire"
(Questionnaire no longer accepting submissions. Will reopen 1 March, 2023.)

1010 and 1110 students can register either before or after taking the questionnaire.  Students trying to register in an upper level course will need to receive a placement prior to registration.

Students who have already taken (or are taking) a course in the language at Carleton University should register for the next course in the sequence of study and are not eligible to be assessed again unless they have been granted an exception.  (Contact for details).

All students in the 1010/1110 course levels or those testing into an upper level course must participate and be observed in their class.  This process must be conducted during the first 3 classes and students found to be incorrectly placed will be asked to withdraw.  Students who have not attended (or not observed) by the 3rd class will be withdrawn by the Registrar’s Office.  If you have been placed at a different course level the School cannot guarantee a place in the course.

Any questions about testing can be directed to us by email at:


  • The regular testing period for Modern Language courses is between March 1 and December 1.   Assessments and placement testing for the Summer 2022, Fall 2022, and Winter 2023 terms will begin on March 1, 2022.
  • Please Note: Students taking a placement test after May 6 can not be guaranteed to have a result in time for Early Summer courses.  Placements taken after May 12 can only be used for Late Summer 2022, Fall 2022, or Winter 2023 courses.
  • Students are not permitted to repeat language courses in which they receive a grade of C or higher.
  • You may only complete a placement test once (for each language required).  Students who have taken a course (elsewhere) since studying the language at Carleton should request an exception to test again.  Students who have been away from their language studies for 3 or more years are expected to test again to determine their current proficiency level. Requests to test again should be sent to
  • For information on English as a Second Language tests please see our Credit ESLA page.
  • Please note that French language courses and placement tests are offered through the Department of French.