World Languages and Literatures Placement Exam
Students who have had at least two years of language instruction in high school within the past two years, or who have acquired language skills in some other manner, are required to take a language placement examination if they wish to continue their language study in that language at SMU. If the period of time that has elapsed since the language was studied is longer than two years, students must only take a placement exam if they wish to take a course above the beginning level.
Students who do not wish to abide by their placement exam results may petition the chair for an exemption (granted only in rare cases) or enroll in a language in which they have not had instruction in the past two years.
Exemptions from Testing
The second language requirement is waived for any students falling into the following categories: native speakers of a language taught at SMU, US citizens who attended an international high school in a country where English is not the primary language, US citizens whose native language or language spoken at home is not English, students who have earned the equivalent of two years of credit in a single language through a score of a 4 or 5 on a language AP test, or students who have earned a score of 5, 6 or 7 on an IB language testing. SMU does not accept any Foreign Language CLEP exams for credit or placement.
Please note that students who have taken AP or IB exams but have not yet received their results by the time they come to AARO, and who wish to continue their language study their first semester on campus, will need to take a placement exam in order to be accurately placed in a language course.
Transfer students with credit equal to 2 years of second language coursework at SMU are exempted from testing unless they wish to enroll in a language course. If a student with transfer credit in a language wishes to continue study in their respective language they are required to take a placement exam, even if they received transfer credit for coursework in that language. Should a discrepancy between their placement exam placement and their earned credit exist, the student will need to forfeit the debated credit earned if they wish to continue their language study. However, the student will be eligible for retroactive credit according to the usual process. Transfer students wishing to continue their language study must abide by the results of the placement tests. Exam results may be contested through a petition to the WLL Department Chair.
Second Language waivers, credit for AP and IB exams and transfer credit is awarded by the Office of Enrollment Services.
By taking a placement exam students have the opportunity to receive retroactive credit for beginning and intermediate courses in their language of study. Once students have completed the course into which they were placed with a grade of C or higher they may request any retroactive credit earned (up to a maximum of 16 credits depending on the language of study). Requests for retroactive credit are handled in the Office of World Languages and Literatures in 309 Clements Hall. Retroactive credits do not count toward fulfilling the second language requirement. For example, if a student’s placement exam score indicated s/he should enroll in 1402, the student would need to take 1402 and 2401 to fulfill the language requirement, despite the fact that retroactive credit for 1401 may be awarded after completion of 1402.
Language Exams Offered
Placement exams are offered in all languages taught at SMU (Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Spanish, and Russian). Exams are accessible through Blackboard, and all first-year students should have the WLL PL Exam appear when logged into Blackboard. Exams may be taken in more than one language, but each individual language exam may be taken only once.
The fee for all placement exam testing is covered by SMU fees and tuition.
Timing of Exam
Incoming students who are considering enrolling in a language course in the fall should take language placement exam(s) prior to attending AARO. Advisors cannot register a student for ANY language classes if s/he needs to have taken placement exam but has not.
A placement exam may be taken online via Blackboard at any time, from any location via computer with internet access and speakers. The exam results do not expire, although it is suggested that students register for language classes within a reasonable time after taking the placement exam so that the testing results reflect the student’s current knowledge of the language.
There is no time limit on the exam. The exam generally takes less than one hour.
Although some students review for the exam, it is to a student’s advantage to have the exam reflect his/her current knowledge of the language. Students should remember to PRINT their score report or save to .pdf before exiting the exam. Documentation of placement is needed for registration through an advisor, and test results also need to be given to language professors on the first day of class.
Additional information have be found at the World Languages and Literatures website: www.smu.edu/worldlanguages as well as the individual language websites.
Any non-technical questions about the placement exam should be directed to:
- Chinese: email@example.com
- French: firstname.lastname@example.org
- German: email@example.com
- Italian: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Japanese: email@example.com
- Latin: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Russian: email@example.com
- Spanish: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please contact Disability Accommodations and Success Strategies at 214-768-1470 if you have any questions regarding services for students with disabilities.
Technical problems should be addressed to email@example.com.
Six tests are offered during AARO:
- Math 1303 &1304 pre-calculus: for placement only, no credit
- Math 1307,1309, 1337 & 1338: for credit
Fee: $20; exact cash or check only. The math exams are at 2:30 p.m. on the first day of your AARO session. Report with $20 exam fee to Room 208 Clements Hall.
Review sample tests online: www.smu.edu/math/placement/
Which test should I take?
See below; also see www.smu.edu/math/placement. The mathematics department encourages students that have taken a strong precalculus course to take the placement exam so they do not have to repeat precalculus. Students that have taken calculus in high school can go directly into calculus without taking a placement exam or they can receive credit for calculus by passing the appropriate credit exam. All mathematics credit exams must be taken before the first day of classes.
No calculators are allowed except for Math 1307, for which a calculator is required. Students who will need extra time on the placement/credit exam may request that at the door upon entering the exam. Students who need other accommodations for a disability must first contact Disability Accommodations & Success Strategies at 214-768-1470 to verify disability and establish eligibility for accommodation.