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Placement Testing Guidelines

Please note:

  • A placement test consists of both an oral and a written portion.
  • The written portion of the placement test for Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Russian and Spanish must be taken online prior to the oral test.
  • Oral tests are administered on campus in September during the week prior to classes, and in the sixth week of each quarter.
  • Placement test results are valid for one calendar year. After one year, the placement test must be retaken if a student intends to study the language at Stanford and has not yet done so.
  • Taking a placement test and placing out of the first year of any language fulfills the Undergraduate Language Requirement.
  • Read more about fulfilling the Language Requirement here:

Placement Test Guidelines

ALL students with ANY prior exposure (such as formal study or home background) to a language they intend to continue studying at Stanford MUST take a placement test in that language before enrolling in a course. Students may not self-place into language courses and must enroll according to their placement results.

  • If you have no prior experience with the language, you do not need to take a placement test. Enroll in the first quarter of the first-year sequence.
  • If you have minimal experience with the language and believe you should start at the very beginning, take the placement test. Students with ANY background (study or home background) in a language may not self-place, even into beginning-level courses.

Information on Specific Languages:

If you are continuing in Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Russian and Spanish: take the online written portion of the placement test before you take the oral test.

In the case of Spanish ONLY: if you are an incoming or current freshman who received a 4 or 5 on the AP Spanish Language Exam, or a 630 or above on the SAT II in Spanish, then you do not need to take the online portion of the Spanish placement test. This exemption applies only to incoming and current freshmen.

Placement tests in Arabic, Hebrew, Hindi, Portuguese, Vietnamese, Latin, and Classical Greek do not have an online component. These tests are administered on campus in September in the week prior to classes and by appointment.

If you are continuing in a Special Language, please contact Eva Prionas to arrange a placement test:

If you have further questions, please contact