Modern and Foreign Language

French, German, Ancient Greek, Latin and Spanish Foreign Language Placement Exam


  1. To set students up for success in their continued studies of one or more of the languages mentioned above by placing them in a language course that, as much as possible, allows them to build and expand upon their prior knowledge of the language studied. The goal is to place students in a course that, given due effort on their part, neither completely over-challenges nor under-challenges them.
  2. To ascertain whether students with considerable prior knowledge of one of the languages mentioned above have enough knowledge to “test out” of the University’s Intermediate-level foreign language requirement that applies to all students who want to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree, i.e. a B.A. degree in Biology, Catechetics, Chemistry, Classics, Communication Arts, Drama, Economics, English, French, German, History, Humanities and Catholic Culture, Legal Studies, Music, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology, Spanish and/or Theology.


  1. French, German, Latin, and Greek:
    The Placement/Testing-Out Exams in French, German, Latin, and Greek will be administered on Friday, August 23, 2013, at 9:15 a.m. in the Sts. Cosmas & Damian Science Building . Note: If you want to take a placement exam in two languages and/or missed your French and/or German Placement Exam on Friday, there will be a second opportunity to take the German and/or the French exam on Monday, August 26, 2013, at 8:00 a.m. in Egan 205 (Language Learning Center).
  2. Spanish:
    The Spanish Placement Test is administered online and MUST be taken prior to your arrival at the University. For information on how to take the test online and on how to interpret your test results, please go back to the Placement Exam Information page and click on the pertinent links. If you have any further questions, please attendthe OPTIONAL purely informational Spanish placement meeting on Friday, August 23, 2013, at 2:30 Sts. Cosmas & Damian Science Building . Also,
    1. if you are unsatisfied with your online test score or
    2. your online test score indicates that you might have a chance at testing out of the University's Intermediate level foreign language requirement for B.A. degrees,
    your only opportunity to take the Spanish Testing-Out/Placement Exam is on Monday, August 26, 2013, at 8:00 a.m. in the Pugliese Lecture Hall in Sts. Cosmas and Damian Science Building .  

Who SHOULD TAKE the Placement/Testing-Out Exam?

All students with prior knowledge of one or more of the languages mentioned above who have acquired their knowledge through avenues other than college courses and who did not take exams such as AP or CLEP or who did NOT score high enough on these exams to earn college-level credits. This includes:

  • students with previous language study in high school (but who did not take an AP Exam in a foreign language or who took the exam, but did not reach a test score of at least 3 on that exam); 
  • students who grew up bilingual; and 
  • students who are native speakers of the above-mentioned languages.

Who does NOT need to take the Placement/Testing Out Exam?

  • If you transferred college-level language credits into Franciscan University in the language you wish to continue studying here, you should simply enroll in the next-higher language course offered here at Franciscan. If you are at all in doubt about your placement, please consult Prof. Beate Engel-Doyle (Modern Languages) or Dr. Joseph Almeida (Classics) during University Days in June and/or Orientation in August.
  • If you took the AP exam for the language you are interested in studying and scored 3 or higher, you do not need to take the placement exam. If you scored 3 or higher in any language but German you will receive six (6) Intermediate level college-level credits from Franciscan University (provided that the Registrar's Office receives the proper documentation). Those interested in German who scored a 3 on the AP will receive six (6) Elementary level credits, while those who scored 4 or higher will receive both six (6) Elementary level and six (6) Intermediate level credits (provided that the Registrar's Office receives the proper documentation).
  • As soon as you have received six (6) Intermediate level credits, you have satisfied the University's Intermediate level foreign language requirement for the B.A. degree and now are free to enroll in higher-level courses in that language.
  • If you are going to study a language here at Franciscan University, but have never taken a course in that language before and have not acquired knowledge of that language through any other means, there is no point to your taking a placement exam for that language. After consulting with your academic advisor / the department in which you intend to major, you simply enroll in French 101, German 101, Greek 101, Hebrew 105, Latin 103, or Spanish 101.


You do NOT earn ANY college-level credit by taking the placement exam in any language. This exam is merely for placement (and/or "testing out").

  • In order to earn college-level credit hours for French, German and/or Spanish courses that you tested out of by placing into higher-level courses, you must take the CLEP test. The CLEP exam is not administered by the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures. Rather, the CLEP exam (and any information about it), is available through the University’s Student Academic Services (SAS), located on the 1st floor of Egan. For details please contact Mrs. Tina Maroni at or by phone at 284-5358. 
  • In order to earn college-level credit hours in Latin and Greek, please see Dr. Richard Smith and/or Dr. Joseph Almeida during University Days in June and/or Orientation in August about the possibility of your earning credit by exam. 
  • Finally, please note that the option of credit by exam in French, German and Spanish is granted only under special/extenuating circumstances and is entirely at the discretion of the full-time faculty member who would administer the exam.

Frequently Asked Questions and Some Answers:

Question: “I took language X in high school, but now I want to study another language. Is that possible?"
Answer: Yes, you are free to study any language of your choosing that we offer.

Question: “If I took language X for a few years in high school, but now I want to embark on studying language Y, do I have to take the placement exam?”
Answer: No, you do not have to. You simply enroll in the first intro level course for language Y. However, you may want to take the placement exam for language X if you think that your knowledge of language X might be sufficient to test out of the University’s Intermediate-level foreign language requirement for B.A. degrees. After all, testing out of the requirement does not bar you from either continuing with further advanced level studies of language X or from starting to learn language Y.

Question: “I plan to major in a field that awards a Bachelor of Science degree. I understand that therefore I do not have to fulfill the University’s foreign language requirement that pertains to Bachelor of Arts degree students. Does that mean that I am barred from taking language courses even if I want to study/continue studying a language?"
Answer: No, you are free to study / continue studying any language that we offer. However, you should consult with your advisor / academic major department to make sure that doing so fits in with your degree program. Except for a few pre-professional degree programs, it usually will.

Question: “I want to study more than one language. Is that possible?”
Answer: Yes, of course. And if you need/want to take more than one placement exam in the modern languages, please, see the Chair of the Department of Modern and Literatures. She will be more than happy to administer the French or German Placement Exam to you on Monday, August 26, 2013, at 8:00 a.m. in Egan 205 (see above).

Question: “If my scores are high enough for me to test out of the University’s Intermediate-level language requirement for B.A. degrees, does that mean that I no longer am able to continue studying a language here at Franciscan?”
Answer: No, not all. Quite on the contrary! You are invited to continue your language studies in our advanced level language courses and/or to embark on studying another language. Better yet, you might want to consider becoming a language minor or major, or a double major in a language and practically any other degree program that the University offers. Please feel free to contact the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures or the Classics faculty to find out more about this exciting option.
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