Exemption & Placement

Foreign Language Placement Guidelines

Placement tests are mandatory for students who continue language study in French, German, or Spanish.

Students pursue study in foreign languages for a number of reasons, often in the context of specific graduation requirements. For example, all students receiving degrees (B.A. or B.S.) in the College of Arts and Sciences and all other university students who receive the B.A. must complete a classical or modern foreign language through the intermediate level. This can be demonstrated with foreign language coursework through the 2000 level (2220 or the equivalent course) or with an equivalent language placement test score.

For those students who have initiated foreign language study prior to entering Florida State University (specifically in high school where no college credit was awarded), selection of the appropriate language course level is extremely important. It is for that reason that a mandatory (no cost) placement test will now be required for all students who plan to continue study in French, German or Spanish and have not already received college credit for that language. Students who are studying a new language which they did not study in high school, and for which they have no other experience, are not required to take such a test but would enroll in the 1120 level of the language of interest. Native speakers of any language other than English may be exempt from the language requirement and should consult the Modern Language advisor in 364 Diffenbaugh. 

The purpose of a placement test is to ensure that students continue their language studies without repeating material and with as few gaps in their learning as possible. Students do not receive credit for a placement test; however, there are methods of receiving credit through other tests that are described below.


All students who have prior experience with the language and are taking their first FSU course in French, German, or Spanish are required to take a placement test. Students with no prior experience in the language are not required to take a placement test. Students who have already started their language sequence at FSU do not need to take a placement test to continue. Students who arrive at FSU with college credit for language study will also not be required to take the test since their placement level will be based on transfer work completed.

Because the placement tests are available only for French, German, and Spanish, students of other languages who have had previous instruction in the language must consult the undergraduate advisor in the Department of Modern Languages (364 DIF) for proper course placement. Other modern languages taught at FSU include Arabic, Chinese, Modern Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, and Russian.

Placement Test Score Sheet


1. Who does not fall under the mandatory placement exam requirement?
 - Students who entered the university before Spring 2003.
 - Students who have already started studying that language at the college level. 
 - Students who are beginning a completely new language.

2. I took Spanish in high school, but now I want to take Japanese. Do I need to take a placement test?
No. Because you have never taken Japanese before, there is no reason to take a placement test. You would begin your study of Japanese with JPN 1120.

3. I took two years of French in high school, but that was a long time ago. Shouldn't I just start over? 
No, you should not waste time repeating material that you already know. Students sometimes remember more than they think they do. You need to take the test.

4. I want to take Italian, but there is no test.What should I do?
If you have never had Italian before, you begin with ITA 1120. If you have previously studied Italian, you need to talk to the undergraduate advisor in Modern Languages (DIF 364).

5. Where do I take the Placement Test?
At the Testing Center in University Center Building C. For more information please call 644-3017 and visit: http://distance.fsu.edu/testing to schedule an appointment.

6. When do I take the Placement Test?
You must make an appointment to take a placement test. You can sign up for an appointment using RegisterBlast: https://www.registerblast.com/fsu/Exam. Please refer to the Testing Center website (http://distance.fsu.edu/testing) for the most up-to-date information about testing center hours, location and contact information.

7. How long does the Placement Test take?
The test takes about one hour and is multiple-choice in format. There is no speaking or listening on the test.

8. What do I do with the score?
Print out the score report from your Blackboard site to bring to your first class meeting. Students are required to take the placement test before they officially enroll in French, German or Spanish- unless they have no previous experience with the language.  If your score is high enough to exempt the foreign language requirement, please print your score report and take it to your academic dean’s office.

9. Do I get credit for previous courses if I place out of the first semester?
No. No course credit is given for the placement test. However, you will save time (and money) by skipping a semester or two of language study. Many students will only need to take one semester of language at FSU to satisfy specific graduation requirements.

10. Is there any way to get college credit for my previous study of a language?
Yes. If you took a course in high school that grants college credit, FSU will recognize that credit. FSU also grants credit for national, standardized tests (CLEP, AP, IB, etc.) and dual enrollment in Florida. Transfer credit from other universities may also be accepted.

11. What is the CLEP exam?
The CLEP exam (College Level Examination Program) is a national, standardized test. It includes listening as well as reading and grammar skills. It is available in French, German and Spanish. Students may receive up to 12 credits through this exam. The CLEP test may not be taken if the student has previously enrolled in any college-level course in the language. You may register for the CLEP at the Assessment Services Test Center, Rm. 1200 University Center Bldg. C. There is a fee for this exam. If you decide to take the CLEP, you must take it before you register for any language courses at FSU. For further information about the CLEP exam and associated fees please call 644-3017 or visit: http://distance.fsu.edu/testing.

12. I took the placement test but I do not really think the score reflected my abilities. Can I take it again? 
Students are not allowed to repeat the test for 60 days. If you think the score does not reflect your knowledge, your best option is to talk to the undergraduate advisor in Modern Languages (DIF 364).

13. If I have already received college credit in a language am I permitted to take a placement test?
No. Students entering FSU Fall 2011 or later, who have received college credit of any kind (CLEP, AP, IB, Dual Enrollment, etc.) for the language they wish to continue studying, are NOT permitted to take the placement test without approval from an advisor or administrator in the Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics. If permission to take a placement exam is granted to a student with previous college credit, this score may be used for placement purposes only. Students entering FSU Fall 2011 or later will not be permitted to use a placement test for foreign language exemption if they have ever received college credit for that language. No exceptions to this policy will be made. 

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