Exemption & Placement



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 2000 level (2200 or the equivalent course). 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 either 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. Students who have already started their language sequence will not be required to take the placement exam as their placement level will be based on work completed. The purpose of a placement test is to ensure that students continue their language studies without repeating the same 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 in Questions 12 and 13 below.


Because placement tests are only available for French, German, and Spanish, students who have had previous instruction in the language in which they wish to continue studying must consult with the Modern Languages and Linguistics academic advisor for proper course placement. Other modern languages taught at FSU include Arabic, Chinese, Modern Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Russian, and Ukrainian. Please email MLLAdvising@fsu.edu to set up a proficiency/placement test for one of these languages. Native speakers of any language other than English may be exempt from the language requirement and should consult the Modern Languages and Linguistics academic advisor. Please email MLLAdvising@FSU.EDU for more information.



1. Who does not fall under the mandatory placement exam requirement?
Any student who is continuing the study of the same language and who does not already have college credit in that language is encouraged to take the test. However, the following groups do not fall under the requirement:

  • Students who entered the university before Spring semester 2003.
  • Students who have already started studying a language at FSU.
  • Students who are beginning a completely new language.

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

3. I took two years of German 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 would begin with ITA 1120. If you have previously studied or have native ability in Italian, you need to talk to the Modern Languages and Linguistics academic advisor in 364 Diffenbaugh (or email mlladvising@fsu.edu).

5. Where do I take the Placement Test?
The placement test is available in person at the Assessment & Testing Facility in University Center Building C,[CR3]  Suite 1100 by appointment. For more information please call 644-3017. You can also sign up for an in-person appointment using the FSU Testing Center registration system. There is an option to take the placement exam online FOR A FEE. Contact https://testing.fsu.edu/ for more information.

6. When do I take the Placement Test?

  • You should take the placement exam before registering for a language course to ensure proper placement.

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. When will I get my score?
Student’s scores will appear on their Canvas site within an hour or two. The accompanying score chart will indicate which language course you are eligible to take based on the scoring system.

9. What do I do with the score?
A copy of your score needs to be taken to their first class period for proof of eligibility. Students who do not have proof may be dropped from their French, German or Spanish class on the first day.

If you receive a score high enough for exemption from the foreign language requirement, a waiver will be entered to satisfy your language requirement. Language waivers for Spanish, French, and German are now entered in an automated process that runs three times a semester. You will receive an email when your waiver has been entered and it will also be visible on your Academic Requirements Report. If you take a placement test and score high enough for a waiver and do not receive an email or see it on your Academic Requirements Report by the day that grades are available after a semester ends, please email mlladvising@fsu.edu and include your emplid, the test you took, the score you received and the date you took it.

10. Do I get credit for previous courses if I place out of the first semester?
No. Course credit is not 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.

11. 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, and IB). If you have credit through AP or IB, that credit will be assigned by the registrar and appear on their FSU transcript. Transfer credit from other accredited universities may also be accepted.

12. 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. However, the CLEP test may not be taken if the student has previously enrolled in any college-level course in the language. There is a fee for the exam. If you decide to take the CLEP, you must take it before you register for language courses at FSU. For further information about the CLEP exam and associated fees please call the Assessment & Testing Facility at 644-3017 or visit: https://testing.fsu.edu/. Please note that the Placement Test is not the CLEP exam. The CLEP exam has a fee even for FSU students and will provide you with college credit.

13. I took the placement test but I do not really think the score reflected my abilities. Can I take it again?
Students may repeat the test every 60 days, but the department does not recommend taking the placement test more than twice unless special circumstances warrant it. If you think the score does not reflect your knowledge, then your best option is to talk to the Modern Languages and Linguistics academic advisor in 364 Diffenbaugh.

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