College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Placement Exams

Placement exams help to determine the course in which you should enroll if you are continuing your study of a language with which you have had previous experience. These exams focus on your abilities and knowledge of the language rather than the amount of prior coursework that you have had. While some of the exams are offered online, the process of determining the proper placement will include a conversation with a placement advisor about your language background.

Incoming students should complete placement exams one week prior to their arrival on campus for orientation. Students failing to do so may be unable to sign up for a foreign language course until the add/drop period at the beginning of the semester.

Continuing students (those already enrolled at KU) may take placement exams at their own convenience. The results of these exams should be taken to the department offering the language to determine proper course placement.

Please note that you can only take the placement exam once.  Make sure that you are in a quiet location and have approximately 20 minutes to complete the exam.  If you encounter a technical issue while taking the exam, please contact

French, German, Russian or Spanish Placement

In order to take an exam in French, German, Russian or Spanish, you must create a new user account on the placement exam website.  That process requires the use of a KU email address but you should NOT use the same password as that used for your KU online ID.  You will only use this new user account to log into the placement exam website. 

At the end of the exam you will be provided with a score and a suggested placement, a copy of which will be provided to you at Orientation.  Descriptions of all courses are provided in the Course Catalog. If you feel that your placement exam results do not reflect your current level, please consult an appropriate advisor in the School for Languages, Literatures & Cultures.

In order to enroll in SPAN 212, SPAN 216, SPAN 322 or SPAN 324/328, you will need a permission code. If you are an incoming student, you will receive your permission code at Orientation. If you are a continuing student, please contact the Department of Spanish & Portuguese at to get the relevant permision code.

Chinese, Japanese or Korean.

Access to the Chinese, Japanese and Korean placement exams is through your KU online ID. At the end of the exam you will be given a preliminary placement, which you should use to register for a specific course. During the first week of classes, you will meet with a placement advisor to determine the accuracy of the placement. If it is determined that another course would be more appropriate, you will be allowed to transfer to that course.

For all other languages, consult an appropriate advisor in the School for Languages, Literatures & Cultures.


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