Language Placement

This information is useful for incoming first-year students during summer orientation as well as for all students and their advisors throughout the academic year in determining their course of language study. Registering for the right level course is crucial for your success in studying a foreign language.

Despite the availability of quantitative exams and general guidelines, proper language placement is not an exact science. In some cases, placement might be determined by attending the first days of classes and consulting with your language instructor or the language coordinator immediately. If you believe you fall into this category (the class seems too difficult or too basic for you), please contact the appropriate language coordinator before the end of the first week of the drop/add period. It is important to follow the professional advice of your instructors or the coordinators in this matter.

Given the expense involved, it is also not advisable to purchase language textbooks from non-refundable sources in advance of the new semester unless you are absolutely certain of which course you will be taking.

Our language curriculum is structurally "progressive": that is to say, one course builds upon the previous one in helping you to develop mastery of the various, necessary skills (reading, listening, writing, speaking) in order to reach true mastery of the language. Experience has shown that, frequently enough, if you skip one of the courses in this carefully constructed sequence, it is likely that you will not do well in the course or, just as importantly, will not reach the level of competence necessary to succeed in higher-level courses in literature and culture.

For specific details about the French, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish placement tests, refer to the individual language sections below.

French Placement Test

The online placement test is designed to help you determine the most appropriate course level for your ongoing studies in French. The test usually takes from 5 to 30 minutes to complete (depending on your background), consists of multiple choice questions, and covers grammar, vocabulary, and reading comprehension. Once you have completed the test, you will be able to view your score and your suggested placement, namely:

  • scores below 255: take FREN 1009, Elementary French I
  • scores 255 - 295: take​ FREN 1010, Elementary French II (only offered in the spring)
  • scores 296 - 394: take ​FREN 1109, Intermediate French I
  • for scores above 394​: take FREN 1110, Intermediate French II (only offered in the spring); but if your score is significantly higher, you may be eligible for FREN 2209, French Conversation, Composition and Reading (CCR1): please consult Prof. Jeff Flagg (flaggj@bc.edu), Coordinator of French CCR.

More information about the placement test can be found below, “Taking the French Placement Test”.
 

Guidelines for French Placement

If you scored a four or five on the French Language AP exam or over 600 on the SAT Subject Test* in French, consult with Professor Flagg at james.flagg@bc.edu.

If you scored a three on the French Language AP exam or in the 550-600 range on the SAT Subject Test* in French, take FREN2209, French Conversation, Composition, and Reading I.

If you scored less than three on the French Language AP exam or less than 550 on the SAT Subject Test* in French or if you have not taken either exam, take the online test. Information about the placement test can be found below Taking the French Placement Test. You must take this test prior to your campus Orientation session. Register for the course suggested upon finishing the online test. Please write down your score if you would like to discuss your placement with an advisor at Orientation.

If you have never studied French, take FREN 1009, Elementary French I.

*Note that either form of the SAT Subject Test is acceptable: with or without the listening component.

Instructors and students should still confer on the first day of class to confirm accurate placement.

Further Questions: For advising on placement in:

  • Elementary and Intermediate French, e-mail Professor Andrea Javel;
  • French CCR and upper-level courses, e-mail Professor Jeff Flagg.
     

Taking the French Placement Test

The test is offered online and can be taken at any time. You will need your BC username; the password is eagles1. For questions about the test, e-mail the French Placement Test Coordinator, Professor Andrea Javel.

Italian Placement Test

Guidelines for Italian Placement

There is no on-line placement test in Italian. Please contact Coordinator, Brian O'Connor at brian.oconnor@bc.edu for any questions that are not addressed in the following guidelines.

If you have never studied Italian or if you have studied it in high school for one year or less, take ITAL 1003, Elementary Italian I.

If you have studied Italian for two to three years in high school, take ITAL 1004, Elementary Italian II (spring semester).

If you have studied Italian for three to four years in high school or for one year at the college level, take ITAL 1113, Intermediate Italian I.

If you scored a three on the Italian Language AP exam or in the 550-600 range on the SAT Subject Test* in Italian, or have studied Italian in high school for more than four years or for two years at the college level, take ITAL 2213, Italian Conversation, Composition, and Reading I.

If you scored a four or five on the Italian Language AP exam or over 600 on the SAT Subject Test* in Italian, consult with Professor Brian O’Connor at brian.oconnor@bc.edu.

Instructors and students should still confer on the first day of class to confirm accurate placement.

*Note that either form of the SAT Subject Test is acceptable: with or without the listening component.

Spanish Placement Test

The online placement test is designed to help you determine the most appropriate course for your ongoing studies in Spanish. This test will be proctored and will take up to 45 minutes to complete.

For Freshmen

The Spanish Placement Test will be administered on each Sunday morning before Freshmen Orientation check-in. For questions about the Placement Test, contact the RLL Dept. at: rll@bc.edu

Spanish Placement Test Procedures

If you have taken Spanish in high school, it is highly recommended that you continue taking Spanish during your freshman year until you fulfill the language requirement with Intermediate Spanish II (SPAN1116). If you postpone the Spanish courses until your second year or later, you might forget part of what you previously learned, making the courses more demanding.

To register for the appropriate Spanish course in order to work toward the fulfillment of the language requirement in Spanish, you should do the following:

  • Take the Spanish Placement Test on the Sunday of the summer orientation. The Spanish Placement Test is a proctored, computer base test delivered onsite. It can be taken only once.
  • Arrive at Corcoran Commons (second floor) at 11:00 a.m. on the Sunday of summer orientation and register for the test in person.
  • Bring your picture ID and your Boston College username and password. You won’t be able to take the test if you do not have this information.
  • If you have taken the AP Exam and have not yet received the score, take the Spanish Placement Test and register for the course recommended when you complete the test. When you receive the AP score, you should do the necessary placement adjustment according to the information provided in the table below.
  • You will receive your grade after finishing the Spanish Placement Test and will be ready to register on Tuesday during the registration session. If you have questions, speak with a language advisor at your registration session.
  • If you place higher than Intermediate Spanish II on the Placement Test, you have not fulfilled the language requirement. You must contact Prof. Adela Penagos (penagos@bc.edu) and may not enroll in Intermediate Spanish II.
     

Special testing accommodations

If special testing accommodations are necessary, make sure to submit your request as early as possible by registering with either the Disability Services Office or the Connors Family Learning Center, so that they will be able to issue you a letter of accommodation. It is recommended that you wait for this accommodation approval before taking the test. It can be taken only once. You will need to contact Professor Silvana Falconi and present this letter in order to be able to take the test at the ‘special accommodations’ testing session to be scheduled for Fall semester on the Wednesday afternoon of the first week of classes.

Who needs to take the Spanish Placement Test

  • If you have never studied Spanish, you do not need to take the Spanish Placement Test. Register for SPAN1015 Elementary Spanish I. ONLY students who have never studied Spanish or who place into the course may enroll in Elementary Spanish I.
  • If you have studied Spanish but have not taken the SAT Subject Test or the Spanish Language AP Exam, take the Placement Test.
  • If you have taken the AP Exam and have not yet received the score, take the Spanish Placement Test and register for the course recommended when you complete the test. When you receive the AP score, you should do the necessary placement adjustment according to the information provided in the table below.
  • If you scored 550 or above on the SAT Subject Test or a 3 or above on the Spanish Language AP Exam, or 6/7 on the IB Language Exam (higher level), you have fulfilled the language requirement and you are encouraged to continue in the Spanish program at the appropriate level.
  • Transfer students: If you have taken Elementary or Intermediate Spanish at a 4-year institution of higher education, sign up for the next course in sequence without taking the placement test. However, if you did not take Spanish at a 4-year institution of higher education, but did take Spanish in high school, you should take the Spanish Placement Test. Transfer students coming from 2-year institutions should take the placement test.
  • Class of 2022: students in the Connell School of Nursing, Lynch School of Education or Carroll School of Management do not have a language requirement, but we encourage you to pursue another language. You are welcome to take the Spanish placement test if appropriate or join the curriculum at a higher level if qualified to do so.

Guidelines for Spanish Placement

IB Language Exam in Spanish SAT Test Scores in Spanish AP Exam Scores in Spanish Language Requirement
6/7 higher level 550 or above 3 or above Language requirement fulfilled. Go to chart below
IB Language Exam in Spanish SAT Test Scores in Spanish AP Exam Scores in Spanish Course / Test to be taken / Contact
Never studied Spanish Never studied Spanish Never studied Spanish Take SPAN1015 Elementary Spanish I
Did not take Did not take Did not take Take the Spanish Placement Test
  659 or less 3 Take the Placement Test if you wish to continue further studies in Spanish
6/7 higher level 660-700 4 SPAN2215 Conversation, Composition and Reading I
  710 or above 5 SPAN3392 Advanced Spanish
Native or heritage speaker Native or heritage speaker Native or heritage speaker  Consult the department
(rll@bc.edu)


Spanish Placement Test FAQ and Sign-Up Forms


Spanish Placement Test Dates

The online Spanish Placement Test is or will be open during the following period:


January 2019 (Drop-Add) Registration Period

Sign-Up Period Opens:   January 4, 2019
Testing Period:   January 15 – January 22, 2019

YOU MUST SIGN UP IN ADVANCE. When the sign-up period opens, please sign up for the test by completing the requested information on the Spanish Placement Test Sign-Up Form (BC login required) which will be available here beginning on the Sign-Up Period date indicated above.

Portuguese Placement Test

NOTE: There is no placement test in Portuguese; students should contact the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures at rll@bc.edu for more information.