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 French Placement test is online and can be taken at any time from anywhere, once you have signed up for it here. You will then receive an email with information on how to access the test. Requests will be processed in a timely manner, but please allow for at least 24 hours.
Who should take a placement exam?
- Students who speak and/or have studied French
- Students who scored less than 3 on the AP French Language exam
Who does not need to take a placement exam?
- Students with no previous knowledge of French should enroll in FREN1009 (Elementary French I).
- Students who enroll in Elementary French I, who would like extra practice to fine tune their French skills, may also sign up for FREN1011(Elementary French I Practicum), a one-credit course.
AP French Language Exam Scores
Students who have taken the AP French Language exam should determine their placement based on the following recommendations.
- If you scored 3 on the AP French Language exam, the department recommends: FREN2209 Conversation, Composition, and Reading 1 (CCR 1)
- If you scored a 4 or 5 on the AP French Language exam, please visit the Foreign Languages resource table during course registration on Tuesday of your Orientation Session this summer OR email Prof. Kevin Newmark (email@example.com).
French Placement Test: Reading and Listening
ACTFL’s (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages) online Proficiency Placement test (APPT) is designed to help you determine the most appropriate course level for your ongoing studies in French.
- The test consists of two sections, reading and listening. Test items are either a genuine reading text or audio passage and multiple-choice questions with one correct answer associated with the text or passage.
- The two sections of the test may last up to 60 minutes.
- It is computer-adaptive, and each communication skill (reading and listening) presents between 10 - 25 items, depending on the ability of the test taker.
- Please make sure you have headphones for listening or a quiet place to play audio recordings from your computer.
Once you have completed the test, you will be able to view your score and your suggested placement, namely:
For any combinations not listed below, email Andréa Javel at firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Rating on Reading Test (RPT)||Rating on Listening Test (LPT)||Recommended Course|
|Novice Low (NL) - Novice Mid (NM)||Novice Low (NL) - Novice Mid (NM)||Elementary French I, FREN1009|
|Novice Low (NL) - Novice Mid (NM)||Novice High (NH)||Elementary French I, FREN1009|
|Novice High (NH)||Novice Low (NL) - Novice Mid (NM)||Elementary French I, FREN1009|
|Novice High (NH)||Novice High (NH)||Elementary French II, FREN1010 (offered only in the spring)|
|Intermediate Low (IL) - Intermediate Mid (IM)||Intermediate Low (NL) - Intermediate Mid (IM)||Intermediate French I, FREN1109|
|Intermediate Low (IL) - Intermediate Mid (IM)||Intermediate High (IH)||Intermediate French I, FREN1109|
|Intermediate High (IH)||Intermediate Low (NL) - Intermediate Mid (IM)||Intermediate French I, FREN1109|
|Intermediate High (IH)||Intermediate High (IH)||Intermediate French II, FREN1110 (offered in the fall and spring)|
|Intermediate High (IH) - Advanced Low (AL)||Intermediate High (IH) Advanced Low (AL)||CCR I, French Conversation, Composition, and Reading FREN2209|
|Advanced Low (AL) and above||Advanced Low (AL) and above||You may be ready for French courses at the 3000 level, especially if you had more than 4 years of a solid high school program in French and have had some experience studying abroad in France or a Francophone country.|
For further help in determining your placement, see the list of French language advisors below:
- Elementary and Intermediate French: Prof. Andrea Javel, email@example.com
- French CCR: Prof. Franco Mormando, firstname.lastname@example.org
- All French courses above CCR: Prof. Kevin Newmark, Kevin Newmark
If you scored a 4 or 5 on the AP French Language exam, please visit the Foreign Languages resource table during course registration on Tuesday of your Orientation Session this summer OR email Prof. Kevin Newmark (email@example.com).
Italian Placement Test
Guidelines for Italian Placement
If you studied Italian for more than one year or have a prior knowledge of the language, you can take a placement test which will help you determine the best Italian language course for you at BC. Please contact Italian Language Coordinator, Professor Brian O'Connor at firstname.lastname@example.org to take the test, or for any other questions regarding the study of Italian language at BC.
If you have never studies Italian or if you studied it in high school for one year, take ITAL 1003, Elementary Italian I.
If you studied Italian for tow to three years in high school or one semester at the college level, take ITAL 1004 Elementary Itallian II (spring semester).
If you studied Italian for thee to four years in high school or for two semesters at the college level, take ITAL 1113 Intermediate Italian I.
If you scored a three on the Italian Language AP exam, or studied Italian in high school for four years or three semesters at the college level, take ITAL 1114, Intermediate Italian II (spring semester).
If you scored a four or five on the Italian Language AP exam, or studied more than four years in high school or four semesters at the college level, take ITAL 2213, Italian Conversation, Composition and Reading.
Instructors and students should still confer on the first day of class to confirm accurate placement.
Spanish Placement Test Dates
The test will be proctored online. You must have your picture ID and your Boston College username and password with you before starting the test. The Spanish Placement Test will be open during the following period:
Testing Period: June 1 – June 24, 2023 from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm EDT during this period on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays
Special Testing Accommodations
If special testing accommodations are necessary, DO NOT take the Placement Test online during the summer. Make sure to submit your request for accommodations 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. You must receive the accommodations approval letter before taking the test. You will need to contact the test administrator (email@example.com) and present this letter in order to be able to take the test at the ‘special accommodations’ in-person testing session to be scheduled on the Wednesday of the first week of the Fall semester. The test can be taken only once.
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 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 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; however, you are encouraged to continue in the Spanish program at the appropriate higher 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.
- Students in the Connell School of Nursing and the Lynch School of Education and Human Development do not have a language requirement, but we encourage you to continue studying Spanish. You are welcome to take the Spanish Placement Test if appropriate or join the curriculum at a higher level if so qualified.
- Starting with the Class of 2022, students in the Carroll School of Management do not have a language requirement, but we encourage you to pursue the study of Spanish. 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||AP Exam Scores in Spanish||Language Requirement|
|6/7 higher level||3 or above||Language requirement fulfilled. Go to chart below|
|IB Language Exam in Spanish||AP Exam Scores in Spanish||Course / Test to be taken / Contact|
|Never studied Spanish||Never studied Spanish||Take SPAN1015 Elementary Spanish I|
|Did not take||Did not take||Take the Spanish Placement Test|
|3||Take the Placement Test if you wish to continue further studies in Spanish|
|6/7 higher level||4||SPAN2215 Conversation, Composition and Reading I|
|5||SPAN3392 Advanced Spanish|
|Native or heritage speaker||Native or heritage speaker|| Consult the Department
No. Preparation is not necessary for the Spanish Placement Test.
You can take it only once.
You will be allowed a maximum of 50 minutes to complete the test.
No. However, you should take the test seriously and answer each question to the best of your ability in order to obtain an accurate placement. If you do not know the answer to a question, it is best to simply leave it blank.
You are allowed to submit the test even though you may not have answered all the questions.
During the test, you cannot solicit outside help of any kind, including that of personal notes, print/electronic resources, or any person.
For freshmen, as scheduled in conjunction with FYE programming.
For sophomores, juniors and seniors, on selected dates and times during the first 8 days of classes (drop/add period) each semester, as well as in advance of course registration periods in November and April.
If the Spanish Placement Test is not taken in conjunction with the FYE programming, it will be offered during the first 8 days of classes (drop-add period), in the Boston College Language Laboratory in Lyons Hall 313.
During the registration periods in November and April, the test will be offered in the Boston College Language Laboratory in Lyons Hall 313.
Yes, you need to sign up online, only if you are taking the Spanish Placement Test during the first 8 days of Fall or Spring classes or during the November or April registration periods. The Spanish Placement Test Sign-Up Form (BC login required) will be available ten days in advance of each testing period.
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. To take the test during the drop-add, November, or April registration periods, make sure you have signed up online. The Spanish Placement Test Sign-Up Form (BC login required) will be available ten days in advance of each testing period.
It is crucial that you register with either the Disability Services Office or the Connors Family Learning Center as soon as possible so that they will be able to issue you a letter of accommodation. You will need to contact Professor Silvana Falconi and present this letter in order to receive the necessary accommodation at the ‘special accommodations’ testing session to be scheduled for Fall on the Wednesday of the first week of classes.
After submitting the test in Canvas, click the “next” button in the lower right of the screen to access your Placement Test score. If, at a later time, you wish to consult your test grade again, you may access the score at Canvas > Dashboard > “Spanish Placement Test” course > Grades.
For advising on placement in:
- Elementary and Intermediate Spanish, e-mail Professor Silvana Falconi
- Spanish CCR and Advanced Spanish, e-mail Professor Yohana Gil Berrio
Portuguese Placement Test
NOTE: There is no placement test in Portuguese; students should contact the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.