Commonly Asked Questions About Fulfilling the Language Requirement

Here are frequently asked questions that students have when deciding what class to take or if a placement test is necessary. Email Dr. Arielle Akines if you have questions.

1. What is the difference between a Placement Test and a Competency Test?

A placement test is a tool that places students into the correct language course for study at Wheaton College. A competency test is an examination that students take to demonstrate linguistic proficiency in a modern or classical language. A placement test cannot fulfill the language requirement.

2. I grew up speaking Spanish in Chile. Do I need to take a test? Spanish is my first language.

The following students are exempted from the language requirement:

  • International students (non-native speakers of English) who have fulfilled English proficiency requirements for admission.
  • Students whose entire high school curriculum (all written and oral instruction in every subject), was completed in a language other than English. Transcript validation required.
  • Students with approved disability exemptions may take 12 hours of Global Perspectives (GP) tagged courses to fulfill the Language Competency Requirement. 

If your background aligns with one or more of these exemptions, please email Dr. Akines to discuss your next steps. If you are not an international student, you will need to take an OPI exam or take and pass an intermediate language course.

3. How many times can I take the placement test?

You can take the placement test one time and results expire after one year.

4. Can I take the placement test from home?

Yes, you can take a placement test from home. Email Dr. Akines if you need to take a placement test in Greek, Hebrew, or Latin. 

5. What should I study for the placement test?

You do not need to prepare in advance. The placement test will determine the appropriate course for you.

6. If my placement test result places me into a class above 201, like Spanish 331, does that test result fulfill the language competency requirement?

No. A placement test cannot fulfill the language competency requirement. Students should take an OPI exam or take and pass a 300-level class. 

7. You should take a placement test if any of the following apply to you:

  • You were exposed to a foreign language at home and can communicate very basic things but need help in reading and writing the language.
  • You speak a language at home but cannot communicate back.
  • You studied a foreign language in a K-12 school system

8. Do I need to take the placement test? Can’t I just register for the class I prefer?

All students must take a placement test so that you are placed into the correct class.

9. My friend/roommate/high school teacher said that [Intermediate] was the right level for me. Do I still need the placement test?

Yes, you should take a placement test.

10. I am sure I didn’t learn anything in high school and forgot everything I knew. Can’t I just start over with 101? Do I need the placement test?

You should take a placement test to determine the appropriate class for you.

11. I already bought the textbook for the class I want to take. What if I take the placement test and it places me at a different level? Can’t I just take the class I was planning to take?”

You should take a placement test before purchasing course materials. If you have already purchased a book, do not break the plastic seal.