1. University of Virginia
  2. Arts & Sciences

Foreign Language Placement

It is the student’s responsibility to familiarize him/herself with College of Arts & Sciences and Departmental policies on placement and enrollment in language courses.

  • Students may not enroll in a course different from the one into which they have placed.
  • Students who place themselves incorrectly will not receive credit for the courses in which they enroll without permission.
  • In keeping with the College of Arts & Sciences Area Requirements, courses taken to fulfill the foreign language requirement, must be taken for credit and a grade.

A list of frequently asked questions about the Foreign Lanugage (FL) requirement is below.

Italian Placement Exam

The Italian placement exam is only held twice a year on the Monday before classes begin each semester (Registration is required). All students with prior experience in Italian, before coming to UVa, must take the placement exam before beginning the sequence of courses at UVa. Students with no prior experience may enroll directly into Elementary Italian (ITAL 1010); no placement exam is needed. The sequence of courses, depending on the level at which the student begins, is as follows: ITAL 1010-1020-2010-2020; or ITAL 2010 and 2020; or ITAL 2020. The sequence must be followed to complete the language requirement.

If you have any questions, please contact Professor Emily Scida at ees2n@virginia.edu.

Fall 2014 Italian Placement Exam:

Monday, August 25, 2014  (1:00pm - 4:00pm)  Location: New Cabell Hall 032  (Registration Required)

Please register for the exam here:  http://questionpro.com/t/ADVykZRLyH.

 

Spanish Placement Exam

The Spanish placement exam is an online exam that may only be taken once. Attempting to take the exam more than once, without permission, is considered an honor offense. If you experience a technical or computer malfunction while taking the exam, you must obtain permission to retake the exam again by e-mailing spa-pla@virginia.edu.

All students with prior experience in Spanish must take the placement exam before beginning the sequence of courses at UVa. For guidance with Spanish placement, please click here to see the Spanish placement chart.

Two courses, SPAN 1010 and 1020, are reserved exclusively for students who present no entrance credits in the language. Students who enter with two or more entrance credits, who wish to continue in Spanish, will be placed according to scores obtained on the College Entrance Examination Board SAT II tests, the AP Exam, or the UVa Spanish placement exam.

The sequence of courses, depending on the level at which the student begins, is as follows: SPAN 1010-1020-2010-2020; or SPAN 1060-2010-2020; or SPAN 2010 & 2020; or SPAN 2020. The sequence must be followed to complete the language requirement.

Placement Exam Instructions

It is your responsibility to familiarize yourself with College of Arts & Sciences and department policies on placement and enrollment in language courses. Please read the following carefully before starting the placement exam, because you may only take this exam once.

Important:  Print the grade confirmation page at the end of the exam. It is your responsibility to keep this page as proof of placement to show your instructor.

 

You must enroll in the course in which you have placed. Students are not permitted to enroll in a level different from their placement. Students who place themselves incorrectly will not receive credit for the courses in which they enroll without permission.

Submission of the exam in your name means that the score honestly reflects your current language abilities without assistance from other people or any materials.

Follow these steps: (Please Remeber to Print a Copy of Your Exam Score at the End of the Exam.)

1.  Disable any pop-up blockers. You will need to consult your individual Internet browser, or any additional software that provides pop-up blocking in order to do this. Usually there are directions in the Help menu of relevant software programs.

2.  Once you enter the exam site, type in the exam password: cavaliers1 (notice there are no spaces).

3.  Fill out the information page. Please include your first and last names only. We do not need middle names and/or suffixes, such as “III”.

4.  Your UVa computing user ID (i.e., abc9d) and your e-mail address are required. You must include your computing user ID or your score will not be saved.

5.  Remember to print the grade confirmation page at the end of the exam. (It is your responsibility to keep this page as proof of placement to show your instructor.)

6.  Take the SPANISH ONLINE PLACEMENT EXAM

7.  After you print your exam score, please check the Spanish Placement Grid to determine your placement.

If you have questions or need additional information, please e-mail the Spanish Placement Advisors.

 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

General Placement FAQs

Do I have to take the class into which I have placed?  Yes. It is both College and Departmental policy that students must take the course into which they have placed. No student will be allowed to self-place into a class nor will any student receive credit for a course into which they have not placed. “Students who place themselves incorrectly will not receive credit for the courses in which they enroll without permission.” [see Undergraduate Record]

If I took the Placement exam a long time ago, can I retake it or take a lower level class?  No. Even if you took the Placement Exam a long time ago, you must still take the course into which you have placed. If you feel, after 4-5 days of attending the class, that the level is too difficult for you, then you may meet with the foreign of languge coordinator, Professor Emily Scida, to discuss your situation. However, changes will not be made lightly.

Can I skip a level?  No, “The sequence must be followed to complete the language requirement.” [see Undergraduate Record]

Can I take a course toward the foreign language requirement at another institution?  No. The College will NOT allow courses to transfer from other U.S. colleges/universities to fulfill the foreign language requirement. In other words, the foreign language requirement must be fulfilled only at U.Va. or at a U.Va. - approved abroad program.

I am currently a high school student (or Community Scholar) and wish to enroll in a FL course. May I get permission?  You can enroll in the course if it is under-enrolled. Our department cannot add students beyond the class limit. If the course is fully enrolled right now, you are welcome to wait and see what happens by the Drop Deadline to see if a space becomes available.

Can I audit a FL course?  If you are taking the class to fulfill the foreign language requirement, you must take it for a letter grade. Otherwise, students can audit a class ONLY IF the class is under-enrolled (if there are fewer than 18 students enrolled). If the class is fully enrolled, no one can audit the class.

Can I take Spanish or Italian classes elsewhere to fulfill the foreign language requirement?  Students can take SPAN or ITAL 1010-2020 in study abroad programs approved by our department. U.Va. offers direct credit programs in Valencia, Spain, and in Siena, Italy. For all other programs, students need to meet with Professor Scida for approval prior to going. The College will NOT allow courses to transfer from other U.S. colleges/universities to fulfill the foreign language requirement. In other words, the foreign language requirement must be fulfilled only at U.Va. or at a U.Va. - approved abroad program.

I'm applying to the McIntire School of Commerce (Comm School) and I need to get into this class to fill my FL requirement before they will accept me.  You will need to wait on the wait list to see if a spot becomes available. We cannot add you into this course.

If I can't get into this course, what other options are there for me to take Spanish/Italian?  We offer SPAN 2010 in J-Term and SPAN 1010, 1020, 1060, 2010, and 2020 in Summer Session at U.Va. We also offer Italian and Spanish in the Summer Language Institute at U.Va.

I accidently dropped myself from the course roster. Can I be added back in?  No. There is nothing the instructor can do to add you into a course. You will have to put your name on the wait list for several sections to see if a space becomes available.

I took the IB Exam. Where does that place me and do I receive credit at U.Va.?  If you took the IB Exam (higher level) and you received a score of 5 or 6, you place into SPAN 2020 and you receive 3 credits for SPAN 2010. If your score was a 7, you receive 6 credits for SPAN 2010 and 2020 and you place into SPAN 3010. A score from the IB Exam (standard level) does not award credit or place students at U.Va. 

I took the A-Level Exam. Where do I place?  You will need to meet with Professor Scida to discuss placement and credit. Bring a copy of your A-Level exam score. For additional information about international college-level exam credit, please go to http://college.artsandsciences.virginia.edu/iclec.

 

Italian Placement FAQs

When is the Italian Placement Exam offered?  The Italian Placement Exam is offered each semester on the Monday before classes begin.

If I miss the Italian Placement Exam at the beginning of the semester, when can I take it next?  If you missed the date of the Italian Placement Exam for this semester, you must wait to take it on the offered date at the beginning of next semester. The Italian placement exam is offered the Monday before each semester begins.

 

Spanish Placement FAQs

How can I find out my placement for Spanish courses?  Please see the Foreign Language Placement Index page on the College website. Also, the placement grid for Spanish classes is listed under the Additional Resources section below.

When can I take the Spanish Placement Exam?  The exam can be taken at any time online. Ideally, First Year students should complete the exam prior to Summer Orientation in order to know which Spanish class to sign up for.

Where is the Spanish Placement Exam located?  The exam is taken online (see link above). Please read the instructions carefully, as they provide you with the password necessary to access the exam as well as important information to be used both during the exam and once it has been completed.

How long does the Spanish Placement Exam take to be completed?  Like the SAT, the Placement Exam becomes progressively more or less difficult based on your last score. For this reason, it can take anywhere from 5-20 minutes to complete.

What kind of material is on the Spanish Placement Exam?  The exam covers both basic grammar and vocabulary.

How many times can I take the Spanish Placement Exam?  You may only take the exam one time. Any extra attempts to take the test will generate invalid scores and may be considered an honor code violation.

If I have lost my placement score for the Spanish Placement exam, who do I contact?  You should e-mail spa-pla@virginia.edu. Please give your name and the approximate date when you took the exam (examples: Summer 2008, Spring 2009). You do not need to include any other information with your request. Your score will be e-mailed to you and that e-mail should be saved and printed, with the printed copy functioning as your proof of placement.

My professor asks for proof of placement and I’ve taken a previous Spanish course at U.Va. What do I do?  If you have taken another Spanish course at U.Va., do not contact spa-pla, as they will be unable to help you. Instead, you must print out a copy of your unofficial transcript and highlight the grade of your most recent Spanish class. The grade must be visible in order for your instructor to know that you passed the class, however you may black out all other grades if you so choose.

I’m a transfer student and I need to present proof of placement and I took Spanish courses at my previous college/university.  What do I do? Do I need to take the U.Va. placement exam?  If you are a transfer student, you can just show your instructor your SIS report or unofficial transcript listing those Spanish courses that transferred over to U.Va. You are not required to take the U.Va. placement exam; you can just continue on with the next level. If you did take the U.Va. placement exam, and you placed into the level that you just completed at your prior institution, you can take that level at U.Va. but you will forfeit the transfer credits. In other words, you cannot receive credit twice for the same course.

If I have taken more than one exam that counts for placement (Placement Exam, AP, SAT II, IB Exam (HL)), which score counts for my placement into a Spanish class?  If you have taken two or more exams that count for placement, such as the Placement Exam, the SAT II in Spanish, the AP exam, or the IB Exam (high level), it is department policy that you use the score that places you into the highest class. For example, if the SAT II places you into SPAN 2010 but the Placement Exam places you into 2020, you must take 2020.

I have placed somewhere into the upper level (3000 level) Spanish courses – which class should I take?  Students can place into the 3000 level courses in several different ways.

  • If you took the Placement Exam and scored a 536 or above, you should take 3010, regardless of how high about that number you scored.
  • If you took the SAT II exam in Spanish and scored a 650 or above, you should take 3010, regardless of how high about that number you scored.
  • If you took the AP exam in Spanish Language and scored a 4, you should take 3010. If you scored a 5 you may not take 3010 but instead must take one of the other 3000 level courses for which 3010 is a prerequisite, such as 3020 (Composition), 3030 (Cultural Conversations), 3040 (Business Spanish), or 3300 (Literary Analysis).
  • If you have questions about placement in 3000-level courses, please contact Professor Omar Velazquez-Mendoza about SPAN 3010 and 3020 and Professor Ricardo Padrón about all other upper-level courses.

If I had Spanish in high school, can I take SPAN 1010 or 1020?  No. Students who have taken any Spanish in high school are not permitted to enroll in SPAN 1010 or 1020. Those course are reserved for true beginners, students who have never formally studied Spanish before.

I placed into SPAN 2020 but don’t feel comfortable taking that level. I would like a refresher so I need permission to take SPAN 2010.  Students may not self-place in a language course. If you placed into SPAN 2020, you are not permitted to take any course at a lower level. The department asks that you try the original course for at least 4-5 class meetings, and if it is too difficult for you, you can visit Professor Emily Scida during her office hours.

 

Additional Resources