Placement Tests, Transfer Credit, AP

Placement Tests

Placement examinations are required of any student whose most recent language course was not completed at Boston University. Placement exams DO NOT by themselves fulfill the language requirement.

Please contact Mary Beth Raycraft at 617-353-2400 or casadv@bu.edu for information about placement tests.

When are placement tests offered in Chinese/German/Hebrew/Japanese/another language? And how do I interpret the results?

Chinese

If  your family speaks Cantonese or Mandarin but your reading ability in Chinese is nonexistent or very limited, you should enroll in LC 116; you are not permitted to enroll in LC111. If you have some reading and writing ability as well as a family background in Chinese, or have other questions, please email casadv@bu.edu for consultation or to schedule a placement interview.
If you do not have a Chinese family background but have studied Chinese in high school or in some similar school setting, you must take the online Placement Test, which can be taken from any computer with a microphone. The test uses Simplified Chinese and tests your reading, writing and speaking skills.
To prepare for the online placement test, you need to activate character input on your computer: instructions are available through your computer’s operating system Help option. Search for “language” or “input language” and read the instructions related to adding Chinese as an input language and/or using the Language bar (Windows) or Menu bar (MacIntosh). You will have to use an English keyboard for the first part of the test and then switch to character-based input during the writing section, so make sure you understand how to do that when the time comes.
If you cannot figure out how to add Chinese as an input language, please plan to take the Chinese test on campus and notify the department of your plan.
Logging into the Chinese Placement Test
Go to https://placement.avantassessment.com. Enter the Username and Password provided below, typing each item EXACTLY as you see it: all codes are case sensitive.
Language Test Username Password
Chinese Simplified           4005-pl-cs-1     sj673b5f
Unless directed otherwise, for Full Name, enter your First Name followed by one space, then your Middle Name followed by one space, then your Last Name.
Be sure you remember how you entered your name – if you lose connection or stop the test and need to resume, you will have to re‐enter your name exactly as you did the first time.
An external evaluator will have to grade the oral portion of your exam, so getting the results may be somewhat delayed.
Understanding your results

If your Chinese score was…

you should enroll in the following BU course:

6 LC 311
5 LC 212
4 LC 211
2-3 LC 112
1 LC 111
Help and Support:
If you have any questions about this language placement test, or are experiencing any technological difficulty, please contact us at 617-353-2400, between 9a.m.  and 4 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday-Friday.

German

German placement is tested by means of an online examination. The password, once you access the page is terriers1 . You will need your university ID number when taking this test. Full instructions are provided within the test webpage. You can take this test any time before the start of classes, from any location. Please do not use dictionaries or other assistance when taking the test. This may result in incorrect placement and you will have to change classes in the first week of the semester.
If your German score was… you should enroll in the following BU course:
Below 262 LG 111
263-375 LG 112
376-432 LG 211
433-490 LG 212
491-561 LG 303
Above 561 LG 325
Consult Professor Beate Alhadeff, alhadeff@bu.edu, 718 Commonwealth Ave., room 502A, if
• your score is at the extremes of an indicated range
• you feel you are placed too high or too low
• your score is above 490
In all of these cases you may be asked to provide a short essay (6-8 sentences) on either of the following topics: “Meine Lieblingsjahreszeit” and “Eine interessante Reise.”
Please note that both the test scores and faculty advice are not definitive and that you will have the opportunity to shift to a higher or lower level during the drop/add period should this become necessary.

Hebrew

The Hebrew placement exam is now available on Blackboard Learn. Students can take the exam by contacting the Geddes Language Center (geddes@bu.edu) and providing their BU login name to register for the test.  Once you receive a confirmation email of registration, visit http://lms.bu.edu, click ‘My Places’, then ‘Hebrew Placement Test’ to access the test.
Contact Miriam Angrist (mangrist@bu.edu) for more information.

Japanese

The Japanese placement exam is now available online at blackboard.bu.edu.  In order to have your name added to the list, you need to contact  Mary Beth Raycraft at casadv@bu.edu and provide your BU e-mail address.
If your family speaks Japanese but your reading ability in Japanese is nonexistent or very limited, you should still take the placement test. Similarly, if you have lived in Japan and spoken Japanese there, you should take the placement test, even if your reading ability is limited.
If you have studied Japanese in high school or in some similar school setting, you must take the placement Test.
The Japanese placement exam is an online test you can take any time before the start of classes, from any location. You should plan to start and finish the test in one sitting. Please do not use dictionaries, consult friends, webpages or seek other assistance when taking the test. This may result in incorrect placement, and you will have to change classes in the first week of the semester.
The test will be graded automatically. Go to “After the Test” and see what level is suitable for you or use the table below.
If your score was… you should enroll in the following BU course:
18 or below

19 to 30
31 to 50
51 to 65
66 to 83
LJ 111

LJ112
LJ211
LJ212
LJ303
If your score was above 77, go to “Writing Sample” and follow the instructions.
Email Mary Beth Raycraft, casadv@bu.edu if:
• your score is at the extremes of an indicated range
• you feel you are placed too high or too low
• your score is above 77
Please note that both the test scores and faculty advice are not definitive and that you will have the opportunity to shift to a higher or lower level during the drop/add period should this become necessary. You might also be asked to shift to another course if your proficiency level in Japanese turns out not to be a good fit for the course in which you are enrolled.
If you have any questions about your placement, please email Anna Elliott at aelliott@bu.edu for consultation or to schedule a placement interview.

Other Languages

Please consult with the CAS Foreign Language Advisor, Mary Beth Raycraft at (617) 353-2400 or casadv@bu.edu for any other language placement questions (For Spanish, French, Italian, or Portuguese, go here.)
Q I feel insecure about my background in a language. My placement test tells me that I’m at a certain level, but I’d feel more comfortable taking a lower level instead. Can I?
A This is almost always a really bad idea. Read why.

Transfer Credit

Students who have taken language courses at other colleges than Boston University should see the foreign language advisor in the CAS Student Advising Office, 353-2400, before selecting a BU course. This is in addition to the need to take the a placement test (credit and placement are two different things). If you enroll in a course that’s equivalent to one you’ve already taken elsewhere, you’ll forfeit credit, so be sure to ask the language advisor first!

AP Equivalencies

Please speak with a faculty member in your language of interest if you have questions.

Chinese

If you scored a 5 on the Chinese AP, you have credit for CAS LC 212. If you plan to take more advanced courses in Chinese, you’ll need to take a placement exam. If you got a 5 on the Chinese AP but your placement score indicates that you should be in LC 212 or below, talk with a faculty member in Chinese to discuss your options.

German

If you scored a 4 on the German AP, you have credit for CAS LG 212. If you scored a 5, you have credit for LG 303. But if you plan to go on and take more German at BU (and why wouldn’t you, seeing how good you are at it?), you should still take the placement test. If the placement test tells you something different from your AP score, please contact a German faculty member right away to discuss the best course of action.

Japanese

If you scored a 5 on the Japanese AP, you have credit for CAS LJ 212.  But if you plan to go on with your study of Japanese, as we hope you will, you must take the placement test as well.  If the placement test places you in LJ 212 or below despite your AP score of 5, it’s essential that you contact a Japanese faculty member for advice.

SAT II Results

A score of 560 or above on the SAT II in any language fulfills the CAS language requirement, but does not tell you your placement if you want to continue, nor does it grant academic credit. Students who have taken the SAT II and will be continuing in the language must take the relevant BU placement test (see above). Learn more about the CAS language requirement here.