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Placement Testing

The UW offers placement and proficiency testing in mathematics, a number of foreign languages, chemistry, and music history and theory. These tests are designed to assess your level of mastery in these subjects so that you do not have to take courses you don't need. In the case of foreign language, you may also want to take a proficiency test in order to eliminate the additional foreign language credits required by the College of Arts & Sciences and Public Health.

You may need to take these tests with the Office of Educational Assessment or with faculty within the department. Check with an adviser for more information.

Aside from the tests we offer for students whose native language is not English, the University does not have a placement test in English. For information about the English language proficiency requirement (ELPR), see the Registrar's website.

How and when to take placement tests

If you're a continuing student, you can take a placement test weekdays at the Testing Center. It isn't necessary to register ahead of time. Check the test schedule for days and times.

If you're a new student, enrolling autumn quarter, Math placement tests are offered in the morning of Day 1, before the Advising & Orientation session begins; all other placement tests must be taken in the Testing Center, during the regular testing schedule. Placement tests for transfer students are offered at various times during the Advising & Orientation session.

Test length

Placement testing for Math, Spanish, Korean, French, German, Italian, and Japanese takes about 90 minutes from check-in to dismissal. Check-in starts promptly at the scheduled times, so be sure to arrive early.


Come well rested and nourished — and as calm as possible! Keep in mind that placement tests are intended to help you enroll in courses that are right for you. You shouldn't have to do much studying beforehand, although you might want to look at some sample test qustions to get an idea of the format and content of the questions. Remember, you can't use a calculator during the math placement tests so don't use one while you do the sample math questions.

On the day of the test, bring your UW student number, picture ID, and payment.

Receiving your scores

If you test on the morning of your Advising & Orientation session, the score will be available on the morning of the second day. For all other testing at the Testing Center, you'll be given a score report about 10 minutes after you take the test. Your score will be listed on your Unofficial Transcript in MyUW.

You'll be given your placement along with the score report. Note that math scores are recorded as scaled scores, while the foreign language scores posted are the raw scores.


You need to take a math placement test if both of the following are true:

  • You're interested in a program that requires college math — this includes engineering, sciences (biology, chemistry, etc.), premed, business, and psychology; and
  • You don't already have college credit for algebra or calculus, or a Calculus Advanced Placement (AP) score of 2 or higher, or an International Baccalaureate (IB) Mathematics (Higher Level) score of 5 or higher.

Only placement tests given by the Academic Placement Testing Program (APTP), on the UW campus by the OEA Testing Center, are accepted for placement into UW math courses.

 Math 111Math 120/Q Sci 190Math 124
(General Test)
(Advanced Test)

A student is allowed to a register for a course lower than the placement. For example, a student who places into MATH 124 is allowed to take MATH 120 instead.

To be eligible to register for MATH 125 and 126: AP score (3, 4, 5) or college credit for MATH 124 (for 125) or 125 (for 126) (2.0 minimum grade) required. UW does not offer a placement test for any math above 124.

General and advanced tests

You should take the General Math Placement Test (MPT-GS) if you had less than 3 or 4 years of high school math, through algebra-trig or the 2nd year of high school algebra. The highest you can place with this test is precalculus (MATH 111 or 120).

You should take the Advanced Math Placement Test (MPT-AS) if you had 3 or 4 years of high school math, through advanced algebra, math analysis, or calculus. The highest you can place with this test is 1st quarter calculus, MATH 124 (or Q SCI 291).

UW has no test to place you above the first quarter of calculus. A Calculus AP score of 3 or above, however, places you into the second or third quarter of calculus. Review the policies for Advanced Placement for more details. An IB Mathematics score of 7 places you into the second quarter of calculus. Review the policies for International Baccalaureate for more details. 


Starting Autumn 2017 UW Chemistry requires that students take their online Chemistry placement test in order to register for CHEM 110 (prep Chem), 120, 142, & 143 (Accelerated Chem).  They accept any score on the placement test in order to register for Chem 110 or 120. The passing score for Chem 142 & 143 is 11 out of 26.  They also accept Chem 110 or an  AP 1 (or higher) in lieu of the placement test. The Honors General Chemistry Placement Test for CHEM 145 is not online.  It is offered by OEA. 

More Information can be found on the UW Chemistry website. There is also a free Chemistry review available to students that is linked to their website.

CHEM 142 Placement Exam

The Chemistry Department recently created a NEW placement exam for Chem 142, which is different from the current Honors General Chemistry Placement Exam. In order to register for CHEM 142, students will now have to satisfy one of the following:

  • Passing the CHEM 142 placement exam
    • Passing scores = 11-26
    • Also accepted is a 52% or higher on the Honors Chemistry exam
    • Note:  The Chemistry 142 Placement test is listed as a raw score and the Honors Chemistry Placement test is listed as a percentage.
  • Completion of CHEM 110
  • AP Chemistry score of 1 or higher
  • Any score on the IB Chemistry test

Retesting is allowed: Can be taken twice in a twelve-month period with a two-week wait between tests.

CHEM 143, CHEM 153 – NEW Accelerated General Chemistry

Accelerated General Chemistry: CHEM 143* & CHEM 153 will begin autumn quarter 2016. This NEW sequence is designed for students who have a very strong background and interest in chemistry.

The CHEM 143 & CHEM 153 sequence covers the same material that is taught in the CHEM 142, CHEM 152 & CHEM 162 sequence but is taught in two quarters.

In order to register for CHEM 143, students will now have to satisfy one of the following:

  • Passing score on the CHEM 142 placement exam (11-26) and eligibility to enroll in Math 124 (concurrent enrollment highly recommended)
  • AP CHEM score of 1 or higher and eligibility to enroll in Math 124 (concurrent enrollment highly recommended)
  • Any score on the IB Chemistry test and eligibility to enroll in MATH 124 (concurrent enrollment highly recommended)

CHEM 143 will be offered autumn quarters and CHEM 153 will be offered winter quarters. 

* Students should be aware that CHEM 143 assumes mastery of the basic concepts of stoichiometry and gas laws and will be moving at a faster pace than CHEM 142. Excellent problem solving and mathematical reasoning skills are required for success in this sequence.

Please visit the Chemistry Department website for more details and for introductory course information.

CHEM 145: Honors Chemistry Placement exam

Honors Chemistry, CHEM 145, assumes full mastery of the basic concepts of elementary chemistry so the course will not review this material. The expectation for math and problem solving proficiency is also high in the honors courses.

CHEM 145 is open to students with:

  • A score of 4 or 5 on the AP test and registration in or credit for Math 124
  • A score of 5, 6, or 7 on the High Level Chemistry IB exam and registration in or credit for Math 124
  • A passing percentage on the Honors Chemistry placement exam and registration in or credit for Math 124

A passing score on the Honors Placement test is 66% or higher. A borderline pass of 52% to 62% may be approved for enrollment in Chem 145 by Chemistry Advisers. A score below 52% is not passing.

Retesting: Twice in a twelve-month period, two-week wait between tests.

Foreign language

You need to take a foreign language placement test if you plan to continue the foreign language you took in high school. If you already have college credit in that language you can continue on with the next course; no placement test is required.

All majors in the College of Arts and Sciences, College of Education, and the School of Social Work require evidence of proficiency in a foreign language, which can be demonstrated in several ways, including taking foreign language through the third college quarter or placement by the UW into the fourth college quarter. Majors in most other colleges, including Engineering and Business, don't require foreign language past the two high school years required for UW admission. You may want to talk with an adviser about whether you should take a foreign language. If you plan to continue your foreign language but not right away, you should probably wait and take the placement test just before you resume your study to get the most accurate placement.

Proficiency tests in Arabic, Bulgarian, Czech, French, German, Hebrew, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Persian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbian/Croatian/Bosnian, Spanish, Ukrainian and Urdu can be taken at the UW's Testing Center. For other languages, contact the appropriate department for placement and proficiency information. 

If you would like to take a proficiency test in a language that is not taught at UW please contact the UW Language Learning Center.

Languages taught at the UW

Language & Intro CourseDepartmentContact
American Sign Language
ASL 101
ARAB 411
Near Eastern Languages and
BENG 311
Asian Languages &
BCS 401
Slavic Languages and
Slavic Languages and
JSIS 486
Chinese (Mandarin)
CHIN 101 or 111
Asian Languages &
Slavic Languages and
ESTO 101
FINN 101
FRENCH 101 or 110
Romance Languages and Literature (French and Italian)
GERMAN 101 or 111
Greek (Classical)
Greek (Modern)
JSIS E 111
Hebrew (Biblical)
HEBR 414
Near Eastern Languages and
Hebrew (Modern)
HEBR 411
Near Eastern Languages and
Asian Languages &
Asian Languages &
ITAL 101 or 111
Romance Languages and Literature (French and Italian)
Asian Languages &
TKIC 414
Near Eastern Languages and
JSIS 486
Asian Languages &
LATV 101
LITH 101
NORW 101
Near Eastern Languages and
Slavic Languages and
PORT 101 or 110
Romance Languages and Literature (Spanish)
RUSS 101
Slavic Languages and
Asian Languages &
SLVN 401
Slavic Languages and
SPAN 101, 110, or 121
Romance Languages and Literature (Spanish)
SWA 101
American Ethnic
SWED 101
Tagalog (Filipino)
American Ethnic
THAI 111
Asian Languages &
Near Eastern Languages and
UKR 401
Slavic Languages and
URDU 311
Asian Languages &
TKC 417
Near Eastern Languages and
TKIC 411
Near Eastern Languages and
VIET 111
Asian Languages &

If you are fluent in a language that is not offered at the UW, it is still possible for you to demonstrate proficiency, and thus meet the language requirement of many majors, as noted above. Contact the College of Arts and Sciences for more information.


SP100A (100-level) 0-1510-4416-4445-6970-80
SP200A (200-level) 0-7576-145146-165166-175

*The student must also have taken two years of high school Spanish to be eligible for SPAN 110.

**The student is proficient through the first year of study. May enroll in SPAN 201, or may take
the second-year test to attempt to place higher.



*The student is proficient through the first year of study. May enroll in FRENCH 201 or contact the Testing Center to schedule a second-year test.



*The student may enroll in GERMAN 201. A student who wants to attempt to place higher may contact Germanics, 206-543-4580, 340 Denny Hall.



*The student is proficient through the first year of study. May enroll in ITALIAN 201 or contact the Testing Center to schedule a second-year test.



*Students must complete the Interview on the Asian Languages & Literature website.

**The student is proficient through the first year of study. For placement in the second year or above, contact Asian Languages and Literature: 225 Gowen or 206-543- 4996 for an advising appointment.



• Students with any background in Chinese, formal or informal, who wish to take Chinese language courses must fill in and submit an online questionnaire for placement. You can find a link for the online questionnaire on the Asian Languages and Literature homepage.

• The Asian Languages and Literature Department uses this questionnaire to accurately place students in Mandarin Chinese courses. If you do not see the questionnaire when you go to one of the above websites, the questionnaire has been “closed”. This means that the department is no longer placing students in Chinese language courses.

• After completing and submitting the questionnaire, an instructor in Asian Languages and Literature may interview you for placement. If you do not receive an interview, you will be given an add code for a particular Chinese language course.


• The Asian Languages & Literature department administers a proficiency test once each quarter. Please check the Asian Languages & Literature “Placement and Proficiency” webpage for the time and location of the next test.

• Contact the department to register, 206-543-4996. Early registration is recommended.


 Both levels
KR100A & KR200ANo score is reported, only course placement



The Vietnamese instructor will conduct individual placement tests in her office (Gowen Hall M233) before/during the start of each quarter's registration period. Please see the Asian L&L placement webpage for the upcoming test dates.


The Asian L&L department administers a proficiency test once/quarter. Please see the Asian L&L placement webpage for the upcoming test date.

Chem 145 (Honors Chemistry)

Placement test required except for: Students with CHEM AP scores of 3, 4 or 5 or Higher Level chemistry IB of 5, 6, or 7. Scores are pass, borderline pass, and fail.

Music History and Theory

Contact the music department to determine whether you should take music placement tests. These tests are usually taken only by prospective music majors.

Repeat test policy

French, Italian, and Spanish tests may be repeated after 6 months have passed.

The Japanese, German, and Honors Chemistry tests can be taken twice in a 12-month period with a 75-day wait between tests.

The 1st and 2nd year Korean tests have no waiting period.

Each type of math placement test may be repeated once, after two weeks have passed. After the second test, a calendar year must pass before that test can be repeated again.

AP and IB Scores