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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, you should plan to take any placement tests when you're here for your Advising & Orientation session. Placement tests for first-year students are offered in the morning of Day 1, before the Advising & Orientation session begins; placement tests for transfer students are offered at various times during the Advising & Orientation session. For times and other information, please visit the Advising & Orientation testing schedule.

Alternatively, the Academic Placement Testing Program (APTP) provides a large number of math placement testing sessions in May and June. You must register online for these sessions.

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.

Preparing

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 during the May and June APTP sessions, you will receive an email approximately two weeks after your test date containing instructions about accessing your score and reporting your score to the UW. If you test at the Testing Center the morning of your Advising & Orientation session, the score will be available on the morning of the second day. For all other testing, 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.

Repeating tests

The math placement test may be repeated once, after two weeks have passed. After the second test, a calendar year must pass before the test can be repeated again. There are two math placement tests, General and Advanced. The rules for repeating apply to each test. For example, you could take the General Test and then immediately take the Advanced Test, and then repeat either (or both) tests two weeks later.

French, Italian, and Spanish tests may be repeated after six months have passed. The German and Japanese tests can be taken twice in a 12-month period with a 75-day wait between tests. There is no wait period to repeat the Korean test.

Retesting must be done in the Testing Center (i.e., students cannot retest as part of the APTP program).

Mathematics

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

 Math 098Math 111Math 120/Q Sci 190Math 124
MPT-G, MPT-I, and MATHIA*
(Intermediate Test)
0-46% (129-146)49-57% (147-150)60-100% (151-165) 
MPT-A and MATHPC*
(Advanced Test)
0-33% (133-143)37-67% (144)40-67% (145-153)68-100% (154-163)

*No longer offered

  • A placement score is not required for MATH 098 or MATH 107.
  • A student may register for a course lower than the placement. For example, a student placing into MATH 124 is allowed to take MATH 120 instead.
  • 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-G) 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-A) 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. 

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.

Languages taught at the UW

Language & Intro CourseDepartmentContact
American Sign Language
ASL 101
Linguisticslingadv@uw.edu
Arabic
ARAB 411
Near Eastern Languages and Civilizationnelcua@uw.edu
Bengali
BENG 311
Asian Languages & Literatureasianll@uw.edu
Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian
BCS 401
Slavic Languages and Literaturesslavicll@uw.edu
Bulgarian
BULGR 401
Slavic Languages and Literaturesslavicll@uw.edu
Burmese
JSIS 486
International Studiesjsisadv@uw.edu
Chinese (Mandarin)
CHIN 101 or 111
Asian Languages & Literatureasianll@uw.edu
Czech
CZECH 401
Slavic Languages and Literaturesslavicll@uw.edu
Danish
DANISH 101
Scandinavian Studiesuwscand@uw.edu
Estonian
ESTO 101
Scandinavian Studiesuwscand@uw.edu
Finnish
FINN 101
Scandinavian Studiesuwscand@uw.edu
French
FRENCH 101 or 110
Romance Languages and Literature (French and Italian)frenital@uw.edu
German
GERMAN 101 or 111
Germanicsuwgerman@uw.edu
Greek (Classical)
GREEK 101
Classicsclasdept@uw.edu
Greek (Modern)
JSIS E 111
International Studiesjsisadv@uw.edu
Hebrew (Biblical)
HEBR 414
Near Eastern Languages and Civilizationnelcua@uw.edu
Hebrew (Modern)
HEBR 411
Near Eastern Languages and Civilizationnelcua@uw.edu
Hindi
HINDI 311
Asian Languages & Literatureasianll@uw.edu
Indonesian
INDON 111
Asian Languages & Literatureasianll@uw.edu
Italian
ITAL 101 or 111
Romance Languages and Literature (French and Italian)frenital@uw.edu
Japanese
JAPAN 111
Asian Languages & Literatureasianll@uw.edu
Kazakh
TKIC 414
Near Eastern Languages and Civilizationnelcua@uw.edu
Khmer
JSIS 486
International Studiesjsisadv@uw.edu
Korean
KOREAN 101
Asian Languages & Literatureasianll@uw.edu
Latin
LATIN 101
Classicsclasdept@uw.edu
Latvian
LATV 101
Scandinavian Studiesuwscand@uw.edu
Lithuanian
LITH 101
Scandinavian Studiesuwscand@uw.edu
Norwegian
NORW 101
Scandinavian Studiesuwscand@uw.edu
Persian
PRSAN 411
Near Eastern Languages and Civilizationnelcua@uw.edu
Polish
POLSH 401
Slavic Languages and Literaturesslavicll@uw.edu
Portuguese
PORT 101 or 110
Romance Languages and Literature (Spanish)spsadv@uw.edu
Russian
RUSS 101
Slavic Languages and Literaturesslavicll@uw.edu
Sanskrit
SNKRT 301
Asian Languages & Literatureasianll@uw.edu
Slovenian
SLVN 401
Slavic Languages and Literaturesslavicll@uw.edu
Spanish
SPAN 101, 110, or 121
Romance Languages and Literature (Spanish)spsadv@uw.edu
Swahili
SWA 101
American Ethnic Studiesaes@uw.edu
Swedish
SWED 101
Scandinavian Studiesuwscand@uw.edu
Tagalog (Filipino)
TAGLG 101
American Ethnic Studiesaes@uw.edu
Thai
THAI 111
Asian Languages & Literatureasianll@uw.edu
Turkish
TKISH 411
Near Eastern Languages and Civilizationnelcua@uw.edu
Ukranian
UKR 401
Slavic Languages and Literaturesslavicll@uw.edu
Urdu
URDU 311
Asian Languages & Literatureasianll@uw.edu
Uyghur
TKC 417
Near Eastern Languages and Civilizationnelcua@uw.edu
Uzbek
TKIC 411
Near Eastern Languages and Civilizationnelcua@uw.edu
Vietnamese
VIET 111
Asian Languages & Literatureasianll@uw.edu

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.

Spanish

 101110*102103**proficiency satisfied;
take 2nd-year test for placement
SP100A0-1510-4416-4445-6970-80
 201202203301
SP200A0-7576-145146-165166-175

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

**The student may enroll in SPAN 201, or may take the second-year test to attempt to place higher.

French

 101110102103*proficiency satisfied; take 2nd-year test for placement
FR TL0-1410-3015-3031-5657-100

*The student may enroll in FRENCH 201. A student hopingto place higher may contact the Testing Center to schedule a second-year test.

German

 101111102103*proficiency satisfied
GER TL0-110-3512-3536-5657-100

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

Italian

 101102103*proficiency satisfied
IT100A0-1415-3031-5657-100

*The student may enroll in ITAL 201. A student who wants to attempt to place higher may contact the Testing Center to schedule a second-year test.

Japanese

 111Complete interview on AL&L website for placement*proficiency satisfied
JP100A0-56-4041-70

*For placement in the second year or above contact Asian Languages and Literature, 225 Gowen, 206-543-4996 for an advising appointment.

Repeat test policy

French, Italian, and Spanish tests may be repeated after 6 months have passed. The Japanese and German tests can be taken twice in a 12-month period with a 75-day wait between tests.

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

Chinese

Placement

Students with any background in Chinese, formal or informal, who wish to take Chinese language courses must submit an online questionnaire for placement. 

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 the above website, 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.

Proficiency

The Asian Languages & Literature department administers a proficiency test once each quarter. Contact the department to register. Early registration is recommended.

Korean

To request a placement or proficiency test, contact Soohee Kim.

Vietnamese

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. 

Proficiency

The Asian L&L department administers a proficiency test once per quarter. 

Chemistry

You need to take the chemistry placement test only if you're interested in the honors chemistry series, CHEM 145, 155, 165. If you're in the Honors Program and considering a science major, you should consider taking this sequence. It's also recommended for students who want to major in chemistry or biochemistry. A Chemistry AP score of 4 or 5, or an IB score or 5, 6, or 7 (Higher Level) places you into CHEM 145 without a placement test.

Placement test required except for students with CHEM AP scores of 4 or 5 or Higher Level chemistry IB of 5, 6, or 7. Scores are pass, borderline pass, and fail. Contact  the department to register.

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.