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Placement Exam

Foreign Language Placement Test: FAQ
(Frequently Asked Questions)

Who takes a foreign language?

The Citadel requires four semesters of the same foreign language of all majors except education and engineering. The Department of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures offers four languages --Chinese, French, German, and Spanish--in which one may fulfill the core requirement.

How was the foreign language placement test at The Citadel developed?

The Department’ placement tests are curriculum-based assessment tools developed specifically for Citadel students. Items on the test relate directly to a developmental skill in the college’s language courses. Faculty of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures identified specific items related to these skills and developed expectations for placement based on the performance of undergraduates on the sample items. For example, those items passed by the average student at the end of a 101 level language course (Elementary Language I) at The Citadel are used to determine if the student taking the placement test should be place in the 102 course (Elementary Language II).

Who takes the foreign language placement exam?

All incoming students who studied French, German or Spanish in high school and will continue to study these languages must take the corresponding online placement test. The exam determines the level at which you will continue your study. If you wish to begin a new language—one not previously studied—you must request a waiver from the placement test by writing Dr. Guy Toubiana, Department Head, at by 1 August, informing him of the language studied in high school and the language you wish to begin to study at The Citadel. Students who wish to study Chinese do not need to request a waiver. Transferring students who have received college credit in a foreign language are also not required to take the placement examination but may continue their foreign language study with the next course in the sequence.

Why can’t I just start my high school language over again?

The placement exam ensures that you are placed in courses matching your foreign language skills. Optimal placement is in your best interest for several reasons:

  1. You may receive by-pass credit for previous learning by obtaining a grade of C or better in the course into which they are placed. For example, if you are placed in Spanish 202, you will receive 12 hours credit by obtaining a grade of C or better in the course.
  2. If placed above the 101-level, you will have greater flexibility in your academic schedule to take other courses of interest that may be credited toward a specific minor or a double major--big advantages in an increasingly competitive job market.
  3. If you have no previous knowledge or experience of the language, you are not competing with students with previous knowledge.
  4. There is evidence that students placed at the appropriate level are less likely to become bored or develop poor study habits.

When and how do I take the language placement exam?

The test is available online from May, 1st until August 1st . The tests are timed, requiring between thirty minutes and one hour, and are available from The Citadel's Blackboard site.

  • Blackboard utilizes popups.
  • Disable any popup blockers.
  • To log into Blackboard, select the language test. Please read the instructions before you begin.
  • After completing the test, but before submitting it for grading, be sure that you have saved your answers.

Helpful hints

  • Use latest version of Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox as your browser.
  • Do your very best! It is to your advantage.
  • If you have difficulties with access, please contact Dr. Sara Fernandez Medina ( Please, send her your Full name, CWID number, and specify the language for the placement exam.
  • Be specific in describing the difficulty you are experiencing and the steps you have taken in attempting to gain access.
  • Include a telephone number where you may be reached during the day.
  • Unless directed otherwise, please do not call The Citadel Helpline with your problem.

It is to your advantage to take the examination as early as possible in order to complete your registration for the fall semester.

What if I think I was placed in a class that is too advanced?

Many times this is not a matter of your being incorrectly placed, but rather your adjustment to the difference in the classroom environments from high school to college. Your language professors will explain different strategies that you may use to understand the material; also be sure to ask your language professor for clarification if needed. In addition, instructors will repeat things many different ways to help you keep up. Usually if you stick with it for a couple of weeks, work hard, and follow the strategies your professor provides, you will do fine. However, the faculty in the Department of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures may allow you to move back one level if they determine you have been misplaced.

Under rare circumstance may you be allowed to enroll in one level below where you are placed. Permission of the Head of the Department of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures is required for this placement. Unless the Department Head determines you have been misplaced, credit for the lower-level course will not be granted until you have completed a course in the sequence with a grade of C or better.

Remember: Enrollment in 101 courses is restricted to placement by the language section, based upon the placement test, or to waivers granted by the Department Head.

For further questions regarding language placement at The Citadel, please write the Dr. Guy Toubiana,  Head of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures:

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