Students with prior world language experience should review these guidelines to determine whether you must take a language placement test prior to registering for a language course at Oberlin.
Placement tests can only be taken one time and should be taken anytime before the semester in which you plan to enroll in your language course. You also can take these tests from your personal device at any time.
As each language offered has a slightly different process for placement, please find the language you are interested in below and contact the department representative if you have any questions.
If you have no prior experience in the language you wish to study, please register for the first semester (101) course.
The Chinese Placement Test is hosted on Blackboard. To access Blackboard, use your Obie ID and password. Once logged in, enroll in the placement exam you want to take and begin.
This instructional video can assist you in this process.
All incoming students who have acquired linguistic ability in Chinese elsewhere, or who wish to qualify for advanced courses, should take the placement test administered during New Student Orientation, or in consultation with a faculty member who teaches Chinese, to determine the level at which Chinese study should be continued.
This exam has two parts. One is written and online; the second is an oral interview that will be scheduled during Orientation for incoming first-year students.
Here is a link to the French Placement test hosted on WebCape 2.0. After clicking the link, you will be prompted to create a user account and then login with your credentials. Upon logging in, you will have access to the French placement exam.
The instructional video is available for more guidance.
Students who have received a score of 4 or 5 on the Advanced Placement (AP) exam in French Language or French Literature, a score of 6 or 7 on the French (advanced) exam of the IB, a score of 626-800 on the French SAT II Exam, or who have completed the baccalaureate (bac) in a French lycée will be automatically awarded credit for one course toward graduation and toward the minor or major, which will appear on transcripts as FREN 300. Whether they plan to major in French or not, they should enroll in one of the gateway courses for the French major (French 301, 309, or 321) before proceeding to more advanced courses.
To determine the appropriate gateway course for you, take the Oberlin Placement Test or contact Professor Matthew Senior.
It is the department’s policy to advance students as fast as achievement warrants. Students who have taken the SAT II Exam in French should enroll in courses according to their score:
- (550-625) enroll in French 203 or 205, 206
- (626-800) enroll in French 301, 309, or 321
Students with previous study of French who have not taken the AP or SAT II exam should take the Oberlin French Placement Test.
The German Placement test hosted on Blackboard. To access Blackboard, use your Obie ID and password. Once you are in, enroll in the placement exam you want to take and begin.
Review this instructional video about the process.
Students who have received a score of 4 or 5 on the Advanced Placement (AP) exam in German will automatically be awarded credit for one course toward graduation. This course may be applied toward the major in German.
All students who have studied German–whether or not they have taken the AP exam– are strongly encouraged to take the Oberlin German Placement Test to determine their appropriate level.
Access Blackboard to take the German Placement Test
Contact: Professor of German Steve Huff
Please contact Chair of Jewish Studies Ellen Wurtzel for more information.
The Italian Placement test is hosted on Blackboard. To access Blackboard, use your Obie ID and password. Once you are in, enroll in the placement exam you want to take and begin.
This instructional video offers guidance on the process.
Students who have studied Italian in the past are welcome to take the placement test.
Access Blackboard to take the Italian Placement Test
Contact: Instructor of Italian Ivana Di Siena
All incoming students who have acquired linguistic ability in Japanese elsewhere, or who wish to qualify for advanced courses, should take the placement test to determine the level at which Japanese language study should be continued.
There are two parts to this exam. One is written and online, which can be taken anytime between now and Orientation. The second is an oral interview that will be scheduled during Orientation for incoming first-year students.
The online portion of the Japanese Placement test is hosted on Blackboard. To access Blackboard, use your Obie ID and password. Once you are in, enroll in the placement exam you want to take and begin. Here is an instructional video about this process.
Access Blackboard to take the Japanese Placement Test
Contact: Instructor of Japanese Sachiko Kondo
Incoming students with previous training in Russian should contact Thomas Newlin, Chair of Russian, to determine the appropriate level to continue their study of the language.
Students beginning Russian at Oberlin should note course sequences, some of which are prerequisite to the advanced level and the major. Participation in a Russian study abroad program is highly recommended, as is residency in Oberlin’s Russian House.
Suggested Course Sequence: New students considering a major should take a Russian language course in their first semester. We encourage new students with or without previous training to take a related course in translation, such as Russian literature, culture, history, or politics during their first year.
A student who earns a score of 5 on the AP Spanish language or literature exam automatically receives credit for 1 full academic course as Hispanic Studies 300, qualifying students to work at the 300 level. Students who have scored a 6 or 7 on the Spanish (Advanced) exam of the IB curriculum will also receive 1 course credit, as HISP 300.
Suggested Course Sequence: First- and second-year students having obtained a score of 5 on the AP exams or a 6 or 7 on the IB Spanish (Advanced) are encouraged to take HISP 306 before taking HISP 309, 310, 317, or 318. The course HISP 300 counts toward the total number of academic credits required for the major.
We require every student with a prior knowledge of Spanish who wishes to enroll in a class to take the placement exam, except students who have taken the AP exam and scored a 5, as noted above.
Students should take the Spanish Placement Test and contact Associate Professor and Chair of Hispanic Studies Claire Solomon with their results.
Access to the Spanish Placement Test through this Google Form
Contact: Associate Professor and Chair of Hispanic Studies Claire Solomon