Chinese Language Testing at Indiana University
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between Placement and Proficiency Testing?
- If you want to enroll in a Chinese class at IU, and you already know some Chinese – either from prior study of the language or from a heritage background – you should take the Placement Test to determine the level course you should take.
- If you do not plan to enroll in a Chinese class, but you already know quite a bit of Chinese and you wish to prove your Chinese proficiency level, you should take the Proficiency Test—except for the following:
- If Chinese is your native language - or one of your native languages - and you graduated from a high school in which Chinese is the primary medium of instruction, and you want to prove your Chinese proficiency level, you should NOT take either test. Rather, to fulfill the foreign language requirement, please download the "Application for Establishment of Foreign Language Proficiency for Non-Native Speakers of English" form from the College of Arts and Sciences website and return the completed form and required documentation to the College Recorders Office.
When can I take the test?
- Chinese Placementtests are given in the week before the beginning of classes for Fall and Spring Semesters (August and January). Check with the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures a month or two before the beginning of the semester for the exact dates. If you absolutely cannot attend the test during the August or January test time please contact Professor Henghua Su to see about the possibility of scheduling an alternate test time.
- Chinese proficiency testing is offered eligible students (see criteria above) approximately once a semester, depending on the number of students who need to take the test. Please contact the Department if you need to take the test.
How do I register for the test?
- No registration is necessary for the August and January test dates. All you need to do is show up at the test. Bring a photo ID and a pencil.
I need to register for classes before the test takes place. What should I do?
- If you need to set your schedule for an upcoming semester and cannot wait for the results of your placement test, you can register for the class which you think will be the most appropriate. After you have the results of your test, you may need to change your enrollment. One way to get an idea of your level is to look at the textbooks for the class you think will be appropriate and see if they are at your language level.
What is the format of the test?
- The test includes a 2-hour written exam, a 1-hour computerized test, and a 5-10 minutes oral interview. The written exam includes listening comprehension, multiple choice questions, and writing.
Is the test in traditional or simplified characters?
- Both. You can choose the version that you prefer.
Is there Placement or Proficiency testing available for Cantonese?
- No. East Asian Languages and Cultures only teaches and tests for Mandarin Chinese.
How long will the test take?
- You should expect to take about 3 hours to complete the test. That time may be longer or shorter depending on your familiarity with the language.
I have another commitment during the scheduled test time. Can I still take the test?
- If there is absolutely no way that you can attend the test at the scheduled time, and can wait until the next semester, please plan to take the test during the next scheduled testing time. If there is an unusual circumstance and you must take the test sooner, you should contact Professor Henghua Su in East Asian Languages and Cultures to discuss a possible alternative test time.
What should I bring to the test?
- You should bring a photo ID and a pencil. Dictionaries, textbooks, notes, cell phones, tablets, computers, etc, CANNOT be used during your test.
Do I have to register for the class that I test into?
- Yes. In order for the Chinese department to provide the best language learning experience for all students enrolled in Chinese, it is important for you to enroll in the class in which you are placed. If, after beginning the class, you feel that you are enrolled in an inappropriate level for your experience, your instructor will work with you to make sure that you can change to the right level.
Will taking the Placement or Proficiency test earn me course credit?
- You should check with your academic advisor to make sure that taking the test will fulfill your expected language requirements. In some cases, you can apply for special credit to get course credits for the classes that you tested out of. (See below.)
How can I get Special Credit in Chinese?
- If you are a US citizen or graduated from a US high school and you tested out of some semesters of Chinese, you may be eligible for special credit in Chinese based on your test results. Special Credit in Chinese is only available to students who are US citizens or who graduated from high school in the United States. Please see the EALC policy on Special Credit for full details.
Whom can I contact for more information?