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 and how can I take the placement test?
- The Chinese placement test is offered online at http://foreignlanguageplacement.indiana.edu. You can take the test anytime on any computer that has access to IU network and with a headphone. You will need to log onto the site with your IU user name. You are only allowed to take the test one time. A second-time login has to be requested through the Department with a valid reason. You are not allowed to use any aides during the test, including dictionaries, textbooks, notes, cell phone, etc. It is for the student’s best interest if the test reflects their current ability. After the semester starts, students may receive an interview from the course instructor to verify their placement.
Is there any charge for the placement test?
- Yes, a $50 fee will be automatically charged by the Registrar’s office when you log onto the test.
I am trying to register for a Chinese class. How early should I take the test?
- Please plan to take the exam at least 72 hours prior to your advising appointment to ensure your advisor has access to your test results.
What is the format of the placement test?
- It is a randomized and timed test with a 75-minute limit. It includes listening comprehension, multiple-choice questions and reading comprehension questions. You can choose from two versions of the test, with either traditional or simplified characters. Note that your instructor may give you an oral test/interview within two weeks after your class starts.
Is the test in traditional or simplified characters?
- Both. You can choose the version that you prefer.
When can I take the proficiency test?
- Chinese proficiency testing is offered to eligible students (see criteria above) once towards the end of the Fall and Spring semesters (April and December). Please refer to the Languages page of EALC website for test date and location.
I have another commitment during the scheduled proficiency test time. Can I still take the test?
- If there is absolutely no way that you can attend the test at the scheduled time, 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 the Department to discuss a possible alternative test time.
What should I bring to the test?
- You should bring a photo ID and a pencil. Dictionaries, books, notes, cell phones, tablets, computers, or any other aids 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. It you register for a different class without the permission, you can be administratively dropped from the class.
Is there Placement or Proficiency testing available for Cantonese?
- No. The Department only teaches and tests for Mandarin Chinese.
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?
- Please see the EALC policy on Special Credit for full details.
Whom can I contact for more information?Please contact East Asian Languages and Cultures or Professor Henghua Su, the Chinese Language Coordinator.