The department offers formal placement tests in Hindi, Sanskrit, Telugu, and Urdu once per year in the beginning of the fall semester. Students who pass the test by demonstrating the required proficiency level in all skills will fulfill their language requirement and the department will update their student record. Students who do not pass will be placed at the appropriate level matching their skills. In the event that a student demonstrates high-level speaking and/or listening ability, but their reading and/or writing ability is below the required level of competency, the student may be placed in an upper level class with a focus on literacy skills. The university recommends that students begin to satisfy their language requirement in the fall of their freshman year at Penn and take courses continuously until the requirement is fulfilled. Students may take the placement test only once during their time at Penn.
The department also offers shorter placement appointments for students who wish to take a language course and would like to know which level to enroll in. These placement appointments generally take about 10-15 minutes and are offered throughout the academic year. These appointments cannot be used to fulfill the language requirement.
To register for the placement test or make a placement appointment, please contact the instructor for your language. Registration for the tests opens in the beginning of August.
Hindi: Dr. Joshua Pien firstname.lastname@example.org
Sanskrit: Dr. Kashi Gomez email@example.com
Telugu: Dr. Afsar Mohammad firstname.lastname@example.org
Urdu: Mr. Mustafa Menai email@example.com
Tests in other South Asian language are offered through the Penn Language Center.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1: Who needs to take the formal placement test?
Students who wish to fulfill their College or Wharton language requirement and be exempted from taking language courses must take the formal placement test. Students with existing abilities who do not need to fulfill the foreign language requirement but only wish to enroll at the appropriate level of the language do not need to take the formal placement test and should make a placement appointment.
Q2: If I pass the formal placement test, can I still enroll in a language course?
Yes. When we let you know your result, we will also let you know your level should you wish to take a course in the language in the future. You are welcome to enroll in a course, and you might be able to use the course to fulfill degree requirements other than the language requirement. See above for more details.
Q3: I understand the language but I am unable to speak. What should I do?
If you have no ability to speak, a placement appointment is not required, and you should enroll in the 0100 level (beginning, first semester) of your language. If you have some ability to speak, we recommend making an appointment for placement.
Q4: I am a fluent speaker but cannot read or write. Can I still test out of the language requirement?
No. Proficiency in literacy skills is required to fulfill the language requirement. Please make an appointment for placement into the appropriate level. See also Q5.
Q5: I can speak the language but am unable to read or write. Which level should I take?
You should reach out to the contact for your language to make a placement appointment. Please do so several weeks prior to the beginning of the semester in which you are considering enrolling. If you wish to skip levels to directly enroll in a level based on your speaking abilities, we can often provide materials and guidance so that you can study the script independently and prepare for the appropriate level. However, this will only be possible if you contact us several weeks before the beginning of the semester.
Q6: Do you have any sample tests or can you offer guidance on preparing for the test?
We do not offer sample tests, and this is a general test of proficiency designed to test your level regardless of your language learning background, so no preparation is generally needed.
Q7: What level of proficiency do I need to demonstrate to pass the placement test?
Students need to demonstrate a proficiency level equivalent to four semesters of study. Please see the course descriptions for the relevant 0400 level course for more information on what is covered.