Language Placement Examination

There is no placement examination for Catalan. Students with prior knowledge of Catalan (secondary school, living abroad, near-native or native speakers) should register in the most suitable level and consult Elsa Úbeda ([email protected]) regarding placement.

All students new to the Portuguese Language Program at Columbia are required to take the Department’s Placement Examination before registering for a course, or provide proof of exemption.

The Placement Examination in Portuguese consists of two parts: one written and one oral.  The written part tests knowledge of grammar, reading comprehension, and writing composition.  The written exam is followed by an interview that tests oral comprehension.  It is offered in the fall and spring semesters at Casa Hispánica during the first week of classes (Fall 2022: September 8th @ 6:00pm). Please make an appointment with Ana Paula Huback ([email protected]) to take this exam.

Should you have any questions about your placement, please contact the Director of the Portuguese Language program José Antonio Castellanos-Pazos ([email protected]).

Welcome to the Spanish Language Program. We look forward to having you in our courses!

All students new to our Spanish Language Program at Columbia are required to take a departmental placement examination before registering for a course or provide proof of exemption. Please click here for information about the exams by which you may be able to obtain an exemption.

School of International and Public Affairs' (SIPA) students, please click here for additional information.

If you are not exempt from the requirement by those exams, you are required to take a placement exam, as follows:

You may take a placement exam ONLY ONCE per academic year. Once you begin the exam, you should not pause the exam until you have completed it. The exam must represent your own work. When taking an exam you will be bound by Columbia University’s Code of Academic Integrity, and you must refrain from any activity constitutive of academic dishonesty as defined therein. If you are a Barnard student do not proceed any further; please visit the Barnard website.

Placement and Registration

Once you receive the placement exam results, you may register in the designated course during the New Student Orientation Program (NSOP) or during the Change of Program (Add/Drop) period. You must provide your instructor with your results on the first day of classes.

To obtain your results:

  1. from the Spanish as a Second Language Placement Exam, log into this website using your Columbia University email address and the password that you used to create the account. You can also reset your password if you need to do so.
  2. from the Spanish as a Heritage Language Placement Exam, you will receive an email message with additional information about your placement.

Under no circumstances may you register for either a level lower or a higher-level course than the one to which you are assigned without the explicit permission of the Director of the Spanish Language Program, Dr. Lee B. Abraham.

The Spanish as a Second Language Placement Examination and the Spanish as a Heritage Language Placement Examination are for diagnostic purposes only and may be supplemented by your instructor’s evaluation during the first week of classes, at which time she or he may recommend a change in registration.

Should you have any questions about your placement or registration, please contact:

The exam must represent your own work. When taking the exam you will be bound by Columbia University’s Code of Academic Integrity, and you must refrain from any activity constitutive of academic dishonesty as defined therein. If you are a Barnard student do not proceed any further; please visit the Barnard website.

Click here for answers to Frequently Asked Questions about placement, registration (attendance policy, waiting lists) and the Change of Program period.

About the Spanish as a Second Language Placement Exam

The Spanish as a Second Language Placement Examination is an online, multiple-choice format exam that you may take at your convenience, even before your arrival on campus (see below). It consists of questions on vocabulary, grammar and reading comprehension. There is no oral or listening part to the exam. Since it is an adaptive test, the length varies from one individual to another, with an average time of 25 minutes.

To Take the Spanish as a Second Language Placement Exam

  1. Click on this link to register and create an account using your Columbia University email address. **If you have been exposed to Spanish to some (even to a very small) extent at home or in your community from an early age, please take this exam instead.**
  2. Once your information has been entered, click “Create Account”.
  3. Once your account has been created, click “Sign In” to proceed.
  4. Sign in using your Columbia University email address and the password that you used to create your account.
  5. From the Dashboard, select Spanish and then click on “Take Test” to begin the exam.
  6. Once you have finished taking the placement exam, you will see this pop-up window that asks you to return to this webpage to read important additional information about your placement in the section below PLACEMENT EXAM SCORES.
  7. Click on “See Score Report” (see this image for an example) to view your exam results.
  8. Please print your results and give them to your instructor.
  9. Please also save a screenshot.
  10. You can always access, view, take another screenshot, or print your placement exam results by logging-in to this link https://app.emmersion.ai/Login using your Columbia University email address and the password that you used to create the account.

Placement Exam Scores

  • Below 280 – Spanish UN 1101 (Elementary Spanish I)
  • 280 – 379 – Spanish UN 1102 (Elementary Spanish II)
  • 330 or more – You may qualify for Spanish UN 1120 if you have never studied Spanish formally (please contact Dr. Diana Romero for more information).
  • 380 – 449 – Spanish UN 2101 (Intermediate Spanish I)
  • 450 – 625:
  1. Spanish UN 2102: Intermediate Spanish II
  2. or Spanish UN 2103: Intermediate Spanish II: Health-related Topics in the Spanish-speaking World. For information about Spanish UN 2103, please contact Dr. Juan Pablo Comínguez.
  3. or Spanish UN 2108: Spanish for Heritage Speakers. For information about Spanish UN 2108, you may contact Dr. Diana Romero.
  • Above 625  – You qualify for an exemption. Your exemption in this case will be verified by taking another version of the placement exam. 
    For the fall 2022 semester, the second exam will be given by Columbia Zoom during the week of August 22nd or on Wednesday, August 31st during the New Student Orientation Programs (NSOP) from 11 am to 2:00 pm. First-year students and transfer students in Columbia College/SEAS, the School of General Studies, and students in the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) must register for and schedule the second exam in advance by completing this form, preferably by Friday, August 19th.  For the spring 2023 semester: You may take the second version of the placement exam at Casa Hispánica’s Main Office (612 W. 116th Street; from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. or from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.). Please contact Kosmas Pissakos ([email protected]) for any questions regarding the administration of the exam at Casa Hispánica.