Language Placement

Chinese, French, German, Japanese or Spanish Language Placement Exam

Students with any prior knowledge of Chinese, French, German, Japanese or Spanish should take the Placement Exam.

The purpose of this evaluation is only diagnostic. It assesses students’ current language abilities in order to match them to the course most suitable for their level. You might be surprised to find out that you place into a higher class than you expected. 

The language exams are:

  • Free
  • Online
  • Quick: Usually 10-20 minutes

The Japanese Placement Evaluation is a Winona State-created test that will be evaluated by Dr. Nagai, who will advise you on which course you should take.

The Chinese, French, German or Spanish placement exams can be found through the Language Placement Evaluation graphic link. This test is administered by an outside company. Below is a description of the Chinese, French, German or Spanish placement exams.

Language Placement Exam Link 

By clicking on this tab you will be asked to register before you take this placement test. It is a very short process.

After completing the online evaluation, you will immediately receive a score and a corresponding course level recommendation. In general, if you have a certain amount of experience you will likely be placed in the following classes: 

  • No previous experience or only 1 year in high school: 101
  • 2-3 years in high school: 102
  • 3-4 years in high school: 201
  • 3 amazing years or 4+ years in high school: 202
  • 4+ years, AP or IB classes (non-native speakers): 301
  • Spanish native speakers/heritage speakers or students who were in Spanish immersion: SPAN 310

Not all language experiences are equal. Students can always contact the Global Studies and World Languages Department at or 507.457.5500.

If a language class is full, ask the student to get on the wait list. Space usually opens up by the end of the first week of the semester.


Who Should Take the Language Placement Exam?

Many students take a few years of a world language before taking language classes at WSU. If you have had previous language courses in high school or another language learning setting, please take the placement exam to ensure you register for the course appropriate for your level.

Please note that 101-level world language courses are only for true beginners or those with very little prior experience. Anyone who has had two years or more of a high school language course should likely be in 102 or higher, almost without exception.

If you have doubts about the placement recommendations from the placement test, please reach out to a language instructor who will work with you to ensure you have the best placement for your proficiency level.

How do I Get Retroactive Credit?

By earning a grade of “A” or “B” in one of WSU’s language courses 102, 201, 202 or 301, students may obtain retroactive credit for the preceding courses. 

For example, a student who places into SPAN 201 and earns an “A” or “B” may buy the credits for SPAN 101 and SPAN 102. Qualifying students may apply for retroactive credit by contacting their instructor to initiate the online form and be billed $50.00 per credit in order to receive a grade of "P" (pass) in the appropriate course(s). 

The World Languages faculty reserves the right to depart from these guidelines when warranted by exceptional circumstances.

To be eligible, the student must have completed the original WSU course and have received an official grade. The student must be fully matriculated with a minimum 2.00 GPA at WSU and be enrolled at the university during the semester in which the credits are requested.