First-Year Experience - Placement Exams

Placement Exams

When choosing your courses for the first semester, you will need information about the level at which you should enter a particular field of study. This process is known as "Placement."

In some cases (most often foreign language and math), this means taking a placement exam. All placement exams are completed in Moodle. Here’s how to enroll in them:

  1. Log in to Moodle.
  2. Click on the magnifying glass icon in the upper right of your Moodle dashboard and type "Placement Exam Fall 2024" in the search box that opens.
  3. Then click on the title of the course and click “Enroll.” 
  4. You can also find links to each Placement Exam on the Class of 2028 Advising and Orientation Moodle. 

You must enroll in Placement Exams by June 30. However, please be aware that some exams have earlier timelines that must be followed. Please review the information for each language below.

A Placement Exam Webinar will be offer on Tuesday, June 25, 2024 as 12pm EST. Students can register for this webinar on the Class of 2028 Advising and Orientation Moodle in early June. 

Language Exams

The exam consists of some basic grammar exercises, various brief translations (Arabic to English, and English to Arabic), a reading comprehension section, and a short essay. In addition to completing the placement exam, students may be asked to meet via Zoom for a brief and informal conversation in order to ascertain fluency and knowledge of Arabic. Time limit: 120 minutes.

Contact: Manar Darwish (

Notes: Required for students who have previously studied Arabic and are considering taking Arabic at Bryn Mawr.

The exam consists of a language background survey, an online multiple-choice test, an essay, and an interview by zoom with a faculty member. The multiple choice test includes both grammar and reading and listening comprehension. Please carefully follow the instructions and complete each part of the Test. This will make sure that we accurately determine the appropriate class for you.

Deadlines: July 10 for information survey, online test, and written essay. Zoom interview with instructor on July 13 between 1-4pm EST. Students will be notified via Bryn Mawr email the Zoom link for the interview and their interview time no later than July 12. 
Contact: Changchun Zhang (

Notes: Required for all entering students with some background in Chinese who wish to take Chinese, including heritage students who can speak the language with no or limited reading and writing skills.

The exam consists of a personal fact sheet, an oral comprehension passage with questions and a reading section with multiple choice questions. Students who are placed in French 005 or more advanced courses will be asked to submit a 400-word essay. In addition, students placing into 005 or higher may be asked to meet via Zoom for a brief oral interview.

Deadline: July 20 for basic exam. If required, essay will be due July 25, and interviews will take place August 5-7.
Contact: Grace Armstrong ( or Agnès Peysson-Zeiss (

Notes: Required for all entering students with some background in French who wish to study French.

The online placement exam consists of five parts: the first four are multiple-choice questions and the fifth is a short essay. If a student’s score is near the cut-off for the next level, an interview may be scheduled.

Contact: Qinna Shen (

Notes: Required for all entering students with some background in German who wish to study German.

The Italian exam consists of three sections: oral comprehension, reading comprehension, and grammar. Students may also be asked to meet with the Italian faculty via Zoom for a brief conversation in order to ascertain fluency Italian. To fine-tune their placement, after this meeting, students may be asked to submit a 400-word essay on any topic. 

Contact: Giulio Genovese (

Notes: Required for all entering students with some background in Italian who wish to study Italian.

The Japanese placement consists of an online exam  and a hand-written essay. An oral Zoom interview may be scheduled as needed. The online exam provided by the University of Tsukuba (Japan) and and the essay should be completed and submitted by July 1, 2024

Click Here for Placement Exam Instructions

Deadline: July 1, 2024
Contact: Tetsuya Sato (

Notes: Required for all entering students with some background in Japanese who wish to study Japanese.

The placement test consists of 14 questions of grammar, translation, vocabulary, and reading comprehension.

Contact: Youngji Son (

Notes: All entering students with some background in Korean who wish to study Korean.

The exam has sections on morphology (declining nouns and adjectives, providing different verb forms), translation of brief phrases from Latin into English, and a longer passage from Latin into English. 

Contact: Miriam Kamil (

Notes: Required for all entering students with some background in Latin who wish to study Latin.

The placement test is an adaptive multiple-choice test of grammar, vocabulary, and reading comprehension. It also includes a language background questionnaire. The information on the questionnaire will be an important part of your placement. Students who place above Intermediate will be asked to submit a previously written essay in Spanish. Students are only permitted to take the placement test once. 

Contact: Kaylea Berard (

Notes: All entering students with some background in Spanish who wish to study Spanish.

Language Classes Without Placement Exams

There is no formal placement exam. Students with prior knowledge of Greek should contact Professor Radcliffe Edmonds by mid-July to discuss placement.

Contact: Radcliffe Edmonds (

There is no formal placement exam. Students with prior knowledge of Russian interested in placing out of Elementary Russian should contact Professor Walsh by July 19. 

Contact: Irina Walsh (

Placement in Other Fields

An AP Biology score of 5 or an IB Biology score of 7 can be used to satisfy one semester of introductory biology; an additional semester of Biology 110/111/115 is required to fulfill the introductory biology requirement for the Biology major. However, students should keep in mind that placement out of one semester of introductory biology based on AP/IB scores does not satisfy the pre-requisite for 200/300-level courses. Students considering fulfilling one semester of introductory biology based on AP or IB scores are strongly encouraged to speak with the Chair of the Department to discuss this option.

Students with credit for the AP Chem exam (score of 4 or 5)  are eligible to place out of Chem 103 and enroll directly in the second semester of General Chemistry (Chem 104) in the spring.  Students with credit for the IB or A-Level may be eligible to begin their studies directly with Organic Chemistry (Chem 211). Students in any of these situations should consult with the Chair of the Chemistry department, Jonas Goldsmith.  All other students should begin their chemistry studies with Chem 103.  

Students have a choice of three different courses with which to begin their computer science study at Bryn Mawr: CMSC 109 (Introduction to Computing), CMSC 113 (Computer Science I), and, very rarely, CMSC 151 (Intro to Data Structures). CMSC 109 and 113 are both open to students with no experience in computer programming, but are also appropriate to students who do have some experience. CMSC 113 expects a higher level of mathematical maturity than 109 does, demonstrated by one of the following: AP level Calculus, Statistics, Physics, Chemistry, Economics, or Computer Science; or IB Mathematics HL; or an SAT score of 650 or higher in Mathematics; or ACT score of 28 or higher in Mathematics.  Students interested in CMSC 151 should contact Professor Dianna Xu of the Computer Science department.

Students interested in taking intermediate or advanced ballet should contact ballet instructor Denise D'Angelo directly at by August 1 for information on the video placement process.

Most entering students will enroll in Econ 105 Principles of Economics. The Economics Department may waive the Econ 105 prerequisite for students who score a 5 on both the Microeconomics and Macroeconomics AP exams. A score of 6 or7 on the Economics Higher Level Exam of the International Baccalaureate also permits a waiver. The waiver does not count as course credit toward the major or minor; majors and minors receiving advanced placement must still take a total of 10 and six courses in economics, respectively. Students who receive a waiver can enroll in a 200-level economics elective as their first economics course. Waivers are not automatic and must be confirmed by the department chair. Students qualifying for a waiver should meet with the department chair during Customs New Student Orientation to confirm the waiver and for advice on the elective that will substitute for Econ 105.

Placement in mathematics is highly individualized. Placement tests are offered and recommended as a source of information, but the results are not binding. Students interested in math or in fields that require or encourage math (the natural sciences, economics, computer science) should familiarize themselves with the information available on Moodle and take any placement tests recommended or required.

The Psychology Department will waive the Psych 105 prerequisite for students who score a 5 on the AP exam. Such students are qualified to take any 200-level psychology course and are encouraged to discuss their plans with faculty during Customs New Student Orientation.