Language Placement Testing and Exemption

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Foreign Language Requirement

"The faculty considers competence in a foreign language essential for an educated person. Studying language other than one's own helps students understand the dynamics of language, our fundamental intellectual tool, and enables students to understand another culture. The sooner a student acquires competence, the sooner it will be useful. Hence, work toward the foreign language requirement should be undertaken in the first two years." -- (Cornell University Courses of Study)

Courses in foreign languages and/or literature are taught in the College of Arts and Sciences by the following departments: Africana Studies & Research Center, Asian Studies, China and Asia-Pacific Studies, Classics, Comparative Literature, German Studies, Linguistics, Near Eastern Studies, and Romance Studies. Asian languages offered are Bengali, Burmese, Chinese (Mandarin), Hindi-Urdu, Indonesian, Japanese, Khmer, Korean, Nepali, Pali, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Sinhala, Tagalog, Tamil, Thai, Tibetan (Classical and Modern), Urdu, and Vietnamese.

The language requirement may be satisfied in one of two ways: 

  • Option 1: Passing (a) a nonintroductory foreign language course of 3 or more credits at Cornell at the 2000 level or above or(b)any other nonintroductory course at the 2000-level or above conducted in a foreign language at Cornell.
  • Option 2: Passing at least 11 credits of study in a single foreign language (taken in the appropriate sequence) at Cornell.

Any exceptions to these rules will be noted elsewhere in individual department descriptions. See the section on exemptions below.

Placement in Asian Language Courses

  • Placement tests are used for the purposes of course placement or exemption.
  • No course credit may be earned through a placement test.
  • Credit is only given if granted exemption (see below).

Placement tests are offered online for Chinese (Mandarin), Japanese, and Korean at http://collt.lrc.cornell.edu.  For testing in other languages, consult the language contact listed below.  The instructor will need to complete a placement (or exemption) form to be submitted to the department for processing.

A placement test IS NOT needed for: 

  • Students with no background in the language at all. You may enroll directly in the elementary level (some exceptions may apply, so please check individual courses for more information).

A placement test IS needed for: 

  • Students who have had two or more years of high school study in the language.
  • Students who are bilingual or native speakers, or who have spoken the language at home.
  • Students who have been awarded credit for language work at another college or university and wish to continue with the language at Cornell.
  • The placement exam may have been taken in high school (SAT II, taken after the last course, or AP, if the score was 4 or 5) or at Cornell (LP Test). Our instructors will still want to test which level is suitable.

Exemption from an Asian Language

Exemption tests are offered each semester during the week classes begin, with one make-up exam offered that same week after the initial exam.  No other exams will be offered until the following semester.  Students are responsible for verifying exam dates.

A maximum of 3 credits is given only if granted exemption through testing. For the College of Arts & Sciences: “students whose speaking, reading, and writing competence in a language other than English is at the same level we would expect our entering freshmen to have in English (as shown by completing high school in that language or by special examination during their first year here at Cornell) are exempt from the college's language requirement.” (Cornell University Courses of Study)

Students outside of the College of Arts & Sciences, if granted exemption, should contact their own College Registrar.  Each College stipulates their own policy regarding how credits are distributed.

Results

Students will receive a message via the online testing site (COLLT) once they have completed the test; however, that message will not contain placement information.  Once the results are processed, students will receive official placement notification via email from a language program instructor. 

These results are also submitted to the Asian Studies Department.  If exemption is granted, the department office will send the credit results directly to the student’s College Registrar.  After that, based on their policy standards, each college will post the credit determination to the student’s transcript.

For more information, please contact asianstudiesdept@cornell.edu.

Schedule of Examinations

Placement tests are scheduled for Chinese (Mandarin), Japanese, and Korean at both basic and advanced levels. For testing in other languages, consult the contact listed below.

Sign-up is not necessary for these tests, but please bring a #2 pencil. You will also need to know your Cornell ID #.
 

January 17th and 21st

Language     
Level                           
Date and Time
Location
Japanese*

All

Anytime

On-Line: http://collt.lrc.cornell.edu/                                             
(Please take by January 15th)              

Korean**

For Placement 
 

For Exemption

Anytime


January 17th, 3-5pm
January 21st, 5-7pm

On-Line: http://collt.lrc.cornell.edu/


RCK 110
RCK 110

Chinese***
(Mandarin)

For Non-Heritage Placement 


For Placement & Exemption


Anytime
 

January 17th, 3-5pm
January 21st, 5-7pm

On-Line: http://collt.lrc.cornell.edu/
(Please take no later than noon January 15th)  

RCK 102, RCK 103, RCK 104, RCK 105
RCK 102, RCK 103, RCK 104, RCK 105

Hindi All January 24th, 5-7pm TBA

*All students with any knowledge of Japanese are required to take a placement test to determine the right course for them. The placement test can be taken anywhere, anytime of the year online. Students can take the test once per semester only. Additional writing test may be required. 

**All students with any knowledge of Korean are required to take a placement test to determine the right course for them. The placement test can be taken anywhere, anytime of the year online. Students can take the test once per semester only. Results from this test cannot be used to pass any college language requirement or to be exempted from that requirement. For exemption in Korean, you must take the Korean exemption test.

*** All students with any knowledge of Chinese are required to take a placement test to determine the right course for them.  For non-heritage students, the online placement test can be taken anywhere, anytime of the year.  Students can take the test once per semester only.  Results from this test cannot be used to pass any college language requirement or to be exempted from that requirement. Students with heritage language backgrounds seeking to place into courses or to earn exemption must take the scheduled test.

Language Contacts

Bengali: Razima Chowdhury 303 Rockefeller 5-0718 rc856@cornell.edu
Burmese: Yu Yu Khaing 302 Rockefeller     5-1340 yk696@cornell.edu
Chinese-Mandarin: Stephanie Divo 387 Rockefeller     5-2813 sah36@cornell.edu
Hindi-Urdu: Sujata Singh 309 Rockefeller      5-4358 ss596@cornell.edu
Indonesian: Jolanda Pandin 306 Rockefeller     5-0685 jmp244@cornell.edu
Japanese: Misako Chapman 375 Rockefeller     5-0289 mc698@cornell.edu
Khmer: Hannah Phan 301 Rockefeller 5-0642 hp23@cornell.edu
Korean: Meejeong Song 388A Rockefeller     5-8498 ms296@cornell.edu
Nepali: Hom Acharya 339 Rockefeller   5-8447 aph8@cornell.edu
Pali: Anne Blackburn 346 Rockefeller     4-6501 amb242@cornell.edu
Sanskrit: Larry McCrea 347 Rockefeller     4-6738 ljm223@cornell.edu
Sinhala: Bandara Herath 336 Rockefeller     5-8409 mph82@cornell.edu
Tagalog (Filipino): M. Theresa Savella 330 Rockefeller     5-7524 mts12@cornell.edu
Thai: Ngampit Jagacinski 304 Rockefeller     5-3099 nj13@cornell.edu
Vietnamese: Thuy Tranviet 335 Rockefeller     4-6715 tdt5@cornell.edu