Language Placement Testing and Exemption

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), 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.  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 within one week of the exam.  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 offered in Chinese (Mandarin), Hindi, Indonesian, Japanese, and Korean for both heritage and non-heritage speakers (see information below). For testing in other languages, please email the appropriate language instructor listed below.

Bengali

Levels:  All levels

Date and Time:  TBA                   

Location:  Students should email Razima Chowdhury in advance to schedule their placement test on this date. 

Chinese (Mandarin)

All students with any previous experience with Chinese are required to take a placement test to determine the right course for them. 

Level:  For Placement (Non-Heritage only)

Students with no family background in any dialect of Chinese may take the online Mandarin Placement Test, at https://collt.lrc.cornell.edu/. Students may 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. 

Date and Time: Anytime (For Spring 2023 courses, please take by a to be determined date).  If you miss that deadline, you can still take an in-person non-heritage placement test on either of the dates listed below for the heritage and exemption tests.

Level:  For Placement (Heritage only), or Exemption from the College of Arts and Sciences Language Requirement. 

All students with any family experience in any dialect of Chinese are required to take the in-person placement test (CASE) for heritage speakers.  Registration not required (bring a pen and your Cornell ID).

Test Dates: TBA

Location:  TBA                   

Hindi and Urdu

Levels:  All

Date and Time:  TBA

Location: RCK 309.

Indonesian

Levels:  All

Date and Time:  TBA

Location: RCK 306.

Japanese

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 year only. Additional writing test may be required. 

Level:  For Placement

Date and Time: Anytime (For Spring 2023 courses, please take by a to be determined date. Placement not guaranteed if taken after this date.)

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

Please email Misako Suzuki for general inquiry about the placement test.    

Level: For Exemption and written placement test (for Intermediate level and above)

Date and Time: TBA

Location: TBA

Please email Misako Suzuki to reserve a seat for the written test. 

Please email Eriko Akamatsu to take the exemption test.

Korean

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.

Levels:  For Placement

Date and Time:  Anytime (For Spring 2023 courses, please take before a too be determined date)

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

Exemption Test Dates: TBA

Location: TBA

Please email Hankyul Kim prior to taking the exemption test.

Vietnamese

All students with any knowledge of Vietnamese are required to take a placement test to determine the right course for them. Results from this test cannot be used to pass any college language requirement or to be exempted from that requirement. For exemption in Vietnamese, you must take the exemption test.

Levels:  All (placement or exemption).

Both placement and exemption exams will need to be held in two separate sessions: a 15-30-minute individual interview followed by a 1-hour reading/writing test. Testing will be administered only at the beginning of each semester.  Please contact Thúy Tranviet (tdt5@cornell.edu) for more information.   

 

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 Suzuki 377 Rockefeller     4-6598 ms449@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
Punjabi Emma R. Britton     cornelllrc@cornell.edu
Sanskrit: Lawrence 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
Tamil Emma R. Britton     cornelllrc@cornell.edu
Thai: Ngampit Jagacinski 304 Rockefeller     5-3099 nj13@cornell.edu
Tibetan Emma R. Britton     cornelllrc@cornell.edu
Vietnamese: Thuy Tranviet 335 Rockefeller     4-6715 tdt5@cornell.edu
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