Test Credits and Placement Exams

Pre-Matriculation Credits 

Pre-matriculation credits are credits you may have earned from certain scores on advanced placement and SAT II examinations, scores on examinations of certain international diplomas, or college courses you may have taken prior to matriculating at Tufts. Pre-matriculation credits are treated as regular course credits and accepted toward fulfilling your degree requirements.

Liberal arts students can have a maximum of 5 pre-matriculation course equivalencies, regardless of Semester-hour units (SHUs), and engineering students can have a maximum of 27 Semester-hour units (SHUs).

Learn More About Pre-Matriculation Credits at Tufts

Language Placement Exams

You should take a Language Placement Exam if you plan to continue studying that language. There is no need to take a Language Placement Exam if you are starting a new language. Please note that while pre-matriculation scores can guide placement, language departments (especially Spanish) strongly recommend a placement test for a more informed assessment. Only the highest placement of your pre-matriculation credits and your placement exam will be counted, so there is no detriment to taking a placement exam. Please also note that if you take a lower-level course than you place into, you will forfeit your placement at the higher level, including any pre-matriculation credit for that language.

Who Should Take a Language Placement Exam?
  • Liberal Arts BA or BS students must fulfill a language requirement for their degree; therefore, they are strongly advised to take a placement exam if they have any level of proficiency in one of the languages listed in the tab below.
  • International Relations majors must demonstrate a higher standard of language proficiency than the general requirement. Potential IR majors are strongly advised to take a placement exam and begin study of a language in their first semester in order to fulfill the International Relations language requirement.
  • Engineering students may choose to minor in some languages, study abroad, or gain communication skills useful for a global economy. The Engineering degree program does not have a language requirement, so a Language Placement Exam is optional.
  • BFA students may choose to study a language for the Language/Culture requirement, especially if they plan to study abroad. The BFA degree program does not have a language requirement, so a Language Placement Exam is optional.
  • International students and heritage speakers who attended an English-language high school may need to demonstrate foreign language proficiency in order to be exempt from the Liberal Arts language requirement or International Relations language requirement. See the special note below for details on demonstrating proficiency if you are a native speaker of a language other than English.

Students may also determine placement in language courses based on SAT II, Advanced Placement, or International Baccalaureate scores, according to the exam equivalency chart. All students planning to study Spanish must take the placement exam, regardless of whether they have taken SAT II, AP, or IB.

What Languages are Tested and Taught at Tufts?

The Tufts language placement exams will be offered for the following languages: 

  • Ancient Greek
  • Arabic
  • Chinese
  • French
  • German
  • Hebrew
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Latin
  • Portuguese
  • Russian
  • Sanskrit
  • Spanish
  • Sign Language (ASL)

See the full schedule and registration details in the tab below.

What are the Language Placement Exams Like?

In 2020, all language placement exams will be conducted online. Most of them start with a written component that students may take at any time from June 2 through June 20; some exams will have a follow-up oral component. If your placement exam requires an oral interview, you will be contacted at your Tufts email address to schedule this via Zoom or Skype in late June or July.

How do I Register for a Placement Exam?

Through the New Student Checklist, select the language placement exam you want to take and initiate the online reading/writing component. If your exam requires a follow-up interview, Tufts will contact you to schedule this for late June or July.

When and Where are the Exams Scheduled?

In 2020, language placement exams will take place online June 2 through June 20, with any follow-up oral interviews conducted remotely in late June or July.

When and Where are Placement Exam Results Posted?

Results of the 2020 Language Placement Exams will be emailed to you at your Tufts email address by 5 p.m. on August 14. The 2020-21 results are posted here. Additional 2020-21 results became available September 4. When you meet with your advisor to plan your Fall class schedule, you should be prepared to discuss your results and plans for language study (and, if you are in the Liberal Art BA or BS degree program or an IR major, discuss how you will fulfill the language requirement).

What Accommodations are available for Students with Disabilities?

If you require accommodations for a Placement Exam (such as large size print), or if you have a documented disability that has made it difficult for you to learn a foreign language, please consult Student Accessibility Services as soon as possible about accommodations and alternatives.

What if I’m Proficient or Fluent in a Language other than English?

If you are proficient or fluent in reading, writing, and speaking a language other than English, there are several ways to demonstrate proficiency in order to fulfill the general Liberal Arts language requirement or the higher standards of the language requirement for the International Relations major:

  • Graduated from a high school whose primary language of instruction was not English: exempt from both general Liberal Arts language requirement and the International Relations major language requirement.
  • Attended a high school whose primary language of instruction was not English through the 10th grade: exempt from general Liberal Arts language requirement.
  • French Baccalaureate, International Baccalaureate, AP, and SAT II scores may also be used, according to the exam equivalency chart.

If none of the three items above apply to you, even if you are a native speaker, you should plan to take a Placement Exam on August 29 for languages taught at Tufts, or, on a later date, an alternative proficiency exam for other languages not taught at Tufts. Alternative proficiency exams for languages not taught at Tufts will be proctored at the Academic Resource Center in early September. More information about alternative ways of demonstrating proficiency or fluency in your native language will be sent to you soon.