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For questions or information, 
please contact:

Placement & Proficiency
(217) 244-4437
pnp@illinois.edu


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Monday - Friday
8:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

LOTE ("Language Other Than English") Departmental Proficiency Exams (last updated October 11, 2019)

There are several options for satisfying the General Education language requirement. Let us know if you have any questions. You can email us or call 217-244-4437 during business hours.


Who can take a LOTE proficiency exam?

You MAY NOT sit for a departmental undergraduate-level language proficiency exam if you:

  • are a graduate student. (Ask your department how you can fulfill your language requirement, if you have one.)
  • are a new undergraduate student who did not score high enough on the placement test to qualify for the proficiency exam. (You would need special permission from the School of Literatures, Cultures and Linguistics.)
  • have already earned higher-level college credit in the language. This means, for example, that if you already have credit for a fourth-level course, you cannot take a proficiency exam in order to get credit for the third-level course. "Credit" includes AP credit, IB credit, dual credit, community college credit, and Illinois course credit.
  • have already taken the proficiency exam on a previous occasion.
  • are not actively enrolled at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for the current semester.
  • are enrolled at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as an exchange student or another type of non-degree student.

You may want to consider taking a language proficiency exam even if you have fulfilled your General Education language requirement. Although most departments do not award academic credit for strong performance, it might be possible for you to earn 4 or 8 hours of credit towards your graduation requirements. Always verify a department's policy before signing up!


Descriptions of some LOTE proficiency exams

Chinese

The placement and proficiency tests are designed to evaluate your reading, writing, listening comprehension, and speaking skills in Mandarin Chinese and to evaluate those skills independent of Chinese regional dialect, skill level, or character set (i.e., either simplified or traditional).

  • The placement test serves ONLY to determine which class a learner of Mandarin Chinese should enroll in. If you are a native speaker of Chinese, do not take this test unless you want to study the Chinese language. The placement test does NOT fulfill the Gen Ed language requirement. A preliminary placement is based on your scores on the multiple-choice listening comprehension and reading comprehension sections. If your speaking and writing performance indicate that the initial placement should be adjusted, you will be informed of this via email before classes start. Students who place out of the Chinese language program but who want to continue their study of Chinese language may take CHIN 407 (Introduction to Classical Chinese) or CHIN 408 (Readings in Literary Chinese).
  • The proficiency test serves ONLY to determine whether you fulfill the General Education "Language Other Than English" requirement. No academic credit is awarded. To pass, you must demonstrate satisfactory performance in listening comprehension, reading comprehension, and writing. Superior performance in one skill does not compensate for inadequate performance in another skill. (Speaking is optional. If you choose to do the speaking tasks, your speech sample will not count towards your grade on the exam.) When you sit for the test, you will select either Simplified or Traditional characters. There are four versions of the exam corresponding to the various levels of language proficiency that an academic program or College requires. Since you have only one opportunity to take the Chinese Proficiency Test, you should confirm with your academic advisor which level of proficiency you need to demonstrate before you register to test.

French

This test consists of 88 multiple-choice questions that primarily assess your vocabulary, grammar, writing knowledge, and reading comprehension abilities. It covers material through the fourth level. There is no listening comprehension section, no speaking, and no essay. Strong performance can earn either 4 hours for FR 103 or 8 hours for FR 103 and FR 104. The test is offered in a group setting at the beginning of each fall and spring semester and is open to both new students and continuing students. There is no fee to take the test in a group setting.

Japanese

This 90-minute test consists of an oral interview (approximately 10-15 minutes), a short essay (15 minutes), and 107 multiple-choice questions that primarily assess your vocabulary, grammar, reading comprehension, and writing knowledge (60 minutes). The written test is a paper-and-pencil test. You should budget at least two hours for testing; due to the number of test-takers, it is not possible to guarantee how soon you will be finished. Strong performance does not earn you academic credit but can fulfill the General Education language requirement. The test is offered in a group setting at the beginning of each fall and spring semester and is open to both new students and continuing students. There is no fee to take the test.

Korean

This 2-hour online test is administered in a computer lab in the Foreign Languages Building. It is semi-adaptive, which means that your score on one part determines which part you do next. There are 6 parts assessing vocabulary, grammar, reading comprehension, listening comprehension, and writing ability. There is also a speaking part that tests your oral ability from the elementary through the advanced level. Although the writing tasks are shown on screen, you will hand-write your responses. Strong performance does not earn you academic credit but can fulfill the General Education language requirement. If you do not place out of all Korean language courses, an appropriate Korean course will be recommended for you. The test is offered in a group setting at the beginning of each fall and spring semester and is open to both new students and continuing students. There is no fee to take the test.

Spanish

This 70-minute test consists of 57 multiple-choice questions that primarily assess your vocabulary, grammar, writing knowledge, and reading comprehension abilities. It covers material through the fourth level. There is no listening comprehension section, no speaking, and no essay. Strong performance can earn either 4 hours for SPAN 130 or 8 hours for SPAN 130 and SPAN 141. The test is offered in a group setting at the beginning of each fall and spring semester and is open to both new students and continuing students. There is no fee to take the test in a group setting.