World Languages and Cultures

Language Placement Exam

Why Should I Take the Exam

The World Languages and Cultures Placement Exam is used to determine what course level students should take for their first language course at Winthrop in French, German, or Spanish.

All students majoring in programs in the College of Arts and Sciences (except the BSW - Social Work) are required to have competency in a language at the 102 level. In the College of Visual and Performing Arts only the BA in Art History is required to have competency in a language at the 201 level.

Importance of Taking the Exam Now

Even if you aren't considering a minor or second major in a foreign language, it is in the interest of any student to begin their language studies at Winthrop as soon as possible, not putting it off until later, for the following reasons:

  • Language skills are lost quickly: whether a freshman who recently took French in high school, or a Junior who is completing Spanish 101 this semester, students who put off any remaining required classes often place at a lower level, unnecessarily forced to repeat coursework.
  • As graduation deadlines approach and requirements in the major take up more of a student's schedule, those who put off their language requirement recurringly find themselves unable to fit these classes (often 4 days a week) into their Junior or Senior year schedule, jeopardizing their planned date for graduation.
  • Finally, by starting early in their career, those students who find they are actually good at languages can still pursue a minor or second major- an increasingly helpful (and marketable!) add-on in virtually any field they might be pursuing.

Course Credit for 101, 102, and 201 Level Courses

Students may obtain credit for Elementary French, German, or Spanish (101- and 102-level) and Intermediate French, German, or Spanish (201-level), upon completion of the appropriate course (usually French 202, German 202, or Spanish 202) with a grade of "B" or higher. Credit will not be given for courses for which university credit has been awarded previously. No grade is assigned to this credit. A grade is received only for the courses taken at Winthrop. This program has the benefit of allowing students to graduate sooner and save money, because students do not need to enroll in one or more lower-level courses. For additional details, consult the departmental brochure (pdf - 70 kb).

How to take the exam

Students can take the exam at any time by carefully following the instructions at the following link.

Winthrop University uses WebCAPE (Computer Adaptive Placement Exam). The test is given online and is adaptive, meaning that it is different for every person who takes it. It is designed to get easier if you are doing poorly, and harder if you are doing well. The test is multiple-choice, and typically takes 10-20 minutes.

Test Results

Placement exam results are available to students immediately after finishing the exam, and students' advisors will have access to their placement scores as well prior to registration during orientation. Depending on your score, you will be advised to enroll in the 101, 102, or higher level of the language course that you plan to take.

The possible placements in French, German, and Spanish are 101, 102, 201, or 202 or higher. Some students may be at a very advanced level already, but the test can only determine the precise level for the first two semesters. Therefore, students placing into the 201 or 202 levels for French, German or Spanish, will be advised to meet with Dr. Scott Shinabargar, the Department Chair of World Languages, to discuss what course would be most appropriate beyond the elementary level.

Transfer Credit, CLEP, Advanced Placement (AP) Credit, or IB Credit should be discussed with Dr. Shinabargar or the academic advising areas listed below.

To verify that your credit will satisfy your language requirements, please contact the appropriate college student services office:

Arts and Sciences/Undeclared 803/323-2183

Business (includes Computer Science) 803/323-2186

Education 803/323-4750

Visual and Performing Arts 803/323-2465