Placement Exams

If you previously studied French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian or Spanish, you need to take the placement exam if you wish to continue studying the language at GW. This also applies to heritage speakers (those who speak the language at home but have never had formal training). See requirements on the individual language placement exam pages to find out if you need to take the test.

Placement Exam Instructions

Portuguese exam: Contact the department directly at 202-994-6330 or [email protected].


Format and Timing

Most languages use an online written exam, with the exception of Portuguese, which uses a paper format. In some cases an oral exam is also required, and students must make an appointment with one of the language faculty. These oral exams are offered each semester in the weeks prior to registration. These are the only opportunities when the oral exams will be available. Placement exam scores will not be finalized until all components of the exam have been completed, so please plan on taking the placement exam prior to registration.

You must take the placement exam prior to your registration for courses, and only register for the course into which you place. Students without proper placement will be removed from their classes.


Waiver Exams for Elliott School Students

Please note that the placement exam is for placement only; it does not award credit for courses or waive the Elliott School of International Affairs' third-year language proficiency requirement. A waiver exam is offered to students in the Elliott School for those who wish to test out of their language proficiency requirement. You must register in advance to take the waiver exam by emailing [email protected].

The waiver exam is used specifically for Elliott School undergraduates trying to waive their proficiency requirements. This exam merely waives the requirement. Students will not receive credit hours for passing the waiver exam.