Spanish Placement Exam

The Spanish language program uses four levels of screening in order to place students in the correct language acquisition course:

  • A placement test (the placement test is only valid for the upcoming semester)
  • The student’s prior formal study of the language (high school and college)
  • An interview with a placement advisor, if needed



Who Needs to Take the Placement Test



You do not need to take a placement test if you:

  • Never studied Spanish in high school, and do not speak Spanish at home (please enroll in SPAN 1001)
  • Received a score of 5 on the AP Spanish Language Exam
  • Received a score of 4 or 5 on the AP Spanish Literature Exam



You do need to take the placement test if you:

  • Have taken Spanish courses during high school, or at a university or college other than GW
  • Have never formally studied Spanish, but speak the language at home (heritage speaker)
  • Have lived in a Spanish-speaking country, or were in that country for an extended period of time
  • Are a native Spanish speaker Took the AP exam, but received a score of 4 or below
  • Feel that AP or IB scores (see above) do not accurately reflect your Spanish level


Placement Test Results Chart

Points (out of 140) GW Placement
10-25 SPAN 1012 (Intensive)
26-45 SPAN 1002
46-65 SPAN 1013, 1034 (Intensive)
66-80 SPAN 1014
81-95 SPAN 2005, SPAN 2056 (Intensive)
96-110 SPAN 2006, SPAN 2026 (Spanish for Heritage Learners)
111-140 Spanish 3100 and above



Placement Levels of Screening

1. Completed placement test.

Take the online test through Quia, and then check the placement test results chart on this page to see which course you should begin with at GW.

2. Previous instruction through Spanish courses taken in high school.

As a general rule, and regardless of the placement test score:

  • Students with one year of high school Spanish can take SPAN 1011 or SPAN 1012.
  • Students with two years of high school Spanish are eligible to enroll in SPAN 1002 if their placement test scores fall within the range, or they have an evaluation with a placement advisor during the first week of classes.
  • Students with three years of high school Spanish must take SPAN 1013, 1034 or higher (depending on their placement test score). However, a student who has not taken Spanish for over a year can choose to enroll in SPAN 1002. A student may also be allowed to enroll in SPAN 1012 if the prior instruction in the language was not solid enough for SPAN 1013 (an interview with a placement advisor during the first week of class is required). 
3. Interview with a placement advisor

Students need to see a placement advisor within the first week of classes whether they have questions or concerns about their placement, or if they want to place in a lower course. They will also need to see a placement advisor if the instructor asks them to do so (after reviewing the student's placement).

4. Language instructor screening.

Within the first six days of class, instructors need to identify any student who, despite having taken a placement exam, had previous language instruction outside GW and/or interviewed with a placement advisor, does not have a possibility to succeed in the class. This means that the student lacks a minimal language foundation to be able to progress in the language and that the problem cannot be solved with the help of a tutor. Students without proper placement will be removed from their classes.

AP and IB Credits

Currently, GW accepts the Advanced Placement (AP) exam and the International Baccalaureate (IB) exam.

  • Advanced Placement Exam: The College Board offers two Advanced Placement exams, one in Spanish Language and another in Spanish Literature. Please see the GW Bulletin for AP credit information.

  • International Baccalaureate Exam: The International Baccalaureate Organization offers Spanish exams at two levels (Language A and Language B). Credit for IB exams is subject to change. Please see the GW Bulletin for IB credit information.

At this time, GW does not accept credit for the College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) or SAT II exams. However, the score may help determine your level.