Language Placement Information

Are you an Oberlin student interested in registering for a language course? We’ve gone through the course catalog and collected all of the information you should know about AP exams, SAT II scores, and placement tests. For more information, contact a member of the language department you’re interested in.


Advanced Placement: Students who have received a score of 4 or 5 on the Advanced Placement (AP) exam in French Language or French Literature will be automatically awarded credit for one course toward graduation, but not toward the major.  They should enroll in French 301, the gateway course for the French major.

Prerequisites and Placement: It is the department’s policy to advance students as fast as achievement warrants. Students who have taken the SAT II Exam in French should enroll in courses according to their score:

550-625 French 203 or 205
206 626-800 French 301

Students with previous study of French who have not taken the SAT II exam should take the Oberlin French Placement Test administered by the department during orientation to determine their appropriate level.


Advanced Placement: Students qualifying under this program will be assigned advanced standing on the basis of results in the qualifying examinations administered by the College Board and credit will be awarded for HISP 300. A score of 5 on the Spanish language or literature exam automatically receives credit for 1 full academic course as Hispanic Studies 300, qualifying students to work at the 300 level.  Students who have scored a 6 or 7 on the Spanish (Advanced) exam of the IB curriculum will also receive 1 course credit, as HISP 300. First and second-year students having obtained a score of 5 on the AP exams or a 6 or 7 on the IB Spanish (Advanced) are encouraged to take HISP 306 before taking HISP 309, 310, 317, or 318.  HISP 300 counts toward the total number of academic credits required for the major.

Placement: Students who begin Hispanic Studies at Oberlin will take HISP 101. Beyond HISP 101 the particular entry point within the sequence of language courses depends upon a student’s background in Spanish and upon the results of a placement test, administered at the beginning of each semester for those beginning HISP 102, 202, 203, and 304. The placement test is required of every student with a prior knowledge of Spanish who wishes to enroll, except for students who have taken the AP exam and scored a 5 (see above).

The placement exam will be available online during registration.  Please see the department’s web site at


Advanced Placement: Students who have received a score of 4 or 5 on the Advanced Placement (AP) exam in German will automatically be awarded credit for one course toward graduation. This course may also be applied toward the German or German Studies major.


Contact Ivani Di Siena.


Placement: Incoming students with previous training in Russian should take the Placement Test to determine the appropriate level to continue studying Russian. Students beginning at Oberlin should note course sequences, some of which are prerequisite to the advanced level and the major. Participation in a Russian study abroad program is highly recommended, as is residency in Russian House.

Suggested Course Sequence: New students considering a major should take a Russian language course in their first semester. New students with or without previous training are encouraged to take a related course in translation, such as Russian literature, culture, history or politics during their first year.


Consult with a Chinese faculty member regarding placement.


All incoming students who have acquired linguistic ability in Japanese elsewhere, or who wish to qualify for advanced courses, should take the placement test administered during Orientation, or in consultation with a Japanese faculty member, to determine the level at which Japanese study should be continued.


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