Second Language Placement Tests

Should I Take A Language Placement Test?

If you plan to complete a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or a Bachelor of Individualized Study (BIS) degree you must complete the CLA second-language requirement in one of two ways:

  • Complete a fourth-semester, college-level language course of at least four (4) semester credits with a grade of C- or better or S
  • Pass the Language Proficiency Exam (LPE), which tests listening, speaking, reading and writing skills at the fourth-semester level

Starting from the First Semester

No placement test is required for the beginner-level, first-semester, language courses. CLA offers many languages, and we encourage you to explore the opportunity to start a new language. You do not need to take a placement test if you want to begin the study of a different language than the one you've studied in the past.

French, German, or Spanish

You do not need to take a placement test if you have taken at least one year of French, German, or Spanish in high school or a first semester language course at the college level and you begin in Fren, Ger, or Span 1022. This is an alternative second semester course which begins with a review of first semester material. Since this is considered a second-semester course, students can finish the second-language requirement in three semesters rather than four.

If you think you should begin in the third or fourth semester (1003 or 1004), you need to take the Entrance Proficiency Test (EPT). Special note for Spanish: The registration system will not allow you to register for Span 1003 or Span 1004 unless you have earned the appropriate score on the EPT. 

The EPT consists of three portions: reading, listening, and writing. Each portion is timed at 50 minutes. You may take the three portions consecutively or at different times. Depending on your level of skill, you may take all three portions or be told your testing is complete after only one or two. Dictionaries and other resources are not allowed. You can only take the Entrance Proficiency Test once per language.

Asian Languages

If you want to take these languages at the second-semester level or higher, then you can arrange to take a placement test through the Department of Asian Languages and Literatures.

American Sign Language

If you want to take American Sign Language, contact the American Sign Language Program for evaluation (612-624-1274).

Advanced Speakers

If you have had the equivalent of two (2) years of college-level language education, you should take the Language Proficiency Exam (LPE). If you pass the LPE it satisfies the CLA second language requirement, but it does not earn degree credit. The LPE is offered in sixteen (16) languages and consists of four (4) portions: reading, listening, writing, and speaking. The test takes three (3) to four (4) hours and you must register in advance to take the LPE on specific dates for the in-person portions. If you do not pass the LPE, you must take the Entrance Proficiency Test (EPT) to determine appropriate course placement.

If you received a Minnesota Bilingual or Multilingual Seal or World Language Proficiency Certificate, you should complete the Language Proficiency Exam (LPE).

If you passed the Language Proficiency Exam through College in the Schools, you do not need to take the LPE.

​If you are a non-native speaker of English or have taken a fourth semester college course of a second language at another institution, check out the Frequently Asked Questions page to determine whether you've already completed the requirement. ​

Other Languages

If you need placement advice for other languages, especially those not taught at the University of Minnesota, connect with your CLA academic advisor during your orientation advising appointment or via email.


When And Where Can I Take Language Placement Tests?

The College of Liberal Arts (CLA) Language Testing Program administers the Entrance Proficiency Test (EPT) and the Language Proficiency Exam (LPE) to students at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus.

You should plan to complete the EPT at least two weeks prior to your orientation date. You can access the EPT online when you log in to your New Student Checklist. Please note: You will need a high-speed Internet connection to take the test.

For information about dates the LPE is offered on campus, visit the Language Testing Program website.