Second Language Placement Tests

Students completing a BA or a BIS must complete the CLA second-language requirement in one of two ways:

  • A grade of C-, S, or better in a fourth semester University of Minnesota language class.
  • A passing score on the Language Proficiency Exam (LPE).

Placement Testing

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.

French, German, or Spanish

Students who have taken at least one year of French, German, or Spanish in high school or a first semester language course at the college level may begin in Fren, Ger, or Span 1022. No placement test is necessary. 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 think your language proficiency is already more advanced than the fourth-semester level, or if you would like to begin language study at the advanced level, you should take the Language Proficiency Exam (LPE). Passing the LPE satisfies the CLA second language requirement, but does not earn you degree credit. If you fail the LPE, you must take a fourth-semester course before you can take the exam again. The LPE is offered in 16 languages and consists of four portions: reading, listening, writing, and speaking. The test takes 3-4 hours, and you must register in advance to take the LPE on specific dates for the in-person portions.

​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, speak with your college advisor during your on-campus orientation.

When can I take language placement tests?

You can take the EPT online at any time through the Language Testing Program. You will need a high-speed Internet connection to take the test.

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


You do not need to take a second-language placement test if any of the following are true:

  • If you received a Minnesota Bilingual or Multilingual Seal or World Language Proficiency Certificate, you should complete the Language Proficiency Exam (LPE).
  • You have completed only one year of high school or one semester of college study of French, German, and Spanish.
  • You want to begin study of a different language than one you have studied in the past.
  • You passed the Language Proficiency Exam through College in the Schools.