Chinese Placement Exams

Online Placement Exam

The online exam is designed for use in the summer and winter break. It cannot be taken for credit transfer or proficiency certification purposes. 

Because there are fewer testing items (i.e., the oral and hand-writing components are not given), the online placement results or recommendations are only tentative. Students are advised to double check with the course instructor(s) to make sure they are placed right in the first week of classes.   

For native speakers of Chinese who are interested in taking courses with the Chinese program at GW, please refer to this page here. In general, native speakers of Chinese are not eligible to take Chinese language courses, but are eligible to take CHIN courses in literature, culture and linguistics, which are mostly taught in English. No placement test is needed for native speakers of Chinese.

Online exam schedule

Summer: June 1 - August 25

Winter: December 26 - January 10

   >>  The summer 2020 placement exam is closed now. Please contact specific instructor for inquiries.

The Certification Exam

Take this exam if one of the situations applies to you:

  1. You are returning from an overseas Chinese program and wish to receive credit for a higher course than the one automatically transferred (e.g. 4107 instead of 3105)
  2. You are seeking exemption from the foreign language requirement.
  3. You are seeking exemption/waiver from a required course.
  4. You are seeking certification for a certain proficiency level.

Sign up with Prof. Hongyuan Dong in order to schedule.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to take the placement exam?

You do not need to take the placement exam if one of the following applies:

  • You have little or no Chinese experience and would like to take the beginning level Chinese course, CHIN1001.
  • You have finished an overseas program for Chinese and would like to continue studying Chinese at the next level pre-approved by the GW Chinese Program or by the Study Abroad Office.
  • You are a Chinese native speaker and have attended a Chinese high school or college previously. You need an exemption from the foreign language requirement instead.  

Who is required to take the placement exam?

You are required to take the placement exam if one of the following applies:

  • You have suspended your study of Chinese for one or more semesters and wish to take a Chinese language course.
  • You are an incoming/transfer student. You have had Chinese experience previously in a high school or elsewhere and wish to continue studying Chinese.
  • You are from a Chinese family background and are able to speak some Chinese (Mandarin, Cantonese, or another dialect) and may or may not be able to read and write in Chinese, and wish to take a Chinese language course.
  • You need to take a Chinese language course and are unsure which level is suitable.

What is the format of the placement exam?

Normally the exam consists of the following:

  • Online exam: A written test with items for vocabulary, grammar/structures, reading, and writing. No dictionaries or online resources are allowed. There is also a questionnaire about student Chinese language background experience.

Is the exam in simplified or traditional Chinese?

  • Both forms are available, so you can choose the one you are familiar with.

How should I prepare for the exam?

We recommend that you thoroughly review what you have learned so far, perhaps in a backwards order (i.e. start from the most recent). Here are some suggestions to make your review productive:

  • Reading: Test yourself on reading passages or main text in the lessons without looking at the glossary or translations. You may also find a different textbook of the same level and read the text to check your comprehension.
  • Essay writing via typing: We require students to type Chinese directly on their computers for the placement exam. Practice writing via typing. To make your writing productive, focus on a topic each time based on the lessons in your textbook, so that you can review the vocabulary and structures.