The requirement aims to assure that students will acquire a usable level of competence in a second language, involving all four skills (listening, reading, writing, and speaking). This competence is demonstrated either (a) through satisfactory completion of fourth-level language (fifth-level if Chinese or Japanese) course or (b) through acceptable performance on a standardized or departmentally designed examination.

Students beginning their study of language, as well as those who need more study to complete the requirement, should enroll in language in their first year.

Entering students may fulfill the requirement by satisfactory performance on a College Board Advanced Placement of Achievement test. Students who have not taken such a test before entering the college should take the language placement examination on-line over the summer. Students beginning their study of language, as well as those who need more study to complete the requirement, should enroll in language in their first year.

**Please note that the on-line exam is for diagnostic purposes only; it cannot exempt you from the language requirement, and you may also be required to take a written exam on campus. The placement exam must be taken to be able to register for any course above 101.

Language Placement in the Department of Spanish


You can be exempted from the language requirement if:

  •  you score a 4 or 5 on the AP Spanish language or literature exam
  • you score a 6 or 7 on the IB Spanish language exam
  • your on-line score is TBA you will be required to take the AVANT placement exam on campus during New Student Week.

Placement Within the Language Sequence

Incoming first year students, as well as transfer students, who have had Spanish instruction prior to coming to Carleton, but who have not achieved the AP, IB scores listed above and sent them to the registrar, will take the placement exam before they register for classes. This test is administered only once and determines your placement in our language sequence. We abide by the test score, regardless of the number of years that you have taken Spanish elsewhere or of the subjective circumstances that may have influenced your test score.

A student can petition to take a second placement exam, only if since beginning the study of Spanish language at Carleton the student has enrolled and completed with a passing grade a Spanish language course, at the appropriate level, at another institution, for instance over the summer or while abroad. To petition to take the placement exam again, the student must present to the chair of the department proper documentation (syllabus and transcript) confirming the level of the coursework and its successful completion. Upon approval of this documentation, the chair will make arrangements for the student to take the AVANT Place exam. Again, the results of this test are final, and the student must abide by the results.

Under no other circumstances will a student be allowed to retake a placement exam. Given these strict regulations, we advise students that once they are placed in a Spanish course they continue with their course sequence until they finish the language requirement.

The department will consider no exceptions to this placement test policy.

More information on the Language Placement Test.