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Placement Test

Fall 2010 Placement Test

Date: Thursday, Sep 2, 2010
Time: 10:00 AM
Location: 413 Kent

Contact Info

Office: 401 Kent
Tel: 212-854-4740
Email: ym11@columbia.edu



 Q       Who should take the placement test? 

A.   You should take the Test if any one of the following applies to you:
  • You are a new graduate student to the Chinese Language Program.
  • You want to obtain a Chinese Proficiency Certificate and be placed out of the language requirement at Columbia University.
  • You know some Chinese (e.g. you studied Chinese elsewhere before, or you are from a Chinese family background) and wish to take a Columbia Chinese course other than the  elementary level.
  • You had studied Chinese at Columbia some years ago and wish to pick it up again.
  • You had taken a Chinese placement test some years ago and now you wish to take a Chinese course at Columbia.
  • You took a Chinese course at Columbia and received a C or lower for your final grade in the first semester of that course; or C+ or lower for your second semester of that course.  In other words, you have to get a C or better for the first semester in a Chinese course at Columbia in order to continue the course in the second semester. In order to enter next level, you must get a C+ or better. If your grade is lower than required, you need to pass the placement test to be able to continue your study.

 Q.        Who should NOT take the placement test?


Do not take the test if any one of the following applies to you:

  • You wish to take the elementary Chinese courses.
  • You cannot read or write in Chinese.
  • You have high school or college diploma from a country where Chinese is the official language. 
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 Q.        How can I make up the test if I have missed it?

A. If you wish to take a Chinese course for the current semester and if there is still space available in the class, you could speak to the Director of the Program. For those who wish to get a certificate for language proficiency, please see the FAQ-Certification.

  Q.        When and where is the test held?

A Usually it is scheduled for 10:00-12:00 on the Friday of the registration week for the Fall or Spring semester before classes begin. The place for the test is in Room 413 Kent Hall. Please be sure to come on time.  If you are late, you will miss part of the test! 

 Q.        Do I need to sign up for taking the test?

A. It is not necessary to sign up in advance. However you must be on time, or you will miss part of the test. There will be no make up test for placement purposes.

 Q.        Is there a fee for the test?


No fee is required if you are currently registered at Columbia. If not, you must pay $30 dollars in cash on site. 

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 Q.        Which character form is used in the test?

A. Both traditional and simplified forms are available in the same packet. You may choose the one you prefer, but be consistent throughout the test.

 Q.        Is there a way that I can prepare for the test?

A. The test is not based on any currently used textbook or course materials. The best way to prepare, perhaps, is to review the textbooks you have used before.

Q       What is the format of the test?

 A.        The test consists of the following:

1.   Directions for the Test This is conducted in the beginning at 10:00 am.  The information sheet and the test papers will be distributed to each student. Directions will be given.

2.   Timed Writing (30 minutes).  You are expected to write a narrative story in Chinese characters based on the pictures provided.  When the time is up your writing will be collected even if it is unfinished. Try to write as much as you can and use as many expressions and vocabulary as appropriate in order for us to better asses your vocabulary range and proficiency level.  

3.   Listening Comprehension (approx. 20 minutes).  Multiple-choice type questions. You are expected to choose the appropriate answer, after you hear a sentence, a short dialog or a short passage, and mark the corresponding number on the answer sheet (not on the question sheet).  During this test, you should skip the items that are beyond your level, rather than randomly guess the answers.

4.   Written Test (grammar, vocabulary and  reading comprehension). Multiple-choice type questions. You are expected to mark your choice of answer on the answer sheet.  During this test, you should also skip the items that are beyond your level, rather than randomly guess the answers.

Q   When will the test results be available?


Results will be posted in the Department office after 4 p.m. on the same day. Students who take the test for certification purposes should pick up their certificates between 4:00 and 6:00 pm. See the contact info above for the office location and phone number.

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Chinese Language Program
Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures
407 Kent Hall
Columbia University
New York, NY 10027
Tel: (212) 854-5027