Columbia SPPO

Placement Examination

[If you are a Barnard student please go to:]



There is no placement examination for Catalan. Students with prior knowledge of Catalan (secondary school, living abroad, near-native or native speakers) should register in what they believe to be the level appropriate to them and speak to the professor of the class about placement.


The Placement Examination in Portuguese consists of two parts: one written and one oral.  The written part tests knowledge of grammar, reading comprehension, and writing composition.  The written exam is followed by an interview that tests oral comprehension.  It is offered in the Fall and Spring semesters during the first week of classes. You need to make an appointment (email Ana Paula Huback) in order to take this exam.

Should you have any questions about your placement, please contact the Director of the Portuguese Language program: José Antonio Castellanos-Pazos.




All students new to the Spanish Language Program at Columbia are required to take the Department’s Placement Examination before registering for a course, or provide proof of exemption.

You may take this online exam at home ONLY ONCE per academic year. Also, once you begin the exam, you should not pause until the test has finished. For scores above 625 see exemption.

Once you receive the results, you may register in the designated course during Orientation or during the Add/Drop period. Please keep a copy of your score, as you will need to provide your instructor with this information on the first day of classes.

Under no circumstances may you register for a level lower or higher than the one to which you are assigned without the explicit permission of the corresponding Director of the Language Program for each level.

The Placement Examination in Spanish is an online, multiple-choice format exam that you may take at your convenience, even before your arrival on campus (see link below). It consists of questions on vocabulary, grammar and reading comprehension. There is no oral or listening part to the exam. Since it is an adaptive test, the length varies from one individual to another, with an average time of 20 minutes.

The online Placement Test is for diagnostic purposes only and may be supplemented by your instructor's evaluation during the first week of classes, at which time he or she may recommend a change in registration.

Should you have any questions about your placement, please contact:

Elementary I and II (Diana Romero)
Intermediate I and II (Reyes Llopis-Garcia)
Spanish 3300 (Francisco Rosales-Varo)

The exam must represent your own work. When taking it you will be bound by Columbia University's Code of Academic Integrity, and must refrain from any activity constitutive of academic dishonesty as defined therein. (If you are a Barnard student do not proceed any further and go to:

To take the Columbia placement exam please go to:

password: roaree1 [ends with the number one]


Placement Exam Scores

Below 280 - Spanish W 1101 (Elementary Spanish I) ||

280 - 379 - Spanish W 1102 (Elementary Spanish II) ||

300 - 379 - Spanish W 1102 or Spanish W 1120 (Comprehensive Spanish I) ||

380 - 449 - Spanish W 1201 (Intermediate Spanish I) ||

450 - 625   - Spanish W 1202 (Intermediate Spanish II) or Spanish W 1208 (Spanish for Native Speakers)||

470 - 625 - Spanish W 1202 or Spanish W 1220 (Comprehensive Spanish II) or Spanish W 1208 (Spanish for Native Speakers) ||

Above 625  - You qualify for an exemption. Your exemption in this case will be verified by taking another version of the Placement Exam in person:

For the Fall semester: This exam will be offered every year on the Thursday before the beginning of classes from 10:00 a.m – 1:30 p.m. in Room 352 of the International Affairs Building (the Language Resource Center Computer Lab). This year it will be on Thursday, August 28, 2014. You do not need to make an appointment to sit for this exam.

For the Spring semester: You may retake the Exam at Casa Hispánica’s Main Office, 10:00am -1:30 pm