Students who wish to study a language at Western Michigan University for the first time should enroll in the 1000-level course of that language.
Students who have had some contact with a language, either through high school coursework or through other experiences, must take the WebCape Online Placement Exam before taking their first class in that language at WMU. Freshman are encouraged to take the exam before Orientation. Postponing your language studies, even for one semester, may make the recommended class difficult.
This online exam is available in French, German and Spanish. For placement exams in other languages, please see below.
The online exam can be found within the GoWMU portal. Students will need a Bronco ID and password to enter the GoWMU portal and will be asked to give their Western Identification Number (WIN) to take the placement exam.
This exam is designed to help students determine which WMU language course is appropriate for their level of preparedness. This multiple-choice exam presents questions of different ability levels, adapting the next question's level according to the previous answer. The total number of questions in the exam and the duration of the exam may vary, but the exam usually takes 20 - 30 minutes.
The online exam may only be taken once and must be taken before students begin their first class in that language at WMU. The online exam cannot be used to satisfy any foreign language requirement nor are any credits awarded on the basis of the online exam. Thus, accepting help of any kind, for instance consulting a dictionary or another person, could result in a course placement beyond the student's readiness.
When the online placement exam is complete, an overall score and the corresponding WMU course in which to register will be given. For example, a score of 234 on the French test might indicate a placement of 2000, meaning FREN 2000- Intermediate French I. It can take up to 24 hours for the system to update the score and allow you to register for the approved course.
For placement tests in languages other than German, French, Latin and Spanish, students should contact an advisor in that language.
For the placement test in Japanese, students should take the J-CAT exam. Students must use their full name for registration. When the online exam is complete, send a PDF copy of your exam results to your advisor in Japanese.
A monitored exam (different from the online placement exam) may be taken by students who wish to try to place out of the foreign language requirements that exist for majors or minors in certain programs at WMU or for all students in the College of Arts and Sciences.
The monitored exam is available in French, German, Latin and Spanish. For placement exams in other languages, please see above.
The monitored exam may be taken only once and must be taken before students begin their first class in that language at WMU. Although some requirements may be fulfilled with the monitored test-out exam, no credit is awarded. Credits can be awarded through our Retroactive Credit Policy.
To schedule an appointment to take the monitored placement exam, students should contact the Department of World Languages and Literatures.
Some students may be eligible to receive retroactive credits for language skills acquired before entering WMU. For information, please review our policy on retroactive credits.
Credits for language studied at a foreign university may be granted on official proof that the student has completed the course work successfully. Please consult one of our faculty members in the appropriate language for further information on transfer credits.