Placement Services

Placement tests

Placement tests in the Department of World Languages and Literatures at Western Michigan University are used to determine the appropriate course for your level. Choose the option that best matches your language skill.

  • If you wish to study a language for the first time at WMU, please enroll in the 1000-level course of that language.
  • If you have had some contact with a language, either through high school coursework or through other experiences, and want to continue your language studies at WMU, you must take a placement test before taking your first class in that language at WMU. Freshmen are encouraged to take the test before or during orientation. See the languages below for instructions.

French and German

You may take the online placement test found within the GoWMU portal. Use your BroncoNet ID and password to enter the portal and have your Western Identification Number available. This multiple-choice test presents questions of different ability levels, adapting the next question's level according to the previous answer. The total number of questions in the test and the duration of the test may vary, but it usually takes 20 to 30 minutes.

The online placement test may only be taken once and must be taken before you begin your first class in that language at WMU. The online test cannot be used to satisfy any foreign language requirement, nor are any credits awarded on the basis of the online test. Please note that accepting help of any kind, for instance consulting a dictionary or another person, could result in a course placement beyond your readiness.

When the online placement test 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 Intermediate French I (FREN 2000). It can take up to 24 hours for the system to update the score and allow you to register for the approved course.

Arabic, Chinese, Latin, and Russian

Contact the advisor of the language you wish to study or the department to arrange your placement test.


Take the Japanese placement test. When the online test is complete, send a PDF copy of your results to your advisor of Japanese.

If you have any questions regarding your level of placement, contact the department.

Monitored test-out exam

If you wish to try to test-out of the language requirements that exist for majors or minors in certain programs at WMU or if you are a student in the College of Arts and Sciences, take the monitored test-out exam. This is not the same exam as the placement test.

Make an appointment

Students must make an appointment to take the test-out exam.

Exam results

Once the monitored test-out exam is complete, it can take up to 48 hours for the department to grade it. You will receive your level of placement through your WMU email account and your score will be uploaded to your WMU student account for any advisor to see.

French, German and Latin

You may take the monitored test-out exam in 410 Sprau Tower Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Arrive by 2 p.m. in order to finish the exam before the office closes at 5 p.m.

The monitored test-out exam may be taken only once and must be taken before you begin your first class in that language at WMU. Although some requirements may be fulfilled with the monitored test-out exam, no credit is awarded. See the retroactive credit policy if you would like to receive credit for your previous language knowledge.

Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, and Russian

Contact the advisor of the appropriate language or the department to arrange your exam.

Languages not offered by the university

The Department of World Languages and Literatures uses the Brigham Young University Foreign Language Achievement Testing Service (FLATS) to allow students to test out of the language requirement for languages not offered at Western. The test is proctored by the department and scored by FLATS on a pass/fail basis. A "pass" exempts the student from the WMU language requirement but does not yield credits. If you have any questions or for more information, please contact the department.