What is the MSU FL Placement Test?

The foreign language placement test helps students to register for the appropriate level course for a foreign language.

The unproctored placement test does NOT exempt a student from any language requirements. The College of Arts and Letters, and the James Madison College have language exit requirements that must be fulfilled separately from the placement test. The placement test merely informs students where they should begin their language study at Michigan State University. Placing beyond the intro (101) level does NOT grant credit for any levels that the student places beyond. The placement test does NOT grant any university credits.

Placing out of 200-level language in a proctored environment (at AOP, or in the MSU Testing Office) can satisfy the language requirement for the College of Arts and Letters and the James Madison College, but again, no college credits are earned by taking the test.

Who needs to take the FL Placement Test?

A student who took a foreign language prior to entering Michigan State University, and who is continuing study in that language, must take the placement test.

Do students in the Arts, i.e. art, music, and theater have a foreign language requirement?

The Department of Art offers two types of undergraduate degrees, the Bachelor of Arts, for which there is a two year language requirement, and the Bachelor of Fine Arts. The Bachelor of Fine Arts does not have a language requirement. The School of Music offers two types of Bachelors degrees, a Bachelor of Music, for which there is no language requirement and a Bachelor of Arts in Music, for which there is a two year language requirement. The Department of Theatre offers the Bachelor of Arts, for which there is a two year language requirement.

What majors in the College of Natural Science require a foreign language?

  • Chemistry (CEM) - First year competency (BS or BA in Chemistry and BS in Chemical Physics)
  • Mathematics (MTH) - First year competency (BS in Mathemtics or Computational Mathematics) and Secondary year competency (BA in Mathematics or Computational Mathematics)
  • Zoology (ZOL) - First or Second year competency depending on how they choose to fulfill the requirement (BA in Zoology)

How do I take the test?

The placement test can be taken online at http://flplacement.cal.msu.edu from any location with a high-speed internet connection.

To take the test, your computer must be able to play MP3 audio files. The Quicktime 4 plugin does a good job of handling MP3 files. Check if your computer can play MP3 audio files. If you can hear music, your computer is configured correctly.

To take the test, follow these steps:

  1. Log into the system using your MSUNet ID and password
  2. Select a language
  3. Take the test
  4. Submit your answers
  5. Record your score in a safe place and keep it for future advising sessions (in case your score does not get entered into SIS in time for you to register for a class)

If you need to take a proctored test, contact the MSU Testing Office at 517-355-8385 http://www.testingoffice.msu.edu/placement-exams.

When should I take the test?

The placement test makes an enrollment recommendation for the immediate semester. If there is a time lag between taking the test and enrolling in a course, you should take the test again before enrolling.

Can the test be repeated?

The test may be repeated, but there is a mandatory 6-week waiting period between testing sessions (there are no exceptions to this restriction). The mandatory 6-week waiting period applies whether you are taking the proctored or unproctored version. (i.e., if you take the test at home and then wish to take a proctored version, you must wait 6 weeks before the system will allow you to do so).

How much time should I allow to take the test?

There are 39 items on the test. Taking the test should require anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour, depending on how fast you work.

What if...

  • If you have technical (computer-related) problems with the test, you can contact the Libraries, Computing and Technology Help Line toll free: 800-500-1554 (North America and Hawaii) and local: 517-355-2345.
  • For questions related to the test itself, send an email to fltests@msu.edu
  • If you feel that your test score does not accurately reflect your language ability, see your advisor or discuss your score with the appropraite advisor in the foreign language department.