Find answers to your most Frequently Asked Questions.

  1. Why do I have to take the online placement exam?
    All students at Saint Mary's College must demonstrate an intermediate level (003) of foreign language proficiency. You take the online placement exam to determine the most suitable language course for you. The Department of Modern Languages offers online placement exams for Spanish, French and German. For all other exams, get in touch with the appropriate contact person.
  2. By when do I have to take the online placement exam?
    You must take the exam prior to your summer orientation session. During the semester, you may still take the online placement exam. Please make sure to keep a record of your score. After taking the placement exam, you must set up a meeting with Professor Maria Luisa Ruiz (x4568) Lower Division Language and Proficiency Coordinator, to get permission to register for your language courses. 
  3. How do I log on to the exam?
    On the left menu of this page, click on the "Take the Exam" link and supply the following information:
    user name: stmarys user
    password: gaels1
  4. What information should I have ready before logging on and taking the online placement exam?
    You will need to provide your full name (including middle initial), correct school name, and a valid email address. Use 1000 as a default setting for ID number. 
  5.  How long does the placement exam take?
    You have 40 minutes to complete the exam and must do so in one sitting. Your score will indicate the amount of time you needed to finish. You can only take the exam once
  6. How and when do I know my score?

    Your score is immediately calculated and will appear at the end of the exam. Print out a copy of the results for your records.

  7. Do I have to take the placement exam in the language that I took in high school?
    No. If you intend to study a language different from the one you took in high school and completely new to you, you can enroll in level 001 and do not have to take the placement exam. If you have completed 2 years of language study in high school, and wish to study the same language, you can not place yourself in level 1 courses.
  8. Can I consult a dictionary or grammar text (i.e. textbook) while taking the exam?
    No. The exam is not open book. All students taking this exam are expected to adhere to the Saint Mary's Student Honor Code. It is very important that you do your best on this exam and that you do not receive any help with it. In order to make good judgements about your placement, we need accurate information about your language knowledge.
  9. Do I need to study before I take the test?
    No. Accurate initial placement is a key factor in successfully learning a foreign language. Thus, the online placement exam is a diagnostic tool to determine your overall ability level so that you enroll in the class best suited to your language skills. It in no way affects your GPA, or is part of any grading.
  10. Can I take the online placement exam in any language?

    No. The online exam is available only in Spanish and French. Here are the contacts for the languages for which there is no online placement exam:

  11. What if I am proficient another language that is not offered at Saint Mary’s?
    A proficiency exam in any language other than English can be taken through the Department of Modern Language to satisfy the language requirement. Contact Professor Maria Luisa Ruiz (x4568), Lower Division Language and Proficiency Coordinator, for further information.
  12. Am I required to enroll in the course as suggested by my score?
    No. You may enroll in a course above or below your suggested level, but you should not place yourself in a first level course in any language unless you have had very little contact with the target language. You may consult with the appropriate contact person to make sure you are taking the right course.  You may only take placement exam once during each academic year. Your results are valid for one academic year. Please print out a copy of your exam results for your records.
  13. What happens if I score very high on the placement exam?
    If you achieve a high score on the placement exam, it does not automatically meet Saint Mary's College stated language requirement. You will be required to set up an interview with the appropriate contact person at which time you will be given a proficiency exam to verify your ability level and score. This proficiency exam consists of oral and written components. If the proficiency exam verifies your initial placement score, you will have met the College's language requirement. If it does not, the contact person will place you in the appropriate level.
  14. What do I do if my computer crashes while I am taking the online placement exam? 
    If there is a computer or browser malfunction prior to completing the exam, you need to log back into the test and start over. Make sure that upon completing the exam, you print out a copy of your results, just in case. You may also email one of the contact persons listed below for further assistance.  
  15. Do I need to keep track of my own score?
    Yes. Make sure to print out a copy of your test results for yourself and bring it with you to the orientation session. Reminder: You may only take placement exam once during each academic year. Your results are valid for one academic year.
  16. After taking the placement exam, whom should I contact if I have any further questions? 

    Depending on your language of interest, you can contact any of the following:

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1928 Saint Mary's Road
Moraga, CA 94575
(925) 631-4000
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