Because students arrive at Yale with varied experience in foreign language, language programs administer a placement test to assist in placing students at an appropriate language course level. Several language programs administer these tests online during the summer, while some programs administer them during the opening days of the fall semester using a brief oral interview or other means of assessment. A few programs also administer tests at the beginning of the spring semester.
Use of Placement Scores
There are five possible scores on a placement test: L1, L2, L3, L4, and L5. L1 indicates that you should start studying the language with the first semester offered in that language, L2 that you should start with the second-semester course, and so on. L5 indicates that you are at some level beyond the fourth semester (it could be third year, fourth year, or beyond), at which time you are eligible to take any advanced-level course in that language (subject to course prerequisites and language program restrictions).
In addition to one of these five scores, some placement test results may give you additional information, such as whether you should pursue a “heritage learner” track. If you believe that a heritage or intensive course would suit your background and needs, talk with the language program director or the course’s instructor.
The Foreign Language Requirement
These scores not only dictate your starting point for language study at Yale, but also tell you which semesters you will need to complete to fulfill the Foreign Language Requirement. Consult our Foreign Language Requirement page for more information on how your score tells you what you need to do to fulfill the requirement.