Department of French
Placement test objectives and principles


Now you are ready to take the French placement test. Before doing so, please read carefully the following information.
It provides answers to all the questions you may have concerning the test.

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Should I take the placement test?
Why is the test so important?
What is the best way to answer questions on the test?
What will happen with my results?
What does the test actually look like?
How much time do I need to complete the test?
What do I need to complete the test?


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Should I take the placement test?

Yes, if you wish to enroll in an FSL or FRE course for the first time. The test is mandatory for all students who have not already taken a language course in the Department of French, with the exception of true beginners. True beginners, that is students who have no knowledge of French whatsoever, should enroll in FSL100 without taking the placement test. The Department will determine the level of your language-skill according to your results on this test.

Probably, if you wish to be exempted from FSL courses on the basis of your linguistic competence. The Department will tell you if you need to take the test or not when you request your Waiver of Program Requirement.

No, if you have already taken an FSL course. In this case, you may enroll directly in a higher-level FSL course.

 
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Why is the test so important?

Because it is the only way to make sure that you enroll in the course that suits you best. The placement test is designed to assess accurately your linguistic skills and your background in French. It will place you in an FSL course that maximizes your chances of really improving your competence in French. This course should be neither too difficult (you don't want to feel overwhelmed by the difficulty or overburdened by the workload in the course) nor too easy for you (you don't want to feel that you are not learning much and that your are not making any progress).

 
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What is the best way to answer questions on the test?

Honestly. Remember that you will benefit the most from language instruction if you take a course corresponding to your proficiency level. It is a violation of standards of academic conduct for you to misrepresent yourself on this test by attempting to perform above or below your actual proficiency.

Thoroughly and mindfully. You must answer all questions and perform all tasks asked for in the test. Do not skip any question, unless you do NOT know the answer. Various parts of the test offer multichoice answers. Select the one that you know, or think is right – you don't have to be absolutely sure. But don't make a wild guess – just skip the questions for which you don't have an answer. Lucky guesses would alter your results significantly. Don't be reluctant to leave questions unanswered even if there are many of them. The test may be quite difficult for you as it is intended for students at all levels of proficiency.

On your own. You shouldn't use any help of any kind to complete the test. No dictionary, no grammar, no textbook, no friend, no family, no spellchecker, no Internet. Any kind of help would alter your results significantly.

 
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What will happen with my results?

You will receive shortly an e-mail giving you the following information: your final score, your score on the various parts, and the Department's recommendation as to the course in which you should enroll. You must present a copy of the
e-mail to your course instructor during the first week of class. This will help your instructor know you better and provide you with the most appropriate help for improving particular skills.

 
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What does the test actually look like?

The test consists of seven main parts that assess your proficiency in three of the four linguistic skills: reading, writing and listening. They are the following:

  A. Grammar: multichoice questions (parts A1 and A2)
B. Oral discrimination: multichoice questions
C. Reading comprehension: multichoice questions
D. Writing: 150 word essay
E. Oral comprehension: multichoice questions and ‘dictée' (parts E1, E2 and E3)

Depending on your actual level of proficiency, you may not have to go through the whole test. The program will ask you to submit your answers at specific points. It will then compute your results and lead you accordingly to the next step – either the next part or the end of the test.

 
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How much time do I need to complete the test?

It depends. It can take as little as 10 minutes (part A1 only) and as much as an hour and a half (the whole test).

If you have to go through the whole test, you can take a break after part D. The program will instruct you as to what to do in this case. You cannot take a break at any other point in the test. So make sure that you have enough time before you start the test: 45-60 minutes before the break (parts A through D) and 30-45 minutes after the break (parts E through G).

 
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What do I need to complete the test?

Scrap paper and pencil. You may want to take notes when listening to a text or to write a first draft of your essay. Remember: no dictionary, no grammar, no spellchecker, no text.

Specific computer programs. They are needed for the test to work properly. Make sure that your computer has all the required programs, as specified in the technical instructions (? button). If you have not read the instructions yet, click on the (?) button now.

 
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Language Departments Consortium