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Placement/Proficiency Exam in Chinese


Q: Who needs to take the Placement/Proficiency Exam?

(1) All new students who wish to be exempt from the foreign language requirement in Chinese must take a placement/proficiency exam offered through the Chinese Language Program.  Neither the Chinese SAT II , AP scores or  HSK certificates can be used for this purpose.

(2) All new students who have taken Chinese in middle schools, high schools, overseas international schools or Chinese heritage schools and wish to continue studying Chinese at Penn.

Q: Who does NOT need to take the exam?

(1) If you have never studied Chinese before, you may sign up for Chin 011 and you don’t need to take the placement/proficiency exam.

(2) If you speak Mandarin fluently but cannot read and write in Chinese, you may sign up for Chin 031, and you don’t need to take the exam.

(3) If you are fluent in Cantonese or other Chinese dialects and want to finish the FL requirement in one year, you may sign up for CHIN 021 and 022, and you don’t need to take the exam.

Q: What is the format of the exam?
The exam includes four components: Chinese grammar and reading skills,  composition, translation,  and a three-minute oral interview.  The exam takes about 40 to 60 minutes depending on each individual’s language proficiency level.

Q: Is the exam in simplified or traditional characters?

Students may choose either the simplified character or the traditional character version of the test.

Q: When and where is the exam?
The exam is usually scheduled in the New Student Orientation Week. For details, see Bulletin Board on Chinese Program Home Page.

Q: Do I need to sign up for the exam?
No.

Q: Is there any sample test available? How should I prepare for the exam?
No. A proficiency test is to measure your command of the Chinese language regardless of your Chinese language learning background. Students don’t need to study any textbooks before the exam.  

Q: I am a transfer student. Do I need to take the Placement exam?
Transferring students may contact Mien-hwa Chiang for an appointment to evaluate previous Chinese course materials for credits and course placements.