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Language Placement Guidelines

It is very important for you to begin your language studies at Salem State at the appropriate level. If you have studied a language in high school or if you speak the language due to life experience, you should not enroll in the 101-level course. The 101 course is designed for beginners who have very little or no prior experience with the language.

Language Placement Guidelines

Students who have previous experience in foreign languages should follow the department's placement guidelines below and/or consult a faculty member in the foreign languages department. Students who wish to study Spanish should take the Spanish Placement test (see below). The AP test, SAT-II subject test, or the CLEP test can also be used to determine placement if you happen to have taken one of them.

Course Basic guidelines for placement

Course Guidelines
  • No experience in the language (true beginner)
  • Less than two years of high school study in the language
  • Less than 400 in the SAT-II
  • 2-3 years of high school language study
  • 400-460 in SAT-II test
  • 3-4 years of high school language study
  • 461-559 in SAT-II test
  • 4-5 years of high school language study
  • At least 560 in SAT-II test
  • 3 in the AP test
  • Five or more years previous language study
  • Above 700 in SAT-II test
  • 4 or 5 in AP test
  • Or permission of the department’s chairperson


Department Policies

Native speakers and heritage speakers, those who learned a language through family or life experience, can not earn credit for elementary-level language courses.

  • Students who intentionally place themselves into an elementary course when they have prior experience in the language can be expelled from the course at any time during the semester if the instructor discovers the deception.

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