Placement Testing

For placement testing information in other languages taught at Brandeis but not listed here, contact the language department directly.

Chemistry

At Brandeis, we have customized introductory chemistry for two levels of preparation:

  • General Chemistry (CHEM 11a with corresponding lab CHEM 18a)
  • Honors Chemistry (CHEM 15a with corresponding lab CHEM 19a)

Download chemistry placement information here.

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Chinese

Chinese language courses CHIN10a, CHIN30a, CHIN105a and CHIN120a are generally offered in the fall, and CHIN20b, Chin29b, CHIN40b, CHIN105b, 106b, CHIN120b and 140a are generally offered in the spring.

If you have learned Chinese at high school, at home, or stayed in China for a long time, we strongly suggest you take a Chinese language placement test to determine the level at which you should begin your foreign language course work at Brandeis. It is a computer based online real time (face to face communication to a tester both orally and in writing) test covering listening, speaking, reading, and writing. You need to make your computer ready for Chinese input and Skype software installed before requesting the test. 

Please send email to Xiwen Lu, Undergraduate Advisor of the Chinese Language Program, at xiwenlu@brandeis.edu to request placement test. In your email, please provide us with your Brandeis ID, your Skype Name, and your convenient time slots (one hour). Then, a tester from Chinese Language Program will contact you soon.

SAT II test scores are not accepted in Chinese to satisfy the foreign language requirement.

1. What Chinese language courses Brandeis offers?
We offer comprehensive courses from Beginning Chinese (Chin10a) through High Advanced Chinese (Chin120b). In addition, we also offer Advanced Business Chinese (Chin106b), Classical Chinese (Chin140b), and three graduate level courses (Chin200a, Chin201a, and Chin202b) on Chinese language instruction.

2.  Do I need to take the placement test if I speak fluent Chinese but don’t read or write Chinese?
No, you should take Chin29b, Pathway to Chinese Literacy, a special course designed for students who speak Chinese well but with weak or no skill of reading and writing.

3.  Do I need to take the placement test if I have passed AP Chinese test?
If your AP score is 5, the course fits you best will be Chin105a and you don’t need to take the test. If your AP score is 3 or below, you will need to take the test. A score of 4 will fulfill CHIN 30a but the test is still recommended.

4. What should I do if I want to place out (pass language requirement)?
You may either take this test or take the language exemption test in the beginning of each semester

5.  What will be the format of the test?
This is an online test. The first 20 minutes or so you will communicate with the tester via Skype both orally and in writing. Then, if the tester thinks your level is intermediate or higher, you will be required to read an article, complete multiple choice questions, and then write a single page comment. You must complete your composition in 30 minutes. You may choose traditional Chinese character or simplified character for the reading.

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Economics

All majors must satisfy the calculus requirement. The calculus requirement can be fulfilled in one of three ways: a) completing Math 10a, an equivalent course, or a more advanced calculus course with a grade of C- or above, b) scoring at least 4 on the AP Mathematics AB test or at least 3 on the AP Mathematics BC test, or c) passing a departmental placement exam. Students who have taken a college calculus course elsewhere or who are entitled to Math 10a credit based on their AP or international exam score should transfer those credits to Brandeis. Students who have taken a calculus course and feel they have mastered the material but have not received the necessary math or exam credit may take the departmental placement exam.

The placement exam is administered once at the start of each semester and each summer school session. The exam can only be taken once. Students taking the exam are encouraged to review the following subjects: equations in two variables, finding the equation of a line, differentiation (also with logs and exponents), implicit differentiation, maxima and minima, inflection points, and limits. A sample of the exam can be found here. Students who would like to sign up for the exam should contact Leslie Yancich, the Economics Department Administrator (lesliey@brandeis.edu). Any questions regarding this exam can be directed to Scott Redenius, the Economics Undergraduate Advising Head (redenius@brandeis.edu).

All students must satisfy the calculus requirement prior to taking the intermediate theory courses (ECON 80a, 82b, 83a), Econometrics, or any of the upper-level electives. If it is found that a student enrolled in ECON 80a, ECON 82b, ECON 83a, or Econometrics has not successfully completed this prerequisite at any time during the semester, the student will be dropped from the course.

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German Language

German language courses GER 10a and GER 30a are generally offered in the fall; GER 20b is generally offered in the spring. The German placement test will be given at the start of the semester. For further information, please contact the Department Administrator, Linda Boothroyd.

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Hebrew Language

I. Hebrew 10

No exam necessary. Please place yourself in the appropriate section according to these criteria:

If you have no knowledge of Hebrew, or if you have partial knowledge of the Hebrew alphabet and know 10 to 20 words you are considered a beginner and should register for Hebrew 10.

If you are familiar with the Hebrew alphabet and know 30-50 words, or you have some minor background in Hebrew, you are considered an advanced beginner and should register for Hebrew 19 (Honors).

II. Hebrew 20, 29 (Honors), and Hebrew 30

If you think your level is above Hebrew 10, please download and print the Placement Exam or take it online and return it to the Hebrew Department completed, handwritten in ink, along with the questionnaire by July 11, 2013. The department will notify you of the result via email, mail or phone. Please register for the assigned section.

III. Hebrew 40 and above

If your placement exam indicated that your level in Hebrew is 40 or above you are a candidate for exemption from the university language requirement. Please note that exemption can only be given based on an exemption test (written and oral). Please contact the Hebrew Program upon arrival at Brandeis to arrange for the exemption exam. The Hebrew Department will notify you and suggest to you a variety of upper level courses which you may enjoy in either level 40 or level 100.

Please send the questionnaire and your completed Placement Exam by July 9, 2013 to:

Sara Hascal
Hebrew Program
Brandeis University
415 South St. MS 038
Waltham, MA 02453

How to Take Hebrew Placement Test Online

The new online interactive Hebrew language placement exam is available. It is the same exam that other students will take, but we hope the format is easier to use. If you are interested in taking your placement exam online, please contact Sara Hascal.

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Japanese Language

JAPN 10a (Beginning Japanese), JAPN 30a (Intermediate Japanese) and JAPN 105a (Advanced Conversation and Composition I) are usually offered in the fall, and JAPN 20b (Continuing Japanese), JAPN 40b (Advanced Intermediate Japanese) and JAPN 105b (Advanced Conversation and Composition II) in spring.

All students who wish to enroll in a higher-level course than JAPN 10a are required to take a placement test. Please contact Hisae Fujiwara (hfujiwar@brandeis.edu) when you arrive on campus in the Fall.

SAT II test scores are not accepted in Japanese to satisfy the foreign language requirement.

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Latin

Latin language courses carry credit equivalent to one semester course each; 10a and 30a are generally offered in the fall; 20b in the spring.

Brandeis has a placement test to determine the level of instruction at which a student should begin his/her study of Latin. The test cannot be "self-scored," so you will need to download the Latin Placement Test, print it out, fill it in and mail it to the Department of Classical Studies prior to your registration. Along with your answers and any additional pages, please send the department a telephone number, a regular mail address or an email address so that they can tell you the level at which they recommend you begin your study of Latin. After you have the results, you can enroll in the appropriate class.

Professor Patricia A. Johnston
Department of Classical Studies, MS 092
Brandeis University
P.O. Box 549110
Waltham, MA 02454-9110

781-736-2184 fax
classics@brandeis.edu

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Mathematics

I. Course Descriptions

  • Math 5a (Pre-calculus) contains a brief overview of algebra and then covers trigonometric, exponential, logarithmic and other functions. The calculus courses that follow Math 5a assume that students have mastered this material. Offered every semester.
  • Math 10a (Techniques of Calculus I) covers differential calculus of one variable, with a brief introduction to integral calculus. Offered every semester.
  • Math 10b (Techniques of Calculus II) continues the study of integral calculus of one variable, with emphasis on techniques and applications. Offered every semester.
  • Math 15a (Applied Linear Algebra) examines matrices, linear transformations and vector spaces, topics that are important in economics and the sciences. Offered every semester. May be taken before, after or concurrently with Math 20a.
  • Math 20a (Techniques of Calculus: Calculus of Several Variables) continues the study of calculus with vectors, partial derivatives and multiple integrals. Offered every semester. May be taken before, after or concurrently with Math 15a.
  • Math 22a/b (Linear Algebra and Intermediate Calculus) covers in two semesters material similar to that covered in Math 15a and Math 20a, but it is more theoretical and is directed at students with a stronger background in mathematics. Unlike Math 15a and 20a, Math 22a/b meets four hours a week. Math 22a is offered in the fall semester only and Math 22b in the spring semester only.


II. Placement Exams

There are two placement exams for students planning to enroll in a mathematics course: the Calculus Placement Exam and the Math 22a Placement Exam.

  • Students who are planning to take one of the following courses should take the Calculus Placement Exam: Math 5a, Math 10a, Math 10b, Math 15a or Math 20a.
  • Students who are interested in Math 22a should take Part C of the Calculus Placement Exam and then take the Math 22a Placement Exam.


III. Taking the Calculus Placement Exam

  • The Calculus Placement Exam is a pdf document with three parts. Part A consists of 24 questions on topics in algebra and pre-calculus, Part B of 16 questions on topics from differential calculus and Part C of 16 questions on topics from integral calculus.
  • Download the exam and take it. Work on your own, without the help of books or notes and without consulting other people. You may not use a calculator.
  • If you didn't take any calculus in high school, take Part A only of the exam. If you did take calculus in high school, take Part A of the exam and then do as much of Parts B and C as you can.
  • When you finish the exam, correct it using the Answer Key. Give yourself one point for each correct answer. Then place yourself in the correct course, using the guidelines given below.


IV. Guidelines for Interpreting Your Score

  • If you scored between 0 and 18 on Part A, place yourself in Math 5a regardless of what you scored on other parts of the exam.
  • If you scored between 0 and 11 on Part B, place yourself in Math 10a.
  • If you scored between 12 and 16 on Part B and between 0 and 11 on Part C, place yourself in Math 10b.
  • If you scored between 12 and 16 on Part B and between 12 and 16 on Part C, place yourself in Math 15a, 20a or 22a. If you are interested in Math 22a, go on to take the Math 22a Placement Exam.
  • Important
    On the first day of classes, students in Math 5a, 10a and 10b will be given a short diagnostic quiz that covers the same material as the relevant parts of the placement exam. If you have placed yourself at too high a level, you may be required to switch to the appropriate course. This can create scheduling difficulties, so place yourself carefully now.
  • If you have any questions, contact Susan Parker.


V. Taking the Math 22 Placement Exam

The Math 22a Placement Exam should be taken by students trying to decide between Math 15a or 20a, on the one hand, and Math 22a on the other. You must have permission of the instructor to enroll in Math 22a. Math 22a/b covers much of the same material as Math 15a and 20a, but Math 22a/b puts more emphasis on the ideas and theory behind linear algebra and multivariable calculus, and less emphasis on applications. If you have a strong math background and good problem-solving skills, Math 22a/b is an excellent entryway into the math major.

The placement exam is a pdf document. Download it and take the exam. When you are done, enter your answers into the online answer sheet, which may be found at http://www.brandeis.edu/departments/mathematics/undergraduate/math22placement.html. You will need to log in using your UNet ID and password, which you should have already obtained.

Most of the problems on the exam are multiple choice; for these you can just enter the correct letter choice for your answer. For the remaining problems, simply type in your answer. The answer sheet also asks for some additional information about your background in mathematics that will be helpful in determining your placement.

The Math 22a placement exam will be graded by the mathematics department and you will receive an email with our recommended placement. If you qualify for Math 22a, a course code will be included in the email, which will allow you to enroll.

Placement advice will be based on your performance on the exam as well as on the information you provide on the online answer sheet. We recommend that you complete the placement exam and submit the answer sheet by July 31. However, please note that the recommended placement is sent to students only during the first week of August, in time for registration in mid-August, unless there is an exceptional circumstance that requires earlier attention. If you feel the need to register for a math course to fill the Math 22a time slot before August, you can register for Math 15a and then switch to Math 22a later.

If you have any questions, contact Professor Bong Lian.

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Physics

Instructions: Do the problems in the Placement Exam document below without any reference materials whatsoever. You may use a calculator where you need numbers. Do as many problems as you can in three hours; it is neither necessary nor expected to get them all right. We just want to see what you can do in order to advise you about which class to take.

When you are finished download the answers and score your test, giving yourself one point for each part of each problem that you get right. Then follow the suggestions on the answer sheet to decide in which course to enroll.

Please don't guess – this is not an SAT. No one but you will know your score unless you wish to discuss your placement when you get to campus in August. If that is the case, make an appointment to see the Physics Advising Head, Prof. David Roberts.

The Physics Placement Exam

The Physics Placement Exam Answer Sheet

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Romance Languages

I. French Language (FREN—French and Francophone Studies)

French language courses FREN 10a, FREN 20b, FREN 32a, FREN 104b, FREN 105a, and FREN 106b are usually offered every semester.

All students need an access code to enroll in French language courses numbered 10–106.

  • Students who have never studied French before or who have studied French for less than one semester do not need to take the placement test and should enroll in Beginning French, FREN 10a. They should email Professor Hollie Harder (harder@brandeis.edu) stating how much French they have previously studied AND which section of FREN 10a they prefer. Professor Harder will send an access code in her reply.  
  • Students who have studied French but not at Brandeis OR students who scored below 620 on the French SAT II exam, below 4 on the French AP exam, below 5 on the International Baccalaureate Higher Levels Exam, or who took the IB Standard Levels Exam must email Professor Harder (harder@brandeis.edu) for on-line access to the French Placement Test (valid for one year). After completion of the test and the questionnaire that follows, Professor Harder will provide an access code for a specific section of the appropriate language course.
  • Students who scored 620–710 on the French SAT II exam, 4 on the French AP exam, or 5 on the International Baccalaureate Higher Levels Exam are not required to take the placement test; however they must email their standardized exam score to Professor Harder (harder@brandeis.edu) in order to receive an access code for FREN 105a.
  • Students who scored 720 or above on the French SAT II exam, 5 on the French AP exam, or 6 or higher on the International Baccalaureate Higher Levels Exam are not required to take the placement test; however they must email their standardized exam score to Professor Harder (harder@brandeis.edu) in order to receive an access code for FREN 106b.

II. Spanish Language (HISP—Hispanic Studies)

Spanish language courses HISP 10a, HISP 20b, HISP 32a, HISP 34a, HISP 104b, HISP 105a, and HISP 106b are usually offered every semester.

All students need an access code to enroll in Spanish language courses numbered 10–108.

  • Students who have never studied Spanish before or who have studied Spanish for less than one semester do not need to take the placement test and should enroll in Beginning Spanish, HISP 10a. They should email Professor Hollie Harder (harder@brandeis.edu) stating how much Spanish they have previously studied AND which section of HISP 10a they prefer. Professor Harder will send an access code in her reply.
  • Students who have studied Spanish but not at Brandeis OR students who scored below 620 on the Spanish SAT II exam, below 4 on the Spanish AP exam, below 5 on the International Baccalaureate Higher Levels Exam or who took the IB Standard Levels Exam must email Professor Hollie Harder (harder@brandeis.edu) for on-line access to the Spanish Placement Test (valid for one year). After completion of the test and the questionnaire that follows, Professor Harder will provide an access code for a specific section of the appropriate language course.
  • Students who scored 620–710 on the Spanish SAT II exam, 4 on the Spanish AP exam, or 5 on the International Baccalaureate Higher Levels Exam are not required to take the placement test; however they must email their standardized exam score AND which section of HISP 105b they prefer to Professor Harder (harder@brandeis.edu) in order to receive an access code.
  • Students who scored 720 or above on the Spanish SAT II exam, 5 on the Spanish AP exam or 6 or higher on the International Baccalaureate Higher Levels Exam are not required to take the placement test; however they must email their standardized exam score AND which section of HISP 106b they prefer to Professor Harder  (harder@brandeis.edu) in order to receive an access code.
  • Students who spoke Spanish at home should describe their language background in an email to Professor Harder (harder@brandeis.edu) who will give them additional information.

III. Italian Language (ITAL—Italian Studies)

Italian language courses ITAL10a, ITAL 30a, and ITAL 105a are usually offered every fall semester. ITAL 20b and ITAL 106a are usually offered every spring semester.

All students need an access code to enroll in Italian language courses numbered 10–106.

  • Students who have never studied Italian before or who have studied Italian for less than one semester do not need to take the placement test and should enroll in Beginning Italian, ITAL 10a. They should email Professor Hollie Harder (harder@brandeis.edu) stating how much Italian they have previously studied AND which section of ITAL 10a they prefer. Professor Harder will send an access code in her reply.  
  • Students who have studied Italian but not at Brandeis OR students who scored below 620 on the Italian SAT II exam, below 4 on the Italian AP exam, below 5 on the International Baccalaureate Higher Levels Exam, or who took the IB Standard Levels Exam must email Professor Harder (harder@brandeis.edu) for on-line access to the Italian Placement Test (valid for one year). After completion of the test and the questionnaire that follows, Professor Harder will provide an access code for a specific section of the appropriate language course.
  • Students who scored 620–710 on the Italian SAT II exam, 4 on the Italian AP exam, or 5 on the International Baccalaureate Higher Levels Exam are not required to take the placement test; however they must email their standardized exam score to Professor Harder (harder@brandeis.edu) in order to receive an access code for ITAL 105a.
  • Students who scored 720 or above on the Italian SAT II exam, 5 on the Italian AP exam, or 6 or higher on the International Baccalaureate Higher Levels Exam are not required to take the placement test; however they must email their standardized exam score to Professor Harder (harder@brandeis.edu) in order to receive an access code for ITAL 106a.

Russian Language

All students who have studied Russian language previously and wish to continue studying Russian at Brandeis must take a placement test to determine the level of language skills. The test will be scheduled during the first week of the semester so that there is sufficient time to choose and register for an appropriate class. Please check the department's Web site in August for the exact date, time and place of the exam.

In general, use the following guidelines: if you have completed one or two full years of high-school Russian, you may be placed in Russian 20 (offered only in the spring). If you had three or more years of high-school Russian, you may be placed in Russian 30.

If you are a heritage speaker of Russian (somebody who grew up speaking Russian at home, but did not formally study the language) and you would like to sign up for a Russian language course at Brandeis, you need to contact Irina Dubinina, the Russian Language Program director, about the appropriate placement. Brandeis offers classes specifically designed to address the needs of heritage speakers of Russian. The options vary by semester. You will need to take a placement test in order to determine your level. The same examination can be taken to test out of the university language requirement. Please check the department's Web site in August for the exact date, time and place of the exam.

  • Placement of all students with a background in Russian language is subject to final approval by the Russian Language Program Director.
  • Please visit the departmental website for information on courses offered, cultural and social activities organized and faculty profiles.

Irina Dubinina, Russian Language Program Director
Department of German, Russian, and Asian Languages and Literature, MS 024
Brandeis University
P.O. Box 549110
Waltham, MA 02454-9110