For placement testing information in other languages taught at Brandeis but not listed here, contact the language department directly.
Students receiving an AP or IB score of 5 or higher may elect to pass out of BIOL 15b. You should be aware, however, that a high AP score does not necessarily indicate readiness to continue with upper-level biology electives. For this reason, we strongly recommend all students considering opting out of BIOL 15b take the biology placement exam to determine preparedness for opting out of BIOL 15b.
Please note that most medical, dental, and veterinary schools require two semesters of in-residence introductory biology. If you elect to pass out of BIOL 15b, these schools will require you to take both BIOL 14a and another biology lecture course, such as BIOL 16a, to fulfill this requirement.
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).
Chinese language courses CHIN 10a, 29b, 30a, 100a, 105a and 120a are generally offered in the fall, and CHIN 20b, 40b, 105b, 106b, 120b, 126b, 136b 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 have Skype software installed before requesting the test.
Please send email to Xiwen Lu, undergraduate adviser of the Chinese Language Program, at firstname.lastname@example.org to request placement test. In your email, please provide us with your Brandeis ID and your convenient time slots (one hour). Then, a tester from the Chinese Language Program will contact you soon.
SAT II test scores are not accepted in Chinese to satisfy the foreign language requirement.
What Chinese language courses does Brandeis offer?
We offer comprehensive courses from Beginning Chinese (CHIN 10a) through High Advanced Chinese (CHIN 120b). In addition, we also offer Advanced Business Chinese (CHIN 106b), Advanced Conversational Chinese (CHIN 126a), Classical Chinese (CHIN 140b), Chinese for Life Science: Study of Traditional Chinese Medicinal Herbs with Contemporary Science (CHIN 165a), and three graduate-level courses (CHIN 200a, 201a and 202b) on Chinese language instruction.
Do I need to take the placement test if I speak fluent Chinese but don’t read or write Chinese?
No, you should take CHIN 29b, Pathway to Chinese Literacy, a special course designed for students who speak Chinese well but with weak or no skill of reading and writing.
Do I need to take the placement test if I have passed the AP Chinese test?
If your AP score is 5, the course that fits you best will be CHIN 105a, and you won’t need to take the placement test. If your AP score is 3 or below, you will need to take the placement test. A score of 4 will fulfill CHIN 30a, but the test is still recommended.
What should I do if I want to place out (take an exemption test or pass language requirement)?
The Chinese program offers a language exemption test at the beginning of each semester. Please email Xiwen Lu, undergraduate advising head for the Chinese Language Program, at email@example.com to request the date, time and location of the exam one week before the start of the semester. We do not offer exemption tests to individuals unless absolutely necessary.
What will be the format of the placement 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.
Students with no prior programming experience must satisfactorily complete COSI 10a prior to enrolling in COSI 12b. Students may be exempted from COSI 10a if they either: 1) received a score of 5 on the AP Computer Science A exam (AP Computer Science Principles test does not currently replace any COSI courses), or 2) successfully complete the online placement exam.
All majors must satisfy the calculus requirement. The calculus requirement can be fulfilled in one of three ways:
- Completing Math 10a, an equivalent course, or a more advanced calculus course with a grade of C-minus or above.
- Scoring at least 4 on the AP Mathematics AB test or at least 3 on the AP Mathematics BC test.
- 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 on the economics department website. Students who would like to sign up for the exam should contact economics department administrator Leslie Yancich at (firstname.lastname@example.org). Any questions regarding this exam can be directed to Scott Redenius, the economics undergraduate advising head, at email@example.com.
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.
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 exam is online and available by request. Please contact Professor Kathrin Breuer, director of the German Language Program, at firstname.lastname@example.org for instructions.
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 to 50 words, or you have some minor background in Hebrew, you are considered an advanced beginner and should register for Hebrew 19 (honors).
Hebrew 20, 29 (honors), 30 or 40
The Hebrew Placement exam is available online. Please contact Professor Sara Hascal if you have any additional questions about completing the placement exam.
Placement Above Hebrew 40
If your placement exam indicated that your level in Hebrew is 40, the Hebrew program will contact you to set up an oral proficiency interview and, based on this, will suggest to you a variety of upper-level courses that you may enjoy. In some cases, an additional proficiency exam will be arranged to see if your level will satisfy the university language requirement.
If you have any questions, contact Professor Sara Hascal.
JAPN 10a (Beginning Japanese), JAPN 30a (Intermediate Japanese), JAPN 105a (Advanced Conversation and Composition I) and JAPN 120a (Topics in Contemporary Japanese Culture and Society) are usually offered in the fall; JAPN 20b (Continuing Japanese), JAPN 40b (Advanced Intermediate Japanese) and JAPN 105b (Advanced Conversation and Composition II) are typically offered in spring.
All students who have studied Japanese previously (high school, university, self-study, at home) and wish to continue studying Japanese at Brandeis must take a placement test to determine their level of proficiency so that the instructor can place them in the appropriate class. 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 contact Hisae Fujiwara (email@example.com) when you arrive on campus in the fall.
SAT II test scores are not accepted in Japanese to satisfy the foreign language requirement.
Latin language courses carry credit equivalent to one semester course each; 10a and 30a are generally offered in the fall; 20b in the spring.
Students who are interested in taking the Latin placement test, which is used to determine the appropriate starting level of instruction, should contact Professor Caitlin Gillespie at firstname.lastname@example.org. After discussing the student's background in Latin, Professor Gillespie will send the placement test to the student. After completing the placement test, the student should return the test to Professor Gillespie, who will review and recommend which course level of Latin is appropriate.
Professor Caitlin Gillespie
Department of Classical Studies, MS 092
P.O. Box 549110
Waltham, MA 02454-9110
- Math 5a (Precalculus) 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.
- Math 20a (Techniques of Calculus: Calculus of Several Variables) continues the study of calculus with vectors, partial derivatives and multiple integrals. Offered every semester.
- 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.
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 taking Math 22a should take Part C of the calculus placement exam and then the Math 22a placement exam.
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 precalculus, Part B of 16 questions on topics from differential calculus and Part C of 16 questions on topics from integral calculus. Part D (the Math 20a placement exam) is for students looking to decide between Math 15a and Math 20a.
- 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 of the exam only. 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.
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, between 12 and 16 on Part C, and between 0 and 9 on Part D, place yourself in Math 15a or Math 22a. If you are interested in Math 22a, go on to take the Math 22a placement exam.
- If you scored between 12 and 16 on Part B, between 12 and 16 on Part C, and between 10 and 15 on Part D, you may choose between Math 15a and Math 20a.
- Important: Sometime during the first week of classes, students in Math 10a, 10b and 20a 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 Rebecca Torrey.
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. 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.
- 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 during registration. After you have taken the exam, you should request a pre-requisite override in Workday to enroll in Math 22a. If your test results support this placement, an override will be approved. If your test results place you into Math 15a (Applied Linear Algebra), your override request will be declined. You should then enroll in Math 15a instead.
- If you have any questions, contact Professor Bong Lian.
Contact the physics department to obtain the physics placement exam and answer sheet.
Do the problems in the placement exam 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, use the answer sheet to 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 test. 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, Aparna Baskaran.
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 permission 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 (email@example.com) stating how much French they have previously studied AND which section of FREN 10a they prefer.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) for online access to the French placement test (valid for one year). After completion of the placement test, students should request permission from Professor Harder 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 (email@example.com) in order to receive permission for FREN 105a. If more than one section of FREN 105a is offered, students should specify the section of FREN 105a they want to enroll in.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) in order to receive permission for FREN 106b. If more than one section of FREN 106b is offered, students should specify the section of FREN 106b they want to enroll in.
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. HISP 105 for medical professions is usually offered every fall semester; HISP 108 is usually offered every spring semester.
All students need permission 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 Gonzalez Ros (email@example.com) stating how much Spanish they have previously studied AND which section of HISP 10a they prefer.
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 Gonzalez Ros (firstname.lastname@example.org) for online access to the Spanish placement test (valid for one year). After completion of the test, students should request permission from Professor Gonzalez Ros 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 105a they prefer to Professor Gonzalez Ros (email@example.com) in order to receive permission.
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 Gonzalez Ros (firstname.lastname@example.org) in order to receive permission.
Students who spoke Spanish at home should describe their language background in an email to Professor Gonzalez Ros (email@example.com), who will give them additional information.
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.
Please use the following link to learn more about how to enroll in Italian courses:
If you have never taken Italian before:
- Go ahead and enroll in Italian 10 via Workday
- Contact the Director (firstname.lastname@example.org) to receive a placement test. Once you have your score, you should submit a Prerequisite Override Request Form in WorkDay, and then you can enroll directly into the course you have placed into.
- During the first week of classes, your instructor will evaluate your level again and may ask you to change levels if you have been incorrectly placed.
- There are no restrictions for students to enroll through Workday. Faculty in Italian Studies want to make sure that interested students encounter no barriers to enroll in their courses.
If you have an AP score or other official test score: We will use your reliable official score to place you in our classes.
- 3 in AP: in Italian, go ahead and enroll in level 30
- 4 in AP: enroll in 105 (you may contact the UAH to see if you are eligible for an upper-level class)
- 5 in AP: enroll in 106 (you may contact the UAH to see if you are eligible for an upper-level class)
You will need to submit a Prerequisite Override Request Form in WorkDay, and then you can enroll directly into the course. Please contact the Director (email@example.com) if you have any questions.
- 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 fall semester so that there is sufficient time to choose and register for an appropriate class. Please check the department's website in August for the exact date, time and place of the exam.
- Although there is no guarantee that there is a strong correspondence of high school Russian with college Russian, you can use the following guidelines: if you have completed one or two full years of high school Russian, you may be placed in Russian 10. If you had three or more years of high school Russian, you may be placed in Russian 20 (offered only in the spring) or 30.
For students who grew up speaking Russian at home:
- Brandeis offers several classes specifically designed to address the needs of heritage speakers of Russian (people who grew up speaking Russian at home) and to encourage the development of a more balanced bilingualism. The options vary by semester; please check with Irina Dubinina, director of the Russian language program, and consult the course catalog.
If you are a heritage speaker who cannot read or write grammatically in Cyrillic, you should plan on taking RUS 29, a course that focuses on spelling conventions and expression of meaning through correct grammatical form. This course is offered only in the spring.
If you can write grammatically in Russian and would like to develop your Russian language skills further, you can take one of the advanced Russian language courses (at 100 level). However, you will need to take a placement test in order to determine your level. The same examination can be used to test out of the university language requirement. If you have questions about placement and courses for heritage speakers, please contact Irina Dubinina. Please check the program's website in August for the exact date, time and place of the exam or contact Professor Dubinina.
Please note that 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
P.O. Box 549110
Waltham, MA 02454-9110
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