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Department of

Languages, Cultures and Literatures

Competency Exams

Students may satisfy the Core Curriculum language requirement by passing a competency exam proctored by the department.

Note: No units are awarded upon successful completion of the competency exam. The academic record will reflect "waived by exam" in the language section to indicate that the requirement has been fulfilled.

Exam Dates & Registration Deadlines  What to Bring to the Exam  Registration Procedures

Languages Offered  Notification of Exam Results

General Information

  • There is a fee of $25 to take a regularly scheduled exam. The fee for an off-schedule exam is $35.
  • The fee is non-refundable unless you notify us in advance of the day of the exam that you will not sit for it. If you do not show up to take the exam, you will not receive a refund.
  • The exam measures grammar, reading, and writing skills.
  • Latecomers will not be admitted to the examination room and the fee will not be refunded.
  • The exam is the equivalent of a 2-hour, 3rd semester (201) final.
  • No practice tests or study guides are provided.
  • Students who fail the exam will be advised as to what class they may enroll in for the following semester. Naturally this applies only in the case of the languages we teach.
  • This exam cannot be taken more than twice in a given semester and there needs to be at least a month between the two exam dates.

Exam Dates

Every two years the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences publishes the schedule of language competency examinations in print and on-line version of the Undergraduate Bulletin. They are given the day before classes start, usually late in the afternoon.

Additionally, the Director of Placement may schedule a variable number of examination dates in an effort to accommodate students who are unable to take the exam on the appointed day. The dates for off-schedule exams (listed below) are published only on the webpage of the Department of Languages and Literatures during the first week of every semester. Students who are planning on taking their exam at one of these off-schedule dates for one of the languages not offered at USD must contact the Director of Placement in advance to confirm the availability of the test and make any other necessary additional arrangements.

Only USD students may take this exam. It is not offered during the Summer or Intersession.

Schedule of Language Competency Examinations

Deadline to register Exam Day Time Room

for languages we don't teach: Fri., 1/8/16
for languages we teach: Fri., 1/15/16

Fri., 1/22/16

5 p.m.

Camino 119

for languages we don't teach: Weds., 8/16/16
for languages we teach: Weds., 8/23/16

Weds., 8/30/16

5 p.m.


Off-Schedule Language Competency Examinations

It is possible to take the exam off-schedule per the calendar below. In that case the fee is $35 and the receipt must be taken to Founders 140 where the exam day and time will be confirmed.

Deadline to register Exam Day Time Room

for languages we don't teach: Fri., 2/12/16
for languages we teach: Fri., 2/19/16

Fri., 2/26/16

6 p.m.

Camino 119

for languages we don't teach: Fri., 3/18/16
for languages we teach: Fri., 3/25/18

Fri., 4/1/16

6 p.m.

Camino 119

for languages we don't teach: Fri., 4/22/16
for languages we teach: Fri., 4/29/16

Fri., 5/6/16

6 p.m.

Camino 119

You must bring the following when you appear to be tested:

  • A photo ID
  • Your own No. 2 sharpened pencils and erasers

Registration Procedures

It is very important that students closely follow the registration procedure, as this is the only way to guarantee that they will have a seat in the examination room and a copy of the test.

  • Option 1. Pay the fee in person at the Cashier's Office in the Hughes Administration Center (campus map). Then submit your fee receipt by in person to the Director of Placement, Dr. Rubio-Fernaz, at Founders 121 by the registration deadline. Students who are dropping off just the receipt must write their e-mail address on it.
  • Option 2. Mail a check made payable to USD with this REGISTRATION FORM. The Cashier's Office will forward the receipt to Dr. Rubio-Fernaz.

Dr. Rubio-Fernaz will send an e-mail reminder that you are registered for the exam shortly before the scheduled date.

Languages offered

Naturally, we have exams for the languages taught here: Ancient Greek, Arabic, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Latin and Spanish.

The department is also able to offer exams in the languages listed below. We retain outside evaluators to correct them; the student will pay the evaluator (usually $100-125). We do not allow the student to choose the evaluator.

  • Afrikaans
  • Armenian
  • Croatian
  • Dutch
  • Farsi/Persian
  • Finnish
  • Hawaian
  • Hebrew
  • Hindi
  • Hungarian
  • Korean
  • Lebanese dialect Arabic
  • Lithuanian
  • Modern Greek
  • Norwegian
  • Polish
  • Portuguese
  • Russian
  • Serbian
  • Swedish
  • Tagalog/Filipino
  • Vietnamese

Students may be tested in additional languages only if we can find an appropriate source to write an exam to our specifications. We will inform the student of the cost and collect the fee for writing the exam (which may be as high as $250) before entering into a contract with the provider. The evaluation portion of the fee will be collected at the time the exam is given, but will not be paid until the evaluator has returned the corrected exam to us. No refund will be given if the student decides not to take the exam.

American Sign Language (ASL) is not offered in the Department, and courses taken in ASL at another university may not be used to fulfill the Core Curriculum language requirement. However, students may attempt to satisfy the Core requirement by taking the American Sign Language Proficiency Interview (ASLPI) that is offered by Gallaudet University. The interview must be proctored with the collaboration of our department in conjunction with Gallaudet. For more details, contact Dr. Rubio-Fernaz, the Director of Placement.

Notification of Results

Students receive notice of their exam score via e-mail as follows:

  • Classical Greek, French, German, Italian, Latin, and Spanish: Within one week of exam completion. The competency exam will be used to determine placement in the case of failure.
  • Arabic, Chinese, and Japanese: Within ten business days of exam completion. The competency exam will be used to determine placement in the case of failure.
  • All other languages: Upon receipt of grade report by outside evaluator (allow up to three weeks).

Grade reports are submitted to the office of the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, which then approves and forwards them to the office of the Registrar. Please allow three weeks for notation of passing to appear on your DARS. Thereafter, contact the One-Stop Center to find out why it has not yet posted.