UMW Language Requirement and Language Placement

2020/2021 Proctored Exam Dates

Monday, September 14, 2020 @ 4pm & 5pm / Combs 211 & 349

Wednesday, September 16 4pm @ 5pm / Combs 211 & 349

Friday, September 18 4pm @ 5pm /Combs 211 & 349

Please sign up here to reserve a seat. Exam time is approximately 45 minutes.

Monday, January 11, 2021 – 4pm / Combs 211

Monday, February 22, 2021 – 4pm / Combs 211


Our general education requirements reflect Mary Washington’s distinctive liberal arts and sciences values, an important part of which is Intermediate Competency in a language other than English.  For many students this means completing through the 201 or 205 level in Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, or Spanish.

In order to move efficiently and successfully through the sequence of language courses at UMW, first-time students should begin their language study at the appropriate level. The Department of Modern Languages offers a placement exam in Arabic, Mandarin Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese and Spanish.

Students entering the university in the fall 2018 semester or thereafter may earn course credit through UMW’s language placement testing procedure. “Back” (or retroactive) credit in the amount of three credits will be awarded to a student who took the UMW language placement exam, then takes the same language at the level in which (s)he placed on the exam, and successfully completes that level (course) with a B- grade or higher. Eligible students will be notified after final grades have been posted. Students must officially request that the back (retroactive) credits be added to their academic record by contacting the Registrar’s office. Please see this page for more information and some FAQs: 

UMW Modern Language Placement By Avant Placement Exam Scores

Avant Score                                       Approx. Proficiency level              UMW Course placement

5 or higher Intermediate-Mid Invited to take re-exam for exemption, possible 300 level placement
4.5 Intermediate-Low Invited to take re-exam, possible 300 level placement
4 Intermediate-Low Invited to take re-exam, possible 202 level placement
3.5 Novice-High 201, or 205 for students who want to complete LR in one semester
3 Novice-High 201, or 205 for students who want to complete LR in one semester
2.5 Novice-Mid 102, or 105 for students who want review
2 Novice-Mid 102, or 105 for students who want review


The score can be found in the student’s EAB record, under the tab “Class Info”



Scroll to the heading “High School / Pre-College and find the score under “French/German/Spanish… Placement – Avant.”

Our placement exam is administered through Avant Placement. New students will receive an email with instructions and test codes in order to take the exam at home before arrival on campus. Test codes are also available in your  admissions portal. Students will be notified of their scores and their recommended placement, which will also be noted in their Banner record (see above). Additionally, students who score high on this exam will be invited to take another proctored exam the first day of semester classes if they wish to seek exemption from the UMW language requirement. Otherwise, they can take the recommended 300 level course. NOTE: Latin courses and placement exam is administered through the Department of Classics, Philosophy and Religion. Click here for the Department of Classics, Philosophy and Religion website.

Students who cannot wait for a scheduled proctored test can take a placement test remotely proctored by Avant. The additional fee of $25 has to be paid by the test taker directly to Avant through their Storefront

Who should not take a placement test? — (1)
If you do not wish to continue with a language you previously learned and would like to study a new language, you do not need to take the test. You should register for the 101 course in that language. (2) If you successfully completed a level 4 course in a language in high school and do not wish to continue with your language studies, you are also exempt from the test.

You should only take a placement exam for a language that you have previously studied in high school.

It is important to do well on this exam. Students who start at the lowest level will be taking 12 credits total to complete language requirement. Testing into a higher level of language means more room for major or minor courses, or proceeding more quickly to advanced language studies. Students can prepare for the exam by reviewing previous language study, and by taking the Avant practice exam (linked here).

By taking this test you are bound by the University of Mary Washington Honor Code. This means, that you are on your honor to take the placement test by yourself using no assistance during the test. You will not use any reference materials, nor will you have another person help you while you are taking the test. Likewise, you are not to download, print out, or in any way save this test.

The equipment you will need for the exam include a PC, Mac, or Chromebook computer; a headset with microphone; and Chrome, or Safari internet browsers. For more information about the test and the technical requirements and to take a practice exam, please see this page before taking the Avant PLACE test:

You need to allow about 45 minutes to complete the test.

Contact Information for academic and placement questions: Dr. Marcel Paul Rotter, Chair, Department of Modern Languages and Literatures.

The Latin Placement Exam is administered by the Department of Classics, Philosophy, and Religion.
For more information, see their exam website.

For technical questions or problems with the functioning of the test itself, please see this webpage or contact the University of Mary Washington Help Desk:

Phone:  540-654-2255