UMW Language Requirement and Language Placement

2024 Proctored Exam Dates

Monday, August 26, 2024 – 4pm / Combs 211

Wednesday, August 28, 2024 – 4pm / Combs 211

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

*NOTE* The proctored placement exam is for those who are already proficient in the language they are testing in and are seeking exemption from the language requirement.
If you need to know your placement, please email for the login information to take the test at home and to get your results once completed.

Language Placement FAQs


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 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 Recommended placement is 300 level

Exemption granted with Proctored Exam

4.5 Intermediate-Low Recommended placement is 300 level

Exemption granted with Proctored Exam

4 Intermediate-Low Recommended placement is 202

Exemption granted with Proctored Exam

3.5 Novice-High Recommended placement is 201
3 Novice-High Recommended placement is 201
2.5 Novice-Mid Recommended placement is 102
2 Novice-Mid Recommended placement is 102


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. Students can see their scores in their Banner record (see above). Additionally, students who score high on this exam have to sign up for another proctored exam the first day of each semester if they wish to seek exemption from the UMW language requirement. Otherwise, they can take the recommended 300 level course. NOTE: The Latin 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 $15 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 new 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. (3) If you are a native/heritage speaker of a language not taught at UMW. In this case you can either provide  high school records of schooling in that language or take a placement exam with a third-party company (we recommend Language Testing International). Submit these documents by email to the Department Chair, Professor Rotter.

You should only take a placement exam for a language that you have previously studied in 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 the 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 includes 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 P. 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