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Department ofModern Languages and Literatures

Proficiency Exam FAQs

About the Exam

Who is eligible to take the proficiency exam? The Proficiency Exam is intended for students who have considerable experience with a language other than English and who would like to demonstrate that proficiency as a means to satisfy the University Core Second Language Requirement. “Considerable experience” means having completed 3 or more years of studies in the language in high school

In what languages is the proficiency exam available? We offer the proficiency exam in all the languages we teach at SCU (Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese & Spanish) and in languages we don’t teach (Hindi, Hebrew, Korean, Polish, Russian and Portuguese (Brazilian)

What do I need to bring to the proficiency exam? Students need to bring their Campus ID. 

What do I need to study to take the proficiency exam? The proficiency exam is an assessment of your general proficiency level (what you know and are able to do in the language), and it is not connected to any specific textbook or curriculum. This is not the type of test that you can study for.

Can I have a look at some exam samples to see what the proficiency exam looks like? Yes. Please go to https://avantassessment.com/sample-tests#stamp4s

I need accommodations to take the proficiency exam. Students with extra time accommodations need to contact Prof. Bauluz at mbauluz@scu.edu in advance and provide paperwork from the Office of Accessible Education (OAE). If you have special assistive technology needs or extenuating circumstances, you should contact OAE to make other arrangements if they are possible.

I know the exam is 2 hours long but, can I do it in less time? Students have up to 2 hours to finish the exam. Depending on the student’s proficiency in the language, it might take less time.

I am proficient in a language in which the proficiency exam is not offered at SCU. What should I do? You need to take a class at SCU in one of the classes we offer. Please, make sure you take the Placement Test Survey before registering in a class. For more information, go to Language Placement Process - College of Arts and Sciences - Santa Clara University (scu.edu)

I took classes in Greek/Latin at my High School. Is there a proficiency exam in those languages? For proficiency exam information for Classical Languages (Greek, Latin), contact the Classics Department.

I took classes in ASL (American Sign Language) at my High School. Does SCU offer a proficiency exam in ASL? Unfortunately, we don’t offer ASL proficiency exams. You need to take a class at SCU. Please, make sure you take the Placement Test Survey before registering in a class. For more information, go to Language Placement Process - College of Arts and Sciences - Santa Clara University (scu.edu)

I have a diploma or documentation of my language proficiency from another Institution (e.g Seal of biliteracy), would that be sufficient to fulfill the language requirement? Since we only accept the Avant StampS4 proficiency exam (the proficiency exam we use at SCU), students may want to check and see if their institution used this exam to assess their language proficiency. If that is the case, students need to ask their institution to submit the Avant official documentation where their exam scores are clearly stated directly to Professor Bauluz at mbauluz@scu.edu

Can I take the proficiency exam to fulfill my International business (IB) requirement?  No, the proficiency exam is only used to fulfill the Core Language requirement. Students will need to take the language classes they need to fulfill their IB minor requirement. Please, make sure you take the Placement Test before registering in a class. For more information, go to Language Placement Process - College of Arts and Sciences - Santa Clara University (scu.edu)

If I attended Middle/High school outside the USA and did all my coursework in a language other than English, can I provide my school transcripts in order to satisfy the CORE Second Language requirement? Yes, students, who attended Middle/High school outside the USA, can provide transcripts showing middle/high school learning taught in their native language to have their Core Language requirement waived.

About the Process

Do I have to sign up to be able to take the proficiency exam? ALL students are required to sign up. Go to https://www.scu.edu/modernlanguages/student-resources/placement--proficiency-testing/proficiency-exam-for-continuing-students/

Registration for upcoming proficiency tests begin on the first day of instruction for the fall, winter and spring quarter. You won’t be able to register until then. 

IMPORTANT: Students can only take the proficiency test ONE TIME in their SCU undergraduate career.

Where do I go to take the proficiency exam? The proficiency exam is on second floor in the Learning Commons/ Library in the Media Lab LC 205

I have class during the proficiency exam times? Can I make an appointment to take the exam at another date or time? No. We offer the proficiency exam twice a quarter at different times and days of the week. If you cannot take the exam one quarter, you should be able to do it in another quarter

Can I retake the proficiency exam if I failed? No, students can only take the proficiency test ONE TIME in their SCU undergraduate career. If they don’t meet the proficiency requirements, they will need to take a language class at SCU to fulfill their Core requirement.

If students notify Prof. Bauluz (mbauluz@scu.edu) within 5 days before the exam date that they are not able to take the proficiency exam on the date they signed up for, students will be allowed to sign up again upon request.  

If a student doesn’t show up to the proficiency exam, the student will NOT be able to take another proficiency test in their SCU undergraduate career unless there was an accident or some other unforeseeable situation. The student will be required to provide the appropriate documentation to be able to take the proficiency exam.

How do I find out if I passed the proficiency exam? You will receive an email stating whether you have fulfilled Level 2 or Level 3 of the Core language requirement in approximately 10 days after you took the exam.

What would I do if I passed Level 2 of the Core language requirement but I needed to pass Level 3? You should take a class that fulfills Level 3 of the Core language requirement. Please, make sure you take the placement test survey to see what class you need to take. For more information go to Language Placement Process - College of Arts and Sciences - Santa Clara University (scu.edu)

How do I make sure that my Core language requirement is reflected in my audit? Please, check your audit transcript two weeks after you get the results to verify that your audit has been updated. If you have any problem, contact Prof. Bauluz at mbauluz@scu.edu

Still need help?

If you have carefully read all of the above FAQs and still haven’t found an answer to your question, you may contact our proficiency exam Coordinator at  lc-modll@scu.edu . You may experience significant delays in response time if your email contains questions that are answered in this document or elsewhere in the Proficiency exam information in our website.