Frequently Asked Questions
Who must take the placement test?
Students who wish to take First Year Japanese I or Introductory Japanese A (formerly “Elementary Japanese A”) do not need to take the placement exam. Students who:
- Took/learned Japanese outside of Columbia
- Took Japanese at Columbia in the spring semester, participated in a summer Japanese language program and would like to skip one year in the fall (e.g. students who took First Year Japanese, did a summer program and want to be placed into Third Year in the fall)
- Took Japanese at Columbia more than one semester ago (e.g. students who last studied Japanese in Fall 2019 and wish to continue in Fall 2020)
- Took Japanese in Spring 2020 and received an F, but wish to continue
- Took Japanese in the previous fall semester, received a C or below, and wish to continue (e.g. students who received a C in Fall 2019 and wish to continue in Spring 2020)
- Wish to take Fifth Year Japanese I or II
- Wish to test out of the language requirement for Ph.D. or other programs
MUST take the placement exam. Students who wish to test out of the language requirement for Ph.D. or other programs are also required to take the placement exam.
When can I take the test?
See the top of this page under “Placement Test.”
How do I sign up for the test?
Please scroll down to the bottom of this page and follow the instructions. Students are not required to pay a fee if they are taking the test to be placed into a Japanese course or placed out of a language requirement at Columbia.
I took the placement test last semester. Are the results still valid?
No. Placement test results are only valid for the semester in which the test is taken.
Can I take the placement test for next semester now?
No. You must wait until the scheduled date of the exam for the semester during which you wish to take Japanese.
I took the AP Japanese Language/Japanese Language Proficiency Test/other exam and scored X points. Do I still need to take the placement test?
A score of 5 on the Japanese Advanced Placement exam, or a score of 780-800 on the SAT II Subject Test in Japanese, satisfies the Columbia College and the School of General Studies foreign language requirement. Students without AP or SAT II scores, as well as those who wish to continue their study of Japanese at Columbia, must take the department’s placement exam during Orientation.
I would like to audit a Japanese class. Do I still need to take the placement test?
Be advised that EALAC language courses may not be audited or taken for R credit. In fact, no language courses at Columbia may be taken on a Pass/Fail basis. Thus, students registering for Japanese courses must take them for credit and for a letter grade. As auditing is not allowed, you are not required to take the placement exam. However, should you decide to enroll, you will be required to take the placement exam if you fall under any of the categories outlined above.
What is the format of the placement test?
The test consists of two parts: an exam assessing writing and listening comprehension, and an oral interview.
How many kanji should I know?
The number of required kanji varies depending on the desired level. (Click on the links for kanji lists.)
To be placed into:
2nd Year 1st Semester, you should know 220 kanji.
2nd Year 2nd Semester, you should know 434 kanji in total (214 more characters in addition to the previous 220).
3rd Year 1st Semester, you should know 545 kanji in total (193 more characters in addition to all previous kanji).
3rd Year 2nd Semester, you should know 713 kanji in total (168 more characters in addition to all previous kanji).
4th Year 1st Semester, you should know 960 kanji in total (247 more characters in addition to all previous kanji).
|To be placed into 4th Year 2nd Semester, you should know roughly 1,500 kanji in total; all previous kanji and the kanji used in the following reading materials. (Click on the titles for vocabulary lists.)|
|To be placed into 5th Year, you should know roughly 2,000 kanji in total; all previous kanji and the kanji used in the following reading materials. (Click on the titles for vocabulary lists.)|
I studied Japanese somewhere other than Columbia. What should I do to prepare for the placement test?
The best way to prepare is to thoroughly review a textbook and other material you used in previous classes.