Language Placement Policy 

If you are beginning your language study at Penn at the 0100–0400 level (elementary and intermediate language) you will only receive credit for the course you have been placed into, either through the SAT II exam, the Transfer Credit Exam (for transfer students only), or a departmental Placement Examination.

If you have already completed the language requirement and you wish to learn another language in the Romance Languages department, you qualify to take an accelerated elementary course: ITAL 0120. You must request authorization from the Undergraduate Coordinator explaining how and in which language you completed the language requirement, as well as for which course you wish to register

You do NOT need to take the language placement exam if:

  • You have never studied the language.

  • You have taken the SAT II exam. If your score is 650 and above, you are exempt from the language requirement and may enroll in ITAL 1000. If your score is between 600 and 640, you qualify to take an oral exam to be exempt from the language requirement. The oral exam is offered during the first two weeks of a semester only. Please sign up for the exam with the Undergraduate Coordinator. If your score is less than 600, you may use your SAT II score for placement at the 0100 - 0400 level. Check out the SAT II Placement Scale.

  • You have scored a 4 or 5 on either the language or the literature Advanced Placement exam. In that case, you may directly enroll in 1000-level courses. AP scores of 1, 2, and 3 are not used for placement purposes. 

  • You have successfully completed the previous language course in sequence at Penn.

You must take the Placement Exam if:

  • You are continuing a language begun elsewhere, either in middle school, high school or at another college or university. Without a proper placement score you will not be allowed to remain in a course for credit. 

Placement Exams

  • There is no online Italian placement exam. The placement exam available for students of Italian is a 60-minute standardized multiple-choice test which covers comprehension of grammar, vocabulary, and reading. There is no oral or listening comprehension component. Organized offerings of the test are available during New Student Orientation (NSO), at the start of each semester, and during advanced registration in November and March. 

  • Native speakers may only take upper level literature and culture courses (2000- and 3000-level) at the discretion of the instructor.

  • Please bring a #2 pencil to the exam.

  • After the placement test, students may be asked to take a diagnostic oral examination and written assignment in order to assess their level of competence in Italian.

  • Your score and placement level will be viewable on a private Canvas site within two days.

Registering for the appropriate course

  • If you do not have an SAT II score and if you are unable to take the placement test before registering for your language course, register for the level you think is appropriate based on the number of years of previous study and grades earned. Check out the College Handbook for guidelines.

If you feel the placement score does not reflect your level:

  • College students: You may take a course one level higher from your placement score without seeing an advisor for approval. You may not, however, move higher than the 0400-level in any language.

  • Wharton, Engineering, Nursing, or LPS students: Please contact the Language Program Director if you wish to move up a level.

  • Normally students are not given permission to take a course below the level indicated by their placement score. If you feel you have special circumstances, consult the Language Program Director