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Placement Testing

French language placement tests are offered online.

  • First-year and transfer students will receive an email from the Student Affairs Division when the testing is available (mid-July).  After receiving this notice, the student must log into Moodle and select the New Student Orientation course. In the Placement Exams section of the course, you will find detailed instructions on how to access placement exams. It is important that you complete the language survey that appears at the beginning of the test. Upon completion of the exam, students can register in the designated course during the registration period, unless an oral interview is required. Each test is an adaptive online exam available between mid-July and mid-August. Depending on the language and your score, you may be asked to complete another task, or meet with faculty during orientation. This is one of the reasons it is critical for you to complete the exam early. If an oral interview and additional testing is required, it is typically scheduled during orientation week.
  • Students who are not first-years interested in taking placement exams should contact Jessica Bawgus or Bethanne Seufert  for information and instructions.
  • Students who have AP/IB are also required to take the online placement exam.
  • The Online Placement Test is not a substitute for an official standard achievement test of a foreign language (such as the College Board exam or the International Baccalaureate). Therefore, it does not serve as proof of achievement for the purpose of fulfilling the language requirement. This exam is only intended to assist instructors in placing students in the appropriate Swarthmore course.

NOTE:  For the French placement test, you will be asked a series of questions to which there are only multiple-choice answers. This is an adaptive diagnostic test and questions will be calibrated to your level. At the end of the test you will receive a diagnostic score and may be prompted to take a diagnostic essay and/or meet with faculty for an oral interview (please see below). Please complete the online test to the best of your ability.

Please set aside 15 to 20 min for the diagnostic paragraph, or 45 min minimum for the diagnostic essay, depending on your level. 

If you have never taken the language placement test before, you will need to create an account in their system to complete the placement test.

1.       To begin the placement test, click on the following link (page will open in new window):

2.       You will need to create an account on the Emmersion system to complete the placement test.

3.       You will next be taken to a screen where you can select which placement test you are going to take.

4.       Please provide all the information requested and do not forget to complete the pre-test survey. 

  • Note: your student ID number was provided to you via email on May 18 and you can also look it up in mySwarthmore.
  • The email that you should provide is your Swarthmore email address (e.g.

5.       Complete the test and print your results. 

6.      You will need to return to this page and scroll down for the Diagnostic link. All others close the window (or tab) to return to this page. Scroll to the bottom of the page and hit the home button to return to the home page.

French Results:

  • If you receive a score of 0 – 294, merci! You have completed the French placement test. Thank you for beginning French at Swarthmore College. Please register for FREN 001, FREN 013.1, and FREN 013.A

  • If you receive a score of 295 – 365, merci! It’s great to see you have an interest in continuing French at Swarthmore College. Please follow this link to write a short diagnostic composition and, depending on your level, you may be invited to speak with us in an online interview in mid-August, so we can determine your level and placement.

  • If you receive a score of 366+, merci pour l’intérêt que vous portez aux études françaises et francophones de Swarthmore College. Please follow this link to write a diagnostic composition. You will be invited to an online oral interview in mid-August for your placement.

Oral Interviews for French:

French will do oral interviews for placements via Zoom, beginning the week of August 21.  Arrangements for the individual zoom meetings will be made via email with students who receive a score of 295+ on the online portion of the placement. 

Final placement determinations will be emailed to students by French faculty the weekend of August 25th.  


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