Exam Schedule

All incoming first-year students are required to take the writing and math exams. Optional and recommended exams in Biology and Chemistry, Languages, and Music are available to students who are planning to take courses in these fields.

Writing & Math

June 2 – June 21

Required Exams

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Biology & Chemistry

June 21 – August 10

Optional Exams

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Languages & Music

June 21 – August 24

Optional Exams

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These exams are meant to provide students with recommendations for the most appropriate level of math, writing, language, music theory, and science courses to begin with. There is no need to study for these exams.

Exam Timing and Length

Students should plan ahead to make sure they have sufficient time to complete the exams. The length of each exam varies according to subject area.
 

  • Writing (required): Students will be given 72 hours to read sources focusing on a particular topic and write an argumentative essay in response to those readings.
     
  • Math (required): This exam consists of three 30-minute parts (maximum of 90 minutes), to be taken consecutively without a break in between each section.
     
  • Biology & Chemistry (optional): These exams are each 90 minutes.
     
  • Languages (optional): Depending on the language, these exams range from 90 minutes to 3 hours.
     
  • Music (optional): The timing of this exam varies. For further information see the Music Department website.

Rescheduling the Writing and Math Exams

Students are expected to take the Writing and Math exams during the exam period (June 2 – June 21). In exceptional circumstances, students with legitimate unavoidable conflicts may receive extensions. To petition for an alternative period, please go to the Online Placement Exam Registration (OPER) application. The OPER application will open in mid-May.

Required: Writing and Math

Exam Date Open Date Closed Link to Exam
Writing June 2, 2021 June 21, 2021

Access the Writing Exam

Writing (Final Date to Begin) June 18, 2021 June 21, 2021

Access the Writing Exam

Math June 2, 2021 June 21, 2021

Access the Math Exam

 

Optional: Biology & Chemistry

Exam Date Open Date Closed Link to Exam
Biology June 21, 2021 August 10, 2021

Access the Biology Exam

Chemistry June 21, 2021 August 10, 2021

Access the Chemistry Exam

 

Optional: Languages & Music

Contact Information

Music

Sign-up Information & Department Contacts

For general information, consult the Department of Music website. 

Placement Exams open on June 21, 2021 and close on August 10, 2021.  To register for the exam students will complete a form that can be found by linking here. If you have questions, please contact Dr. Joseph Jakubowski at  joseph_jakubowski@fas.harvard.edu

American Sign Language

Sign-up Information & Department Contacts

For general information, consult the Department of Linguistics website. 

Placement Exams open on June 21, 2021 and close on August 24, 2021.   For information not available on the website or if you are interested in a placement exam, please contact the Head of ASL courses, Kathryn Davidson at kathryndavidson@fas.harvard.edu

Arabic

Sign-up Information & Department Contacts

For general information, consult the Center for Middle Eastern Studies website.

To register for the exam please visit the NELC website. If you have any questions about the exam, please email the department at nelc@fas.harvard.edu.

Test Date: Tuesday, August 24th 3:00-4:30 pm Eastern Time

Bosnian, Serbian, and Croatian

Sign-up Information & Department Contacts

For general information, consult the Department of Slavic Languages & Literatures website.

Placement Exams open on June 21, 2021 and close on August 24, 2021.  If you have questions or would like to register for this exam, please contact Steven Clancy at sclancy@fas.harvard.edu.

Chinese

Sign-up Information & Department Contacts

Details about this exam and how to register can be found on the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations website. 

If you have questions, contact Rebecca Mahoney at eal@fas.harvard.edu.

Test Date: Friday, July 30

1:30 pm - 3:30 pm ET Written Test (composition; grammar & reading)
3:30 pm - 5:30 pm ET Oral Test (you will be assigned a 5-minute test slot between 3:30 pm and 5:30 pm. A Zoom link with your assigned slot will be sent to you through email)

Makeup Exam: Friday, August 20

8:30 am - 10:30 am ET Written Test (composition; grammar & reading)
10:30 am - 12:30 pm ET Oral Test (you will be assigned a 5-minute test slot between 10:30 am and 12:30 pm.  A Zoom link with your assigned slot will be sent to you through email)

Makeup Exam: Friday, August 23

8:30 am - 10:30 am ET Written Test (composition; grammar & reading)
10:30 am - 12:30 pm ET Oral Test (you will be assigned a 5-minute test slot between 10:30 am and 12:30 pm.  A Zoom link with your assigned slot will be sent to you through email)

 

Czech

Sign-up Information & Department Contacts

For general information, consult the Department of Slavic Languages & Literatures website.

If you have questions or would like to register for this exam, please contact Steven Clancy at sclancy@fas.harvard.edu.

 

French

Sign-up Information & Department Contacts

All incoming first-year students are automatically registered for this exam.  All other undergraduate students should register for the exam using the Online Placement Exams Registration application.

Once registered, students may take this exam by visiting https://onlineplacement.fas.harvard.edu.

Placement Exams open on June 21, 2021 and close on August 24, 2021.    If you have questions, please be in touch with one of the language advisors listed on the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures website.

German

Sign-up Information & Department Contacts

All incoming first-year students are automatically registered for this exam.  All other undergraduate students should register for the exam using the Online Placement Exams Registration application. 

Once registered, students may take this exam by visiting https://onlineplacement.fas.harvard.edu.

Placement Exams open on June 21, 2021 and close on August 24, 2021.   If you have questions, please be in touch with Dr. Lisa Parkes at lparkes@fas.harvard.edu.  For general information, consult the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures website.  

Greek, Ancient

Sign-up Information & Department Contacts

For general information, consult the Department of the Classics website.

Placement Exams open on August 12, 2021 and close on August 13, 2021.   If you have questions or would like to register for this exam, please contact Ivy Livingston at livings@fas.harvard.edu.

Greek, Modern

Sign-up Information & Department Contacts

For general information, consult the Department of the Classics website.

Placement Exams open on August 12, 2021 and close on August 13, 2021.   If you have questions or would like to register for this exam, please contact Dr. Calliope Dourou at dourou@fas.harvard.edu.

Hebrew, Modern

Sign-up Information & Department Contacts

For general information, consult the Department of Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations website.

For information about how to sign up for this exam or office hours contact Dr. Irit Aharony  at aharony@fas.harvard.edu. Dr. Aharony can also answer questions regarding levels. 

Test Date: Thursday, July 1, 2021 (email to Dr. Aharony to register and receive zoom link)

11:30 am - 2:30 pm 

Hindi-Urdu

Sign-up Information & Department Contacts

For general information, consult the Department of South Asian Studies website.

If you have questions or would like to register for this exam, please contact Dr. Richard Delacy at rdelacy@fas.harvard.edu

Italian

Sign-up Information & Department Contacts

All incoming first-year students are automatically registered for this exam.  All other undergraduate students should register for the exam using the Online Placement Exams Registration application. 

Once registered, students may take this exam by visiting https://onlineplacement.fas.harvard.edu.

Placement Exams open on June 21, 2021 and close on August 24, 2021.   If you have questions, please be in touch with one of the language adivsors listed on the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures website.

 

Japanese

Sign-up Information & Department Contacts

For details about this exam and how to register can be found on the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations website. 

If you have questions, contact Rebecca Mahoney at eal@fas.harvard.edu.

Exam Date: Thursday, August 12 10:00AM-Friday, August 13 10:00AM (EST)

  • Listening comprehension test for all examinees will be given at 10:00AM (EST) on August 12. 
  • Oral interview test will be given individually during the exam period. The signup information will become available a week prior to the exam.

Makeup Exam Date: Thursday, August 19 10:00AM-Friday, August 20 10:00AM (EST)

Korean

Sign-up Information & Department Contacts

For general information, consult the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations website. 

If you have questions, contact Rebecca Mahoney at eal@fas.harvard.edu.

Test Date: Friday, July 9

1:00 pm - 3:00 pm ET Written Test (composition; grammar & reading)
3:00 pm - 5:00 pm ET Oral Test (you will be assigned a 10-minute test slot between 3:00 pm and 5:00 pm. A Zoom link with your assigned slot will be sent to you through email)

Test Date: Friday, August 6

1:00 pm - 3:00 pm ET Written Test (composition; grammar & reading)
3:00 pm - 5:00 pm ET Oral Test (you will be assigned a 10-minute test slot between 3:00 pm and 5:00 pm. A Zoom link with your assigned slot will be sent to you through email)

Makeup Exam: Monday, August 23

1:00 pm - 3:00 pm ET Written Test (composition; grammar & reading)
3:00 pm - 5:00 pm ET Oral Test (you will be assigned a 10-minute test slot between 3:00 pm and 5:00 pm. A Zoom link with your assigned slot will be sent to you through email)

Latin

Sign-up Information & Department Contacts

For general information, consult the Department of the Classics website.

Placement Exams open on August 12, 2021 and close on August 13, 2021.   If you have questions or would like to register for this exam, please contact Ivy Livingston at livings@fas.harvard.edu.

Literary/Classical Chinese

Sign-up Information & Department Contacts

To make arrangements for a spring placement exam in Literary Chinese, e-mail David Sena, Preceptor in Literary Chinese (dsena@fas.harvard.edu). Please provide your name and year of study, and describe your prior study of Literary or Classical Chinese. Indicate whether you intend to take the first- or the second-year exam. Please also specify what time zone you will be located in when you take the exam.

Test Date: Monday, July 12

Students may begin the three-house exam at an hour of thier own choosing on either day. Registration in advance is required.

Test Date: Monday, August 9

Students may begin the three-house exam at an hour of thier own choosing on either day.  Registration in advance is required.

Details about the Literary and Classical Chinese Program and the relevant placement exams can be found on the Program Canvas website.

Persian/Farsi

Sign-up Information & Department Contacts

For general information, consult the Near Eastern Languages & Civiliations website.

To register for the exam please visit the NELC website. If you have any questions about the exam, please email the department at nelc@fas.harvard.edu.

Test Date: Tuesday, August 24th 3:00-4:30 pm Eastern Time

Polish

Sign-up Information & Department Contacts

For general information, consult the Department of Slavic Languages & Literatures website.

Placement Exams open on June 21, 2021 and close on August 24, 2021.  If you have questions or would like to register for this exam, please contact Steven Clancy at sclancy@fas.harvard.edu.

Portuguese

Sign-up Information & Department Contacts

For general information, consult the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures Language Programs website.

If you have questions or would like to register for this exam, contact Dr. Critiane Soares.  Contact information will be available on the department website in early July.

Russian

Sign-up Information & Department Contacts

For general information, consult the Department of Slavic Languages & Literatures website.

Placement Exams open on June 21, 2021 and close on August 24, 2021.  If you have questions or would like to register for this exam, please contact Steven Clancy at sclancy@fas.harvard.edu.

 

Spanish

Sign-up Information & Department Contacts

All incoming first-year students are automatically registered for this exam.  All other undergraduate students should register for the exam using the Online Placement Exams Registration application. 

Once registered, students may take this exam by visiting https://onlineplacement.fas.harvard.edu.

Placement Exams open on June 21, 2021 and close on August 24, 2021.  If you have questions, please be in touch with one of the language adivsors listed on the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures website.

 

Turkish

Sign-up Information & Department Contacts

For general information, consult the Department of Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations website.

To register for the exam please visit the NELC website. If you have any questions about the Turkish exam, please email the department at nelc@fas.harvard.edu or contact Himmet Taskomur at taskomur@fas.harvard.edu.

Test Date: Tuesday, August 24th 3:00-4:30 pm Eastern Time

Ukrainian

Sign-up Information & Department Contacts

For general information, consult the Department of Slavic Languages & Literatures website.

Placement Exams open on June 21, 2021 and close on August 24, 2021.   If you have questions or would like to register for this exam, please contact Steven Clancy at sclancy@fas.harvard.edu.

 

Vietnamese

Sign-up Information & Department Contacts

Details about this exam can be found on the Department of East Asian Languages & Civilizations website

To schedule an exam, please reach out to Program Director Binh Ngo at binhngo@fas.harvard.edu

Exam Accommodations

Students with a documented disability may be eligible for accommodations for placement exams. The Accessible Education Office (AEO) is the primary point of contact for undergraduate students seeking reasonable accommodations for a disability. You are encouraged to work with the AEO to discuss any potential accommodations you may need for the exams.  The office may be contacted by emailing aeo@fas.harvard.edu.

General Information about the Exams

What technology will I need for the exam?

You will need: 

  • A computer (do not use a phone or a tablet as they can be problematic) 
  • Reliable high-speed internet
  • Up-to-date web browser that can handle sound files
  • To access the online placement exams, you must first activate all of the Harvard applications and systems: Set Up Your Accounts (Harvard College Email, HarvardKey, Two-Step Verification)

Please contact placement-help@fas.harvard.edu if you do not have access to these resources.