FAQs

Can AP, IB, or SAT II scores be used in lieu of taking the placement exams?

All incoming first-year students are required to complete the Writing and Math exams, regardless of scores on AP, IB, or SAT II exams. All first-year students interested in studying the sciences are strongly encouraged to take the chemistry and biology placement exams. AP, IB, or SAT II scores may be used to fulfill the Language Requirement, but placement recommendations are made based on the results of the language placement exams. 

Can I fulfill the language requirement by taking a language placement exam?

Yes, students who have not fulfilled the language requirement with an AP, IB, or SAT II score may take an appropriate Harvard language placement exam. Students earning a score of 600 or higher on the online language placement exam must also take a proctored verification exam. To fulfill the language requirement, you must earn a passing score on the verification exam.  

Can I take the language placement exam more than once for the purpose of fulfilling the language requirement?

For  students in the class of 2023 or later: No, you will be allowed to take a language placement exam only once for the purpose of fulfilling the language requirement.

For students in the class of 2022 or before: Beginning in June 2019, if you are taking a language placement exam for the first time you will be allowed to take the exam only once for the purpose of fulfilling the language requirement.  If you took a placement exam before June 2019 and qualified to retake the exam, you will still be allowed to do so.

 

I am a graduate student interested in taking a placement exam. How do I register?

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) and non-FAS graduate students may take a language placement exam to receive a placement recommendation.

GSAS students may register to take the French or Spanish online exams in June or January using the Online Placement Exams Registration (OPER) application. Once they have registered to take the exam, the exam may be accessed at https://onlineplacement.fas.harvard.edu

Non-FAS graduate students should email placement-help@fas.harvard.edu to be registered to take the online exams. Please include which language exam you would like to take and your Harvard email address in your email.

Students who plan to take a placement exam in another language may consult the On Campus language exam schedule or be in touch directly with the relevant department.

In order to receive the results of these exams students will need to contact placementexams@fas.harvard.edu no earlier than one day following completion of the exam.

I was admitted with the Class of 2024 and took the placement exams in the summer of 2020, but I took a gap year and will be a first-year student with the Class of 2025. Can I retake any of my placement exams?

It is not necessary to retake the Writing Exam, neither is it required for you to retake any of the other exams. However, if you feel it would be helpful to retake either the Math Exam or a Language Exam, you may do so. Students will have the opportunity to consult with both Math and Language Advisers to discuss time away from these subjects and course recommendations.

Students are only eligible to take a Language Exam once for the purposes of fulfilling the language requirement.