Placement Exam

Please read this page carefully.

Class of 2020 and beyond

The Spanish Language Program at Barnard requires all students to take the placement exam before registering for a Spanish course, regardless of previous level of instruction. You may take this exam online at myBarnard anytime. You can only take this exam once. The exam will determine which course you must attend at Barnard, irrespective of courses taken previously.

Students entering in Fall 2016 and thereafter with AP, SAT, IB (Higher Level only) or DELE credentials must also take the placement exam and register in a course accordingly. In addition to regular credit for the course they placed in and complete at elementary, intermediate or bridge level, students with AP (5) or IB (Higher Level 6 or 7) scores will receive extra college credit points upon completion of SPAN UN3300: Advanced Spanish through Content, or other bridge/upper-level course (with Language Program Director approval) with a B+ or higher (in addition to credit for that course).

College credit points upon completion of bridge or upper-level course with a B+ or higher.

AP (5 score): 3 college credit points.
AP (4 score): 0 college credit points.
IB Higher Level (7 score): 6 college credit points.
IB Higher Level (6 score): 3 college credit points.
IB Higher Level (5 score): 0 college credit points.
IB Standard-Subsidiary Level: 0 college credit points.

For further information, please contact the Language Program Director, Javier Perez-Zapatero at

Class of 2019

Entering Barnard students are placed in Spanish courses or exempted from the language requirement on the basis of their College Board Achievement SAT, Advanced Placement (AP), or International Baccalauretate (IB) or DELE scores.

1. If you have taken an SAT subject exam in Spanish, your placement would be the following:

  • above 780: you have fulfilled the language requirement. You may elect to go on with Spanish and take a section of Spanish W3300 (Advanced Language through Content) or W3330 (Introduction to the Study of Hispanic Cultures.
  • 690-779: take Spanish UN 2102 (Intermediate Spanish II)
  • 570-689: take Spanish UN2101 (Intermediate Spanish I)
  • 420-569: take Spanish UN1102 (Elementary Spanish II)
  • below 420: take Span UN1101 (Elementary Spanish I).

2. If you scored 4 or 5 on the Spanish AP Spanish Language or Spanish Literature Exams, you have fulfilled the language requirement. If you choose to continue taking Spanish, begin with a section of Spanish UN3300.

3. If you scored 7, 6, or 5 on the International Baccalaureate (IB) Higher Level Exam in Spanish, you have fulfilled the language requirement. If you choose to continue taking Spanish, begin with a section of Spanish UN3300.

All classes

All other students with prior knowledge of Spanish (secondary school, living abroad, near-native or native speakers) who want to continue studying this language are required to take the department's Placement Examination before registering for a course.

The placement exam in Spanish is an on-line multiple-choice format exam that you may take at your convenience. It consists of questions on vocabulary, grammar and reading comprehension. There is no oral or listening part to the exam. Since it is a computer-adaptive test, the length varies from one individual to another, with the average time being 20 minutes. Please supply all the required information.

Since you are taking the exam on your own, it must represent your own work; it is also in your interest to work to the best of your ability. Once you begin the exam you should not pause until the test is finished. When taking it you will be bound by Barnard College's Honor Code and must refrain from any activity constitutive of academic dishonesty as defined therein.

Your score and placement will become available immediately upon completion of the exam.  It is a good idea to make a screenshot of your score or to print out your results as well in case your instructor requires written proof. After receipt of this report, you may then register in the appropriate course by following the instructions you will receive to that effect.

If your score is between 450 and 625 in the placement and you are a native or heritage speaker of Spanish, you should contact the Language Program Director to receive authorization to register in the Spanish for Heritage Speakers course (UN2108). The completion of this course leads to the fulfillment of the language requirement for 2019 class.  Do not register in this course without consulting with the Language Program Director at

The online placement test is for diagnostic purposes only and will be supplemented by instructors' evaluations during the first week of classes. Under no circumstances may you choose to take a level lower than the one to which you are assigned without the explicit permission of the Language Program Director.

If your score in the online test is above 625, you will be required to take another version of this test that will be offered on Thursday, August 30th from 10:00 to 1:00 pm in 222 Milbank Hall.  If you cannot take it on this dae, you may do it on Wednesday, August 29th from 3:00 to 6:00 pm in the Drop-In Language Lab at Columbia's Language Resource Center, International Affairs Building. If you need to take the exam on Wednesday, August 29th,  please, register at this link.  Please remember to bring a proper photo ID.
In spring, please contact the Spanish Language Program Director to schedule an appointment to take this second version of the placement.

To take the placement exam you must enter myBarnard.
Note: You may take this exam only once!
Should you have any questions about your placement, you may email the Spanish Language Program Director.