Placement in Spanish

Placement Guidelines

It is your responsibility to familiarize yourself with College of Arts & Sciences and Departmental policies on placement and enrollment in language courses. A list of frequently asked questions about the Foreign Language (FL) requirement is below.

In keeping with the College of Arts & Sciences Area Requirements, courses taken to fulfill the foreign language requirement:

  • Must be taken for credit and a grade.
  • Must be fulfilled only at U.Va. or at a U.Va. - approved abroad program. (The College will NOT allow courses to transfer from other U.S. colleges/universities to fulfill the foreign language requirement.)

When selecting courses, please keep the following in mind:

  • You may not enroll in a course different from the one into which you’ve placed.You are not permitted to enroll in a level different from your placement.
  • If you place yourself incorrectly, you will receive an F for the course in which you enroll without permission.
  • If you have prior experience in Spanish you must enroll based on your score on the SAT II Exam, AP Exam, IB (high level) Exam, or the U.Va. online placement exam. If you have scores from more than one of these exams must enroll based on the higher placement. 
  • If you have prior experience in Spanish, but have NOT taken any of the above exams, you must take the U.Va. online placement exam to enroll in a language course.
  • You will be required to show your instructor proof of placement on the first day of class.

Spanish Course Sequence

  • Two courses, SPAN 1010 and 1020, are reserved exclusively for students who present no entrance credits in the language.
  • Students who enter with two or more entrance credits, who wish to continue in Spanish, will be placed according to scores obtained on the SAT II Exam, the AP Exam, the IB (high level) Exam, or the U.Va. Spanish placement exam.
  • The sequence of courses, depending on the level at which the student begins, is as follows: SPAN 1010-1020-2010-2020; or SPAN 1060-2010-2020; or SPAN 2010 & 2020; or SPAN 2020. The sequence must be followed to complete the language requirement.

Spanish Placement Exam

The Spanish placement exam is an online exam that may only be taken once. Attempting to take the exam more than once, without permission, is considered an honor offense.

  • If you experience a technical or computer malfunction while taking the exam, you must obtain permission to retake the exam by e-mailing the Spanish Placement Coordinator at spa-pla@virginia.edu.
  • For guidance with Spanish placement, please check the Spanish Placement Chart.
  • If you have already taken the Spanish Placement Exam and need a copy of your exam score, please follow the instructions below.

    Placement Exam Instructions (You may only take the exam once, so please read the following carefully before starting the placement exam.)

    • Submission of the exam in your name means that the score honestly reflects your current language abilities without assistance from other people or any materials.
    • Print the grade confirmation page at the end of the exam. You should keep this page as proof of placement to show your instructor on the first day of class.
    • You must enroll in the course in which you have placed. Students are not permitted to enroll in a level different from their placement.
    • If you place yourself incorrectly, you will receive an F for the course in which you enroll without permission.

    Please follow these steps, and remember to print a copy of your exam score at the end of the exam.

    1. Disable any pop-up blockers. You will need to consult your individual Internet browser, or any additional software that provides pop-up blocking in order to do this. Usually there are directions in the Help menu of relevant software programs. Some students have had technical difficulties in the past using Safari, so it is recommended you use a browser other than Safari.
    2. Once you enter the exam site, type in the exam password: cavaliers1 (notice there are no spaces).
    3. Fill out the information page. Please include your first and last names only. We do not need middle names and/or suffixes, such as “III”.
    4. Your UVa computing user ID (i.e., abc9d) and your e-mail address are required. You must include your computing user ID or your score will not be saved.
    5. Take the Online SPANISH Placement Exam
    6. Remember to print the grade confirmation page at the end of the exam. (It is your responsibility to keep this page as proof of placement to show your instructor.)
    7. Check the Spanish Placement Chart to determine your placement. (Important: If you place yourself incorrectly, you will receive an F for the course in which you enroll without permission.)

    If you have already taken the Spanish Placement Exam but have misplaced your exam score and need a new copy, please follow these instructions, keeping in mind that it is an Honor offense to take the Placement Exam more than once. To look up your score:

    1. Click here to go to the Placement Exam website.
    2. Enter the password "cavaliers1".
    3. Select the appropriate language (Spanish).
    4. Click "Begin."
    5. Fill in your first name, last name, UVA computing user ID, email address, UVA admission term and UVA SIS ID exactly the same way you filled them in when you took the exam initially.
    6. Scroll down the page and reenter your name for the honor statement.
    7. Scroll back up the page and click "Resume." You will be provided with your Placement Exam Report. Print this page and provide it to your instructor as proof of placement at the beginning of the semester.

    If you have questions or need additional information, please e-mail the Placement Advisor.

    Frequently Asked Questions (College & University)

    Do I have to take the class into which I have placed?  Yes.

    It is both College and Departmental policy that students must take the course into which they have placed. No student will be allowed to self-place into a class nor will any student receive credit for a course into which they have not placed. “Students who place themselves incorrectly will not receive credit for the courses in which they enroll without permission.” For more information, please see the Undergraduate Record.

    If I took the Placement exam a long time ago, can I retake it or take a lower level class?  No.

    Even if you took the Placement Exam a long time ago, you must still take the course into which you have placed. If you feel, after 4-5 days of attending the class, that the level is too difficult for you, then you may meet with the Assistant Director of the Spanish Language Program to discuss your situation. However, changes will not be made lightly.

    Can I skip a level?  No,

    “The sequence must be followed to complete the language requirement.” [see the Undergraduate Record]

    Can I take a course toward the foreign language requirement at another institution?  No.

    The College will NOT allow courses to transfer from other U.S. colleges/universities to fulfill the foreign language requirement. In other words, the foreign language requirement must be fulfilled only at U.Va. or at a U.Va. - approved abroad program.

    I am currently a high school student (or Community Scholar) and wish to enroll in a FL course. May I get permission?  Yes, but...

    You can enroll in the course if it is under-enrolled. Our department cannot add students beyond the class limit. If the course is fully enrolled right now, you are welcome to wait and see what happens by the Drop Deadline to see if a space becomes available.

    Can I audit a FL course? 

    If you are taking the class to fulfill the foreign language requirement, you must take it for a letter grade. Otherwise, students can audit a class ONLY IF the class is under-enrolled (if there are fewer than 18 students enrolled). If the class is fully enrolled, no one can audit the class.

    Can I take Spanish classes elsewhere to fulfill the foreign language requirement? 

    Students can take SPAN 1010-2020 in study abroad programs approved by our department. U.Va. offers direct credit programs in Valencia, Spain, and in Siena, Italy. For all other programs, students must consult the Transfer of Credit Coordinator (1000-2000 level) for approval prior to going. The College will NOT allow courses to transfer from other U.S. colleges/universities to fulfill the foreign language requirement. In other words, the foreign language requirement must be fulfilled only at U.Va. or at a U.Va. - approved abroad program.

    I am applying to the McIntire School of Commerce (Comm School) and I need to get into this class to fill my FL requirement before they will accept me. 

    You will need to wait on the wait list to see if a spot becomes available. We cannot add you into this course. Please keep in mind the following:

    All prerequisites, including the foreign language prerequisite, must be completed by the time a student enters the School, not by the time the student applies. It is very common for students to be taking prerequisites during the spring of the second year when they apply. McIntire also allows students to complete the prerequisites over the summer before enrolling and once admitted to McIntire you can complete the requirements (including Foreign Language) at another school and transfer the credit back to UVA. As long as you indicate on your application that you plan to complete the language requirement and show that you are progressing towards completion, it will in no way have a negative impact on your McIntire admission decision.

    If you have additional questions, please contact the Commerce School.

    I accidently dropped myself from the course roster. Can I be added back in?  No.

    There is nothing the instructor can do to add you into a course. You will have to put your name on the wait list for several sections to see if a space becomes available.

    I took the IB Exam in Spanish. Where does that place me and do I receive credit at U.Va.? 

    Please contact the Transfer of Credit Coordinator (1000-2000 level)

    For more information on the policies of the College of Arts & Sciences, please visit the CLAS page.

    I took the A-Level Exam in Spanish. Where do I place? 

    Please contact the Transfer of Credit Coordinator (1000-2000 level) to discuss placement and credit. Bring a copy of your A-Level exam score. For additional information about international college-level exam credit, please visit http://college.artsandsciences.virginia.edu/iclec.

    How can I find out my placement? 

    Please see the Foreign Language Placement Index page on the College website. Also, the placement chart for Spanish classes is listed under the Additional Resources section below.

    When can I take the UVA Placement Exam? 

    The exam can be taken at any time online. Ideally, First Year students should complete the exam prior to Summer Orientation in order to know which Spanish class to sign up for.

    Where is the UVA Placement Exam located? 

    The exam is taken online (see link above). Please read the instructions carefully, as they provide you with the password necessary to access the exam as well as important information to be used both during the exam and once it has been completed.

    How long does the UVA Placement Exam take to be completed? 

    Like the SAT, the Placement Exam becomes progressively more or less difficult based on your last score. For this reason, it can take anywhere from 5-20 minutes to complete.

    What kind of material is on the UVA Placement Exam? 

    The exam covers both basic grammar and vocabulary.

    How many times can I take the UVA Placement Exam? 

    You may only take the exam one time. Any extra attempts to take the test will generate invalid scores and may be considered an honor code violation.

    Frequently Asked Questions (Placement in Spanish)

    How can I find out my placement for Spanish courses? 

    Please see the Foreign Language Placement Index page on the College website. Also, the placement chart for Spanish classes is listed under the Additional Resources section below.

    When can I take the Spanish Placement Exam? 

    The exam can be taken at any time online. Ideally, First Year students should complete the exam prior to Summer Orientation in order to know which Spanish class to sign up for.

    Where is the Spanish Placement Exam located? 

    The exam is taken online (see link above). Please read the instructions carefully, as they provide you with the password necessary to access the exam as well as important information to be used both during the exam and once it has been completed.

    How long does the Spanish Placement Exam take to be completed? 

    Like the SAT, the Placement Exam becomes progressively more or less difficult based on your last score. For this reason, it can take anywhere from 5-20 minutes to complete.

    What kind of material is on the Spanish Placement Exam? 

    The exam covers both basic grammar and vocabulary.

    How many times can I take the Spanish Placement Exam? 

    You may only take the exam one time. Any extra attempts to take the test will generate invalid scores and may be considered an honor code violation.

    I took the Spanish Placement Exam before, but do not remember my score. How do I find it?

    Firstly, remember that it is an Honor offense to take the Placement Exam more than once. To look up your score:

    1. Click here to go to the Placement Exam website.
    2. Enter the password "cavaliers1".
    3. Select the appropriate language (Spanish).
    4. Click "Begin."
    5. Fill in your first name, last name, UVA computing user ID, email address, UVA admission term and UVA SIS ID exactly the same way you filled them in when you took the exam initially.
    6. Scroll down the page and reenter your name for the honor statement.
    7. Scroll back up the page and click "Resume." You will be provided with your Placement Exam Report. Print this page and provide it to your instructor as proof of placement at the beginning of the semester.

    My professor asks for proof of placement and I’ve taken a previous Spanish course at U.Va. What do I do? 

    If you have taken another Spanish course at U.Va., do not contact spa-pla, as they will be unable to help you. Instead, you must print out a copy of your unofficial transcript and highlight the grade of your most recent Spanish class. The grade must be visible in order for your instructor to know that you passed the class, however you may black out all other grades if you so choose.

    I am a transfer student and I need to present proof of placement and I took Spanish courses at my previous college/university.  What do I do? Do I need to take the U.Va. placement exam? 

    If you are a transfer student, you can just show your instructor your SIS Transfer Credit report or unofficial transcript listing those Spanish courses that transferred over to U.Va. You are not required to take the U.Va. placement exam; you can just continue on with the next level. If you did take the U.Va. placement exam, and you placed into the level that you just completed at your prior institution, you can take that level at U.Va. but you will forfeit the transfer credits. In other words, you cannot receive credit twice for the same course.

    If I have taken more than one exam that counts for placement (Placement Exam, AP, SAT II, IB Exam (HL)), which score counts for my placement into a Spanish class? 

    If you have taken two or more exams that count for placement, such as the Placement Exam, the SAT II in Spanish, the AP exam, or the IB Exam (high level), it is department policy that you use the score that places you into the highest class. For example, if the SAT II places you into SPAN 2010 but the Placement Exam places you into 2020, you must take 2020.

    I have placed somewhere into the upper level (3000 level) Spanish courses – which class should I take? 

    Students can place into the 3000 level courses in several different ways.

    • If you took the Placement Exam and scored a 536 or above, you should take 3010, regardless of how high above that number you scored.
    • If you took the SAT II exam in Spanish and scored a 650 or above, you should take 3010, regardless of how high above that number you scored.
    • If you took the AP exam in Spanish Language and scored a 4, you should take 3010. If you scored a 5 you may not take 3010 but instead must take one of the other 3000 level courses for which 3010 is a prerequisite, such as 3020 (Composition), 3030 (Cultural Conversations), 3040 (Business Spanish), or 3300 (Literary Analysis).
    • If you have questions about placement in 3000-level courses, please contact the Course Coordinator for SPAN 3010-3020 and the Director of Undergraduate Programs in Spanish about all other upper-level courses.

    If I had Spanish in high school, can I take SPAN 1010 or 1020?  No.

    Students who have taken any Spanish in high school are not permitted to enroll in SPAN 1010 or 1020. Those course are reserved for true beginners, students who have never formally studied Spanish before.

    I placed into SPAN 2020 but don’t feel comfortable taking that level. I would like a refresher so I need permission to take SPAN 2010. 

    Students may not self-place in a language course. If you placed into SPAN 2020, you are not permitted to take any course at a lower level. The department asks that you try the original course for at least 4-5 class meetings, and if it is too difficult for you, please make an appointment to see the Assistant Director of the Spanish Language Program.

    Additional Resources and Documents

    Placement Charts in Spanish and the College of Arts & Sciences

    Credit Transfer Policies for International Baccalaureate (IB) and Advanced Placement (AP) (College of Arts & Sciences)

    Undergraduate Degree Requirements (College of Arts & Sciences)

    Undergraduate Record (University Registrar)

    Honor Committee (University)