Placement Exam Overview

Placement Exams and Processes For New Students

Placement process schedule

Placement exams will be administered remotely during the summer so that we may process exam scores in time for your campus arrival and course registration.

New students must take placement exams and processes during the periods listed below.

Exam periods Exams
July 1, 2024 Written placement exams open at 9 a.m. PT
July 1–August 9, 2024 Written placement exams are available via Moodle
August 9, 2024 Written placement exams close at 5 p.m. PT
August 12-22, 2024 Math placement conversation with faculty member
*NOTE: You must access the Math placement Moodle page to schedule an appointment with a faculty member prior to the August 9 exam close date.
August 12-22, 2024 Chinese and Russian oral components
*NOTE: You must complete the written exam prior to the August 9 exam close date before scheduling the oral component for Chinese and Russian.
August 27, 2024 Exam results posted on IRIS

Why take a placement exam?

These exams help identify the courses appropriate for your experience level. There are several reasons why we strongly recommend that you take a placement exam this summer for every subject about which you think you have some proficiency.

  1. Completion of a placement exam at a certain level enables you to skip the introductory (or even second-year) course in some departments.
  2. Exams that identify placement at second- or third-year language levels can also be important in satisfying a language requirement.
  3. Some courses in different departments require a demonstration of proficiency in another subject matter.
  4. You will want to make sure your scores are available for your first advising appointment and before registration.
  5. Placement exam results last for your entire Reed career, so you are encouraged to take relevant placement exam(s) as soon as possible (while your memory of the material is fresh), even if you don't expect to take the course until later.

Credit is not granted for placement exams or for the course you do not have to take.

If you don’t take a placement exam, you can still take introductory-level courses in that subject. You can discuss this with your adviser during your first advising session.

Placement Exam Subjects

Placement exams are offered in the following subjects:

  • Ancient Greek
  • Arabic
  • Chinese
  • Computer Science
  • Economics
  • French
  • German
  • Latin
  • Music Theory
  • Russian
  • Spanish

How to take a placement exam

During the placement period, placement exam links and information will be available on Moodle, which is Reed's learning management system. You will use Moodle for your courses at Reed and can access the system using your Reed username and password. If you have questions about using Moodle or accessing the exams, contact Instructional Technology Services at

Regardless of whether you are taking a placement exam, we encourage you to read more about how to use this important tool prior to classes. An introduction to Moodle is available from Reed’s Instructional Technology Services.

Exam results

Your exam results will be posted on your IRIS account on August 27, 2024. Check under “Student Information” and then the “Exams/Placement” tab.

If you would like to take a lower or higher-level course than indicated by the results, you are welcome to discuss this with the faculty contact for that subject.

The language tests focus on reading comprehension and grammar. For modern languages, if you have doubts about your speaking ability, contact the faculty member listed above to arrange a meeting.

Accommodation information

Reed College is committed to creating a learning environment that meets the needs of its diverse student body. If you anticipate or experience any barriers to completing the placement exams, please do not hesitate to let us know.

Testing accommodations for placements (such as extended time or a reduced distraction testing space) can be requested by filling out the placement exam accommodation request form. Please fill out the form at least one week prior to taking your placement exam, to allow time to get your accommodations in place. Once you have completed the form, staff from Disability & Accessibility Resources will review your request and may reach out to you if they need more information regarding your needs.


If you are a new incoming student and have questions, please contact the Orientation Team at Returning students should reach out to the respective department chairs.