Chinese Department


Chinese Placement Exam

Who should take it?

  • The Chinese Placement Exam is required ONLY for students who either are from a Chinese heritage family OR/AND who have previously studied Chinese language in the past (such as in high school). Students who took the AP Chinese test are still required to complete the Chinese Placement Exam.
  • Students returning from study abroad at a pre-approved program DO NOT need to take the Chinese Placement Exam and may register for the next appropriate course (for example, if you completed Beginning Chinese during the academic year, take Intermediate Chinese at a program abroad, you could register for Advanced Chinese the semester following).
  • Students with no knowledge of Chinese DO NOT need to take the Chinese Placement, and instead should register for Chin 110 when the semester starts.

What's its purpose?

The Chinese Placement Exam is for placement purposes only, to determine which Chinese language course offered at Reed is best-suited to your current proficiency. Results will NOT be applied to students' grades or credit record.

What's the format?

The Chinese Placement Exam has both written and oral components. The written portion, which may be taken online at any time or in person during Orientation. The oral component is completed during Orientation. Students wishing to complete the written component online should contact the chair of the Chinese department to request the link and password for the exam. 

The written component includes sections evaluating grammar and vocabulary, listening comprehension, and proficiency with writing. Questions alternate between using simplified and traditional characters, since students are expected to be able to write one but read both. Students will have one hour to complete the written portion. You are encouraged to complete what you can but not worry if you don't finish everything within the allotted time. When faculty evaluate your written responses, how you answer what you answer as well as how many questions you answer or whether the answers were correct or not are all considered.

The oral component of the Chinese Placement Exam consists of an informal interview, in which Chinese faculty will meet with you to chat in Chinese and assess your oral proficiency. Questions will vary depending on facility and quality of response. 

When is it offered?

For first-year students, the written portion of the Chinese Placement Exam may be taken online during the summer or in person during Orientation. The oral component of the CPE is scheduled during Orientation.

Those who are not first-year students may still take the Chinese Placement Exam during Orientation but the department is also able to arrange for individual students to take it at other points during the academic year. Those students should contact the chair of the Chinese department for information on how to arrange an exam.

How do I get the results?

After completion of the Chinese Proficiency Exam, the chair of the Chinese department will inform students individually of their placement via email. Students' academic adviser will also be informed of their placement. After the results are received, students will be able to register for the appropriate Chinese course.