New Students

Placement Exams

Placement exams help identify the courses appropriate for your experience level. If you think you have sufficient mastery of subject matter to consider skipping introductory courses in an area, you may want to take a placement exam. 

Completion of a placement exam at a certain level enables you to skip the introductory (or even second-year) course in some departments. Exams that identify placement at second- or third-year language levels can also be important in satisfying a language requirement.

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 the subjects listed below. You can discuss this with your adviser during your first advising session. 

If you require testing accommodations, such as extended testing time, please read the accommodation information at the bottom of this page. 

Taking the exams

Arabic

Why should I take this exam?

Take the Arabic placement exam if you plan to take Arabic at any time while you are at Reed. This will help guide your decision-making as you register for classes. Placement tests do not always satisfy a departmental language requirement. If you are using the test for this purpose, check with your adviser.

How do I take this exam?

The format and timing for the Arabic placement exam are still being decided. Check back this summer for more information. 

Questions? Contact Kambiz GhaneaBassiri

Chinese

Why should I take this exam?

Take the Chinese placement exam if you plan to take Chinese at any time while you are at Reed. This will help guide your decision-making as you register for classes. Placement tests do not always satisfy a departmental language requirement. If you are using the test for this purpose, check with your adviser.

When and how do I take this exam?

This exam has two parts: an online written portion and an oral interview conducted in-person or on Zoom.

More information about the format and timing for this placement exam will be shared this summer. 

Questions? Contact Jing Jiang

Computer Science

Why should I take this exam?

Take the computer science exam if you have any programming experience and are thinking of taking computer science classes. This will help us place you appropriately in your first class.

When and how do I take this exam?

The format and timing for the computer science placement exam are still being decided. Check back this summer for more information. 

Questions? Contact Adam Groce

Economics

Why should I take this exam?

Take the economics placement exam if you are considering any economics coursework while you are at Reed and want to see if you can place out of Economics 201 (Introduction to Economics). Please note that Economics 201 is taught at a level that would be considered intermediate in most colleges and universities. Having taken economics in high school (even AP or IB) is not likely to give you enough depth to be prepared for our upper-level courses. Similarly, many students who have taken an introductory course at 2- or 4-year institutions also find they are not ready to move into Reed’s 300-level coursework. For most students, Economics 201 is the right place to start. However, if you feel you might be ready to move into an upper-level course, you should take the placement exam during the summer testing period in order to find out which course is the right one for you to begin our curriculum.

When and how do I take this exam

This exam must be completed remotely prior to Orientation week. Specific dates will be announced this summer. 

  • Go to https://moodle.reed.edu. Log in with your Reed username and password.
  • Placement exam links will be at the top of the page. Follow the link to the test you want to take.
  • Click the “Enroll me” button.
  • When you are ready to begin, click “Attempt quiz now.”
  • When you are done with the exam, click "Submit all and finish."
Questions? Contact Felipe Carrera

French

Why should I take this exam?

Take the French exam if you plan to take French at any time while you are at Reed. This will help guide your decision-making as you register for classes. Placement tests do not always satisfy a departmental language requirement. If you are using the test for this purpose, check with your adviser.

When and how do I take this exam? 

This exam must be completed remotely prior to Orientation week. 

  • Go to https://moodle.reed.edu. Log in with your Reed username and password.
  • Placement exam links will be at the top of the page. Follow the link to the test you want to take.
  • Click the “Enroll me” button.
  • When you are ready to begin, click “Attempt quiz now.” 
  • When you are done with the exam, click "Submit all and finish."

Language exams are designed to be one hour in length.

If you are interrupted during the exam (power failure, illness, etc.), please email its@reed.edu to let us know what happened.

Questions? Contact Catherine Witt

German

Why should I take this exam?

Take the German exam if you plan to take German at any time while you are at Reed. This will help guide your decision-making as you register for classes. Placement tests do not always satisfy a departmental language requirement. If you are using the test for this purpose, check with your adviser.

When and how do I take this exam? 

This exam must be completed remotely prior to Orientation week. 

  • Go to https://moodle.reed.edu. Log in with your Reed username and password.
  • Placement exam links will be at the top of the page. Follow the link to the test you want to take.
  • Click the “Enroll me” button.
  • When you are ready to begin, click “Attempt quiz now.” 
  • When you are done with the exam, click "Submit all and finish."

Language exams are designed to be one hour in length.

If you are interrupted during the exam (power failure, illness, etc.), please email its@reed.edu to let us know what happened.

Questions? Contact Katja Garloff

Latin and Ancient Greek

Why should I take this exam?

Take the Latin or Greek exam if you plan to take these languages at any time while you are at Reed. This will help guide your decision-making as you register for classes. Placement tests do not always satisfy a departmental language requirement. If you are using the test for this purpose, check with your adviser.

When and how do I take this exam

This exam should be taken remotely between August 1 - August 23.

  • Go to https://moodle.reed.edu. Log in with your Reed username and password.
  • Placement exam links will be at the top of the page. Follow the link to the test you want to take.
  • Click the “Enroll me” button.
  • When you are ready to begin, click “Attempt quiz now.” 
  • When you are done with the exam, click "Submit all and finish."

Language exams are designed to be one hour in length.

If you are interrupted during the exam (power failure, illness, etc.), please email its@reed.edu to let us know what happened.

Questions? Contact Tom Landvatter or Sonia Sabnis

Mathematics

There is no placement exam in mathematics. Students who have completed coursework beyond single-variable calculus should consult with mathematics faculty to determine which mathematics courses are appropriate for them. Students should contact Lisa Mickola to make an appointment to discuss with mathematics faculty.

Music Theory

Why should I take this exam?

Take the Music Theory exam if you are interested in taking MUS310 this fall or MUS205/210 in the spring without taking the prerequisite courses.

When and how do I take this exam

This exam should be taken remotely and will be available by August 1

  • You will need to be logged into your Reed email account to access the exam files in this linked folder
    • Determine which placement exam best fits your experience level and complete only one exam.
    • Read the Music Theory Placement Exam Instructions PDF before you begin.
    • Download, print, and complete the exam. You may use a tablet to markup the PDF if you prefer, but we would like to see your hand-written answers. Please make note of the MP3 audio file provided for your reference.
    • Submit a legible scan/photo(s) of your completed exam.
    • We will email you with results and can schedule a meeting to discuss them if you'd like.

Questions? Contact Kirsten Volness or Shohei Kobayashi

Physics

Why should I take this exam? 

A successful attempt on the physics placement exam allows students to skip Physics 101 and go directly into Physics 102 (offered in the spring).  Students who place out of Physics 101 may want to consider taking Physics 164 in the fall of their first year. If your score is particularly high on the physics placement exam, you will be invited to take a second physics placement exam.  A successful attempt on this second exam will allow you to skip Physics 101 and Physics 102 and go directly into Physics 201 (offered in the fall).  This situation is very rare. Note that you do not receive college credit for passing a placement exam.  Some departments will waive departmental requirements (Physics and Math will waive their departmental Physics 101 requirement for students passing the placement exam) while in other departments this is not automatic and you would need to have a discussion with your adviser about which physics course you should take.

When and how do I take this exam? 

The physics placement exam will take place in-person during Orientation week, prior to class registration. Advance sign-up is not required. The time and room location will be shared this summer. 

Questions? Contact Darrell Schroeter

Russian

Why should I take this exam?

Take the Russian exam if you plan to take Russian at any time while you are at Reed. This will help guide your decision-making as you register for classes. Placement tests do not always satisfy a departmental language requirement. If you are using the test for this purpose, check with your adviser.

When and how do I take this exam? 

This exam has two parts: an online component on Moodle and an oral component by appointment via Zoom or in-person. Both components must be completed prior to August 29. 

To make an appointment for the oral component, contact Naomi Caffee

The online component should be completed remotely on Moodle. 

  • Go to https://moodle.reed.edu. Log in with your Reed username and password.
  • Placement exam links will be at the top of the page. Follow the link to the test you want to take.
  • Click the “Enroll me” button.
  • When you are ready to begin, click “Attempt quiz now.” 
  • When you are done with the exam, click "Submit all and finish."

Language exams are designed to be one hour in length.

If you are interrupted during the exam (power failure, illness, etc.), please email its@reed.edu to let us know what happened.

Questions? Contact Naomi Caffee

Spanish

Why should I take this exam?

Take the Spanish exam if you plan to take Spanish at any time while you are at Reed. This will help guide your decision-making as you register for classes. Placement tests do not always satisfy a departmental language requirement. If you are using the test for this purpose, check with your adviser.

When and how do I take this exam? 

This exam must be completed remotely prior to Orientation week. 

  • Go to https://moodle.reed.edu. Log in with your Reed username and password.
  • Placement exam links will be at the top of the page. Follow the link to the test you want to take.
  • Click the “Enroll me” button.
  • When you are ready to begin, click “Attempt quiz now.” 
  • When you are done with the exam, click "Submit all and finish."

Language exams are designed to be one hour in length.

If you are interrupted during the exam (power failure, illness, etc.), please email its@reed.edu to let us know what happened.

Questions? Contact Ariadna García-Bryce

Exam results

Your exam results will be shared with you by faculty prior to the start of classes. 

If you are taking one of the placement exams administered online, please complete them prior to Orientation week so that your results can be available for your advising appointment. We will have time held during Orientation week for any exam that is administered in-person. 

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.

Using Moodle

Several of the placement exams are administered 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. 

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.

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 exams, 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.