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?

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 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.

When and how do I take this exam

This exam has two parts: an online written portion and an oral interview conducted in-person during Orientation week.

Online written portion:

Complete the online portion of the exam 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.” 
  • Be sure to save your work periodically by using the "Save without submitting" button found at the end of the page.
  • When you are done with the exam, click "Submit all and finish."

This will include sections evaluating grammar and vocabulary, listening comprehension, and proficiency with writing. It will alternate between simplified and traditional characters. You will have 90 minutes to complete the exam, but don’t worry if you don’t finish within that amount of time. You will be evaluated based on how you answer, in addition to accuracy and completion. 

In-person portion:

The oral component to the placement exam consists of an informal interview, in which Chinese faculty will meet with you to chat in Chinese and assess your oral proficiency. 

To complete the exam in-person during Orientation week:

  • The exam will take place on Wednesday, August 24 at 8 a.m. or at 9:15 a.m.
  • Go to Eliot Hall room 207 to take the exam. No advanced sign-up is required.

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, one of CSCI 121, CSCI 122, or CSCI 221. 

CSCI 121 is a first course for students that want an introduction to programming and to the field. CSCI 221 is a second course that normally follows a course equivalent to CSCI 121. CSCI 122 is an intermediate, half-unit course intended for students that have had some practice programming, though perhaps not with the breadth and depth of the topics covered in CSCI 121. Taking either of CSCI 121 or CSCI 122 prepares a student for CSCI 221.

When and how do I take this exam?

The exam is available on Gradescope and consists of either one or two parts. Take part 1 to assess whether you are prepared to take CSCI 122. Take both part 1 and 2 to assess whether you are prepared to take CSCI 221. Each part is limited to three hours. They can be taken any time after July 10th, but we highly recommend that you complete the exam prior to Orientation week in order to determine placement in time for the Fall 2022 semester.

Each part requires a student to solve programming problems by writing code in a specific programming language. We offer several versions of the exam, one for those with Python experience, one for those with Java experience, and one for those with C++ experience.

  • Email Jim Fix to obtain a "course entry code."
  • Go to https://gradescope.com. Sign up for a student account and use that entry code to gain access to the exam materials. Gradescope will add you to the "CS Placement Exam" course at Reed College for the Summer 2022 term. There will be several "Assignments" listed for various programming languages and for the two exam parts.
  • When you are ready to begin, take Part 1 of the exam in the programming language you know by choosing the appropriate assignment. Question 1 contains the instructions and the other questions contain the problems you are to solve. Type in and submit code as answers for each of these questions. 
  • Take Part 2 for the same programming language, in a similar fashion, sometime shortly after. Students only seeking placement into CSCI 122 need not take Part 2.
  • Email Jim Fix letting him know that you've completed the exam.

Questions? Contact Jim Fix

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 via Moodle. The exam will be available from July 1 until August 28, but we highly recommend that you complete it 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."
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 should be completed on Moodle. You may take the exam remotely before Orientation week. We will also have limited space available to complete the exam on Moodle in a proctored room during Orientation week. 

To complete the exam 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."

To complete the exam in-person during Orientation week:

  • The exam will take place on Wednesday, August 24 at 8 a.m.
  • Go to Educational Technology Center (ETC) room 208 to take the exam. No sign-up is required.
  • Bring a laptop to complete the exam on Moodle. A limited number of desktop computers will also be available

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."

This exam is 90 minutes 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. An explanation about how placement in math classes is determined can be viewed here. 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 Angélica Osorno, Dave Perkinson or Jerry Shurman to make an appointment to discuss with mathematics faculty.

Music Theory

Why should I take this exam?

Take this Music Theory Assessment if you are interested in taking MUS210 this fall or MUS205 in the spring without taking MUS110. Those planning to take MUS110 need not take this exam.

When and how do I take this exam

This exam should be taken remotely. Log into your Reed email account and then follow this link to the MUS110 Outcomes Assessment. Instructions and guidelines are provided there. Please complete this by Wednesday, August 24 at noon. 

Questions? Contact 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.

To complete the exam in-person during Orientation week:

  • The exam will take place on Wednesday, August 24 at 8 a.m. or at 9:15 a.m.
  • Go to Physics Building room 123 to take the exam. No advanced sign-up is required.
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 complete the online component:

  • 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."

To complete the oral component in-person during Orientation week:

  • The exam will take place on Wednesday, August 24 at 9:15 a.m.
  • Go to Vollum College Center room 228 to take the exam. No sign-up is required.
  • To make alternate arrangements for the oral component, contact Zhenya Bershtein

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 Zhenya Bershtein

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 and want to see if you can place out of Spanish 110 (First Year Spanish) or Spanish 210 (Second Year Spanish). 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.