COVID-19: Essential Information

Placement Exam

About the Fall 2021 Chinese Placement Exam

(This document, the placement exams, and supporting materials are all available here: https://middlebury.instructure.com/courses/6892 )

  

  1. Welcome to Middlebury, Class of 2025! If you have never studied Chinese or if you have studied Chinese before but know that your Chinese is not advanced enough to place you out of fall 101 Beginning Chinese, you do not have to take the placement exam. If you are starting in 101, you do not have to take the placement exam. Just register.)   NOTE: We do NOT recommend starting Chinese—taking 1st-year Beginning Chinese—in the summer Chinese School. It is BEST to start 1st-year Beginning Chinese in the academic year. Save your summer study at the Chinese School for a more advanced class. Start Chinese in the FALL. You CAN take 1st-year Chinese in the academic year AND take and do well in all the other classes you need.

  2. If you have any questions about anything to with the placement exam, email Professor Moran (Chair of Chinese) at moran@middlebury. He’ll get right back to you.

  3. If you hope to place out of 101 into a higher level contact Professor Moran right away and introduce yourself (moran@middlebury.edu). He will help you decide which placement test you should take.

  4. If you hope to place out of all fall Chinese language classes and start Chinese in spring 2022, you must contact Professor Moran to discuss your plans with him and you must take the placement test before registration for fall 2021 courses. If you don’t do this, we do not promise to give you a placement test at a later date and we do not promise to allow you to take Chinese in the spring.

  5. Every year about 20 students take the placement exam. By definition all of them have studied Chinese before, sometimes for as long as three, four or even five years. Every year most of the students who take the placement exam do not place out of the fall 1st-year course (CHNS 0101). If you have spent time in China or speak some Chinese at home or attended a bilingual school or attended a summer intensive course, you very well may place out of 1st-year Chinese and place into a higher level. But please do not be surprised or disappointed or discouraged if you do not place out of 1st-year Chinese. We cover more in one semester than what most high school programs cover in two or even three years.

  6. Deadlines! You can contact Professor Moran and take the placement test staring on August 1st. Contact Professor Moran and take a placement test ASAP. If you get it done by 4:30 PM Friday, August 27th we will have your placement for you in plenty of time for you to plan your fall classes.

  7. There are four different placement exams (each is a separate document). All are available in the Module “Fall 2021 Chinese Department Placement Exam” on the  Chinese Department Canvas Site, which you can access here: https://middlebury.instructure.com/courses/6892

  8. The four different tests are 1) the test for getting into 4th-year level (CHNS 0400, 0411 or 0425); 2) the test for getting into 3rd-year level (CHNS 0301); 3) the test for getting into 2nd-year level (CHNS 0201); and 4) “Exam to See if You Should Start in CHNS 0101 (1st-year Chinese).”

  9. If you aren’t sure what your level is, look at all three tests and then download and take the placement exam that seems to be appropriate for your level. If you start a test and it seems too hard or too easy, put it aside, and instead do the test for the next higher or next lower level as appropriate. If you aren’t sure what your level is, you can also look at the documents on Canvas under the subheading “Documents to Show You What We Cover in Each Semester.”

  10. Don’t stress. The placement exam is just one tool we use to make our best estimate of where you should start your study of the Chinese language. We want to place  you at the level that gives you the greatest opportunity for success. We may discover in the first week that your placement is not ideal and if that happens we will move you up or down a level as appropriate. No worries.

  11. During the placement exam you will have the choice of reading and writing either Traditional Characters or Simplified Characters. You may have studied only one form of Chinese characters. At Middlebury you will study both. In 1st-year (101-102-103) students are required to read and write both Traditional Characters and Simplified Characters. Starting in 2nd-year (201-202) students are required to be able to read both Traditional Characters and Simplified Characters but they are not required to be able to write Traditional Characters. (We require our students to learn to read both types of characters because if you want to achieve near-native proficiency in Mandarin, which is the goal, you need to be able to read both types of characters with equal ease).

  12. Test for getting into 4th-year Chinese: To place out of the 1st-, 2nd- and 3rd-year Chinese (CHNS 0101 through CHNS 0302) and start your study of Chinese at Middlebury at the 400 level, you must take and pass the “Chinese Placement Exam for 400-Level Classes” and have an oral interview by Zoom. The 400-level courses on offer in fall 2021 are: 400 (our most advanced general Mandarin class); 411 (Classical Chinese I); and 425 (a seminar on current events and topics in China that is intended for seniors). 400 will be taught online only. It will be taught remotely by a teacher at our Middlebury C.V. Starr School Abroad in Beijing. 411 and 425 will be taught in person. Questions about placement into 4th-year Chinese language classes should be addressed to Professor Wei He Xu at wxu@middlebury.edu.

  13. Test for getting into 3rd-year Chinese: To place out of 2nd-year Chinese (CHNS 0201 and 0202) and place into 3rd-year Chinese (CHNS 0301), you must take and pass the “Chinese Placement Exam for 301 Third Year” and have the required oral interview. Questions about the placement test for 3rd-year Chinese should be addressed to Professor Youhui (Katherine) Wang at ywang@middlebury.edu.

  14. Test for getting into 2nd-year Chinese: To place out of 1st-year Chinese (CHNS 0101, 0102, and 0103) and place into 2nd-year Chinese (CHNS 0201) you must take and pass the “Chinese Placement Exam for 201 Second Year” and have the required oral interview. Questions about 2nd-year Chinese and the placement test for it should be address to Professor Tom Moran at moran@middlebury.edu

  15. Exam to See if You Should Start in CHNS 0101 (1st-year Chinese): This is a version of the fall semester final exam for 101. If there is a lot on the test you don’t know, start your study with us in 101. If you can do everything on this test—if you know all the material it covers—then take the test for getting into 2nd-year Chinese and see how you do.

  16. Some students test out of fall 1st-year (101) Chinese but are not able to test into 2nd-year Chinese. Such students place into and begin their study with us either during the Winter Term continuation of 1st-year (102) or the Spring Semester continuation (103). Please note, each year about 50% of students who enroll in 101 have studied Chinese before. For these students, some of the first part of 101 is review, but it is needed review, by the end of the fall semester these students are learning new material.

  17. Register for the class into which you have been placed. We may discover in the first week that your placement is not ideal, and if so, no worries, we will simply move you up or down as appropriate.

 

 

Department of Chinese

Voter Hall
381 College Street
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753