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 2026! 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. 
  2. We do not recommend starting Chinese (taking first-year Beginning Chinese) in the summer Chinese School. It is best to start first-year Beginning Chinese in the academic year.
  3. If you have any questions about anything to with the placement exam, email Professor Moran, Chair, at moran@middlebury.edu.
  4. If you hope to place out of 101 into a higher level, contact Professor Moran moran@middlebury.edu. He will help you decide which placement test you should take.
  5. If you hope to place out of all fall Chinese language classes and start Chinese in spring 2023, you must contact Professor Moran to discuss your plans with him and you must take the placement test before registration for fall 2022 courses. If you do not do this, we cannot promise you a placement test at a later date, or allow you to take a Chinese language class in the spring.
  6. Every year about 20 students take the placement exam. By definition all have studied Chinese before, sometimes for as long as three - five years. Every year most of the students who take the placement exam do not place out of the fall first-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 might place out of first-year Chinese and place into a higher level.
  7. You may take the placement test starting on August 1st.
  8. There are four different placement exams (each is a separate document). All will be available after August 1st in the Module “Fall 2022 Chinese Department Placement Exam” on the  Chinese Department Canvas Site, which you can access here: https://middlebury.instructure.com/courses/6892
  9. The four different tests are:
    1. Test for Getting into 400-Level Courses” (CHNS 0411 or 0425);
    2. “Test for Getting into 3rd-Year Level” (CHNS 0301);
    3. “Test for Getting into 2nd-Year Level” (CHNS 0201); and
    4. “Exam to See if You Should Start in CHNS 0101 (1st-year Chinese).”
  10. If you are not sure what your level is, take a look at all the tests and 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 are not 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.”
  11. The placement exam is 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.
  12. 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 first-year (101-102-103) students are required to read and write both Traditional Characters and Simplified Characters. Starting in second-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).
  13. Test for Getting into 400-Level Courses: To place out of the first, second, and third-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 “Test for Getting into 400-Level Courses” and have an oral interview by Zoom. The 400-level courses on offer in fall 2022 are:
    1. 411 (Classical Chinese I);
    2. and 425 (a seminar on current events and topics in China that is intended for seniors). Questions about placement into either 400-level class should be addressed to Professor Kai Zhang at kzhang@middlebury.edu.
  14. Test for getting into third-year level: To place out of second-year Chinese (CHNS 0201 and 0202) and place into third-year Chinese (CHNS 0301), you must take and pass the “Test for getting into 3rd-Year Level” and have the required oral interview. Questions about the placement test for third-year Chinese should be addressed to Professor Mairead Harris at maireadh@middlebury.edu.
  15. Test for Getting into second-year Chinese: To place out of first-year Chinese (CHNS 0101, 0102, and 0103) and place into second-year Chinese (CHNS 0201) you must take and pass the “Test for Getting into second-year Chinese” and have the required oral interview. Questions about second-year Chinese and the placement test for it should be addressed to Professor Carrie Wiebe at wiebe@middlebury.edu
  16. 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 do not know, start your study with us in 101. If you can do everything on this test, then take the test for getting into second-year Chinese. Some students test out of fall first-year (101) Chinese but are not able to test into second-year Chinese. Such students place into and begin their study with us either during the Winter Term continuation of first-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, we will simply move you up or down as appropriate.

Department of Chinese

Voter Hall
381 College Street
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753