Placement Exam

About the May 28 to June 21, 2024 Chinese Placement Exam

This document and the placement exams are available online.

  1. Welcome to Middlebury, Class of 2028! If you have studied Modern Standard Chinese (Mandarin) before and want to place into any Chinese Department language class higher than CHNS 0101 (fall Beginning Chinese), take the placement exam between May 28 and June 21. Take it and sumbit as soon as you can. Make sure to submit it before June 21 at the very latest. If you are not sure if you should take the placement exam, email Professor Carrie Wiebe (Chair of Chinese) at She will make the decision for you.
  2. If you have not studied Chinese at all, you do not have to take the placement exam; just enroll in CHNS 0101 (Beginning Chinese). If you have any questions, email Professor Wiebe at
  3. There are two parts to the placement exam: one, a written test available on the Canvas site; and two, an oral interview by Zoom. Email Professor Wiebe and tell her you want to take the placement. She will help you decide which test to take, and she will schedule your required Zoom conversation.
  4. There are 4 different placement exams (each is a separate document). All are on the Canvas site:
  5. The 4 tests are 1) “Test for Getting into 400-Level Courses” (fall CHNS 0411 or fall CHNS 0425); 2) “Test for Getting into 3rd-Year Level” (fall CHNS 0301); 3) “Test for Getting into 2nd-Year Level” (fall CHNS 0201); and 4) “Test to See if You Should Start in CHNS 0101 (fall 1st-year Chinese).”
  6. If you start a test and it is too hard or too easy, put it aside and do the test for the next higher or next lower level.
  7. Do not stress. The placement exam is one tool we use to make our best estimate of where you should start your study of Chinese with us. After classes start if we discover your placement is not ideal, we will move you up or down a level as appropriate. No worries.
  8. 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, which is fine. At Middlebury you will study both. You will read and write both in 1st- and 2nd-year Chinese. From 3rd-year up, you will read both but will have the option of writing only Simplified.
  9. Test for Getting into 400-Level Courses: To place out of 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 “Test for Getting into 400-Level Courses” and have the required oral interview by Zoom. The 400-level courses on offer in fall 2023 are: 411 (Classical Chinese I); and 425 (a seminar on current events and topics in China that is intended for seniors).
  10. Test for getting into 3rd-Year Level: 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 “Test for getting into 3rd-Year Level” and have the required oral interview by Zoom.
  11. 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 “Test for Getting into 2nd-year Chinese” and have the required oral interview.
  12. Test 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—if you know all the material it covers—then take the test for getting into 2nd-year Chinese and see how you do. 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).