Frequently-Asked Questions about Online Departmental Placement Tests

In which subjects are online placement tests offered?

Departmental placement tests are offered in the following subjects:

  • Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Math
  • Computer Science
  • Foreign Languages: Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Hebrew, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latin, Russian, and Spanish

Who should take a placement test?

  • Students seeking placement confirmation and credit confirmed for any Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), A-level exams administered in Spring 2020 in the following fields: French; German; Italian; Spanish; Chemistry; Physics; and Mathematics. Please read details below, as some exceptions apply. Please note that test scores from 2019 and earlier will be awarded advanced placement credit according to the AP Reference Table.
  • Students with college-level preparation in any of the subjects in which placement tests are offered may choose to take a placement test. Please read field-specific details below.

Who should take a language placement test?

  • Students who have previously studied one of the languages listed above and wish to continue its study at Princeton.
  • A.B. students who wish to fulfill the language requirement through demonstrated proficiency in a language listed above and did not receive an AP 5, SAT score of 760, an IB HL exam score of 7, or A in a British A-level.
  • A.B. students who wish to use 2020 AP/SAT/IB/A-level test scores in German, Spanish, French, and Italian to fulfill the language requirement are required to take a departmental placement test to verify placement and credit.
  • Do you have proficiency in a language not listed above? Contact your Director of Studies to discuss options for demonstrating proficiency.

Read more details here about Fulfilling the Language Requirement

Who should take the math placement test?

Students who have provisional placement credit based on test scores (AP/IB/A-levels) from Spring 2020 and (1) do not plan to take a 100 or 200-level math course during their first-year but may need math credit to fulfill a major requirement or (2) who wish to partially satisfy the premed prerequisites. Students should review the math department’s placement page http://www.math.princeton.edu/undergraduate/placement.

Who should take the physics placement test?

Students seeking placement confirmation and credit for any 2020 AP/IB/A-level in physics or students who seek to demonstrate college-level preparation in physics and (1) they wish to place into Physics 205; (2) they wish to satisfy the BSE general physics requirement (Physics 103-104); (3) they wish to partially satisfy premed pre-requisites 

Although the physics placement test should be taken by any student who seeks confirmation of their placement and credit for any 2020 AP/IB/A-level exam in physics or seeks to demonstrate college-level preparation in physics, please note that students who intend to concentrate in physics or astrophysics will forfeit their AP credit, regardless of how well they do on the placement test. These students are expected to complete a year of introductory physics (at the 101-102, 103-104, or 105-6 level), with the exception of students who place into PHY205 (these students take PHY106 but not PHY105)

Who should take the chemistry placement test?

Students seeking placement confirmation and credit for any 2020 AP/IB/A-level In Chemistry or students who seek to demonstrate college-level preparation in chemistry and (1) if wish to place into Chemistry 215 or 301;or (2) wish to satisfy the BSE general chemistry requirement (Chemistry 201 or 202); or (3) wish to partially satisfy premed prerequisites

Who should take the computer science placement test?

Students who have exceptional preparation in Computer Science and wish to place out of COS 126 and begin their studies in COS 217 or 226. Note that this placement does not in itself satisfy the BSE computing requirement, which much be fulfilled by one of these three courses.

When are the placement tests?

  • Language placement tests are available through August 5 on blackboard (https://blackboard.princeton.edu/). Zoom interviews for language placement, if needed, will be scheduled from August 10 through August 14th
  • Computer science placement test is available through August 13th
  • Chemistry placement test will be held on August 10th (2hr exam, students make take it anytime between 8am-11:59pm ET)
  • Physics placement test will be held on August 11th (3hr exam, students may take the test anytime between 8am-11:59pm ET)
  • Math placement test must be registered for in advance; students must register by August 5th. The test will be given in two parts: a 90 minute written exam on August 12 from 9-10:30 or 12-1:30pm and an oral exam on August 14 (for those who pass the written exam, time arranged between student and examiner)

How do I take a placement test?

All placement tests will be offered online; some will require a follow-up zoom interview.

  • For languages, click the links below for the enrollment pages for the Language Placement Tests. Once you reach an enrollment page, click the Submit button.

On the subsequent page, click the OK button. This will take you to the test site. You are not required to take the test immediately; you can return to the test site at any time during the testing period by following the link that will appear in your My Current / Recent Courses module, which located on this page. Do not use the links below to access a site in which you have already enrolled.

Enroll in Arabic Placement Test
Enroll in Chinese Placement Test
Enroll in French Placement Test
Enroll in German Placement Test
Enroll in Hebrew Placement Test
Enroll in Hindi Placement Test
Enroll in Italian Placement Test
Enroll in Japanese Placement Test
Enroll in Korean Placement Test
Enroll in Latin Placement Test
Enroll in Russian Placement Test
Enroll in Spanish Placement Test

Questions about placement tests for languages not listed above:  https://pcls.princeton.edu/ay21-fall-term-placement-testing/

Need assistance? Send e-mail to blackboard@princeton.edu or call (609) 258-0737.

How do I prepare for a placement test?

The point of the placement tests is to determine the appropriate starting point in each subject—your preparation consists of the subject matter you have already studied in your recent classes. A brief review of grammar and vocabulary in languages, practicing problem-solving in physics and math, and a general brush-up on general concepts and methods in chemistry and computer science are really as much as you can do.

How will I get my results?

  • For language tests, results will be available upon completing the test.
  • For chemistry, physics, and math, results will be emailed to student by the respective department (after the test has been evaluated)
  • For computer science, Once evaluated, the placement decision will be available at the same exam site: placement.cs.princeton.edu

Will the results go on my record?

There is no permanent record kept of the fact that you took a placement test or the score you received. If the placement results in advanced placement credit, then the units of AP credit will be noted in fulfillment of requirements on your official transcript.

How can I use my results?

  • In Physics: placement out of Physics 103-104 will satisfy the BSE general physics requirement and yield 2 units of AP credit for BSE and AB students; placement out of Physics 101-102 will yield 2 units of AP credit for AB students only; placement into Physics 205 will permit you to take 205 in your first term and will also satisfy the BSE general physics requirement and yield 2 units of AP credit for AB and BSE students. Premed students who place out of physics should take at least one additional Physics course to supplement their advanced placement.
  • In Chemistry: placement into CHM 215 will yield one unit of AP credit and satisfy the BSE general chemistry requirement; placement into CHM 301 will yield 2 units of AP credit and satisfy the BSE general chemistry requirement. Premed students should expect to take four Chemistry courses during college to satisfy premedical prerequisites, which may include General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, and advanced Chemistry courses.
  • In Math: placement tests results will confirm placement suggested by previous preparation or confirm advanced placement credit for AP 2020 standardized tests. Premed students who place out of any MAT course via placement test should take a statistics course to satisfy premedical prerequisites.
  • In Computer Science: placement test results will determine whether you are able to skip COS 126 and begin your study of Computer Science in either COS 217 or 226.
  • In Foreign Languages: placement test results will determine the appropriate course in which to continue your study of the language at Princeton, or determine whether you have fulfilled the language requirement.