University-Wide Placement Exams

Prior to taking a Placement Exam, students should consult the Core Requirements page to determine if they are eligible for exemption from requirements based on previous coursework or test results.

Students interested in taking advanced courses or placing out of required classes should plan to take the appropriate placement exams listed below. Test results determine the appropriate course for which students may begin their studies.

Notes

  • Some exams require advance registration with the department administering the exam
  • High SAT II or AP scores may exempt students from placement exams, but students are encouraged to check with their advisors for confirmation
  • Dictionaries are prohibited during all exams
  • For exams that do not provide dates, times, or locations, or to verify the information given, students are advised to contact the appropriate department for details

Departmental Placement Exam Schedule

Physics Information Session and Placement Exam
For more information, visit the website or email Prof. Brian Cole.

Music Humanities Placement Exam
For more information, email Prof. Giuseppe Gerbino.

Chemistry

Chemistry Information Session and Placement Exam
For more information, email Dr. Vesna Gasperov.

Please note that the laboratory course (Chemistry UN1507) is a separate class.

The chemistry department offers a number of introductory or first year courses in chemistry. The most popular sequence, Chemistry UN1403 and UN1404, is a full year course that provides an introduction to the key concepts and forefront research topics in chemistry and (together with the concurrent recitation (CHEM UN1405 or UN1407 or UN1409 and the associated but nonconcurrent laboratory course CHEM UN1500) satisfies requirements for many programs including our chemistry major, several engineering or biological sciences majors, as well as premedical programs in CC, SEAS, and GS. This course assumes a standard high school preparation in chemistry physics and mathematics. CHEM UN0001 (Preparation for College Chemistry) helps to prepare students for the UN1403 and UN1404 sequence if needed. In addition, we offer two accelerated courses for freshmen with advanced high school preparation, and/or high motivation in chemistry: UN1604 or the UN2045-2046 sequence.

Chemistry UN1604 “Intensive General Chemistry” is a one-semester introductory general chemistry course that serves as an expedited replacement for the full-year, Chemistry UN1403 and UN1404 sequence.  Students wishing to take UN1604 should have strong high school preparation in chemistry and must take two assessment examinations to help evaluate their preparation for the course. The first exam will be online, taken within the honor code. Students’ scores on this exam may be applied as credit in the course (depending on the instructor’s discretion). Details regarding the exam will be available in Columbia University’s Courseworks site for this course in August. To prepare for this placement examination, students are advised to refer to the syllabus in Courseworks site, where we describe the specific topics and textbook chapters that should be studied in advance as well as details on how to contact us for clarifications or help preparing. The second assessment examination will be administered in class during the second week of classes, and covers similar material. Your scores on these assessment examinations will be the primary factor helping you and the instructor to determine whether you will be invited to register for this course. During the term we will assume knowledge of the specific introductory topics covered by the placement examination. Students must concurrently enroll in a recitation section (Chemistry UN1606) and should be aware that the laboratory course (Chemistry UN1500 or UN1507) is a separate class (not necessarily concurrent), required for many programs. In fall 2020 this course will be taught with a mixture of on-line and in person sessions.

Chemistry UN2045-2046 “Intensive Organic Chemistry” is a one-year, organic chemistry sequence for students with excellent preparation in general chemistry and a basic introduction to organic chemistry.  Students wishing to take UN2045-2046 should have strong high school preparation in chemistry and must take two assessment examinations to help you evaluate your preparation for the course. The first exam will be on line, taken within the honor code. Your work on this on line exam should help you determine which course to initially select, and may also be applied as credit in the course (depending on  the instructor’s discretion). Details regarding the exam will be available in the Courseworks site for this course in early August. The second assessment examination will be administered in class during the second week of classes. Your scores on these assessment examinations will be the primary factor in helping you and the instructor to determine whether you will be invited to register for this course. The placement examinations will cover some basic concepts in the structure and bonding of organic compounds, and it is recommended that you review Chapters 1-3 of the text book (Organic Chemistry, 8th Edition, by Paula Yurkanis Bruice) prior to taking the exams, in addition to attending the lectures prior to the second assessment examination. You will not be expected to have mastered/memorized all of this material, but rather to have some basic familiarity with some of the main concepts discussed in those Chapters. 

Foreign Languages

Students who need to take a placement exam in any of the other foreign languages offered at Columbia may make arrangements to do so through the language program coordinator in that department.

Arabic
For more information, visit the website or email Prof. Taoufik Ben-Amor or Prof. Reem Faraj-Kanjawi.

Chinese
Students must register for the test in advance. For more information, visit the website or email Lingjun Hu.

French
The language placement exam is available online. For more information, email Benita Dace or Isabelle Chagnon.

German
For more information email Jutta Schmiers-Heller.

Hebrew
For more information, visit the website or email Prof. Naama Harel.

Hindi-Urdu
For more information, visit the website or email Prof. Rakesh Ranjan.

Italian
For more information, visit the website or email Aurelia Rabot-Hernandez.

Japanese
Students must register for the test in advance (scroll to bottom of page for form). For more information, visit the website or email Miharu Nittono.

Korean
For more information, visit the website or email Beom Lee or Carol H. Schulz

Latin
For more information, visit the website or contact Prof. Gareth Williams.

Persian
For more information, visit the website or email Saeed Honarmand.

Russian
For more information, visit the website or email Alla Smyslova and Frank Miller.

Spanish
Before sitting for the exam, students should first complete the preliminary online placement exam. A score of 625 or higher indicates that the student may be eligible for exemption, and should sit for an in-person exam. For more information, visit the website or email Dr. Lee B. Abraham.

Turkish
For more information, visit the website or email Zuleyha Colak. Students must also schedule an appointment for the oral component to the exam with Zuleyha Colak.