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Placement Exams

Entering students are provided the opportunity to obtain accurate placement in the various levels of introductory courses at Smith College. If you are planning to take courses in any of the following areas and have prior knowledge of the subject matter, you should plan to take the placement test or consult with department representatives as instructed below.

Students should follow instructions carefully and work out their own schedules of examinations. They are requested to start and finish as early as possible. At least one hour should be allowed for each written examination. Students who cannot take all the examinations they wish because of conflicts in the schedule should consult the registrar.

Placement tests at Smith College are conducted under the academic honor system. It is understood that these examinations will not be discussed in any way, even among students who have already taken them, until the close of the testing period.

There is no placement examination in art history.

Monday, September 4, 2017
9–11 a.m.
Hillyer 204

Those wishing a portfolio review for possible exemption from ARS163 Drawing I should sign up in the Art Office in Hillyer. Ten-minute interviews will be held on Monday, September 4, 2017, from 9-11 a.m. The reviews will be held in Hllyer, Room 204. Students should bring a diverse sampling of 12-15 pieces. We will attempt to make an informed evaluation however this should be seen as an advising session. Students should note that very few exceptions from Drawing I are given.

The Department of Biological Sciences does not give placement examinations. Exemption from BIO 130 and 132 may be granted on the basis of Advanced Placement credit. Students should discuss their options and appropriate course selections with a departmental representative during Conversations.


Students interesed in the Advanced General Chemistry course (CHM 118) should consult with a member of the department at Conversations.

Chinese: Complete online portion of exam before September 3, 2017.
Oral and written exam: Monday, September 4, from 9-10 a.m.
Seelye 301 and 304

Questions about the Chinese placement exam should be sent to

Japanese: Monday, September 4, from 9-10 a.m.
Seelye 301 and 308

Korean: Monday, September 4, from 9-10 a.m.
Seelye 301 and 310

Placement tests for Japanese, Chinese and Korean: A written test and brief oral interview are mandatory for all entering students who have had some informal or formal training in any of these languages before coming to Smith.



Monday, September 4, 2017
9-10 a.m. or 10-11 a.m.
Seelye First Floor

Introductory economics at Smith College consists of two one-semester courses: ECO150 (Introductory Microeconomics) and ECO153 (Introductory Macroeconomics). Students may place out of either or both of these courses in one of three ways:

  1. Passing the cooresponding placement exam
  2. Receiving a grade of 4 or 5 on the corresponding AP exam
  3. Receiving IB or A-level credit

All students who wish to place out, however, are encouraged to take the placement exams to ensure correct placement. Each placement exam takes one hour, so students wishing to take both exams must go to both exam sessions. 

Complete online exam before 5 p.m. September 4, 2017

The Department of French Studies offers an online placement examination to test students' proficiency in understanding spoken French as well as in reading and writing. The online placement examination is accessible on Moodle until September 4, 2017.

Students who have taken at least one year of French should take this exam. Students who have taken the ETS Achievement and/or Advanced Placement tests will find among the materials provided to their advisers recommended placement in language or literature courses based on their scores.

*Even if you have taken these tests, we encourage all students to take our placement test, as it will help the department to advise students about course selection. Click on the link below for detailed instructions.

Monday, September 4, 2017
9-10 a.m. or 10-11 a.m.
Seelye 212

Students with previous knowledge of German are required to take the placement exam if they wish to pursue the study of German language.

Students who have studied Hebrew prior to coming to Smith should contact Joanna Caravita for advice on placement in the correct course level. Students with no previous knowledge of Hebrew may enroll in JUD 101, Elementary Modern Hebrew I.

Complete online exam before 11 a.m. Monday, September 4, 2017

This test is open to all students who have had preparatory training in the language. Students who took the Italian AP exam need to take the placement as well, no matter what their AP score. The online placement examination opens July 1 and must be completed by 11 a.m. on Monday, September 4, 2017.

Monday, September 4, 2017
10-11 a.m.
Hatfield 105

A one–hour placement examination should be taken by students with two, three or four years of secondary school preparation. The department also considers scores of 4 and 5 on Advanced Placement examinations as grounds for advanced placement in courses.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017
1-2 p.m.
Weinstein Auditorium (Wright Hall)

A placement tool for calculus is available on the Moodle site for new students. There is no scheduled placement test. Each student is responsible for choosing her own courses in consultation with mathematics and statistics faculty and with the help of the placement tool available on the Moodle site for new students. We also urge students to attend the math meeting during orientation week, Tuesday, September 5 at 1:00pm, Weinstein Auditorium in Wright Hall.

Ada Comstock Scholars and other students with additional questions are encouraged to seek out department members at the Conversations or in our office on the third floor of Burton Hall.

Complete Online Placement Exam before 4:30 p.m. Monday, September 4, 2017

Incoming students considering Music 110 should take the music theory placement test. Please note that incoming students cannot register for Music 110 without taking this test. It will assess familiarity with key and time signatures, standard pitch and rhythmic notation, and intervals.

Placement auditions for instrument or voice lessons are held during orientation and the first days of the semester. Information and sign-up sheets for auditions can be found at the music office in Sage Hall.


Tuesday, September 5, 2017
10-11:30 a.m.
McConnell Lobby

Students who have not had a calculus-based introductory physics course should enroll in PHY117 once they meet the prerequisite of one semester of calculus. Students with a 4 or 5 on the Physics C mechanics course may place out of PHY117. Other students who believe they might be prepared to skip PHY117, or any students who believe they may be prepared to skip more than one semester of physics at Smith should consult with a member of the department.

Departmental representatives will be available for consultation during Convsersations and also during the Physics Fest held September 5 from 10-11:30 a.m. in the McConnell Lobby.

Consult with department representatives at Conversations.

Complete online exam by August 30, 2017

An online placement examination to test the student's command of the language. All students who have had previous training in the language or have lived in a Spanish-speaking country and wish to continue the study of Spanish language and literature are required to take it.