Oglethorpe uses placement tests to ensure that new students register for the appropriate level of courses in language, math, science, business, accounting and economics.
Click above to take the web-based test
Click above to sign up for the on-campus test
FAQ about Placement Tests
Who has to take the LANGUAGE placement test?
All new students do! If you have any experience in Spanish, French, German, or Japanese, then you must do language placement. (The only students who would not take the test are those who have never studied any of these four languages, e.g. you have only ever taken Mandarin Chinese.) It doesn't matter what your intended major is, whether you took advanced language classes in high school, etc. There is no penalty for a low score and nothing to lose by giving it a shot.
Who has to take the MATH placecment test?
Only students with the following intended major(s): Accounting, Business, Economics, Mathematics; any of the natural sciences such as Biology, Biopsychology, Chemistry or Physics; or students who are Undecided but who will potentially choose one of these majors. If you are interested in a pre-health advising track such as medicine or veterinary science, you must take the math placement test. All undecided students are strongly urged to take the test.
But I took AP or IB classes, or I was dual-enrolled. Surely I am exempt?
No, all first-time Oglethorpe students are expected to take the language placement test, and also the math placement test if required for your major. One reason is that AP and IB scores are not available until later in the summer, and you may be registering for classes before your scores are released. Another reason is that Oglethorpe's placement tests are carefully correlated to our course offerings. If you have a high ability level, then the placement tests will help you choose the right advanced course for your first year at OU.
Once your AP or IB score report arrives and is processed by Oglethorpe, it will be considered equivalent to a college transcript, and qualifying scores may result in credit hours at Oglethorpe. But remember, we typically do not have these official score reports in time for registration during OU Passport.
You can always adjust your class schedule at a later time, if your AP or IB scores result in college credit.
Note that if you earn AP or IB credit for Calculus I, and if this score is used for math placement (rather than the ACCUPLACER score), then you must register for the next college calculus class for which you are eligible (typically Calculus II). In other words, you may not repeat at OU the same content that you have earned via your AP or IB score.
But I got a really good math sub-score on the ACT or SAT, and I heard that that's enough for placement into General Biology or Calculus I.
Since fall 2012, Oglethorpe only recognizes two forms of math placement: 1) the proctored test given on campus, or 2) an official college transcript showing that you have completed the pre-requisite math course. We no longer use ACT or SAT scores for math or science placement. We do not require or accept SAT II subject test scores for either math or language placement.
But I am a transfer student. Do I have to take the placement tests?
The short answer is yes, it is a good idea to do so; but you can research the course(s) on your college transcript(s). If your transcript already reflects credit for courses such as introductory foreign language or pre-calculus, you may be eligible for language/math/science registration without needing the placement test. If you are a transfer student with specific questions about your circumstances, please email the admission office at email@example.com.
What are the tests like?
You will take the placement tests on a computer. Both math and language are computer-adaptive, which means that the test will present you with questions of different ability levels and adapt the level of each new question based on your previous response. In other words, the test will attempt to "zero in" on your actual ability level by asking questions both above and below your ability range, and the number of questions presented will likely vary from student to student.
Students typically need 30-60 minutes to complete each test.
The language placement test is called WebCAPE and was developed by Brigham Young University. The math placement test is called ACCUPLACER and is a product of The College Board, Inc.
Can you tell me more about ACCUPLACER? How should I prepare?
This is a nationally-normed standardized test called the Accuplacer College-Level Mathematics Test. It covers high school alegbra and trigonometry. For free preparation options from College Board, click here. For $2.99 each, there are also a smart-phone app and a web-based app available to help you study.
This past year, many students blew off the test, did not study, and placed poorly. They were not able to start their college careers in the courses they wanted. Instead, they spent the year re-learning and re-mastering mathematics skills from high school. This is a waste of time and tuition dollars. Do not let it happen to you! Take time to study for OU’s math placement test.
Can I take the tests online?
You can take the Spanish, French and German placement tests online, on your own time and in a location of your choice. The Japanese test is not internet-based, although you can request and submit it by email. The math placement test, however, is only available in a proctored environment on Oglethorpe's campus.
Okay, I know I have to take the MATH placement test on campus. When can I do that?
New students will complete the math placement test during OU Passport (summer academic orientation). If you are enrolling for the summer term or are a continuing Oglethorpe student, please contact the Academic Success Center to inquire about opportunities for proctoring.
Can I bring a calculator for the math placement test?
No, you will not be allowed to bring a calculator into the computer lab. If the ACCUPLACER test-writers decided that a calculator would be useful for a particular question, then a calculator icon will appear on your screen, and you may use it only for the related problem. The icon will disappear after that problem unless the subsequent question is also approved for calculator use. You will be allowed to use scratch paper and a pencil, which Oglethorpe will provide in the computer lab. Outside resources are prohibited.
What if I'm not currently planning to major in business, math or science, but I might change my mind later?
Any entering student may take the math placement test, but it is only required for certain intended majors. The placement result will determine which math or lab science courses you are eligible to take, especially as you begin sequences in business, math or natural science. It's a good idea to sign up for the placement test if you think you might want, or need, to take math-based classes later on in college.
Can I take the LANGUAGE placement test on campus during Passport, too?
All new students should complete the language placement test prior to their first advising appointment. If you are unable to take the language placement test at home or in another location such as a school or library, you can contact the admission office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
So the language test is not proctored. Does that mean it is open-book, open-notes?
No. You should consider the placement test as part of Oglethorpe's academic honor system, and you should not use any notes, textbooks or online tools. The test is designed to assess your ability level in a foreign language as accurately as possible. It is against your best interest to use outside resources as you complete the online test. If you use a grammar or vocabulary source as you go, you'll artificially inflate your placement recommendation, and you'll risk being placed in a course that you cannot pass. It's better to place into introductory Spanish and earn an A or B, than to sneak your way into intermediate or advanced Spanish and earn a D or F.
Can I switch languages from high school to college?
Absolutely. The introductory language courses (FRE-101, JPN-101, GER-101, or SPN-101) are open to anyone, no placement test required. For example, if you took Spanish in high school, you should still take the Spanish placement test. But no matter what the results are, you may register for Elementary Japanese I in the fall. There is nothing committing you to continue a certain language at Oglethorpe. The 101-level courses do not have any pre-requisites.
What if I took Latin in high school? Doesn't OU offer Latin, too?
Oglethorpe sometimes teaches Latin, but there are not always Latin courses scheduled every semester.* Typically Latin is only taught through the Elementary II level. If Latin is the only language you have ever studied in school, then you are currently exempt from the language placement test. You may choose to return to Latin if it is offered in the future; you can begin in the 101 level of another language; or you can inquire about cross-registration at another area university.
If you have AP or other Latin credit that qualifies above the 102 level (Elementary II), you will still need to complete language coursework at the intermediate level; if this is at Oglethorpe and not through cross-registration, then it will be in a language other than Latin.
*Oglethorpe will offer Elementary Latin I during the fall 2014 semester, and Elementary Latin II during the spring 2015 semester.
I placed into SPN-102, but all I see on the fall course schedule are 101s and 201s. What will I do when I register?
Oglethorpe typically teaches all 101, 201, and 301 sequences in the fall semester, and all 102, 202, and 302 sequences in the spring semester. If your placement results are for 102, then you have two options. You could always register "down" a level and take SPN-101. Although some material will be familiar, you would not have a gap in your practice in that language, and you could continue to 102 in the spring. Or, you could wait it out in the fall and let 102 be the first language course you take at Oglethorpe.
I took Chinese/Arabic/Italian/another language. Do I have to take a language placement test?
No. If the only language you have studied is not French, German, Japanese or Spanish, you do not need to take a placement test. If you are interested in continuing to study the language you have begun, talk with your advisor or the registrar about cross-registration at other universities through ARCHE (Atlanta Regional Council on Higher Education).