Language Information

Chinese Placement Test Information

Chinese Language Placement Test 2022-2023

Who needs to take the Chinese placement test?

All first-year students,transfer students and returning students who have either studied Chinese before or have prior exposure to Mandarin Chinese at home, and plan to fulfill the language requirement and/or would like to continue their study of Chinese. This rule applies to all students in all schools and programs, including graduate programs and professional schools. Students must take the online placement test and the validation test before registering for courses.

The online placement test is NOT required if

• You have no previous knowledge of Mandarin Chinese. To start your Chinese studies at Northwestern, register for Chinese 111-1.

• You attended high school where the primary language of instruction was Mandarin Chinese. Some international students from China, Singapore and Taiwan fall into this category. Such students should petition for a review of their educational records at WCAS Office of Undergraduate Studies and Advising (OUSA). The petition form is available here.


What does the Chinese Language Placement Testlook like?

The Chinese placement test includes an online placement test AND validation test. Students must complete both the online placement test and the validation test before their final placement results are posted.

• The online placement test consists of four sections covering: vocabulary and sentence structures, reading comprehension.

Note: This is a formal exam. Students are not allowed to ask for help during the online test.

• The validation test consists of a handwritten essay and an oral interview. This test serves two purposes: (1) for more accurate placements of students by quarter of a language level, and (2) for validation of language requirement fulfillment.


How do I take the online portion?

The online placement test site:

After finishing the online placement test between May 1 and July 31, students will get tentative placement results along with information of the validation test at the same site. Please note the tentative result is NOT your final result. The final result won’t be posted at the same site until the validation test is completed.

Please note the test result is valid for 12 months, and students are not allowed to retake the test within 12 months.


What are the next steps after the online portion?

You are required to take the validation test, which will be held online during summer and fall 2022. After the online portion is completed, you will be added in the course, 2022FA_CHINESE_PLACEMENT, on Canvas. Please read the announcement in the course, and you will be instructed on how to take the validation exam, including written test and oral interview.

What are the timelines for the placement test?

a.         Incoming students should take the online placement test before July 31, 2022. Returning students are encouraged to take the placement test by this deadline to ensure the test results earlier for assembling fall schedules. After taking the online placement test, within five business days, you should check the same URL as above for your online tentative placement results and further instruction on the validation test. This group of test takers are required to finish the written exam on Canvas by August 30th and will be scheduled for oral interview on either August 31st or September 1st.

b.         Late test takers between September 2nd and September 15th will be scheduled to take the validation test on September 16th.


How can I access the test result?

Your final result will be posted at https://placement.madstudio.northwestern.eduafter both online portion and the validation test are completed.

How can I take the validation test after September 16th, or in Winter/Spring?

By appointment only. Please take the online placement test first, and email Professor Chin-Hung Chang (, the placement coordinator of Chinese Language Program, to make an appointment.

Note for students with Chinese AP/IB scores:

The Chinese language program does not recognize AP/IB scores. You are all required to take the placement test if you would like to study Chinese at NU and/or satisfy the foreign language requirement of your school.


Please contact the Chinese placement test coordinator, Professor Chin-Hung Chang (