Language Information

Hindi-urdu Placement Test Information

Hindi-Urdu Language Placement Test 2023-24


If you have no previous knowledge of Hindi-Urdu and want to start Hindi-Urdu studies at Northwestern, register for HIND_URD 111-1 (offered usually in the fall, but sometimes also in the spring).

Frequently asked questions:

Who needs to take the Hindi-Urdu placement test?

1. Students who want to use Hindi-Urdu to satisfy the Weinberg and the School of Communication’s two-year foreign requirement, by placing out of Hindi-Urdu 121-3.

2. Students who have prior knowledge of Hindi-Urdu and want to study Hindi-Urdu at Northwestern.

3. Students who have come back from study abroad and need to be placed into the appropriate level of Hindi-Urdu, or need to earn specific Hindi-Urdu language credits.

These criteria apply to all students, including transfer students and students in graduate and professional schools.

Do I have to take the Hindi-Urdu placement test if I took the Urdu IB Exam or the Hindi IB exam, or the Hindi Board Examination in India?

No. You need not take the Hindi-Urdu placement exam if you took the Urdu IB exam or Hindi IB exam, and got a score of 5 or above, or if you took the 10th or 12th grade Hindi or Urdu Board Examination, and scored 70% or above. Instead, you will need to bring a copy of your IB exam or Board Exam grade sheet, and submit it to Dr. Rami Nair (Hindi) or Dr. David Boyk (Urdu) at the start of the placement test (see below for date, time and venue).

I can speak Urdu and/or Hindi, but am unable to read in either one or both the scripts. What are my options if I want to enroll in Hindi-Urdu classes at Northwestern?

You are in luck! The HIND_URD 116-0: Accelerated Hindi-Urdu Literacy was created for students just like you! This quarter-long course is designed for heritage learners with speaking and listening skills in Hindi-Urdu but who cannot read both Nastaliq and Devanagari scripts. You will learn how to read and write in both scripts, and will also be given a broad overview of the Hindi-Urdu grammar, with focus on areas that tend to be difficult for heritage speakers. At the end of the quarter you will take a test, on the basis of which you could be placed into higher level Hindi-Urdu courses, and be eligible to take courses such as HIND_URD 121-2 (second year level) HIND_URD 125-1 or 125-2 (accelerated Hindi), HINDI_URD 210 (third year level Hindi-Urdu), HIND_URD 310 or HIND_URD 320 (fourth year level Hindi-Urdu).

What will the Hindi-Urdu placement test look like?

The Hindi-Urdu placement test consists of speaking, listening, reading, and writing components. The written test will be given in the Devanagari script for Hindi, and in the Nastaliq script for Urdu. It will evaluate general grammar knowledge, basic to intermediate vocabulary, and include short reading and writing portions. The oral component will consist of a brief interview in Hindi-Urdu.

How do I prepare for the Hindi-Urdu placement test?

The best way to start preparing for the test is to do some reading in Hindi and/or Urdu script. Try reading a story, or skim through the latest online newspaper articles. Watch a Hindi-Urdu movie clip or drama without subtitles, and practice speaking with a native speaker, if you have access to one.

When and where will the Hindi-Urdu placement test take place?

Please email Prof. Rami Nair with any questions. ​Be sure to bring a picture ID/Northwestern ID to the test.

Please email Prof. David Boyk with any questions. Be sure to bring a picture ID/Northwestern ID to the test.

Where will the placement test results be posted?

The Hindi-Urdu placement result will be emailed to each student.

However, students must complete the 3-4 minute survey labeled as Hindi-Urdu Online Test to create an account where the results will be posted for the registrar to see, and update your transcripts. No results will be posted if you do not complete this survey.

How often is the placement test administered? How many times can I take it?

The placement test will be available before the start of classes during the Wildcat Welcome week, as well as by request on the first day of the Winter quarter. You may take the test only once a year.

How long are the results valid?

The results are valid for one year.

I have more questions.

For questions regarding the Hindi placement test, please email Dr. Rami Nair at

For questions regarding the Urdu placement test, please email Dr. David Boyk at​