Spanish Proficiency Exam

proficiency exam

The proficiency exam or test-out exam is a qualifying examination to exempt students from the specific language requirements of many WMU programs. Although some requirements may be fulfilled with the proficiency exam, no credit is awarded. This proficiency exam can be taken once by new students with previous experience in French, German, Latin or Spanish. Prior meeting with a departmental advisor is required. There is a $100 fee for the proficiency exam.

The proficiency exam is designed for students who have ample experience with the Spanish language, by either having participated in Spanish bilingual immersion programs, or having lived in a Spanish-speaking environment for an extended period of time.

Native speakers of Spanish may take the examination but are not required to do so. They must, however, consult with a departmental advisor before registering for Spanish courses.

Taking the proficiency exam

Contact a departmental advisor to see whether you qualify to take the proficiency exam and if so, to schedule a time to take the exam. The exam is taken in person and has a time limit of one hour.

Test results

Test results will be emailed to students and noted in DegreeWorks within a week of completing the exam.

The nature of the proficiency exam

The proficiency exam is timed for a maximum of one hour, and it can be taken only once. It has multiple-choice, short-answer, and written response questions that test: 

  • Listening comprehension
  • Reading comprehension
  • Grammar and vocabulary
  • Writing proficiency

Regardless of background, all students of a particular language take the same proficiency exam. A 70% or better corresponds to proficiency equivalent to at least two semesters of college language study, which satisfies the College of Arts and Sciences language requirement but does not provide academic credit.

Results and registration

Students can not take this test to place into a higher level of Spanish. In order to place into higher level Spanish courses, students must take the online placement exam, which is an entirely different test. 

To enroll in a beginning class of a language you have not studied previously, no exam (online placement or proficiency exam) is necessary; simply enroll in a 1000-level section of that language.


Questions concerning placement or language study may be directed to a Spanish academic advisor.