Academic Placement Testing
Cornell requires all new students to take a language placement exam. Optional exams are also available in chemistry and music theory. All placement exams are designed to ensure that you begin with the courses that are the best fit in these areas.
Frequently asked questions about placement exams
Should I use any reference materials during the placement exam?
No. The placement exams are designed to match with courses at the appropriate level, and there is no advantage to using outside resources. Also, if you attain a language test score that would place you in a 300-level language course you will still have to participate in verification once you arrive on campus in order to receive exemption from the foreign language requirement for the BA.
Should I intentionally do poorly on an exam so I can be placed in easier courses?
Absolutely not! If you're bored in a class because it's too easy, you are likely to do worse in the course. You should always try to place yourself into the course level that is challenging but doable for you.
What if I have trouble accessing the online tests?
Unfortunately, we cannot trouble-shoot technical problems from a distance. We suggest first trying a different computer--perhaps at the public library or a friend’s house. If the problem persists, you may need to wait until you arrive on campus to take the exam. We appreciate your effort to take the exam before August 14, but recognize that you have little control over technical difficulties.
When will I know my placement scores?
Your placement will be available on the New Student Checklist.