Language requirement and placement test

Take the test online here: FRENCH PLACEMENT TEST.

The placement test is designed for placement in the first four semesters of French at Columbia University (first-year Elementary French courses are 1101-1102, and second year Intermediate French courses are 2101-2102). The first few questions are used as “checks” to determine the approximate performance level of the student. The computer presents items of increasing difficulty until an item is missed. The test will then adjust itself to your level, and drop back to an easier item. When you answer correctly, F-CAPE (French Computerized Adaptive Placement Exam) will give you an item that is as difficult or more difficult. When you answer incorrectly several times with the same difficulty index, the exam will terminate and assign you a score.

Placement scores:                          

  • 000-279 Elementary French I, 1101 
  • 280-379 Elementary French II, 1102
  • 380-449 Intermediate French I, 2101
  • 450-624 Intermediate French II, 2102

The French placement test may be taken only once. If you think the score you received does not adequately reflect your proficiency level (e.g. you placed in 1101 despite studying French for four years in high school), contact Dr. Pascale Hubert-Leibler, the Director of the Language Program. If you achieve a score of 625 or above, you should speak with Dr. Hubert-Leibler to be considered for exemption from the Columbia College foreign-language requirement.

For general information regarding the French Placement Test, please call the French Department at 212-854-2500.



Students with no previous knowledge of French can fulfill the language requirement by taking the four-semester sequence of introductory and intermediate courses, FREN UN1101, FREN UN1102, FREN UN2101, and FREN UN2102 at Columbia.  

Although Columbia students may take elementary courses (BC1001, BC1102 and BC1002) as well as Intermediate French I (BC1203) at Barnard College, they must take the final course of the sequence, FREN UN2102, at Columbia. 

  • BC1204 (Intermediate French II at Barnard) does not fulfill the Columbia College, GS, and SIPA language requirement