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Language Placement

Japanese Language Placement Test 2021-2022

Who needs to take the Japanese placement test?

  1. Students who want to use Japanese to satisfy Weinberg’s and the School of Communication’s two-­year foreign language requirement.
  2. Students who want to study Japanese at Northwestern and have prior knowledge of Japanese. Students who know some Japanese as well as some Hiragana/Katakana must take the Japanese placement test.
  3. Students who have come back from study abroad, and need to be placed into the appropriate level of Japanese or need to earn specific Japanese language credits.

The above apply to all students in all schools and programs, including graduate and professional schools. Transfer students are also required to take the Japanese placement exam before registering for Japanese courses.

What will the Japanese placement test look like?

The Japanese placement test has four sections. The kanji, grammar, and reading comprehension sections are taken on a website, and a final short-­essay section is completed by hand. Some students, including those who would like to use Japanese to fulfill their school’s foreign language requirement, may be required to take an oral proficiency test for validation after the written placement test. If this is the case, Professor Sato will explain how to sign up for an exam slot after you finish the writing portion.

How do I take the Japanese placement test?

At this point, every part of the test is administered online. Be sure to follow the Academic Integrity policies and complete the test without any kind of help.

  1. Go to the online placement test site at one of the specified times below. If you already took JAPANESE 121-3 at Northwestern University and passed it, choose the Level II Test. Otherwise start with the Level I Test. While taking the test, save it as often as you can. After filling out the questionnaires, you will have two hours to complete the entire Level I test and one and a half hours for the Level II test. You may not receive a placement if you spend more than the specified time on each test. Be mindful of the time. You can take the test only once.
  2. Once you finish the online portion of the placement test, you will be contacted by Professor Sato by email within 24 hours. Read the instructions given in the message, and follow them closely. In most cases you will be asked to take the essay writing portion of the test using a canvas site.

When and where will the Japanese placement test take place? All times listed below are Chicago (CDT) time. 

Date and Time for Level I and Level II online tests:

             Monday, June 7, 2021, 7:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. (CDT)

            Tuesday, June 8, 2021, 7:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. (CDT)

             Wednesday, August 4, 2021, 7:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. (CDT)

            Thursday, August 5, 2021, 7:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. (CDT)

If you are absolutely unable to make the above dates, please contact Professor Sato as soon as possible. An on-campus make-up may be possible in September pending Illinois COVID regulations.

Where will the placement test results be posted?
The placement results will be posted online at the same site where you took the online exam within three days from when you complete all portions of the exam.

Note for students with Japanese AP scores:
You are all required to take the placement test during the times designated above if you would like to study Japanese at NU and/or satisfy the foreign language requirement of your school.

Please contact Junko Sato((さ)(とう)先生)at

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