WebCAPE Foreign Language Placement Exam

Languages:        Spanish and French
When:                Students may call 727-873-4632 or email testing@usfsp.edu to schedule a test.
Where:               Student Success Center, Davis 107
What to Bring: Current photo ID, credit or debit card for $10 fee (cash is not accepted).


You have to take the Foreign Language Placement Test:

  • If you have studied one of the foreign languages taught at USF St. Petersburg, French or Spanish, in high school.
  • If you have postsecondary course(s) in French or Spanish.
  • If you have experiential learning (experiences outside a traditional academic setting) related to the French or Spanish language and culture.
You do not need to take the placement test:
  • If you have never studied French or Spanish, or if you want to study a new language. You can register directly for Beginning I (1120).
  • If you are exempt by means of scores earned by credit-by-examination (CLEP).
  • If you took AP (advanced placement) or IB (international baccalaureate) exams in high school, depending on your score; you will enroll in the course equivalency indicated on your test results.
Facts about the language placement testing:
  • The placement test is not an admission test; instead, it determines eligibility to enroll in specific language courses. If you are required to take the test prior to enrollment but fail to do so, you will not be allowed to enroll for credit in courses in that language without first taking the test. If you did not take your test prior to the start of your freshman year, please make arrangements to do so as soon as possible.
  • The test is administered by the Student Success Center, Davis 107, under proctored conditions. Students cannot use outside help nor bring any vocabulary, grammar or study aids during the test. The test is currently not compatible with most screen readers
  • Students need to arrive 15 minutes early to complete the required paperwork and bring two forms of photo ID. The testing fee is $10 and must be paid for online at the time the test is taken with a credit/debit card (Visa, MasterCard, or American express). No cash is accepted.
  • The test is only offered for French and Spanish and may only be taken once per language. On average students take between 10 to 45 minutes to complete the test.
  • The test is a computer adaptive placement exam; meaning that each test is unique to one test taker. The test selects each test item as a result of the answer to the previous question. When the student answers an item correctly, a more difficult question is presented; if an item is answered incorrectly, an easier question is given. In short, the test “adapts” to the student’s level of ability and will accurately determine the student’s competency level.
  • The test covers both familiar and unfamiliar material, because the goal is to find out what the student knows and does not know. The placement test is designed to provide individualized testing, identifying the student’s ability level with combinations of grammar, reading, and vocabulary questions. The test is multiple choice questions and there is not a written or oral component.
  • At the conclusion of the test, your score results will help you determine if you “test out” or if you need to register for a course. Should the test indicate that remedial work is required, Beginning I (1120) and/or Beginning II (1121), the student will be allowed to enroll with the understanding that the grade eventually earned will be either an “S” or “U.”
Placement Test ScoreStudent Places In
270FRE 1120 Beginning French I or SPN 1120 Beginning Spanish I
345FRE 2200 French III or SPN 2200 Spanish III
427FRE 2201 French IV or SPN 2201 Spanish IV

For a score higher than 500, students need to make an appointment with the World Languages Program Coordinator, Dr. Martine Wagner, martinef@mail.usf.edu.

  • If you think you have been placed into the wrong level course, you should talk with your instructor first, then to the World Languages Program Coordinator and your academic advisor.
  • Remember you have to register yourself into your courses online; you are not automatically placed in courses based on score results.

The benefits of taking the Foreign Language Placement Test are:

  • For most BA majors, you may be able to “test out” of your degree’s language requirement. “Testing Out” means you have satisfied your degree program’s language requirement by demonstrating a certain level of proficiency on the placement test. For most BA majors placement into 2200 (Intermediate level I) is sufficient to satisfy your language requirement. As a result you are not required to take any additional world language courses, although you are welcome to do so.

Please note: No credits are awarded for “testing out”. You will still have to meet your degree program’s minimum number of credits for graduation.

  • Taking the placement test allows you to continue studying a language at the appropriate level.
  • The placement test supports a better learning environment for all students by grouping students with similar proficiency levels together. Beginning I (1120) is designed for true novices of a language. Native speakers of languages other than English should not take first-year classes for credit in their native language, but otherwise may satisfy the foreign language requirement via credit-by-examination (CLEP). Under no circumstances will a student who places above the first year level or who passes a higher-level course be allowed to register for or receive credit for a lower-level course in that specific language.

For more information, please contact  the World Languages Program Coordinator, Dr. Martine Wagner, martinef@mail.usf.edu.