Placement Policy

If you're an incoming student who plans on taking a language class and has had at least some exposure to the language (whether coursework in high school or at another college, or by learning from your family or community), you need to take a placement test. We need to make sure that you're taking a course at the right level: if you take a class that's too easy for you, you're slowing down your path to graduation, while if you take a class that's too hard for you, you run the risk of having to repeat it.

Depending on what language you want to study, you'll follow a different procedure for the placement test:

If you plan to study French, German, or Spanish, you'll take an online placement test. Go to the test website, create an account, select your language, and take the test. When you've finished, the system will show you your score (and will also send us a copy). Here's how to interpret your scores:

Take this class... ...if you earn this score
FRE 101 0-249
FRE 102 250-310
FRE 201 311-364
FRE 202 365-399
FRE 301 400 or higher
GER 101 0-249
GER 102 250-310
GER 201 311-364
GER 202 365-399
GER 301 400 or higher
SPA 101 0-249
SPA 102 250-345
SPA 201 346-390
SPA 202 391-429
SPA 301 430 or higher


If you place into the right language level and earn an A or a B, you can earn credits--up to 12--for all the courses you skipped. To purchase these credits, go to the Registrar's Departmental Challenge Credit  website and click on Departmental Challenge Exams--Modern Languages to claim them.

Frequently Asked Questions

Click the arrow for more information

Do I need to take the test?

No matter what your degree, we strongly encourage that you take the test, as you may be able to earn up to 12 credits retroactively. If you're planning on taking a language class, we require that you take the exam to make sure you're in the right course.

I know I'm going to get a Bachelor of Science instead of a Bachelor of Arts. Do I still need to take the test?

If you had a foreign language before, you are encouraged to take it in order to enable you to earn credits for "university studies" requirements by taking a foreign language class at Murray State. But you are not required to.

I'm a B.S. student. After the exam, do I need to enroll for a language course at Murray State?

No, not unless you want to.

I don't know my major yet. Do I need to take a foreign language at Murray State?

Some majors, and all B.A. students, require two years (12 credit hours) of a foreign language. Check with the advisor in your major and consult the Undergraduate Catalogue if you are unsure. In any case, all majors can use language classes towards fulfilling Undergraduate Studies requirements or as credits towards graduation.

What if I studied Latin in high school (or another language for which there is no WebCAPE placement test)?

You do not need to take the WebCAPE test. Consider enrolling in any first year, first semester (101) course of your choice to begin earning language credits toward the B.A. if that is the degree you are seeking.

What if I place into SPA 201, for example? What course do I take at Murray State and can I earn back credit for first-year Spanish?

You should enroll in SPA 201 (third semester) as soon as possible. Our policy is that if you earn an A or a B in your 201 course, then after completion, you can apply through the Department of Global Languages and Theatre Arts for the six hours of back credit up to 201.

How many hours of credit can I receive from getting a high score on the WebCAPE exam?

If you place into the 301 or 302 level, you can receive up to 12 hours of credit (four courses: 101, 102, 201, 202). HOWEVER, taking the placement test alone does not give you the credit. Our policy is that a student needs to enroll in the appropriate level course, complete it with a grade of an A or a B, then complete the application process to receive the back credit for the previous courses. For a high score, 12 credits is the maximum credit that can be earned in this way plus, of course, the three credits earned in actually taking the upper-level course. That's 15 credits towards graduation for only 3 credits of work!

Do transfer students need to take the language placement exam?

If you are planning on taking a foreign language class you need to take the WebCAPE to ensure that you will place into the correct level. If you are not taking a language class, you are still encouraged to take it so that you may take advantage of possibly earning credits for "university studies" requirements. It is best to discuss your specific situation with one of our faculty.

I encountered a problem while taking the placement exam. Do I have to start over?

If your placement exam was interrupted for some reason, you may resume the exam by returning to the exam site and entering your registration information exactly as before.

Are there other ways to earn language credit?

Yes. Students who take an Advanced Placement test in language or literature can receive credits based on their score. Additionally, students may take the CLEP examination which is administered by the Testing Center on campus. Credit is awarded based upon the student's score on the CLEP examination, and scores must have been made within the current calendar year in order to be eligible for credit. Fees are required for the CLEP examination.