Skip to main content

The Chinese placement test is required if you have any prior knowledge of Chinese and wish to take Chinese classes at Carolina. If you do not intend to take Chinese classes, but just wish to satisfy the Global Language requirement, please refer to the Language Placement website to review the possible options for meeting the requirement.

The Chinese placement test is given at the following times of year:

  • At the start of fall semester.  Usually there are also remote test sessions offered during the summer for fall.
  • At the start of spring semester.
  • If Chinese classes are being offered in summer, placement testing will be arranged as needed for students seeking to take those summer classes.

Submit this webform to sign up for an upcoming placement test session. The autoreply you receive will contain information on when the next test will be; if there are multiple options, it will have a link to a signup calendar where you can choose a test session.

Self-assessment guide for Chinese. This is not a substitute for taking the placement test, but is intended to help you estimate your level.  If you can’t take the placement test before registration, we encourage you to enroll for whatever level you think you’ll place into.  This will allow most students to go ahead and get a seat in the class they need.  If your estimate turns out to be wrong, you’ll need to drop that class, but we’ll try to help you get into the correct level.

Chinese placement FAQ

Test scores are accepted for credit, but not for placement. If you have a sufficiently high score on the AP, SAT Subject Test, or IB test in Chinese, you will receive BE (“by exam”) credit for CHIN 203, which will give you 4 hours toward graduation, and will satisfy the Global Language requirement. To see the required minimum scores, please refer to the Admissions website.

However, that does not mean your placement is CHIN 204. If you wish to continue studying Chinese, you will need to take the departmental placement test to determine which level to begin with.

Absolutely! Our Chinese curriculum has a track (the B, or heritage, track) that may be appropriate for you.  The first class on the B track is CHIN 111, and even if you can’t read or write Chinese at all, you may place into this class if your spoken proficiency is good enough.

More information on the two tracks can be found here. Please note that the track is not the student’s choice; you will be placed into a specific course initially, and then you’ll follow the sequence along whichever track that course is part of. It is not possible to change tracks.

All you need is something to write with.
You’ll need the following:

  • Pencil
  • Paper (to write the short essay on, and to take notes during the listening comprehension test if needed)
  • Timer (you’re recommended to use a timer for each section of the test to ensure that you don’t spend more than the suggested time limit on that section)
  • Microphone (to record your audio response during the speaking test)
  • Webcam (You should keep your webcam on throughout the placement test during the Zoom session with Chinese faculty)
  • Earphone (Recommended for better sound quality during the listening comprehension section)
The Chinese placement test is given both in person and remotely, depending on the time of year. The same skills are tested in both versions. Students are welcome to complete the written portion using traditional or simplified characters, as they prefer.

In-person version:
The Chinese placement test begins with a questionnaire about the student’s language background. After filling out the questionnaire, students will complete a short listening comprehension test and an oral interview with one of the instructors. There are several versions of the written test. The questionnaire information and results from the listening comprehension test and the oral interview are used to determine what level of the written test the student should begin with. The test generally includes reading, writing, and translation.

Remote version (on zoom):
When signing up for the remote test, students will fill out the placement questionnaire online, after which they will be added to the Sakai site. A Zoom meeting link will also be sent out before the test date. Please do not start the test before the scheduled Zoom meeting.

The Sakai-based test has a 90-minute time limit and consists of four parts:
1. Listening Comprehension (15 multiple-choice questions)
2. Vocabulary & Grammar (18 multiple-choice questions)
3. Reading Comprehension (17 multiple-choice questions)
4. Writing (Requires handwriting and image uploading)

This placement test also has an oral interview, which will be conducted in a Zoom breakout room. Some students will do the interview before starting the online test, others will do the interview after completing the online test.

You will be notified by email within a few days. If classes are in session, we’ll be doing our best to get results out as soon as possible. If it seems like you should’ve gotten your result but you haven’t, check the confirmation email from your original placement signup to make sure you didn’t make a mistake in your email address, and also check that your UNC email is set up and working.
Your first step should be to discuss it either with your teacher (if you’re attending the class you were placed into) or with the Chinese placement coordinator. During the academic year, please contact Dr. Lini Polin; during the summer, please contact Ms. Luoyi Cai.

Placement is not a perfect science by any means, and every year we do usually make a few adjustments. If you don’t think the class you were placed in is the best level for you, we are always happy to discuss it and re-evaluate.  Ultimately, however, the department’s decision will be final.

Did you review the general placement FAQ? Many questions are answered there. If you still don’t find the answer, or otherwise need help with a placement issue, please contact Lori Harris.