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Placement Exams


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Accurate course placement is vital to your academic success at Knox. Research shows that students who begin their college studies at the appropriate level enjoy greater progress and achievement.

Knox offers placement exams in mathematics, second languages, and music. These short online exams help us ensure that you're enrolled in the level appropriate for your skills. Please take your exam(s) as soon as possible. These tests will be available on your  Pre-Arrival Tracker.

Math Placement Exam

To assist you in selecting the appropriate courses, the mathematics department will make a recommendation based on your academic records and the results of your online placement exam. If you have Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, A-level, or transfer credit in calculus, you do not need to take the exam. For all others, even if you do not currently think you will take any math courses at Knox, you should take this exam. It will help you and your advisor to know where to begin should you later find it desirable or necessary to take math courses. If you have any questions, please contact Professor Ole Forsberg ( in the mathematics department.

Second Language Placement Exam

Did you study French, German, or Spanish in high school or earlier? Have you had significant exposure to the language by living abroad or having parents who speak the language? If so, you will need to take the placement exam in each language you have taken in the past, whether or not you intend at this point to take that language at Knox. If you have studied Japanese or Chinese, you do not need to take an online exam. However, you should notify your advisor of this during orientation for appropriate course placement.

If you have studied Latin or Ancient Greek, contact Professor Hilary Lehmann. She will reach out to you with placement exam information.

Questions? Contact Chair of Modern Languages Fernando Gomez.

Here are a few other things to know about the Second Language Placement Exam:

If I do well on the second language placement exam, can I pass out of the language requirement?
No. We use your score to recommend where you should begin your language study at Knox. The placement exam does not grant exemptions to the language requirement or award course credit.

I've never studied a second language, but I plan to study one at Knox. Do I need to take an exam?
No. Tell your advisor of your plans when you meet in July.

I have AP credit for a second language. Do I need to take a placement exam?
No. However, AP, IB, or A-Level credit for a second language will not satisfy the Element regarding second language proficiency. This means you must have one full credit in a second language in order to satisfy this Element. When you enroll in the second language class, please inform Chair of Modern Languages Fernando Gomez that this is the reason you will not appear on the list of students’ placement exam scores.

I'm a native speaker of another language. Do I need to take a placement exam?
No, but all students must satisfy Element #1 (Second Language) in some way. If a student has at least intermediate reading, writing, and speaking skills in a language other than English, a substitution for this element is possible. In general, students who have attended high schools where the language of instruction was something other than English will qualify to have this requirement addressed through substitution but must take a substitute course. Appropriate replacement courses must address cross-cultural communication and are subject to approval. Such replacement courses may include but are not limited to, modern language courses taught in English and cultural and area studies courses in ANSO, ASIA, CLASSICS, FILM, and HIST. Please contact Associate Dean Crawford within your first year at Knox if you intend to seek a substitution.

Music Reading Placement Exam

The Music Department’s introductory course, MUS 100: Music Reading and Skills, covers staff notation (bass and treble clefs), meter identification, scales, intervals, key signatures, triads, and seventh chords. If you have studied this material in a previous music theory course or piano lessons, you may be able to place out of MUS 100. You should take this exam if you are planning to major or minor in music or if you are interested in taking coursework in music theory, composition, or songwriting. Questions? Contact Assistant Professor of Music Joan Huguet.

All of these exams can be taken now on your Pre-Arrival Tracker. Look for "Placement Exams."

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Printed on Sunday, December 10, 2023