Placement Exams and Using AP Credit
Placement Exams and Questionnaires
Placement exams let you demonstrate the level of your knowledge coming into Wellesley. Sign up to take placement exams and take placement online placement exams and questionnaires by clicking on the link for Placement Exam Signup in the Entering Student Checklist in Workday.
Please be aware that the Honor Code governs all exams that you take at Wellesley, including any online placement tests you may take this summer. This means that we trust you to follow the directions for each exam faithfully, to do your own work, and to refrain from sharing information about the exam after you take it—since other students may not have taken it yet.
For continued language study:
If you have already taken one of the languages offered at Wellesley and would like to continue to study it, you should follow that language department's specific guidelines for placement. Most departments require that you take a placement exam, the Spanish department also considers AP scores, while others may ask to have a brief interview with you. If you have studied more than one language, it is possible to get placement results from multiple departments, although a better strategy is to get placed in the language you are more interested in studying, and leave the second one for another time.
French, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russia, and Spanish ask incoming students with any experience in those languages to take their placement tests online during the summer. Students with an AP score of 4 or 5 in Spanish do not need to take the placement test and should follow the guidelines set out here.
Latin asks incoming students to fill out an online questionnaire during the summer.
Arabic, German, Hebrew, and Swahili offer placement tests/interviews during Orientation for incoming students with any experience in those languages.
Satisfying the language requirement:
For students entering the fall of 2020 or later, you can satisfy the language requirement:
A. Students may fulfill the language requirement by completing two units of language study at the second-year college level as defined by the language department or program; or
B. Students who demonstrate adequate preparation for advanced work in language through a placement exam, through an AP score of 5, or through an IB Higher Level Score of 5 or above, may complete the language requirement by completion of one unit of work taught in that language in an advanced course identified by the department or program, or by completing two semesters of introductory work in a different language; or
C. Students may fulfill the language requirement with course work done at another institution, subject to approval by the appropriate department or program (this requirement may not be met by independent work); approval will typically include a placement test, and may include a requirement that the student take an additional course in the language at Wellesley; or
D. Students who are native speakers or very advanced learners of languages other than English may fulfill the language requirement by permission of the appropriate department or program (in cases of speakers of languages not taught at Wellesley, by presenting documentation to the Academic Review Board of proficiency in that language).
For music study: The music theory placement exam is required of students who plan to study music performance at Wellesley. It's available online over the summer, on the Entering Student Checklist.
For physics study: These exams are for placement into upper-level courses, and relatively few students will have the background needed to do that. Read about the physics placement exam for advice. These exams will be offered online this summer, through the Checklist, starting in early July.
Quantitative Reasoning: All new students will take the Quantitative Reasoning skills assessment online over the summer. The study guide is available online, and the assessment will be available in the checklist in mid June.
Calculus Placement Questionnaire: The Math Department wants to know the state of your knowledge right now, which is the best indicator of where you should start studying math at Wellesley, should you choose to do that. All new students are encouraged to take the Calculus Placement Questionnaire online over the summer, although you are not required to take a calculus course or to study math during your first semester.
Getting placement exam results
After August 1 click on the guide to learning the results of placement exams given in 2019.
Using AP and other Credits
Did you know you can use AP (and some other high school) credits at Wellesley?
Many students come to Wellesley having taken Advanced Placement courses in high school, having pursued an International Baccalaureate program in their secondary school, having been tested for advanced work by other means (depending on their country of origin), or having taken college courses while finishing up high school. This work is important to consider in two ways: for placement and for credit.
You may be ready for more advanced work as you begin your time at Wellesley if you have taken college-level work already or have taken Advanced Placement or other advanced work in high school. Scores of 5 on AP exams and grades of 5, 6, and 7 on the IB higher-level exams may let you move directly into upper-level courses. If you have taken such courses, or taken other courses in college while you were finishing high school, and enjoyed those studies and want to continue, be sure to examine the full range of available course offerings to select possibilities that are right for you.
There are some direct equivalencies between AP subjects and some specific Wellesley courses, see the Registrar’s AP Exam Credit Guide. For IB Equivalencies, consult the Registrar's page on International Baccalaureate Credits. If you did this kind of advanced work in high school you should consider whether or not to take the equivalent course at Wellesley: Some students take the Wellesley equivalent in order to ensure that they have good knowledge and skills for moving on in that field. That is fine, but please note that a student cannot also receive credit for the AP work if they take the Wellesley course in that area. Other students will feel that they have a good foundation from their AP work, and will be ready to start at a higher level. Talk with your faculty members during Orientation about whether your previous coursework qualifies you to start at a more advanced level.
If you have scores of 5 on a language AP, and you want to go on in that language at Wellesley, you should still take the placement exam for that language. The Chemistry Department offers advice about taking the chemistry placement exam if you have a score of 5 on the Chemistry AP. See the Physics Department's FAQ for advice about taking the Physics exemption/placement exams if you have a score of 5 on the Physics Aps. All students should take the Math Placement Test regardless of their AP scores.
To get AP credit added to your record, have the College Board report your scores to Wellesley's Registrar's Office. No credit for AP courses will be added to a student's record until after the successful completion of one year of study at Wellesley, but you can have the scores sent in advance of that.
See more details about AP issues on the Registrar's website.