Language Exams

Are you interested in taking a Japanese language course? Please check this chart to find out what you need to do to be placed in an appropriate course. 

If you are taking Japanese courses for your college or major requirements, please consult with your college or major advisor first.

All students from School of Global Policy and Strategy (GPS), who have prior experience of learning Japanese, must contact your GPS advisor directly.

If you have never had any exposure to the language, JAPN 10A is the right class for you. If you have been exposed to the Japanese language in any way (ex. Japanese courses taken at Japanese schools, high schools, community colleges, AP credits in Japanese, experience in living in Japan, speaking Japanese at home, etc.), you need to take an online placement test. There are two types of language exams available; Japanese Online Placement Test and Japanese Proficiency Exam.

Japanese Placement Test (SPOT)

The Japanese Placement Test or the Simple Proficiency-Oriented Test (SPOT) is for students who have had previous study or exposure to the language. The exam will help you determine the course level in which to enroll.

The Placement Test consists of two parts: 1) the online listening test and 2) interview with lecturers after the test

Online Listening Test:

The URL will be given and the online listening test should take about 20 minutes.

1.    First, you will do a Sample Test that has 10 questions. You have 4 seconds to answer each question.

One of the sample sentences you may see is : あたらし(   )車を買いました。

You are also given 4 choices underneath the sentence:     が     い     く     の

Click the hiragana symbol you heard while listening to the same sentence above. You need to do so within 4 seconds.

2.    There are five sections to take: F, G, D, E, and Kanji.

F, G, D and E have 30 questions each and Kanji has 50.

Each question in F, G, D and E is similar to the sample sentence. However, the questions are more difficult.

You have 4 seconds to answer each question.


After submitting a Student Information Form and test results, you will be notified by one of the Japanese language lecturers to schedule an interview. During an interview, a lecturer will assess your Japanese fluency, speaking, and listening skills. At the end of the interview, you will find out which JAPN course is most appropriate for your current Japanese proficiency skills. Then you must enroll in the course via WebReg during your designated enrollment period.

Date and Time

To obtain the URL for the online placement test and instructions, please contact the Japanese Studies Program at with your full name (do not use a nickname) and PID.

Japanese Proficiency Exam

UCSD Students may wish to have it certified that they have attained a level of conversational and reading proficiency to satisfy their language requirements. Revelle and Eleanor Roosevelt Colleges require such certification for the baccalaureate degree and some UCSD departments have an undergraduate language requirement as part of their major program. We offer a proficiency exam for Japanese.

Proficiency Exam Procedures

Please follow these procedures.

  1. Contact the approved proficiency exam administrator and make an appointment for the test.

    You must make arrangements to give the tester the “Proficiency Guidelines” and “Proficiency Test Form” before the test date. After the test, the test administrator fills out the form and either certifies that you have passed proficiency or indicates that you are not proficient.

  2. Bring the completed form to the Linguistics Language Program Office, APM 3101. You must return this form to the Language Program whether or not you passed the test.
  3. The Language Program office will contact the test administrator to verify that the test has been given and that the results indicated are correct. If you have passed the test, the Language Program office will notify your college or major department of the results and will also inform the Registrar so the result can be posted to your transcript.

More information about taking a Proficiency Examination can be found on the Linguistics Department Website: