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Online Placement Test (SPOT) and Proficiency Exam

Welcome to the Japanese Studies Program!

If you need to take Japanese courses for your college and/or major requirements, please consult with your college and/or major advisor first to find out what your goals are.

If you have never been exposed to the Japanese language, JAPN 10A is the right class for you. This course does not have a prerequisite, so enroll in it during your enrollment period for the fall quarter.

If you have been exposed to the Japanese language in any way, you must take an online Japanese placement test (SPOT) in order to enroll in an appropriate JAPN course for your current Japanese proficiency skills.


Online Japanese Placement Test (SPOT)

Students who have studied the Japanese language in any way must take the online Japanese placement test, the Simple Proficiency-Oriented Test (SPOT), in order to enroll in an appropriate JAPN course at UC San Diego.

This includes taking Japanese classes at schools, self-studying, tutoring, speaking Japanese at home, and/or having lived in Japan. AP scores and articulated Japanese language courses taken at community colleges do NOT give you permission to automatically enroll in a certain JAPN course. Those who graduated from a Japanese high school in Japan are not eligible for any of our JAPN courses. 

Students who participate in the study abroad programs also must take SPOT upon completion of the programs if they wish to continue their Japanese language studies at UC San Diego upon their return from Japan.

SPOT is available online 24/7. Once you submit your test results, essay, and all the required information via the online Student Information Form (Google Form) as instructed, you will receive an email from one of our Japanese language faculty within 5 business days to schedule your placement interview (oral assessment). If any of the required documents are missing, your interview will not be scheduled.

All the placement interviews are conducted remotely via Zoom. At the end of your interview, you will find out which JAPN course is most appropriate for your current Japanese proficiency skills. Once you receive a pre-authorization confirmation message from the Japanese Studies Advising Office via VAC or email, you may enroll in the course via WebReg during your enrollment period. Please note that you are not guaranteed to place in a certain JAPN course in which you wish to enroll. All our JAPN courses are offered in a sequence: A in fall, B in Winter, and C in spring, and they must be taken in the alphabetical order (except for JAPN 135ABC: Japanese for Professional Purposes and JAPN 150ABC: Advanced Japanese).

Your test result is valid for one academic year (3 consecutive quarters). All the placement interviews are scheduled on a first come first served basis, and we recommend that you complete a placement test at your earliest convenience as our Japanese classes become full very quickly each quarter.

The purpose of this placement test is to assess your current Japanese proficiency skills and to place you into a right level on our scale, so you do not need to study for it. Just try your best using all your knowledge and Japanese language skills. 

[To incoming freshmen and transfer students]
You may take the online placement test and submit your Student Information Form (SIF) any time. However, our Japanese language faculty will not process or schedule any placement interviews from June 10 through July 4. Your interview will be scheduled after July 5 in the order your SIF was received. 

Click here to access the SPOT link and instructions.


UCSD undergraduate students: Virtual Advising Center (Do NOT EMAIL.)
All others:

We look forward to welcoming you in our JAPN courses!

Japanese Proficiency Exam


Please visit the Linguistics Department website for the most current information on proficiency examinations. If you wish to take a proficiency exam, please submit this form and the Linguistics Department will contact you with further instructions.

UC San Diego 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 UC San Diego 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. 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: