Frequently Asked Questions

You’ll find answers to our most frequently asked questions about the language placement exam below. 

Take the Exam

Guide for Language Placement and New Numbering

Who needs to take the exam?

Every new student interested in taking Spanish is required to log in to the exam. The first part of the exam is an assessment. This will ask you questions about your Spanish language history in order for us to determine if you are required to take part two of the exam. If you took Spanish in high school and wish to continue your study, you will be prompted to move forward with part two of the exam. If not, simply fill out the part one assessment and follow the instructions.

If you are interested in taking beginning French or Italian, placement testing is not needed.

Example 1: If you have 3 years of Spanish in your high school transcripts, and you wish to register for a Spanish class at Merrimack, then part one of the exam will prompt you to take the Spanish placement exam. That way you can be placed at the level that is appropriate for you.

Example 2: If you never took Spanish classes in high school, please fill out the part one assessment and follow the instructions on the screen. That’s it!

Example 3: If you are a heritage/native speaker in Spanish, French, or Italian, we can advise you on what course to take as well as opportunities to take a CLEP exam to satisfy the requirement.

What is the structure of the exam?

The exam starts with a quick assessment to learn about your Spanish language history and continues with a 40-question, multiple choice test that doesn’t require much of your time. Be careful, though – you can only take it once!

What does the college do with the results?

The results will go to the Registrar’s Office, where they will determine which level of Spanish is appropriate for you.

Is there a foreign language requirement? What is required?

Yes. Students must complete one foreign language course at the introductory level or above, wherever the student places. 

How do I satisfy this requirement?

There are four ways you can satisfy the foreign language requirement:

  1. take one semester of the language you already studied in high school (placed at the appropriate level);
  2. take one semester of a new language at the introductory level;
  3. obtain college credits via CLEP (Spanish and French) or FLATS (for languages not taught at Merrimack) exams
  4. transfer in credits for languages taken through AP exams or at other qualifying institutions

When and where can I take the CLEP test?

You can take the CLEP test at Northern Essex Community College. Information regarding CLEP testing dates and testing facilities is available to students and advisers by contacting the Merrimack College World Languages & Cultures office at 978-837-3468 or on the NECC website.

I studied a language other than French, Italian, or Spanish, so I cannot take the CLEP exam. Is there a CLEP-like test for me?

Yes. Students who are fluent in modern languages not taught at Merrimack may still transfer in up to 12 semester credit hours by taking the Brigham Young University Foreign Language Achievement Test (FLATS). Please contact Kelly Maccario ( at the Academic Success Center to inquire about taking the FLATS for languages not taught at Merrimack College.”

I took a foreign language in high school. Do I still have to satisfy this requirement?

Yes, you still need to satisfy the language requirement. The foreign language requirement can be satisfied only by completing one of the 4 steps described above.

See Chart: CLEP & AP Transfer Credits

I took a foreign language in high school. Can I satisfy the requirement by taking the first semester of Intro in that same language?

No. First-semester introductory language classes (Intro I) are open only to absolute beginners who never took that language in high school. If you wish to continue studying the language you took in high school, you’ll have to be placed in a course at the appropriate level. Further information on placement exams can be found on the WLC department website or by contacting the WLC department main office (Sullivan Hall 202, 978-837-3468).

I took AP foreign language in high school. Does it satisfy the Foreign Language requirement?

If you took the AP exam and achieved a score of 3 or above, yes.  Be sure to request your official scores be sent to the Admissions Office.  Please refer to the chart attached for further information regarding AP transfer credits and course equivalencies.

See Chart: CLEP & AP Transfer Credits