Placement Test

Deciding which Spanish course to take

The Spanish Placement Test is a standardized multiple-choice test that is designed to assess your current level in Spanish and place you in the course better suited to your needs.

Before joining the department, students with previous knowledge of Spanish should carefully read the following information before making a decision about what class to register for.

If you need help deciding which Spanish course to take, please select the scenario that best describes your situation:

I have never taken Spanish.

Students with no previous background in the language should start their studies with SPAN 1021.03 and SPAN 1022.03. 

I have taken less than two years of Spanish in high school.

Students at this level are normally still considered beginners and should start their university language experience with SPAN 1021.03 and SPAN 1022.03 or, if they feel confident about their language skills and are highly motivated, they could register for SPAN 1035.06.

I have taken more than two years of Spanish in high school or I have completed the International Baccalaureate (IB) or Advanced Placement (AP) programme.

Students who have completed any of these courses or programmes within the last year are probably ready to progress to an Intermediate level but they should register for the Spanish Placement Test. If more than two years have passed since completion and feel they need basic revision, they could register directly for SPAN 1035.06. Please be aware that we do not award transfer credits for high school courses, IB and AP programmes.

I have some knowledge of Spanish from travelling or living briefly in a Spanish speaking country.

An untutored or limited exposure to the language is considered a good start but not sufficient academic preparation for an intermediate level. They should register in SPAN 1021.03 and SPAN 1022.03 to solidify all basic concepts and create a good foundation for further studies.

I have some knowledge of Spanish through family connections.

Students who have been born or lived in Canada most of their life and have been exposed to Spanish in an informal context but have no formal education in Spanish should meet with the Spanish Academic Advisor to determine the appropriate study plan to follow.

Native or bi-lingual speakers who have completed a high school or a higher education degree in Spanish do not need any further language instruction and instead will proceed to take courses in literature, culture or other Hispanic topics.

Students who have already taken Spanish language courses at the university level should wait until their transcripts are assessed before deciding what course to register for. Please contact the Spanish Academic Advisor if you need any further assistance.

I want to fulfill the language requirement for the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.

Six credits in any of our language Beginner and Intermediate courses (SPAN 1021.03, SPAN 1022.03, SPAN 1035.06, SPAN 2021.03, SPAN 2022.03 and SPAN 2035.06) fulfill the Faculty's language requirement.

How to register for the Spanish Placement Test

To register for the Spanish Placement Test, log into Brightspace, then go back to the Spanish Placement Test departmental page and click the link Spanish Placement Test. Follow the steps to register for the test. Once you finish registering, you will have access to the Spanish Placement Test course space on Brightspace. In the Content section of the space you will find the Instructions. Read them carefully and you will be ready to take the test. 

Placement Policy

The policy of the Department of Spanish and Latin America Studies is to request that any student who has previous knowledge of the Spanish language take the department’s placement test. Please email in order to take the test. It is considered unethical to not disclose previous knowledge of the language, as is stated in Dalhousie’s Undergraduate calendar under the following subheadings:

Code of Student Conduct

“No student shall knowingly furnish false information to any person or office acting on behalf of the University”.

Intellectual Honesty Policy

“Dalhousie University strives to provide equal opportunities for learners to demonstrate and to be recognized for their abilities. Any behavior intended to gain unearned advantage over another person violates this principle. A member of the University who attempts, or who assists any other person in an attempt, to fulfill, by irregular procedures, any requirements for a course, commits an academic offence and is subject to a penalty”.

In special circumstances where there is reason to question or discuss the results of the departmental placement test, or this policy, the Academic Advisor and Chair will consult and reach a decision. When relevant, they will consult with the Instructor involved in the matter. In some cases it may be necessary to meet with the student in question.

Any person who might be considered a native speaker - meaning that they have spoken the language since childhood and has had extensive formal instruction in Spanish - will only be eligible to register in literature and culture courses, and in rare cases, the most advanced level language class, with the instructor's permission.