Arabic Language Placement and Proficiency Exams

Arabic Language Placement Guideline

Placement test

All students - including incoming transfers - are required to take an Arabic placement test before enrolling in courses. The placement test is designed to determine if a student should follow the Non-native or the Heritage track. It will also determine at what level of instruction a student will begin his/her studies.*

*Students with no previous experience in Arabic should simply preregister for an introductory course after a short meeting with an Arabic instructor. After the meeting, they may register for ARAB-011 Intensive First Level Modern Standard Arabic I.

The proctored Arabic placement exam is administered on campus during New Student Orientation.

In order to take the language placement exam, you must enroll on Moodle.

  1. Go to Georgetown University’s Blackboard login page at
  2. Log in using your NetID and NetID password.
    Note: If you need help with your NetID, contact the GU-Q IT Help Desk.
  3. Click on the exam called "Arabic Language Placement Exam".
  4. Follow the instructions on the placement exam site to take the exam.

Exam Instructions:

  1. Please read all the questions' instructions carefully.
  2. Press "Next Page" or "Previous Page" to navigate through the Exam sections.
  3. In speaking questions, press "RECORD" to start recording your answers and after you finish press "STOP". Then Press "UPLOAD" and wait for the message "Upload Successful" before making another recording.
  4. Always pay attention to the TIMER on the left side of the screen.
  5. You have 2 hours to finish this test.
  6. If you encounter a problem or a technical difficulty that prevents you from finishing the exam, ask one of the proctors to help you as soon as possible.

Arabic Language Proficiency Exam

Exam Registration and schedule:

  • All students taking Arabic Proficiency exam MUST register by the deadline.
  • No registration requests are accepted after the Registration deadline below.
  • Fall Semester dates:
    • Registration starts on the first of November and ends on the tenth.
    • Exams are held during the first two weeks of December.
  • Spring Semester dates:
    • Registration starts on the first of March and ends on the tenth.
    • Exams are held during the first two weeks of April.


How to register for the Exam?  

Click here to complete the Registration Form by the deadline.


Format and Procedure:

Prior to the exam:

The candidate is advised to review Arabic articles on politics, economy, and culture using authentic online Arabic sources.

Exam Time:

The duration of the exam between 30 and 45 minutes.

The candidate must arrive at the office of the faculty member administering her/his exam at least 10 minutes before exam time.


Proficiency Exam Structure & Process:

  • The exam starts with a warm-up of 2 to 3 minutes of conversation to create a comfortable environment for the candidate by asking her/him 2-4 questions on their Arabic linguistic profile.
  • Then, the examiners give the candidate an article on a cultural, economic, political or current affairs topic related to the Arab World. The candidate then has 15 minutes to read through the text without the aid of a dictionary.
  • After 15-minutes has elapsed, the candidate will be asked to summarize the article and then answer 4-5 comprehension questions about it.
  • The candidate should be ready to express her/his opinion on the topic and demonstrate knowledge of the subject matter.

During the exam, the examiner may prompt or advise the student by doing one of the following:

  • repeat the question twice if the candidate does not understand the question.
  • remind the candidate of exam duration time if he or she hesitates or deviates from the current topic.
  • remind the candidate to avoid using Colloquial Arabic in the exam.

The examiner ends the interview by asking the candidate about her/his future plan.



Examination results shall be sent to the student’s Dean within 15 days. Students should NOT contact the examiner or exam coordinator before this period.

A PASS on the proficiency exam is comparable to achieving the following American Council for the Teaching of Foreign Languages Proficiency Guidelines (ACTFL) ratings.

PASS scale:

  • For Heritage students: Advanced high (ACTFL scale)
  • For Arabic non-native students: Advanced low (ACTFL scale)

*All exams are recorded and conducted in Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) with no exceptions.