Language Placement Information

Asian Languages and Civilizations covers four cultural areas—Japan, China, South Asia, and West Asia—and offers Arabic, Chinese, and Japanese language classes.


Students with no training in Arabic should sign up for Arabic 101. Students who have studied Arabic in high school or another setting and feel they should start at Arabic 201 or above, as well as students with any other questions about placement, are advised to contact Sr. Lecturer Mohamed Hassan or Lecturer Ahmad Alswaid.


Students with no training in Chinese should sign up for Chinese 101.

Students who have taken Chinese in high school or another setting and feel they should start at Chinese 201 or above should take the Chinese language placement exam here. The exam consists of an hour-long, three-part written test (including a voice recording) and a short oral conversation. The exam can only be taken once. Non-Amherst Five-College students wishing to take the exam will need an Amherst username and password to log into our Moodle. High school students wishing to take the placement exam will need to bring a photo ID to the college IT service desk on the first floor of Seeley Mudd.

On the first day, students should attend the class that they feel they should be enrolled in, since it will take some time for the instructors to know exactly a student’s proficiency level. Course level adjustments can be made later.

Students can take the Chinese placement test online beginning August 15th, 2023. Once taken, they should email to schedule a meeting with Chinese instructor Tong Shen, and will then receive the placement recommendation.


Students with questions regarding our Japanese classes should contact Wako Tawa. Students who have never studied Japanese, even if they know a few phrases in Japanese and some Japanese characters, should sign up for JAPA 101-01. Students who studied Japanese either in high school or in other settings or speaks Japanese at home should fill out the background information sheet (below) and send it to Wako Tawa. They will hear back from someone from the Japanese Language Program promptly.

All Japanese classes at Amherst are “unscheduled,” which means that the class time is not noted for registration purposes. Each semester, a few days before classes begin, the teacher-in-charge of each class will email the students enrolled in their class and ask the students to submit their class schedules. Students should submit their class schedules as soon as possible to their teacher. It is required that all students attend classes four days a week, which consist of two days of peer practice sessions and two days of assessment sessions.

For Japanese placement information, please read these PDF's: