Who should take a World Languages Placement Test (WLPT)?

  • If you completed four years of the same world language in high school, you do not need to take the WLPT unless you plan to continue studying the same language at The University of Iowa.
  • If you completed fewer than four years of the same world language in high school, discuss what you need to take with your adviser. If your major is in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, refer to the General Education Program requirements for your major. You will need to take the WLPT if your high school course work does not satisfy the General Education Program World Language requirement for your major.
  • If you are an open major and completed fewer than four years of the same world language in high school, you should take the WLPT.

Test Description and Guidelines

  • The tests are multiple-choice and cover grammar, reading, and vocabulary. The tests are adaptive, meaning the question difficulty will vary depending on how you respond. You will not be able to review an item once you have submitted your answer.
  • Complete the test in one sitting. There is no time limit but you should set aside a minimum of one hour.
  • You may not use books, notes or any other resource materials.

Scoring and Placement

Your score will appear at the end of your test. Save the score page to a file to print a copy. If you do not see a score, login again and click on resume to complete your test.

The test results will help you and your advisor determine the best level for your first enrollment in a language course.

Placement factors considered (in addition to your WLPT score) include how long you have studied the language; strength of instruction; grades earned; experience abroad or with native speakers; and length of time since the language was studied.

Students may be eligible to earn incentive credit toward graduation through the Furthering Language Incentive Program (FLIP). If you are interested in earning FLIP credit, you should meet with your academic adviser to discuss the options and to determine whether or not you are eligible. Credit hours awarded through FLIP are ungraded, and are not included in GPA calculations, but count toward the hours required for graduation.


Score Placement Recommendation Description
0 - 150 SPAN:1001 
Elementary Spanish I
This is an introductory course in Spanish with an emphasis on language skills. Topics include basic Spanish vocabulary, verb tenses, and grammatical structures.
151 - 300 SPAN:1002 
Elementary Spanish II
This course is a continuation of SPAN:1001.
301 - 350 SPAN:1501
Intermediate Spanish I
This course emphasizes the development of communicative skills in both the oral and the written language while providing a review and synthesis of grammatical structures learned in first-year Spanish. This course is a continuation of SPAN:1002.
351 - 400 SPAN:1502
Intermediate Spanish II
This course is a continuation of SPAN:1501.
401 or higher A 2000 level course Talk with your academic advisor or the Department of Spanish and Portuguese to determine the correct placement.

Intermediate Spanish for Heritage Speakers

A one-semester course that can suffice the GEP world language requirement for those students who grew up listening to or speaking Spanish at home. Focused on language maintenance and development via cultural and community activities.

This course is for you if:
  • You grew up in a Spanish-speaking country
  • You speak Spanish at home with your parents or other family members
  • You grew up listening to or speaking Spanish with your parents or other family members.
501 or higher SPAN:2040
Spanish for Heritage Speakers
A FLIP course that prepare you for advanced Spanish course. Emphasis on reading and writing skills for bilingual students who have acquired Spanish listening and speaking skills at home and in their communities; focus on literacy development and registers of use; explicitly designed for native or heritage speakers of Spanish.


These are recommended placements. The best placement for you depends on the strength of your previous course work, your enjoyment of Spanish, and whether or not you have been exposed to the language and culture in other ways, such as travel. If you are unsure about your placement, call the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at (319) 335-2241 or talk with your academic adviser and ask for help (contact the Academic Advising Center at: advising@uiowa.edu).

If you have technical difficulties, contact the ITS Help Desk at 319-384-4357 or Help Desk Online Chat.