Japanese Language Placement and Exemption Exam

UCI students who speak and read Japanese can take a placement exam or an exemption exam to satisfy Category VI and VIII General Education requirements.

Japanese Placement Test

1. How can I enroll in a Japanese course?

All students who want to take Japanese courses must take the placement test. You must complete the following steps to enroll in a Japanese course at UCI:

    1. Take the Japanese Placement test. Register for this online exam here.
    2. See the Japanese Academic Coordinator for an oral interview. Specific information on how to set up your oral interview will be provided in your Provisional Results letter. You will need to take the Japanese Survey with you to the oral interview. This will be provided to you after you have completed the Japanese Placement Test.

Students who do not have a background in Japanese may waive the exam and enroll into Japanese 1A. Please see below for more information. 

2. What is the purpose of the Japanese Placement Test?

The purpose of the Japanese Placement Test is to assess your preparation for course work in Japanese at UCI. Students will be placed into one of the following courses: Japanese 1A, 1B, 1C, 2A, 2B, 2C, 103A, 103B or 103C.

This test is the same test that is used to satisfy the Language Other Than English (Category VI) General Education requirement. Satisfaction of the General Education requirement may be attained with a sufficient score on this placement test and a satisfactory performance in the oral interview. 

The Japanese Placement Test may not be repeated.

3. Who needs to take courses in Japanese?

Successful completion of lower-division course work (or the equivalent) is required for Japanese majors and minors, and may be used to satisfy the foreign language requirement in the School of Humanities. Completion of Japanese course work through the 1C level may also be used to satisfy UCI’s Language Other Than English (Category VI) General Education requirement.

4. Who may be waived from the placement test?

If you do not have any background in Japanese and are interested in enrolling directly into Japanese 1A, it may be possible for you to waive the language placement test. You are waived from this test if you can answer “NO” to all the following questions.

Background Questions:

      1. Does anyone in your family speak any Japanese?
      2. Have you taken any Japanese classes at schools or been tutored? 
      3. Have you lived in Japan more than one year?
      4. Can you read or write Hiragana?

The Japanese Placement Waiver form is available online and is processed within 2 business days. 

5. What should I study before the examination?

You should have an active vocabulary and some knowledge of grammar to be able to perform the following tasks: exchange common greeting among classmates and family, talk about marriage, home, weather, talk about hobbies, education, life and nature, exchange opinion in regards to travel and health.

6. How can I prepare for the examination?

Review materials:

Tohsaku, Y. Yookoso. Vol. 1 An Introduction to Contemporary Japanese, New York: McGraw-Hill, 1999.

Tohsaku, Y. Yookoso. Vol. 2 Continuing with Contemporary Japanese, New York: McGraw-Hill, 1999.

Morioka, A. Nihon Ni Tuite Kangaeyoo. Let’s Think About Japan, New York: McGraw-Hill, 1997.

Sample items:

Click here for sample items.

7. How long is the test?  

You will have 60 minutes to answer 40 listening, 30 reading, and 20 Kanji multiple-choice questions.

8. How long are results valid?  

The results are valid for your entire academic career at UCI. Please be advised that if you take the test more often than allowed, your new results will not be reported.

9. Is test registration required?  

Yes. Test registration is always required. You may register by using the Register/Check Result portal on our website.


Japanese Exemption Test


The Japanese exemption exam is the same as the Japanese Placement Test. You must also attend the oral interview in order to satisfy the Category VI General Education Requirement PolicyThe highest proficiency level attainable at UCI by taking the Japanese exam is 103C.

 If you need further information on language breadth testing, please e-mail the Testing Center at testcenter@uci.edu, or call our office at (949) 824-6207, or contact your academic counseling office.