Korean Language Placement and Exemption Exam

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

 Korean Placement Test


1. How can I enroll in a Korean course?

You must complete the following steps to enroll in a Korean course at UCI:

1. Take the Korean Placement Test. Register for this online exam here.

2. Complete a Student Language Background Survey (SLBS) and meet with a Korean faculty for an oral interview to receive your authorization code for the course. The Background Survey and interview times will be provided to you once you have completed the Korean Placement Test. 

Note: You will not be able to enroll in a Korean course without a course authorization. Check WebReg for interview times. Presentation of two forms of photo I.D. is required for your interview. 

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


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

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

The Korean Placement Test may not be repeated.

3. Who needs to take courses in Korean?

Successful completion through Korean 2C (or the equivalent) satisfies the foreign language requirement in the School of Humanities. Completion of Korean course work through the 1C level satisfies UCI’s Language Other Than English (Category VI) General Education requirement.

This test 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. 

4. Who is waived from taking the placement test?

If you do not have any background in Korean and are interested in enrolling directly into Korean 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 background questions below.

Background Questions:

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

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

5. What should I study before the examination?

Each course series assumes that students know the content covered in previous levels, so you need to review the textbooks for previous levels. You should have an active vocabulary and some knowledge of grammar the enables you to perform the following tasks: exchange common greetings; tell time; talk about the weather, family, and studies; talk about your likes, dislikes, and interests; inquire about locations and give directions; state your opinion and make comments; and handle reasonable complicated survival situation.

For this test you should know the following fundamentals of Korean grammar:

      • Two different speech styles: formal and informal
      • Three different forms of speeches: honorific, polite, impolite
      • Four sentence types: descriptive, interrogative, imperative, and prepositive (positive and negative)
      • Tenses: present, past, and future
      • Conjuncts: clausal and sentential

6. How can I prepare for the examination?

Review Materials:

Korean 1, Language Education Institute, Seoul National University, Moonjin Media, 2005.

Sample items: 

Click here for sample items.

7. How long is the test?

You will have one hour to answer 60 multiple-choice questions.

8. How long are the results valid?

The results are valid for your entire academic career at UCI. You may take the Korean Placement Test only one time. Please be advised that if you take the test more often than allowed, your new results will not be reported.

No University credit is given for taking the Korean Placement Test. There is no fee to take the test if you are a UCI student.

9. Is test registration required?

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

Korean Exemption Test

The Korean exemption exam is the same as the Korean Placement Test. You must also attend the oral interview in order to satisfy the Category VI Language Other than English general education requirement. The highest proficiency level attainable at UCI by taking the Korean exam is 2C.

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.