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Japanese Proficiency & Placement

See also general information on Proficiency and Placement Exams.

Proficiency Exams measure your ability in a language and are used to satisfy or waive language requirements, such as the one year Foreign Language requirement for the College of Arts & Sciences.

Placement Interviews determine which language class is appropriate for your background and ability, and are only necessary if you intend to take the course. The interview results cannot be substituted for a proficiency exam. 

The department does not offer either Proficiency or Placement to those outside the University.

Proficiency Exam

The Japanese Proficiency Exam/Japanese Placement Test is administered at the Office of Educational Assessment, 440 Schmitz Hall [map], (206) 543-1171.  If a student has a high enough test score to prove proficiency at the first-year level (equivalent to having completed first-year Japanese or JAPAN 103), the Registration Office will be notified. This means a score of 40 or above.

For a proficiency assessment beyond the first-year level (such as to waive language requirements in programs such as the JSIS or CISB), contact our Japanese language coordinator, Izumi Matsuda at An oral interview to gauge your Japanese level will take place with one of our instructors. We charge $20 for for this interview, please bring exact cash, or, a check made out to "Department of Asian Languages and Literature," to the GWN 225 office beforehand. 

We do not offer proficiency assessment to UW applicants, prospective applicants, or non-UW students. 

To certify higher level Japanese skills for job-seeking and other purposes, the following tests are administered outside the UW:

  1. ACTFL (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages) OPI (Oral Proficiency Interview) and WPT (Writing Proficiency Test). Visit
  2. JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test).  Visit

Placement Interview

If you have had no prior exposure to Japanese, then register for JAPAN 101 in Autumn quarter (or JAPAN 134 for Summer Intensive Classes).  These courses tend to fill quickly.

If you have taken Japanese at the University of Washington, then you can simply register for the next class in the sequence or see an advisor for course selection assistance.

If you have taken Japanese in high school, but NOT in college, take the Japanese Placement Test available at the Office of Educational Assessment. There are no kanji on the placement test. Based on your results, please take the actions below:

Score of 0-5 Register for JAPAN 101 (or JAPAN 134 in Summer).
Score of 6-39 Submit a 100-level Japanese Placement Screening Form. You will then be placed in a class according to your ability.
Score of 40-64 Contact the second year instructor, Akiko Iwata, for placement instructions.
Score of 65 or higher Contact the third year instructor, Izumi Matsuda-Kiami, for placement instructions.

If you have taken college-level Japanese at a different college (or have Advance Placement credit), submit a Japanese Placement Interview Application form to determine your placement.

If you feel that your placement is inappropriate or have concerns about a particular placement, make an appointment with the instructor in charge of the course. If you are already taking a course and discover that your placement is not appropriate, talk to the instructor as soon as possible.

The University of Washington is committed to providing access, equal opportunity and reasonable accommodation in its services, programs, activities, education and employment for individuals with disabilities. If you are a student with a documented disability and need to request disability accommodation(s) for your interview, please contact the Disability Services Office at least ten days in advance of your scheduled interview date at: 206.543.6450/V, 206.543.6452/TTY, 206.685.7264 (FAX), or e-mail at