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Proficiency Examinations

This exam is intended for students who entered UB prior to Fall 2016 who must meet the Foreign Language General Education for graduation or for students who are planning to go to Study Abroad but have no contact with a previous language instructor to fill out their proficiency form.

Proficiency exams are offered to current UB students who have taken French, Italian or Spanish in high school or elsewhere. The results of the test will determine exemption from courses offered to fill the language requirement. The exam does not result in credits being awarded for proficiency in the language.

Students should take the test if they have had a significant amount of foreign language study prior to entering college. It is especially recommended for students in their first year at UB and before registration in languages they have already studied.

Students should not take the test if

  • they are hoping to get credit for prior work in a language
  • they have already taken the test at a previous sitting
  • they received scores of 3, 4, or 5 on the AP exam in the language
  • they are currently enrolled in a 100-level course in the language
  • they have a high school diploma awarded in a country where the language of instruction is the language of the test
  • they are transferring credits for languages classes at other college which have been equated with 100-level classes at UB

The test lasts 90 minutes and includes:

  • Reading comprehension: Students must answer questions on selected reading passages.
  • Language production: Students will answer questions, complete sentences and write short essays based on given prompts.

Test rules

  • Students must register for the test at least 48 hours in advance. Only registered participants may take the test.
  • Students must bring their UB identification card to the test. Students without a UB card are not allowed into the room.
  • Students must arrive at least 15 minutes prior to the announced start of the test for identification check and seating. No one will be admitted to the room after the test has started.
  • Students will need two #2 pencils and a good eraser.
  • No dictionaries or study aids permitted.
  • Cell phones must be turned off and stowed. Once the exam has begun, no interaction with a cell phone is allowed.
  • Students may take the exam only once.  The test is free of charge.
  • Students who need special accommodations through the Office of Accessibility Services must contact the department directly at least 48 (working) hours in advance to arrange for the services.

There are no sample tests for review, but students can visit the University bookstore to see textbooks that are used in courses.

Four to six weeks after the proficiency test, results will be e-mailed to the student and to the College of Arts and Sciences Student Advisement and Services. No test results are available by phone.

  • Students whose results do not exempt them from coursework will be advised on appropriate course placement.
  • For students whose results do indicate elementary or intermediate proficiency, appropriate notation will be added to their record.

The proficiency test will be offered twice in the Fall semester and in the Spring semester.  After registration, students will receive a reminder via email 1-2 days prior to the test.

Spring 2017 Proficiency Test Dates, Times and Locations:


  • Wednesday, March 15    Clemens 19 (basement)   Maximum occupancy:  30

For further information, please call 716-645-2191 on weekdays 9:00-3:00 PM.

Registration for the Proficiency Test should be submitted on this form.