Latin Placement Exam

PLEASE NOTE:  The following exam information and instructions are for students who are entering the University of Mary Washington in the fall of 2020. They do not apply to students who entered before the fall of 2020. If you are currently a student at UMW who did not take the Latin Placement Exam before starting classes and you need placement, please communicate with Prof. Liane Houghtalin ( Only students who have not yet started taking classes at UMW are eligible to take the Latin Placement Exam. Be aware that it is against the Honor Code for those who have already started taking classes at UMW to take or attempt to access this exam without the written permission of the chair of the Department of Classics, Philosophy, and Religious Studies.


EXAM INFORMATION & INSTRUCTIONS:  The Latin Placement Exam is designed to assess your current level of knowledge and skill in the language and to give you advice about the course you should take in order to begin your Latin studies at UMW.  In addition, students entering the University in the fall 2020 semester may earn course credit through UMW’s language placement testing procedure. “Back” (or retroactive) credit in the amount of three credits will be awarded to a student who takes the UMW language placement exam, then takes the same language at the level in which (s)he placed on the exam, and successfully completes that level (course) with a B- grade or higher. Students must officially request that the back (retroactive) credits be added to their academic record by contacting the Registrar’s office.

The exam will suggest placement in one of the following courses:

  • Latin 101 (the first half of Elementary Latin, offered every fall),
  • Latin 102 (the second half of Elementary Latin, offered every spring)
  • Latin 201 (the first half of Intermediate Latin, offered every fall)

If you place into Latin 201 with a sufficiently high score, you will be invited to take the Latin Exemption Exam at the start of the fall semester.  The results of the Latin Exemption Exam, again, will not earn you any college credit, but they may grant you exemption from UMW’s language requirement.

The Latin Placement Exam should take only about 45 minutes to complete.  You have, however, 75 minutes in which to work on the exam before the system will end it.  IMPORTANT:  once begun, the exam must be completed within the time allotted.  It cannot be resumed later.  Multiple attempts are not allowed.  The exam may be taken only once. VERY IMPORTANT:  The Latin Placement Exam is available to students only in the time immediately preceding their entry to UMW.  If you have any interest in ever taking Latin at UMW, you should take it now.

It is useful to do well on this exam. Students who start a language at the lowest level will be taking 9 credits (typically 3 courses) total to complete the language requirement. Testing into a higher level means more room in your curriculum for major or minor courses, or the ability to proceed more quickly to advanced language studies. The best way TO PREPARE FOR THE EXAM is to review Latin forms and grammar. Know the noun, adjective, and verb endings, and be ready to identify constructions such as indirect statement, ablative absolute, and purpose clause.  Practice some translation, noting the role of each word in the sentence (subject, direct object, adverb, etc.).  BONAM FORTUNAM!

TESTING DATES:  The exam will be available from 15 May – 15 July 2020.



Prof. Liane Houghtalin
Professor of Classics

Dept. of Classics, Philosophy, & Religious Studies