Placement and Registration

Table of Contents




Summer Online Placement Exams

Summer online placement exams for AY 2021-2022 courses open on July 1 and close on July 30. Information about the exams, including who should take them, where to find them, and how results are delivered, is available on the Placement Exam and Information section of the Yale College Website.

Separately, some information about summer online language placement exams is available on the Center for Language Studies’ website, and many departments post information on their websites.

However, the Placement Exam and Information  is the Yale College central clearing house for placement exam information.

Do I Need to Take a Placement Exam: Rules of Thumb for First-year Students

  • Take the placement exam in any field in which your plan to take a course during your first year at Yale
  • Take a placement exam, if offered, in any language you’ve already studied in college or in which you have some proficiency
  • Skip the placement exams for fields in which you won’t take a course during your first year at Yale
    • If you decide to study in those fields during your second year here, you can take a placement test next summer.  Are you afraid you’ll be rusty?  Even so, that will be a more accurate placement than one provided by a year-old placement test
    • What if you change your mind and wish to take a course during spring term?  Some departments will offer placement exams in November-December 2021: in November-December 2020, those departments or programs were Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mathematics, Portuguese, and Spanish

Students with documented disabilities may request accommodations for placement testing through the Student Accessibility Services office. Please contact the SAS office through the online registration form to submit your request at least one week before your placement test.


Important Dates for Fall 2021 Course Schedules

All students who are new to Yale will register for fall courses in August. That includes incoming frosh, transfer students, Eli Whitney students, reinstated students, YVISP students, and some others.

The University Registrar’s Office will publish the fall 2021 registration dates on its Registration Resources calendar later this summer. That same website has many clickable webpages with information about what to do before registration, during registration, and after registration.

There are four basic steps to registration:

  1. Placement exams: July 1-30, with results posted mid-August
  2. Preference Selection: mid-August, with results announced mid- to late-August
  3. Course registration for new students: late August
  4. Add/drop period: beginning on the first day of classes, September 1, and ending 7-10 days later

The idea behind this timeline is that students (1) will need to take a placement exam in those subjects that they’ve studied previously and intend to study in their first year at Yale (Yale offers placement exams in biology, chemistry, languages, and mathematics). The placement students receive then indicate the level of the section they should select during (2) Preference Selection (for example, introductory French vs. intermediate French).

►N.B. Preference Selection is the process Yale uses for undergraduates to indicate their preferred section meeting times within multi-section courses such as introductory English courses, language courses, or math courses. It should be on your radar screen if you intend to take a multi-section course. But it’s also possible that some incoming students will not need to participate in Preference Selection if they intend to take single-section courses such as many upper-level courses or introductory courses in less demand-heavy subjects of study. In fact, the vast majority of Yale courses are single-section courses that do not use Preference Selection. For more information, see the Preference Selection and Preregistration Applications webpage

Preference Selection results inform students of the meeting times of the sections they have been admitted to, and thus allow them to schedule their other, non-multi-section courses around them during (3) registration period.

Confused? Don’t stress about it now: you’ll get good information and coaching from the University Registrar’s Office, your residential college dean, your first-year counselor (for the Class of 2025), your college adviser, and others as August approaches.

What if you make a course-selection “mistake”? Many such “mistakes” end up being serendipitous — with so many Yale courses it’s hard to go wrong — but mistakes could happen in sequential majors such as STEM majors, for example. There is still little cause for concern: students will still be able to adjust their course schedules during (4) add/drop period at the beginning of September.