Placement Testing and Registration

Table of Contents

Placement Testing


Placement Testing

Summer Online Placement Exams

Summer online placement exams open on July 3, 2023, and close on July 31, 2023. 

The Placement Exam and Information  page on the the Yale College Website is the clearing house for placement exam information, including who should take the exams, where to find them, and how results are delivered.

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

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?  A small number of departments offer placement exams at the end of each fall term, ahead of registration for spring-term courses, but it’s risky to rely on a specific exam being offered in the fall. The better course of action is to take advantage of the summer placement exam period.

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 Course Schedules

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

The University Registrar’s Office publishes the fall registration dates on its Registration Resources calendar each summer. That same website has many clickable links with information about what to do before registration, during registration, and after registration.

There are four basic steps to registration:

  1. Placement exams: in July, with results posted in August
  2. Preference Selection: in 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 and ending 5-10 days later, depending on the semester.

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.

►N.B.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 frosh), 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.