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Foreign Language Placement and Proficiency Assessments

At APU, we believe that proficiency in a second language greatly enhances the ability to engage in the global community around us. Whether used domestically or overseas, knowledge of a second language is an important key to encouraging intercultural competence, personal growth, and spiritual development. Language is a window to culture, and it serves as a vehicle to open eyes, hearts, and minds to see more of the beauty and uniqueness of Christ in people who represent a rich variety of cultural heritages and backgrounds. Because of the firm belief that learning a second (or third or fourth!) language offers invaluable personal and vocational benefits that last a lifetime, APU requires all students to demonstrate proficiency in a foreign language as part of the General Education requirements.

APU uses WebCAPE to help students determine if they should enroll in APU foreign language coursework or if they may be a better candidate for taking a foreign language proficiency assessment instead. Read more about WebCAPE to learn about foreign language course placement options; read more about OPIc, CLEP, and FLATS to learn about fulfilling the GE foreign language requirement through demonstrating proficiency.

Foreign Language Pathways

There are several pathways you can follow to help you meet the GE foreign language proficiency requirement, but most pathways begin with a free WebCAPE placement assessment to let you know where you place in the APU foreign language course sequence. Read more about WebCAPE, a foreign language placement assessment, and about OPIc, CLEP, and FLATS, foreign language proficiency assessments, to find out which assessment tools are right for you.

Take WebCAPE

The WebCAPE (Computer Adaptive Placement Exam) is designed for any student with prior foreign language experience who needs guidance in foreign language course placement decisions. Taking this exam will allow for more accurate course placement based on your current ability and could allow you to skip introductory foreign language classes in order to enroll in more advanced language courses.

The WebCAPE placement assessment is available in Chinese, French, German, Russian, and Spanish. It is offered online and may be taken at any computer with an internet connection, including your home computer. It is an adaptive test, meaning the questions are staged to get progressively more difficult as you demonstrate various skills. The average time to complete the assessment is 20-30 minutes.

Many students will begin with using WebCAPE to determine their foreign language course placement. Whether you enter APU as a freshman or as a transfer student, you must use the WebCAPE placement assessment or take a foreign language proficiency assessment (CLEP, FLATS, or OPIc) prior to enrolling in your first foreign language class, unless you have already satisfied your GE Foreign Language requirement by meeting one of the following criteria:

Learn more about the modern language offerings at APU.

If you need to take the WebCAPE assessment, we encourage you to read about the WebCAPE process and to consult the Foreign Language Placement Assessment FAQs before taking the placement assessment. Make sure the computer you are using reflects the system recommendations and meets the web browser requirements. After reviewing APU’s Academic Integrity policy, you may take the WebCAPE assessment by following the instructions below.

  • Follow the link to the appropriate language exam: Spanish, French, German, Chinese
  • Enter your information to register and select “Create Account.”
  • Once the account has been created, select “Sign In” to proceed.
  • Sign in using the email address and password you just used to create your account. Be sure to save this login information in the event you need to access your account again. You can log back in any time at
  • After signing in, you will be brought to your Dashboard. From here, select “Take Test” and proceed through the exam.
  • Take the exam without any outside help (see APU’s Academic Integrity policy). If your computer freezes when you are taking the test, go back to the test site and enter the password. Enter your personal data exactly as you did before, and you should be able to resume your test.
  • If you have any trouble while taking WebCAPE, consult possible troubleshooting solutions.
  • When finished, wait until you see a score on your Dashboard under “previous tests.” Click “See Report” and print this screen for your records.

After you complete your WebCAPE assessment, you will receive a score and course placement recommendation, which will be used to determine enrollment in your first APU language course. However, if you place into LANG 102 or higher (for example, SPAN 102, CHIN 102, etc.), we encourage you to consider learning more about OPIc, CLEP, and FLATS, foreign language proficiency exams that serve as an alternative pathway to coursework to help you fulfill your GE foreign language proficiency requirement.

System Recommendations for Online Assessment

Operating Systems/RAM

  • Win 7 or higher
  • Mac OS X 10.7 or higher


  • Windows: Internet Explorer 8 or higher, Google Chrome Version 32, or Firefox Version 26
  • Mac: Safari, Google Chrome Version 32, or Firefox Version 26

Internet Connection

  • High-speed internet connection strongly recommended (DSL, cable modem)

Web Browser Requirements for Online Assessment

Make sure your unit meets the minimum requirements and your operating system is up to date, as well as your browser. This will ensure that your unit will not have any problems connecting and completing the exam. If your system or browser is out of date, you will experience delays and connection and compatibility issues. If you experience difficulties, be sure the following browser conditions exist:

  • Do not block pop-up windows
  • Frames-capable browser
  • Forms-capable browser
  • JavaScript enabled
  • Cookies enabled
  • Do not use proxy servers


  • Do not click off the exam once you begin.
  • If “Post Results” appears and clicking does not work, press and hold the CTRL key when clicking on “Post Results.”
  • Wait for the small pop-up window “Posting exam results” to finish; the window will close automatically. Do not close the small pop-up window manually.
  • If you have any technical problems, contact WebCAPE for assistance.

Schedule Proficiency Assessment

The APU General Education (GE) curriculum includes a foreign language proficiency requirement. You may fulfill this requirement through submitting appropriate language AP and/or IB scores, enrolling in and passing the second course in an APU language sequence (e.g., LANG 102), or taking a proficiency assessment (CLEP, FLATS, or OPIc). Each proficiency assessment reflects a different format and assesses different aspects of foreign language skill. By offering three unique assessments, APU hopes to allow you to choose a format and assessment style that will allow you to most easily demonstrate proficiency in a foreign language.

The Foreign Language Proficiency Assessment process consists of the following steps:

  1. Determine whether you should use a foreign language proficiency assessment
  2. Select which proficiency assessment is best for you: CLEP, FLATS, or OPIc
  3. Schedule an appointment to take a proctored assessment
  4. Register for a foreign language proficiency assessment
  5. View and understand your proficiency assessment results

If you have not yet fulfilled your GE foreign language requirement and you have experience in a second or foreign language, you could be a good candidate for taking a foreign language proficiency assessment. If you meet any of the following criteria, carefully consider if a proficiency assessment is the best option for you:

  • I am a multilingual learner. This term can include a second language learner, a foreign language learner, or a heritage language learner. I am comfortable operating in a language other than English, and I do not wish to complete foreign language coursework at APU.
  • My WebCAPE placement assessment placed me at the high end of the LANG 102 score range or above (e.g., SPAN 102, FREN 102, or GERM 102 or higher).
  • I have completed two or more years of foreign language in high school with a grade of B or better.
  • I have other language learning experience that leads me to believe I can demonstrate proficiency in a foreign language by taking a CLEP, FLATS, or OPIc proficiency assessment.

Learn more about how to earn a language minor.

APU has selected three unique options from which you can choose when considering how to best demonstrate proficiency in a foreign language: CLEP, FLATS, and OPIc. Learn more about each exam and how they compare to one another by viewing the Foreign Language Proficiency Assessment Comparison Chart. Once you have selected the proficiency assessment that will allow you to best demonstrate your foreign language abilities, you are ready to move on to step 3.

Each of the foreign language proficiency assessments will need to be proctored.

To schedule your foreign language proficiency exam:

  • Contact the Academic Success Center (located on Azusa’s East Campus) at (626) 815-3886 and schedule an appointment to take the CLEP, FLATS, or OPIc proficiency assessment at a time that works best for you. The center proctors exams Monday–Thursday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. and Friday from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. year-round.

Once you have completed your proficiency assessment, you will receive unofficial results immediately upon completion from CLEP, within one hour of completion via email from FLATS, and within five business days from OPIc. Official results will take up to three weeks to receive and process, and they will be added to your student record once they are received.

Learn more about how to interpret your individual score and how units are awarded for each foreign language proficiency assessment by clicking on the following links:

Foreign Language Placement Assessment FAQs

WebCAPE typically takes 20-30 minutes to complete, but it could take as few as 5 minutes or many more than the average 30, depending on your performance.

There is no charge for WebCAPE. It is a placement assessment that APU chooses to provide as a tool for you to better understand your options as you move toward demonstrating proficiency in a foreign language.

The earlier the better! All of your placement assessments should be completed before your scheduled Preparing for APU event so your results can be used to create your semester class schedule.

Reasons to take the WebCAPE placement assessment early:

  • APU has a General Education (GE) foreign language requirement. It is best to take care of this requirement sooner rather than later so you are not worrying about the language requirement in your last semesters, which could endanger your likelihood of graduating in a timely manner.
  • By placing into the level appropriate to your abilities, you will avoid taking (and paying for) credits that are not necessary for you to enroll in should you decide to declare a major or minor in foreign languages.
  • If you think about foreign languages early in your time at APU, you can maximize your electives to get a minor in a foreign language, which complements a major in any discipline. And a minor in a foreign language will make you more competitive when you are looking for a job after graduation.
WebCAPE does not need to be proctored. We encourage you to complete the foreign language placement assessment prior to registration for the first semester of APU classes in a comfortable environment at a time of your choosing.

Your APU student ID number, your APU email address, and an Internet connection are all that are required to complete the WebCAPE placement assessment.

Students who are continuing in their language of choice from high school or those with prior language learning (including heritage speakers) should take WebCAPE to determine the best path forward for demonstrating foreign language proficiency.

Any other student who is unsure of his/her current language ability level (and is interested in enrolling in language coursework) is also welcome to take it and see where he/she places.

WebCAPE results will be used to help students understand their current ability level in a foreign language. After understanding his/her current placement, a student can then use these results to register for his/her first language course at APU, or they can be used to guide a student toward taking a proficiency assessment such as CLEP, FLATS, or OPIc to demonstrate proficiency. WebCAPE results will be reflected on an APU student record within three business days after completion.
No, WebCAPE only serves as a placement tool. In order to receive credit, you will either need to enroll in language coursework or take a proficiency assessment such as CLEP, FLATS, or OPIc.
Yes, if you choose to register for a language course at APU, you must register for the course that is recommended according to your WebCAPE results page.
If your WebCAPE scores indicate that you placed at 102 or higher in any language (e.g., SPAN 102 or GERM 102), you should consider registering for a proficiency assessment. Learn more about CLEP, FLATS, and OPIc. Feel free to contact Testing Services with additional questions about taking a proficiency assessment.
Advanced Placement (AP), College-Level Examination Program (CLEP), and International Baccalaureate (IB) tests are accepted at Azusa Pacific University. View the Academic Catalog to see how APU awards credit for APCLEP, and IB exams. If your score has fulfilled your foreign language requirement, you do not need to take WebCAPE. However, if your scores have not yet arrived and you wish to register for a foreign language course, complete the WebCAPE placement assessment. Your AP, CLEP, and IB scores will be entered into your student record once they are received, and they will override your WebCAPE placement assessment when appropriate. Official AP, CLEP, and IB test scores and/or transcripts should be mailed directly to the Student Services Center for review. You will not be allowed to register for upper-level language courses until your official scores are received and entered into your student record, or until an appropriate WebCAPE placement assessment score is entered. If you have additional questions regarding AP, CLEP, or IB after viewing the Academic Catalog information, contact the Student Services Center.
No. If you desire to study a language that you have not previously studied, enroll in the first language course available (e.g., SPAN 101, FREN 101, etc.).
Students for whom English is a second language do not usually take a placement test in their first language, but they may do so for any third language they have studied. They are generally exempted from the basic requirement in foreign language with the appropriate paperwork, and students should contact the International Student and Scholars (ISS) office to learn more about English Language Placement Assessment processes.
No, your results will be saved. In order to restart your exam, go to the WebCAPE registration page and enter the information exactly as you did previously, then click the “resume” button. You should then be given the option of continuing the exam in progress or starting a new attempt.
Modern Languages offers a major in Spanish, a minor in Spanish, and additional coursework in Chinese, French, German, Italian, and Japanese.
Aroldo Solórzano, PhD, department chair, is happy to answer any language-related questions. You may contact him at [email protected].

If you have not previously studied the language, you should start the new language in LANG 101 (first-semester language class, such as SPAN 101, CHIN 101, etc.).

If you have completed your placement assessment and would like to view your results again, sign in to WebCAPE using the same information as before. Select the “Resume” button to see your results.

Yes, your WebCAPE exam scores will expire after one year. Foreign language coursework should be completed or in progress within one year in order to avoid retaking the WebCAPE placement assessment.

Foreign Language Proficiency Assessment FAQs

All students at APU must demonstrate proficiency in a foreign language as part of the General Education requirement. There are several pathways to fulfilling this requirement. To find out if a foreign language proficiency assessment is the best path for you, learn more about OPIc, CLEP, and FLATS.

All three exams offer the potential of both demonstrating proficiency in a foreign language and earning three credits that can be applied to a student transcript as elective units. The exams are unique, and students are encouraged to explore the different instruments to decide which proficiency exam will allow him/her to best demonstrate foreign language skills.

View the Foreign Language Proficiency Assessment Comparison Chart

Visit the CLEP website to find additional information about CLEP, including online registration information. Contact the Academic Success Center at (626) 815-3886 with questions.
Visit the OPIc website to find additional information about OPIc, or take an OPIc demo. If you are interested in registering for an OPIc exam, visit the Language Testing International website. Mouse over the top right menu item (“Sign In”) and click on “Test Candidates.” From there, follow the prompts to register for an OPIc exam through Azusa Pacific University. You may contact the Academic Success Center at (626) 815-3886 with questions.
Visit the FLATS website to find additional information about FLATS, including online registration information. You may contact the Academic Success Center at (626) 815-3886 with questions.