This section will help you gain a better understanding of taking placement exams prior to your arrival at Dickinson. It is important to pay close attention to the form due dates on the Before you Arrive page, as your scores will be discussed with you by an academic advisor when selecting course levels your first semester. In this section you will find information on language, math, chemistry and music placement. Also check out the Language Placement FAQs for additional information.

Language Placement Exam Information

Language Background Form Regardless of whether you intend to continue with a language you studied in high school or start a new language, it is very important that you complete the Language Background Form available at the Gateway forms tab. Include information on all languages studied.

Where do I find the Language Placement Exams? The language placement exams for Chinese, Japanese, Italian, French, German and Spanish can be found on the Student Forms tab on the Dickinson Gateway. Students should use the password devils to access the French, German and Spanish exam. There is no password needed to take the Chinese, Japanese, or Italian placement exams.

Who should take the Online Exam? Select a language and use the flow chart to determine whether you should take the exam:


What if I am interested in continuing with a language other than French, German, Italian, Chinese, Japanese or Spanish? Be sure you provide this information regarding all of the languages you studied in high school on the Language Background form available on the Gateway.

If you are interested in taking Arabic, Ancient Greek, Modern Hebrew, Japanese, Latin, Portuguese or Russian read more on the additional language placement site.

Transfer Students: Students who have studied French, German, Italian, Chinese, Japanese or Spanish at another institution should take the placement exam. The results of the placement exam will be used to determine appropriate course equivalency for college-level coursework completed. For other languages, see guidance offered in the section above.


The Mathematics Placement Exam is a multiple-choice test designed to measure a student’s readiness for calculus. The test is a 25 question multiple-choice exam on precalculus concepts—no calculus appears on the test. 

Who should take the exam? All students are required to take the placement exam before you matriculate at the college, even if you do not plan to take a mathematics class at Dickinson.  The only exceptions are listed on the Mathmatics Placement Information page.

Where do I find the Mathematics Placement Exam? The mathematics placement exam can be found on the Student Forms tab of the Dickinson Gateway.

Mathematics Placement Information The Mathematics Placement Information page contains a list of entry-level mathematics courses at Dickinson, an interactive placement guide, and other useful information.  You can call the mathematics department at 717-245-1413, or email the departmental coordinator (Tonya Miller) at for more information.

Chemistry Placement Information

The Chemistry Placement Exam is a 63-question, 75-minute exam assembled by Dickinson's chemistry department. Its purpose is to allow the department to determine your readiness for college-level chemistry by assessing your comprehension in three basic areas: General Mathematics, General Chemistry Knowledge and Specific Chemistry Knowledge.

Who should take the exam? All students who plan to take chemistry courses must take the exam. Many majors (including biology, biochemistry and molecular biology, neuroscience, and earth science) require chemistry courses, and all pre-health students must take chemistry courses regardless of major.

Where do I find the Chemistry Placement Exam? The placement exam can be found on the Student Forms tab of the Dickinson Gateway.

Chemistry Placement Information The chemistry department has found a very strong correlation between a student's high-school math background and their future success in chemistry. Consequently, ALL STUDENTS PLANNING TO TAKE CHEMISTRY MUST TAKE THE MATH PLACEMENT EXAM.

To enroll in CHEM 131, you must earn a Math Placement score of 13 or higher. If your Math Placement score is 10-12, you may enroll in CHEM 131 if your Chemistry Placement score is 30 or higher. But the Department strongly encourages you to also purchase "Calculations in Chemistry" by Donalad J. Dahm and Eric A. Nelson (ISBN: 978-0-393-91286-9) to improve your math skills during the summer and as a resource during CHEM 131. If your Math Placement score is below 10, you will need to successfully complete MATH 151 before enrolling in CHEM 131. 

To enroll in CHEM 141, you must earn a Math Placement score of 13 or higher with final determination of placement in the course determined by the Chemistry Placement score. 

You can call the chemistry department at 717-245-1329, or email the departmental coordinator (Janice Wiss) at for more information.

Music Theory Placement Exam Information

Where do I find the Music Placement Exam? The placement exam can be found on the Student Forms tab of the Dickinson Gateway.

Who should take the exam? Any student who is interested in taking music theory courses. 

You may call the music department at 717-245-1568, or email Professor Blyth at for more information.

Writing Program Placement Information 

The Writing Program offers a self-assessment tool for international and multilingual students to identify whether you should take a Writing Program course (WRPG 101 or 102) in your first year at Dickinson. Please complete the Writing Program self-assessment before summer advising; it should be completed by July 1.

Who should take the Writing Program self-assessment? International students who have completed high school outside of the US or in a medium other than English are strongly encouraged to complete the Writing Program self-assessment.   

Where do I find the Writing Program Self-Assessment? The Writing Program self-assessment can be found here:

Writing Program Placement Information:  Based on your responses to the self-assessment you may be recommended to take a Writing Program course (WRPG 101 or 102) in your first or second semester at Dickinson.  If recommended, talk with your advisor about including a Writing Program course in your academic plan.  International students who are interested in developing as writers are welcome to enroll in WRPG 101 or 102 regardless of placement score or completion of the self-assessment. WRPG 101 and 102 are each full-credit courses and fulfill graduation requirements (US Diversity and Sustainability Investigations, respectively). 

For more information about Writing Program resources for international and multilingual writers, please contact John Katunich, Associate Director of the Writing Program and Multilingual Writer Specialist, or visit