Placement and Registration FAQs

What is WebCAPE?

WebCAPE (Web-based Computer Adaptive Placement Exam), developed by Brigham Young University, is designed to help students with prior experience in a given language place themselves in the correct semester of foreign language instruction. The exam adapts to each student’s skill level as he/ she completes questions online.

For which languages can I use the online placement exam?

French, German, and Spanish

What is the cost of the exam?

The student pays nothing to take the online exam. The World Languages Department pays for the exams.

How do I access the exam?

Students may take this web-based exam anywhere at any time. It does NOT need to be completed in the Testing Center. Follow the Placement Exam Instructions.

What can I expect to see when I begin?

You log in using the access information. First, you fill out a brief Language Questionnaire about your previous language experience, complete a practice test question, and then begin the actual exam. When you finish your exam, a score is immediately generated and shown to you, along with a recommended placement level (101, 102, 201, 202, and so on). The score is recorded in WebCAPE and can be accessed by the World Languages Department.

Is the exam mandatory?

No, but you are highly encouraged to make use of this tool to assist in placement.

Can I use outside resources when taking the exam?

Do not use dictionaries or outside sources to help you with test questions since the point is to help you place yourself accurately in language classes. If outside sources are used, the department does not have an accurate measurement of your ability and placements will be incorrect.

Can I take the exam more than once?

It is recommended that you take the exam only one time. The World Languages Department may request that you re-take it for a particular reason. In that case, you would be notified directly. Contact the department chair, Kimberly Jaeger, at if you would like to request a re-take.

How does scoring work?

When you complete the exam, a score is immediately displayed. Your recommended placement will be displayed for you as well. The score is also recorded by WebCAPE and World Languages faculty members have the ability to access the score. Being issued a score does NOT mean that you are automatically registered for a particular course. If your score indicates that you should be in a level above 101, you should request an online override for another level. These requests are sent to the department chairperson, who can view your score and language questionnaire and either accept or reject the override request.

May I request to be placed in a different level than recommended?

If you wish to discuss your score, please contact the department chairperson.

What if my language course is too basic or too advanced?

If you are placed into a language course that is too basic or too advanced, instructors and the Department can work with you to transfer you into a more appropriate course. This should be done during the first or second week of classes.

Does the score appear on a transcript?

No. The score is for placement purposes only and will not be reflected on a student’s academic record.

Can I receive academic credit for the placement exam?

No. The exam is for placement purposes only.

How accurate is the exam?

It is the hope that the online tool will yield accurate placement recommendations. It should be noted that no method of placement is 100% accurate! Exams, language questionnaires, and consultation are used in conjunction with each other to approximate a student’s ability in a foreign language.

How is this placement exam different than the proficiency exam?

Proficiency exams are not placement exams. Proficiency exams are used to award academic credit to students who have acquired language skills by non-traditional means, such as prolonged travel, immersion programs, military service abroad, missionary work abroad, etc…. Students who take a proficiency exam do not actually take the course for which they are awarded credit. Students who acquired language skills via a classroom in the United States are NOT eligible to take a proficiency exam to receive academic credits.

What if I am a native speaker or speak the language at home?

If you are a native speaker, you are not eligible to take language courses in your native language at Harper College. For students who have grown up in the United States but speak a language other than English at home, you may be eligible to take language courses in your language at Harper. Please contact the department chair, Kimberly Jaeger, at to discuss your language background.

Whom can I contact with questions about language placement?

Contact department chairperson, Kimberly Jaeger, at or 847.925.6776. Students may also contact the instructor of their prospective language course directly.


How do I register for my language course?

There are three steps to follow to register for a French, German or Spanish course:

  1. Take the Harper College World Languages Placement Exam.
  2. Apply for a Registration Override to allow you to register for your class.
  3. Once your override is approved, you may register for your course.

Note: Placement exams are NOT proficiency exams used to obtain academic credit.

What if I am blocked from registering for a language course due to a “prerequisite” issue?

Please make sure you have taken the online placement exam, seen your score and placement recommendation, and followed the procedure to request an online override.

Do I need to show evidence of prerequisites if I register for 102 or above?

The placement exam score and language questionnaire will be used by the department as a basis for placement recommendation, but the department may still ask you for proof of prior language instruction (transcripts).

Can I take a course below my recommended level?

Students are discouraged from registering for a course below their estimated skill level. Students do a disservice to themselves and their fellow classmates by being in a course that is too easy for them. All World Languages instructors have the right to ask a student to register for a more basic or more advanced course based on the student’s placement score, language questionnaire, and consultation.

How do I register for a Chinese or Japanese course above the 101 level?

Students should contact the department chairperson for further information about Chinese and Japanese placement. Students may also contact the instructor of their prospective language course directly. Individual instructors or the department chairperson may override students into their courses.