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Modern Languages

Computer Adaptive Placement Exam (CAPE)

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  • October 3, 2016 10:17:58 PM EDT test
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Next exam date: March 2017 before program planning (Date and Time TBD)

Need to take the exam now? Stop by Fulton Hall 289 Tuesdays/Thursdays 1pm-2pm or Wednesdays 9am-11am.

Please allow for at least 20 minutes to complete the exam.


SU's Computer Adaptive Placement Exam (CAPE) is currently available for French, German, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, Italian and Russian. You may earn up to twelve (12) discounted buy-back credits for your prior language learning in high school. Note that SU does not automatically award back credits through our Computer Adaptive Placement (CAPE) exam. You must take the recommended course first and receive a “C” or better.

NOTE: The CAPE exam will be administered several times throughout the year. New students can take the exam when they visit campus on Admitted Student Day, as well as following Freshman Convocation. Current students should look for the testing dates prior to program planning in the spring and fall. Contact the department chair for more information.

Taking the CAPE is easy. You simply go to the Department of Modern Languages web site at and click on “CAPE” to the left of the page. Then click on “Access the CAPE Placement Exam.” The test proctor will provide you with the password.

Once you enter the exam page, click on French, German, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, Italian or Russian. Fill out the personal information and click on “Survey.” Fill out the form to the best of your ability. Finally, click on “Begin Exam.” 

The exam itself should take 15-25 minutes. It is an “adaptive” exam because it increases or decreases the level of difficulty of each question based on whether you answer the previous question correctly or incorrectly. The exam focuses on grammar, vocabulary and reading comprehension. There are no sections that evaluate listening or speaking. 

When the program has established your level, it will end the exam suddenly and automatically and display your results. 

Very important: At this point, please remember to click on “Finish.” We will not receive your score if you do not complete this final step.  

Once you have your score, locate it on the following scale. The chart below tells you both the level in which you should be enrolled and how many, if any, back credits you will be able to purchase following completion of the course, with a C or better, in question.

  A: CAPE Score:  B: Should enroll in:  C: Back credit eligibility:



0 back credits



4 back credits



8 back credits



12 back credits


French: 310, 312, 316 or 317
Spanish: 310
Spanish native/heritage speakers: SPAN 313

12 back credits

Directions for Receiving Back Credit from the CAPE

Congratulations! Based on your performance on the Departmental Computer Adaptive Placement Exam, you may be eligible for back credits! In order to receive back credits you MUST complete all of the following steps. 

1. Earn a grade of C or better in the level into which you placed (or a higher level).

2. From within your GullNet account, print an unofficial copy of your transcript which displays your grade of C or better in the language course into which you were placed. 

3. Bring the unofficial copy of your transript to Ms. Nichole Morton, the Program Management Specialist in the Department of Modern Languages (Fulton Hall 288B) and tell her that you wish to buy back credits in the language in question (she will give you a form to take to Step #4 below).

4. Pay the tuition fee at the Cashier’s office on the second floor of Holloway Hall. By earning the credits through this placement exam they will cost only ½ the usual per-credit-hour tuition!

5. Return to Modern Languages Office (Fulton Hall 288B) with a copy of the receipt from the Cashier’s office for the paid back-credits.

Verify at the end of the semester following the completion of #4 above that the credits have indeed been added to your record. After the completion of #4 the process may take as long as several months before the credits appear on your record. Contact the Program Management Specialist in the Department of Modern Languages, Ms. Nichole Morton, if they do not appear on your record. 

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