The Language Center administers placement tests to all students who intend to continue studying a foreign language at Stanford. The purpose of testing is diagnostic: it assesses students' current language abilities in order to match them to the course most suitable for that level. For more information, please see the Placement Testing page on the Language Center's main website.
Most students who take first- and second-year (and some third-year) -LANG courses also have speaking and writing exit tests. The SOPI (Simulated Oral Proficiency Interview) and the WPA (Writing Proficiency Assessment) are designed to measure what students can do functionally with the language, and consist of real-life speaking and writing tasks.
The SOPI takes 25-45 minutes to complete and the WPA takes 30-45 minutes. Each is given during a regular class hour. Tasks are similar to the types of hands-on speaking and writing activities students routinely do in and for class throughout the quarter, since these reflect the functional objectives of the course.
For that reason, the best way to prepare is to practice those objectives through regular and active participation in your language course. Some SOPI and WPA tasks will be easier, others more challenging. Regardless, the important thing is to:
- Speak as much and as well as you can, and show what you can do.
- Write as much and as well as you can, and show what you can do.