FAQ

    1. Who should take the Chinese Placement Test?

      This is a test for either incoming first year students or returning students who have never taken Chinese language courses at Williams. If you have had any Chinese formal learning at school or informal learning at home and wish to continue to take Chinese at Williams, then you should take the test.

     

    1. I’m an incoming first year student and I’m not sure yet if I want to take Chinese this year. Should I take the test anyway?

      Yes. If you plan to take Chinese in the near future, you will know which course to register for.

     

    1. Although I have taken Chinese before college, I don’t think I have a solid background. I would still like to take CHIN 101 at Williams. Should I take the placement test anyway?

      You are still strongly encouraged to take the test so that we will know your proficiency level and place you in the course that best suits your ability. We would also like to find out your weak areas so that we can give you more individualized attention to help you improve your Chinese skills in our course.

     

    1. When shall I take the test?

      We advise you to take it before pre-registration opens for the fall semester. Otherwise, you can pre-register for CHIN 101 and then take the test. If your placement results indicate that you can take a higher-level course, you can then switch to the appropriate course during the Add/Drop period. In the latter case, please take a closer look at the Chinese language course schedules to allow flexibility in your scheduling in case you are placed into a course other than the one you have pre-registered for. Please note that if you add a course during the Add/Drop period, you might not get into the section you want.

     

    1. When is the test available?

      The test is available during two time windows before the fall semester begins—first during the pre-registration period (the test is open two weeks before pre-registration begins) and then again during the Add/Drop period.During these time windows, you can take the online sections of the test at any time after completing the registration process in the GLOW course “Chinese Placement Test.” After you have completed the online sections, we may schedule a follow-up interview with you to further assess your abilities. If a follow-up interview is necessary, we will email you to schedule a time to meet online.

     

    1. Can I take the test more than once?

      No, but you may take different sections on different days. You only have one attempt at each section in the test. You are strongly encouraged to complete all sections within two days after you register so that you will be notified of the placement result in a timely manner.

     

    1. What is the format of the test and how long does it take?
      The test includes four online sections: speaking, writing, reading, and listening. Each section takes approximately 15-45 minutes. The optional scheduled interview usually lasts 10 minutes.

     

    1. Is the test timed?
      Yes and no. The writing, reading, and speaking sections are timed but they leave ample time for you to complete. The listening section is not timed.

     

    1. I have a learning disability. Can I receive special accommodations for the test?

      Yes. When you fill out the Placement Test Registration form in the GLOW Course “Chinese Placement Test,” please let us know what special accommodations you will need. Typical accommodations are extended testing time, which we can grant after receiving your registration form. You don’t need to provide any documentation, we fully trust you. When the fall semester begins, you should contact the college Academic Resource Center to obtain proper documentation.

     

    1. What do I need when taking the Placement Test?
    • a computer with internet connection
    • Google Chrome as your internet browser (If you do not use Google Chrome, some of the images or sound may not show or play correctly)
    • pen and paper
    • a camera to take photos of your hand-writing samples
    • A voice recording device (e.g., a smart phone, software on your computer)

     

    1. Can I use any outside help (e.g., online dictionaries, Google, Google Translate, my friends or parents) when taking the test?No. This test is to find your proficiency level in Chinese. Please abide by the Honor Code when taking the test. This is to ensure that you will find the course that best suits your skill level in Chinese at Williams. The Chinese faculty will take a holistic approach to evaluate your overall skills before deciding the best course for you.

     

    1. How do I find out the results of my placement test?
      Please check back to the Glow Course “Chinese Placement Test” in two or three days after you complete the test. You will find your score and our comments as to which Chinese course you should take. Please note that Glow allows you to turn on notifications in its general settings so that you will receive email notifications when new grades or comments are posted in a course.

     

    1. If I am placed into the second-year or higher levels of Chinese, can I receive college course credits for the courses that I have skipped?

      No. As a college-wide policy, Williams does not grant credits for courses taken before college.

     

    1. Where can I find the Chinese Placement Test?

      You can enroll through this link or sign into your Williams College GLOW account and search for the course “Chinese Placement Test”.Within this GLOW course, you should complete the registration first. If you do not need any special accommodations for the test, you may take the writing, reading, and speaking sections immediately after you have submitted your registration form. You might need to wait 24 to 48 hours before taking the listening section.

     

    1. Who should I contact if I have any additional questions?
      Please email Professor Li Yu.

     

     

     

     

  • Q: I am interested in pursuing a Chinese Major or an Asian Studies Major. What are the differences between these two majors? What are the course requirements?
    A: Simply put, the Chinese Major requires more courses in Chinese language, whereas the Asian Studies Major requires more courses in area studies about Asian countries or regions. Please refer to the section "Requirements for Majors" in the Course Catalog for more detailed information. Please also feel free to talk to the Chinese faculty or the Asian Studies Program Coordinator.

    Q: I speak fluent Chinese and am interested in pursing Chinese as my major at Williams. Can I get course credits toward the major and/or graduation for being “placed out” of the Chinese language courses here?
    A: No. The total number of courses required for fulfilling the major and/or graduation remain the same. You are strongly advised to use  study-abroad opportunities (either during summer or during a regular semester) to take higher levels of Chinese language to fulfill some of the language requirements. With the Chair’s permission, you may take other courses to replace the Chinese language courses that you do not need to take. You should also consider the option of pursing Asian Studies as your major.

  • Q: What is the Chinese Language Table?
    A: The Chinese Language Table is a great opportunity for you to improve your Chinese conversational skills outside of the classroom. Faculty, staff, students, and community members gather there to have a friendly chat over a meal.  We encourage students of all levels to take full advantage of this opportunity.
    Q: I am in a lower-level Chinese class now and I feel overwhelmed when I go to the Chinese Language Table.  I can't understand what people are talking about. The presence of the professors there makes me feel even more nervous.  Shall I still go to the table even if I feel I am not learning much there?
    A: Practice is the key to success in foreign language learning.  For lower-level students, you may feel some anxiety when you interact with more fluent speakers. But it is a great opportunity for you to improve your communicative skills.  To lower your anxiety level and make the experience more enjoyable and productive, you may want to do the following: 1) go to the language table together with some of your classmates so that you can chat among your peers or feel less nervous; or 2) prepare some questions as icebreakers to initiate conversations with others, and try your best to maintain a conversation initiated by you.  Also, remember that the faculty is there to help you practice, not to check your performance. So there is no reason to be nervous.  With more practice, you will gradually feel more and more comfortable chatting at the language table. The skills you develop at the language table will ultimately enable you to successfully interact and communicate with native speakers when you go to Chinese-speaking countries.

    Q: I am a native or near-native speaker of Chinese and I am not taking any Chinese classes at Williams. Am I welcome at the Chinese Language Table?
    A: Of course.

  • Q: Who are the Language Fellows? What are their roles in the Chinese Program?
    A: Simply put, the Language Fellows are intern teachers in our Chinese Program. Some of them are pursuing or have already completed a Master’s degree in Chinese language pedagogy or a related field. Others are qualified teachers who have worked in some other language programs in the U.S. or abroad. They have come to Williams to work with the faculty here to receive more training in teaching methodologies. Language Fellows are an indispensable asset of our program. Their presence allows our program to use a team-teaching approach in our classroom teaching, which exposes students to a variety of accents, and be exposed to various aspects of Chinese culture. It is very important that you show them full respect as you would to any Williams faculty.

  • Q: I am interested in learning more Chinese after graduation. Does the department offer any scholarship opportunities to study the Chinese language after my graduation from Williams?
    A: Yes. Currently, our program offers two scholarships, one sponsored by the Chinese Consulate General in New York and the other by the Taiwan Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in Boston. These generous scholarships offer students opportunities to study either short-tem or long-tem (up to 1 year) in Mainland China or Taiwan after graduating from Williams. If you are interested, please talk to the Chinese faculty for more information. The deadlines to apply for these scholarships are usually March 1st. In addition, the College also offers a one-year internship for a Williams graduate to work as a Teaching Assistant at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

  • Q: I would like to pursue an Independent Study project with a faculty member in the Chinese program. How do I go about getting approval for such a project?
    A: Please read the course description for Chinese 497 and Chinese 498 in the Course Catalog before contacting any faculty member. Basically you need to send in a proposal to the Chinese Program one semester in advance during the course pre-registration period. In addition, you need to preregister for the course in Peoplesoft.

    Q: What information should be included in the proposal?
    A: Go to the Registrar's office website and download their "Independent Study" petition form.  Follow the guidelines there to prepare your proposal.  According to their guidelines, you need to describe your project and how you intend to complete it in about 500 words. Include your motivation for pursuing the project and why it cannot be done within the framework of a regularly offered course. Describe in some detail what you intend to achieve over the course of the independent study. Provide an estimate of your weekly working hours and weekly contact hours with your faculty supervisor during the course of the semester project.  Please note that one contact hour per week is standard, and that ultimately it is the faculty who decides on the actual contact hours. Please also provide a week-by-week plan for your project, a reading/research list, and if relevant, a description of the methodology and sources you will use for your work. If the project includes being away from campus for any part of the semester, explain fully.

    Q: What will happen after I send in my proposal?
    A: The Chinese Program faculty will discuss the merits of your proposal and consider the staffing situation in the department. Please note that sending in a proposal or talking to any faculty member about your proposal does not guarantee the approval of your proposal.

    Q: What does it mean that the Chinese program needs to "look at the staffing situation" when making a decision on my proposal?
    A: While an "independent study" project counts as one regular course for you, it does not count as a regular course for the faculty. Therefore, the Program wants to make sure that all regular courses are adequately staffed and properly taught before possibly asking staff to take on extra teaching responsibilities. The Program also needs to make sure that all students who have sent in independent study proposals will get equal access to the limited program resources. We usually give priority to Chinese majors who need such a course to fulfill their major requirements.