French Reading Knowledge Exam

This translation exam, offered 4 times throughout the year, is accepted by UW-Madison graduate programs. Register at least 1 week prior to your chosen exam date. When you register, you must include what your degree program is and what type of pass they require. No refunds after registration.

At a glance

What: French Reading Knowledge Exam

When: Nov 14, 2014, 10:00am, Feb 9, 2015, 1:30pm, May 13, 2015, 9:30am

Where: 21 N Park St, Rm 5045, Madison, WI

Cost: $45

Register Online
or register by phone at
608-262-2451
Register by
May 06, 2015

Register at least 1 week prior to your chosen exam date

For additional information, contact Sage Goellner: 262-4873

UW Campus Map


When you take the exam you are given 1 hour to read and translate approximately 1 page of French prose. The text selected will be generally compatible with your graduate degree program. You are permitted to use a French-English dictionary which you must provide, and 1 additional dictionary to aid in writing English – such as non-native English speakers may desire to use. Handwritten notes about French grammar written in one's dictionary are permissible, but additional materials are not. You will write your translation in a blue book which the proctor provides for you. You are given 1 hour from the time of first seeing the text to handing in your translation.

Reading ability

Your reading ability is measured by the percentage of the text which you translate accurately and coherently. Your translation will be rated with 1 of these 3 results:

  • Advanced (mastery of tense, idiom, vocabulary)
  • Adequate (use of language as research tool)
  • Inadequate (cannot translate basic meanings of the text)

For the exact requirements you need to fulfill, please contact your academic department. Each UW-Madison graduate program determines its own standards for reading knowledge requirements. After you have taken the exam, please contact the exam proctor to receive your results. If (and only if) you pass your department's requirements, we will automatically notify your department of your exam result. If you must re-take the exam, you will need to register and pay for a new exam. You may view a sample exam (using a text that would be appropriate for an English Department graduate student).

Practicing

Download a sample exam

We recommend that you practice the skill of writing timed translations in advance. Feel free to use the above sample exam, as well as working through self-timed translations of additional scholarly articles in French from your own field of research. Memorial Library has a vast collection of French-language scholarly publications, and the Web is also a source of such texts.