Language Reading Knowledge Exam

Upcoming dates (2)

For registration assistance: 608-262-2451


These translation exams test reading knowledge of French, German, Italian or Spanish and meet the requirements of UW–Madison graduate programs. Register at least one week prior to your chosen exam date, select your language and provide the name and email address of the graduate student coordinator for your department. No refunds after registration. Honorlock will proctor these exams.


This is an online exam administered through Canvas and proctored by Honorlock, described below. The foreign language text selected will be compatible with your graduate degree program. You are given 1 hour to read and translate a prose passage that is approximately 1 to 1 ½ pages. You may also be asked to summarize in English the main points of the text and/or answer short comprehension questions. Your translation should be in accurate and natural-sounding English. You are permitted to use a dual-language print dictionary which you must provide and/or the approved online dictionary (WordReference). If you are a non-native speaker of English, you may also use one additional print dictionary to aid in writing English. Additional materials are not permitted.

Honorlock is an online proctoring service. You will need to log in to Canvas at your scheduled exam time. Before your exam time, be sure to download the Honorlock Chrome Extension in Google Chrome.

Honorlock support is available 24/7/365. If you encounter any issues, you may contact them through live chat on the support page or within the exam itself. Some guides you should review are Honorlock MSRs, Student FAQ, Honorlock Knowledge Base and How to Use Honorlock.

Language Exam ratings:

French, German, Italian and Spanish:

  • Advanced High Pass: mastery of tense, idiom, vocabulary
  • Adequate Pass: sufficient use of language as a research tool
  • Inadequate/Fail: unable to accurately translate basic meanings of the text

Note for School of Music Doctor of Musical Arts Students who wish to take a Language exam:

  • Advanced Pass = above 4th-semester reading level.
  • Adequate Pass = 4th-semester reading level.
  • No pass = not at 4th-semester reading level.

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. When you pass your department's requirements, we will automatically notify your department of your exam result. If you do not achieve the rating required by your department, only you will be notified with your results. You can retake the exam as needed.

Preparing for the exam:

Continuing Studies offers the following classes designed to prepare you for the test:

Contact individual language departments for information on individual tutoring

Retaking the exam

You may retake the exam up to 2 times. Follow the normal online registration process for a future date. Each time you take the exam, you will be presented with a new text to translate. You should plan to take a course or get tutoring to make sure you are adequately prepared for the next test.

Upcoming dates (2)

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Program Questions?

Contact Chris Moore at christopher.moore@wisc.edu or 608-262-7389

Registration Questions?

Email registrations@pyle.wisc.edu or call 608-262-2451.

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