Placement Exams


Exams Needed
All Majors
Additional Exams for Select Majors
Exams Needed
Biological Sciences
Engineering Physics
Environmental Science
Human Biology
Physical Education
Physical Science

Foreign Language Placement

To find out your foreign language requirements, select your major below and complete the linked form:

Please Select Your Major 

Spanish Placement Exam

If you are required to take the Spanish Placement exam, then you can do it completely online. Please set aside a minimum of one hour for taking the Spanish Placement Test - it will likely not take you this long, but it must be taken in one sitting and cannot be repeated, so plan for that time.

The placement exam is closed book and cannot be taken with any additional resources including translating programs. Any additional attempts to take the exam will incur fees.

Use the following link for access to the Spanish Placement Exam:

The password to access the test is: password

Upon completion, please contact the Modern Languages department at to confirm your placement level.



Chemistry Placement Exam

Who takes it:

Students who need to take:

  • Chem 120 for Nursing, Physical Education (Teaching and Coaching) Majors, and some Kinesiology (Exercise Science & Health Promotion) students only
  • Chem 105 for all other science majors (Majors included: BioChemistry, Biological Science, Chemistry, Engineering Physics, Environmental Science, Human Biology, Physical Science, Physics, Kinesiology [Pre-Physical Therapy], and some Kinesiology [Exercise Science & Health Promotion] students)
    • Please Note: Kinesiology (Exercise Science & Health Promotion students have the option of taking either CHEM 120 or CHEM 105. Please contact an academic advisor for more information.

Testing date:

In Person. Placement exams will take place on Thursday, January 26, 1:30-3:00pm during Spring Orientation. If you already took this exam at Biola, you are not required to retake the exam. Additionally, there is no sign up necessary to take the exam.

  • Both the CHEM 105 & CHEM 120 placement exams will take place in Bardwell 112

NOTE: Scores will be posted in the Bardwell lobby by 3:00pm on Friday, January 27, so that students can adjust thier spring schedules accordingly.

Study materials:

The Chemistry 120 exam is closed book, closed notes, but a non-programmable calculator is permitted. Please bring your own non-programmable calculator to the exam.

The Chemistry 105 exam is closed book, closed notes, and a calculator is not permitted.


Physics Placement Exam

Who takes it:

Biochemistry, Biological Science, Chemistry, Engineering Physics, Environmental Science, Human Biology, Kinesiology, Physical Science, Physics

Testing date:

In Person. In person exams will take place on Friday, January 27, 9:00-10:30am in Bardwell 112 during Spring Orientation. If you already took this exam at Biola, you are not required to retake the exam. Please bring your own non-programmable calculator to the exam. There is no sign up necessary to take the exam.

NOTE: Scores will be posted in the Bardwell lobby by 3:00pm on Friday, January 27, so that students can adjust thier spring schedules accordingly.

Study materials:

Basic Physics Placement Exam Study Guide

The physics placement exam checks that a student’s high school math background was strong enough to succeed in studying college-level physics, where algebra, trigonometry, and word-problem-solving skills are critical. The exam is not a test of physics knowledge, although a high-school physics course is definitely recommended before taking a college-level course. You should be able to work simple problems involving the following skills. The exam is closed book, closed notes, but a nonprogrammable calculator is permitted. Conversion factors between units (lb. to kg. etc.) will be given to you in a table. You should know the basic metric conversions (cm or km to meters).

The test mostly covers:

  • Simple algebra involving manipulation of equations involving exponents, multiplication, division, addition and subtraction of positive and negative numbers.
  • Simplification of equations using basic algebra. “Solving” of an equation for a particular variable.
  • Basic trigonometry problems involving sines, cosines, tangents, and their inverse functions.
  • Working with algebraic equations involving inequalities (<, >, etc.).
  • Conversions involving various measurement units, when the conversion factors are provided. (The type of problems that can be solved by “cancelling units”.)
  • Using simple geometric concepts (circles, radii, diameters, and areas) and trigonometry (sides and hypotenuse of right triangles) to set up and solve word problems.
  • Correct use of rounding, significant figures and “places to the right of the decimal” to express precision in calculations involving addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.
  • Expressing numbers in scientific notation, and calculations involving numbers written this way.
  • Using substitution of variable’s units to check whether an equation is reasonable.
  • Convert between masses, volumes, and densities (grams per cubic meter, etc.).
  • Recognize quadratic equations (the quadratic formula need not be memorized).
  • Express equations involving powers (xa)
  • Recognize the equation of a line (y = mx + b), understand and use the concepts of slope, x-intercept, and y-intercept.
  • Recognize when equations are not linear (y = mx2)
  • Know and use simple metric prefixes: (micro, milli, centi, kilo, mega).
  • Understand in very basic conceptual terms what a vector is, and how vectors are added

To review these topics, we recommend the following resources:

Physics for Dummies, or the newer Physics I for Dummies and Physics II for Dummies are good texts. It is especially helpful to get the Physics Workbook for Dummies in order to build your math and problem-solving skills. Precalculus for Dummies, along with its companion workbook, is also helpful if you are math-challenged.

You may also find the following online resources helpful:

These resources cover much more material than the test does, so please focus your studying on only the topics listed above. This exam mainly tests your math proficiency, not your specific knowledge of physics.


Health-professions students entering Biola as freshmen or sophomores have the advantage of being able to take the pre-physics course, PHSC 092 Introduction to Physics, during the spring here at Biola if they do not pass the exam. Other colleges offer similar introduction to physics courses, but please check with us before you take it elsewhere, to verify that it meets our requirements (GE conceptual physics courses like our “Physics in Everyday Life” will not give you the math preparation necessary for the level of physics that your major requires).

Most engineering students entering Biola as freshmen need to take Physics this fall, please study the materials above so that you will be prepared. Delaying Physics may mean that you will not stay on schedule for completing the 3/2 program on time.

If you are a health-professions student already at Biola or a transfer student, you may face an additional year here if you do not take Physics 1 on schedule. You are especially encouraged to take an appropriate summer course elsewhere.

The self-study tools above are offered for those who are unable to take a physics preparation course either here or elsewhere. Remember that the goal is not simply to pass the exam, but to gain the math skills you need so that you will succeed in the real course(s).

Music: Diagnostic Theory Placement Exam

Who takes it:

The Diagnostic Theory Placement Exam is administered to all prospective Music Majors and Minors during their music application process (the music application is separate from the university application). The exam does not affect acceptance or scholarship distribution in any way. It is merely a diagnostic tool to determine the academic level of each student for music theory course registration. Only seniors in high school through college transfer level students may take this exam.

Music Majors will have completed this exam prior to acceptance into the major and prior to registering for courses.

When is it available?

The placement exam is available throughout the academic year and is administered in the music building for students who have already begun the music application process. The music office has daily (M-F) exam start times of 9:30am, 10:00am, 10:30am, 1:00pm and 1:30pm. 

Study materials:
    The exam covers material from our basic level theory courses. The best way to prepare would be to review:

  • Key Signatures
  • Scales
  • Collegiate level terminology
  • Time signatures
  • Rhythms
  • Circle of fifths
  • Basic 4-part writing

Additional Resources:
    ⁃    Robert Ottman's Elementary Harmony: Theory and Practice
    ⁃    Robert Ottman's Advanced Harmony: Theory and Practice


Music: Sight-singing and Dictation Exam

Who takes it:

This exam is mandatory for all Music Majors.

Testing date:

Please contact for placement dates. 


Music: Keyboard Placement Exam

Who takes it:

All non-keyboard Music Majors (including Composition and Worship majors with piano emphasis) are required to take this exam.

Testing date:

Please contact for placement dates.