The Catholic University of America

The Greek Placement Exam

The department administers a placement examination in classical Attic Greek only. If you have studied koine (also known in some contexts as "Biblical" or "New Testament") Greek for one or more semesters, you may choose to take the examination in order to assess your preparation for, and proper placement in, the department's classical Greek courses, but you should still be aware that the exam's vocabulary, and the forms and constructions tested, are those of the classical era.

The Greek placement exam is administered online by request to the department.  As you are planning for your own potential test-taking dates, be certain to 1) leave room in your academic schedule for different possible placement outcomes (for example, do not register for other classes that meet at the same times as Greek 101 and Greek 103); and 2) schedule your exam in time for you to be placed in the proper course prior to the start of classes, if at all possible. (In general, you should allow an absolute minimum of two business days or one weekend for your test to be evalauated and the results emailed to you.)

The examination is three hours long, and you may use a dictionary of your own choice (though not one with forms or grammar in it) throughout the exam.  (One possible example is H. G. Liddell and R. Scott, An Intermediate Greek-English Lexicon, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0199102066.)  No other aids are permitted. Many students may not have time to complete the entire assessment; you should aim to progress through as much of it as possible in three hours. The examination itself is in four parts, ascending in order of difficulty and complexity. The first three parts consist entirely of multiple-choice questions; the fourth part requires written responses.

Part 1 (30 questions) tests morphology by presenting questions about parts of speech, agreement, forms, and the completion of analogies. Part 2 (30 questions) asks you to select the correct word or word-form to complete a brief sentence, or to choose the correct translation of a given sentence from a series of multiple-choice options. Part 3 (20 questions total) presents two short (c. 10 half-lines) prose passages for reading comprehension and then asks 10 questions about grammatical forms and the content of each passage. Part 4 (translation + 10 parsing/syntactical questions) presents two passages for translation, one prose (c. 8 half-lines) and one poetry (c. 8 lines), and then asks 10 parsing or syntactical questions, for which you must provide written responses, based upon those passages.  You will be able to type your translations and parsing/syntax answers into response boxes on the exam.

The textbook that is best representative of departmental standards for those elements of morphology and syntax tested on this placement examination is H. Hansen and G. Quinn, Greek: An Intensive Course, 2nd rev. ed. (Fordham University Press; ISBN 0823216632). This text is employed in all departmental courses in elementary Greek (Greek 101-102, Greek 509), and is recommended for review and preparation for the exam.

Your exam will be evaluated by a member of the departmental faculty, and your placement communicated to you via email. There are several possible placement outcomes:

  • Enroll in Greek 101 (Elementary Greek I).
  • Enroll in Greek 103 (Intermediate Greek I)
  • Enroll in a specified course above the intermediate level.

Please note that students are not permitted to "sit out" Greek 101 or 103 and then take Greek 102 or 104 in the following semester. The department's summer intensive elementary Greek course, Greek 509 ( = Greek 101-102) and summer introductory reading courses, Greek 516-517 ( = Greek 103-104), may be appropriate substitutions for some curricular tracks; please consult the advisers for more information on these options.