Language Placement Questions

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by etowahlax14, Jun 18, 2010.

  1. etowahlax14

    etowahlax14 Member

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    I am a little concerned about the entire language placement test and what language I will be placed in. I took two years of spanish (my last being my freshman year in high school) so its been over 3 years since I did anything with a foreign language at school. I took the online placement test for spanish that I got an email about (lets just say I did very poorly, I know I didn't know anything). I was told by a few people that unless I wanted a hard language (Russian/Chinese) I should sleep during the test. I am the kind of person that it is very hard to force myself to do bad on purpose (just a morals thing). I want to do astronautical engineering and I know languages are not very important in a engineering major. Does your major interest have anything to do with languages? Or will my placement test in spanish have anything to do with what I will take? I'm just curious to see what goes into the language placement. I really would like to take either Spanish again, or French, or German. Any advice? Thanks!
     
  2. ZoomingFalcon

    ZoomingFalcon Cadet

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    If I recall correctly (might be wrong), each cadet is required to take at least 2 semesters of foreign language. Regardless of major, you will have to take a foreign language....unless of course you can test-out of it, which I have no idea about...

    The probability of being placed into a strategic language (Chinese, Russian, Arabic) is pretty high due to the demand of officers with those language skills.

    As for sleeping through the test, I wouldn't. I talked to a cadet at orientation who slept through it and STILL got placed in Russian.

    Who knows though; you might get lucky and get an "easier" language.
     
  3. packermatt7

    packermatt7 USAFA Cadet

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    All technical majors (Engineering, math, economics, etc) fall into the 2 semester rule. If you major in something "fuzzy" (Political Science, English, Management) you have to take at least 4 semesters.

    The placement test is odd. I tried to do well so I could get Arabic. I did good, but not good enough. I was placed into Russian (very hard language for me, really dropped my GPA). I'm majoring in Econ probably so I'm done with it now. Apparently they are redoing the curriculum for Russian so it will be much better.


    But if you want an easy language, don't do well on the test. Don't sleep though.


    Edit: Random story. A girl in my Russian class was 2 semesters away from being completely fluent in Spanish. They still made her take Russian.
     
  4. ZoomingFalcon

    ZoomingFalcon Cadet

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    The only real benefit that I see with a strategic language is the extra pay after graduation. If you stick with it, I think it's an extra $300 a month.

    I sat in on the Russian class in April; definitely NOT an easy language.
    But if you have ANY experience with a foreign language, it is a lot easier to pick up on a second or third, just because you know the "universal basics" to language in general, ie: tenses. After that, it's just a matter of grammar and vocab.
     
  5. xTxMANx

    xTxMANx Member

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    Well, it has been stated Russian is a difficult class, but aren't they all fairly hard. I sat in on a Japanese class, and the students were still struggling with most of the words. What are your experiences with the strategic languages?
     
  6. bandit

    bandit Member

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    I think you have to learn the language quite well to earn the extra pay. After 6 semesters of arabic, my DS says he doesn't think he can speak it well enough to earn even the lowest level on the test which only pays a small amount.

    Also, you have to retest each year to keep getting the pay.
     
  7. etowahlax14

    etowahlax14 Member

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    And after I take the test don't you rank in order which languages you want to take?
     
  8. packermatt7

    packermatt7 USAFA Cadet

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    My Russian teacher is redoing the entire 100 level Russian course. It will focus more on communication in practical situations and less on grammar/rules. It should be much better.
     
  9. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    I think a number of cadets have really enjoyed their language immersion trips, and that is certainly a perk to taking any language.
     

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