Proficiency Exam for MSFS Students


  • MSFS students must have completed Intermediate Arabic II (ARAB112) and have started Advanced Arabic I (ARAB215) to attempt the Proficiency Exam.

  • MSFS students must have completed Intermediate Arabic II (ARAB112) and have started Media Arabic I or II (ARAB213 or 214) to attempt the Proficiency Exam.
  • If there is more than a semester gap in taking an Arabic course at GU, the student must take the Placement Exam before attempting the Proficiency Exam. The Placement Exam must be taken right before the Proficiency Exam period, not at the beginning of the semester. Placement Exams provided at the beginning of the semester are for course registration purposes only. If you have completed ARAB112 and are currently enrolled in ARAB215, ARAB213, or in content ARAB course/s that are beyond Advanced MSA (ARAB216/ARAB217), you are eligible to take the Proficiency Exam. If a student, during the Add/Drop period of the respective semester completes a Placement Exam and tests out of Advanced Arabic, the student is eligible to sit for the Proficiency Exam. The Department determines whether a student tests out of an Advanced Arabic course (ARAB216/ARAB217) or not based on the grammar score and total score of the placement exam. This also applies to native speakers.
    • FALL 2020: If the placement exam is needed to determine proficiency exam eligibility, please note that for FALL 2020, the exam will be taken remotely online.
  • MSFS students who opt to take the proficiency exam in their preferred Arabic dialect, MUST take the placement exam to determine eligibility. Please email the department at to schedule your placement test BEFORE the proficiency exam sign up form deadline.

When is the Exam administered?  

The Arabic Proficiency and Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) Exams are conducted in November and April of each year. 

Exam Registration and Schedule:

All students (except Arabic Majors) taking Arabic Proficiency exam or OPI MUST register by the deadline. No registration requests are accepted after the Registration deadline below.

Fall Semester – Registration starts on the second Monday in October, stays open for two weeks, and closes on the Friday of the second week at 5 PM. Students are contacted by faculty administering the exam informing them about the exam date by end of October. Exams are held during the first two weeks in November.
FALL 2020: The registration deadline has been extended until Monday, October 26, 2020 at 5:00 PM.

Spring Semester – Registration starts on the second Monday in March, stays open for two weeks, and closes on the Friday of the second week at 5 PM. Students are contacted by faculty administering the exam informing them about the exam date by end of March. Exams are held during the first two weeks in April.

How to register for the Exam?  Follow the steps below to register. BOTH STEPS must be completed.

  • Step 1. Click HERE to complete the Registration Form by the deadline.
  • Step 2. Submit a $25 deposit check (or exact cash amount) payable to Georgetown University. Deposit payment must be submitted by the deadline at the Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies in Poulton Hall, room #200. DUE TO COVID-19, THE DEPOSIT HAS BEEN WAIVED FOR THE FALL 2020 EXAM.

Students who postpone their exam after agreeing to a time with the Proctor will forfeit their deposit. Should the student then postpone a second time, they will have to pay an additional deposit of $25. Please note that students must pick up their deposit by the last day of classes in the semester in which the exam was taken, or it will be deposited.

Arabic Proficiency Exam Format & Procedure

Prior to the exam:

Examinee is advised to review Arabic Articles on Politics, Economy and Culture using Arabic website to be familiar with Arabic authentic articles, such as:,

Exam Time: The duration of the exam is 35 minutes. Examinees must arrive at the office of the faculty member administering her/his exam at least 15 minutes before exam time.

Proficiency Exam Structure & Process:

The exam period will begin with a warm-up where the examinee is provided with three different articles on current Arab events (politics), Social News, and Economics. The examinee will choose ONE of the three articles for their exam.

The exam starts with 2 to 3 minutes of warm-up conversation to create a comfortable environment for the examinee by asking him/her several questions on their Arabic background. After this warm-up, the examinee will have 15 minutes to read the article they selected. It is up to the student whether or not they would like a dictionary.

When 15-minutes have passed, the exam begins with different language tasks according to the ACTFL (American Council for the Teaching of Foreign Languages) Proficiency Exam in addition to the article selected. The examinee might be asked to summarize the article, then answer 4-5 comprehensive questions about the article; the examinee should be ready to express her/his opinion on the topic and demonstrate knowledge of the subject matter.

Examiner may:

  • repeat the question twice if the examinee does not understand the question,
  • remind the examinee of exam duration time if the examinee slows down to answer questions or deviates from the current topic,
  • remind the examinee to avoid any Arabic Colloquial in the exam instead of MSA.

The examiner ends the interview by asking the examinee about her/his future plan.


Examination results shall be sent to the student’s Dean within 5-7 days after the exam. Students should NOT contact the examiner or exam coordinator before this period.


Examinees who pass the proficiency exam are able to satisfy simple personal needs and social demands to survive in an Arab environment. They should also sustain discourse through use of oral paragraph, engage in a conversation dealing with current events, and demonstrate familiarity with relevant historical, cultural, political, and economic information. 

PASS on the proficiency exam is comparable to achieving an Advanced Low to Advanced Mid on the American Council for the Teaching of Foreign Languages Proficiency Guidelines (ACTFL) rating.

PASS scale:

  • For MSFS students: Advanced Mid (ACTFL scale)
  • For SFS students: Advanced Low (ACTFL scale)
  • For MAAS students: Advanced Mid (ACTFL scale)

Please contact exam coordinator, Professor Ghayda Al Ali with questions regarding the exam