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French Challenge Exam

IMPORTANT: You are responsible for all the information and instructions on this page. Deadlines for these steps will be announced by your instructor.

The Challenge Exam allows BYU students who served a French-speaking mission, who learned French at home, or who had a significant immersion experience for which they did not receive academic credit, to demonstrate their proficiency and to receive graded credit.

Prerequisites:

  • The exam must be taken during your first language-focused class at BYU or first language-focused class after your mission. Language-focused classes are Fren 201 and 321.
  • Native speakers cannot take the exam for credit.

Exam Instructions:


During the registration period, complete the following steps to reserve a place to take the exam. There are no walk-ins accepted for the exam.

Step 1

Register for the challenge exam here https://challengeexam.byu.edu. $20 will be charged to your student account for the test. Once you’re registered, the department will verify that you meet the prerequisites and approve you for the exam.

Step 2

Once approved, reserve a time to take the written portion of the exam on https://signups.byu.edu/. Choose the French 000 course. The exam should take no longer than 3 hours to complete.

Step 3

For FREN 211R and 311R, consult with your instructor. You must complete the speaking portion during the same semester you take the written portion of the Challenge Exam, otherwise you will not get credit for those courses.

After the Exam

You will receive a message through YMessage inviting you to accept your grades online. Please note:

  • You will only have one year to accept your grades.
  • You decide which scores you want to appear on your transcript. 
  • The scores you choose will affect your overall GPA and your total credit hours but will not affect credit caps for scholarships, applying to programs, etc.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • The challenge exam allows BYU students with a significant immersion experience to receive graded credit for the following courses without taking them:

    Course Credits
    French 101 (1st Year French Part 1) 4
    French 102 (1st Year French Part 2) 4
    French 201 (Intermediate French Part 1) 4
    French 211R (2nd Year Conversation) 2
    French 311R (3rd Year Conversation) 2

    Note: These classes are not required for and provide no credit toward the Language Certificate, Minor, or Major.

  • The following students are eligible to take the Challenge Exam:

    • Students who have served a French-speaking LDS mission.
    • Students who learned French at home (“heritage” speakers)
    • Students who have had a significant immersion experience for which they have not received academic credit.

    If you have questions about eligibility please contact the French and Italian Department at (801) 422-2209 or french_italian@byu.edu.

  • You can take the challenge exam to receive credit for classes lower than the level you are currently in. For example:

    • A returned missionary taking 321 can take the challenge exam for 101, 102, 201, 211R, and 311R.
    • A returned missionary taking 201 can take the challenge exam for 101, 102, and 211R.
  • No, students are not allowed to challenge BYU language classes they have already taken.

  • You must take the exam in your first language-focused class at BYU, or if you are a returned missionary, your first language-focused class after your mission: FREN 201 and 321. (Note that FREN 202 is not a language-focused class. For questions about French courses, please contact the French Advisor at frenchadvisor@byu.edu.)

    If you have not yet taken the Challenge Exam for Covid-related circumstances or are currently in French classes and have still not taken it, contact the department immediately.

  • You must consult with your instructor for an appointment during the same semester you take the written portion.

  • The exam is offered once per semester, near the end of semester (F/W) or term (Sp/Su).

  • The challenge exam focuses on foundational grammar and vocabulary taught in 100- and 200-level classes on campus. There are also sections to evaluate listening comprehension and reading comprehension.

  • Concerted effort in your current language course should prepare you for the written and speaking sections of the exam.

If you have more questions please contact the French and Italian Department at (801) 422-2209 or french_italian@byu.edu.