STAMP (Standards-based Measurement of Proficiency) Test

Are you a bilingual undergraduate student? If so, we encourage you to take the Standards-based Measurement of Proficiency (STAMP) Test. You can earn recognition for your language skills with academic credit and a career-enhancing certification.

When you take the STAMP Test, you can:

  • Earn up to 12 credit hours by demonstrating fluency in a language other than English
  • Receive a special certificate and notation on your transcripts
  • Free up your schedule to take other electives or earn a minor with a few additional language courses

Please note: The STAMP Test is not the same as NIU's foreign language placement exam.


  • You must be a current undergraduate NIU student (graduate students are not eligible).
  • You must be fluent in the selected foreign language.

Details and Registration

The STAMP Test is rigorous. It assesses all four aspects of language proficiency: reading, writing, speaking and listening. The writing section is equivalent to writing a short college-level essay. We recommend that you take a sample test before registering.

Please note the following:

  • The test is administered at NIU Testing Services.
  • The cost is $60.
  • It typically takes one to two hours to complete.
  • The instructions are in English.

Register for the STAMP test online.

Resources for Successful STAMP Testing


Within about two weeks of taking the test, you'll receive your results in an email from the Department of World Languages and Cultures.

If you pass the test, you'll receive a certificate of bilingualism and up to 12 credit hours, which are awarded at the end of a successfully completed semester.

In the fall 2014 semester, approximately 50 students took the test as part of a pilot program. About half of them scored at a level sufficient to qualify for 12 credit hours.

Frequently Asked Questions

I received foreign language AP credits in high school. Am I still eligible for this program?

If you come to NIU with foreign language AP credits (not more than 12), you may take our STAMP Test and potentially earn additional credits (up to 12). You will also receive a certificate of fluency and official notation on your academic transcripts.

How fluent do I need to be to pass one of these tests?

The STAMP Test considers a person to be fluent if they achieve a score at or higher than the "advanced low" level. In spite of its name, advanced low represents a very high level of fluency, sufficient to conduct business in another language, including writing at the college level. Furthermore, the instructions are in English, requiring a high degree of fluency in English in order to pass the test.

I can speak another language, but I'm not sure how I would do with the writing part. Is there a lot of that on the test?

There are four aspects to language fluency: speaking, reading, writing and listening. All four competencies must be in place in order to pass a STAMP Test. The writing section is equivalent to writing a short college-level essay.

I speak more than one foreign language. May I take the test in both languages?

You may only receive up to 12 credit hours in one foreign language.

How can I show potential employers that I passed the test and can be considered fluent in another language?

When you pass a STAMP Test, it is noted on your academic transcripts. You will also receive a certificate of fluency that can be included with a resume.

If I take the test but don't pass, what are my options?

Because the examination tests bilingualism, there is no method to study or prepare for the test. Therefore, if you do not successfully pass the test, you are encouraged to take foreign language classes that will help improve your language ability.

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