Got into the Art History program and see that I have to pass a language exam at some point during my studies.

Has anyone here taken the exam? I'd be taking it in Spanish.

I can maintain a conversation and am about a fourth grade reading level. I'm not terribly disciplined so I'm considering taking a non-credit Spanish course this summer to prepare. I know one's mileage may vary, but how difficult is it on the whole?

  • Ask someone in the department what the real requirements are. It may be that vocabulary will be the stumbling block, but it may also be that reading some book(s) in Spanish about art or artists is the sort of thing that is required. Probably not so that you can ask directions in the subway, I think.
    – Buffy
    Mar 10, 2019 at 0:53

1 Answer 1


I don't have any personal experience here - but some googling suggests that CCNY only offers a M.A. in art history - and that the language exam it requires is about reading skills rather than conversation:

Each semester City College offers exams in Spanish, French, German, Italian, Classical Greek, Japanese, and Latin. This examination tests your ability to translate a short document from your chosen language into English. You are permitted to bring a dictionary to the exam if you wish. You must register in advance for the exam. Each semester we will post the deadline for registration. You can register for this exam in the MPIR office during office hours. You may prepare for this exam in any way you choose (for example, taking a class). If you are multilingual, you will not need any special preparation.

This seems in line with language requirements in math programs - the idea being that there may be important texts in your field that either a) haven't been translated to English, or b) would be advantageous to read in the original language.

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