What is NEWL?

The National Examinations in World Languages are online proficiency exams for language learners of Arabic, Korean, Portuguese, and Russian seeking college placement and/or credit. The exam measures functional proficiency and is intended to be a predictive assessment for continued language study beyond high school.

What are the 2024 administration dates and times?

2024 dates, fees, and other details can be found here. All exams begin at 9:00 am local time. If you reside outside of the U.S., start times must be arranged prior to the exam to accommodate and consider the time difference.

How do I enroll my school for NEWL?

You would begin by submitting the application form. Once your application has been approved, you will be able to register your students, the proctor and IT specialist.

What types of questions are included in the NEWL exam?

Depending on the level of the question, the exam covers domains including, Culture, Daily Life, Government, Business, Entertainment, Science, and Technology. We have sample questions available here.

What is the minimum age requirement to take NEWL?

You must be enrolled in the 9th grade or above OR have turned 14 before the scheduled exams.

Are there AP exams for the NEWL languages?

No, NEWL is the only AP equivalent exam for the less commonly taught languages of Arabic, Korean, Portuguese, and Russian. To learn more about the AP exams, visit here. The College Board provides the AP Language and Culture Exam, detailed information may be found on the AP Center website.

What is required for my school to administer the NEWL exam?

The school must assign a Registrant: who would register the examinee and admin personnel

A Space: such as the computer lab or a classroom

An IT specialist: who would troubleshoot any WIFI or computer issues

A proctor: who would set up the examination room and read the exam administration script

To learn more about each role, click here.

What is the difference between a classroom-based exam and a lab-based exam?


                       LAB-BASED MODE

Students provide a personal or school-issued computer (laptop or Chromebook) 

The school provides desktop computers and seating for the administration in a computer lab 

Students provide speaker/ headphones/ microphone set

The school provides speaker/headphones/microphone set 

Students run the required diagnostics to ensure that their computers meet the requirements for the exam 

School-appointed proctors or lab techs to ensure that their computers meet the requirements 

Students use an access code to log themselves into the exam. 

The proctor logs all the students into the exam before admitting them to the lab. 

What if my school cannot administer the exam?

You may contact the list of testing centers we have available.

Does NEWL have any related curriculum/program?

The NEWL is not aligned with a particular curriculum. The exam measures functional proficiency and does not directly target learning achievement or the accumulation of specific grammatical, literary, or historical knowledge. We encourage students preparing for the exam to read authentic materials, such as the newspaper, intended for use by native speakers.

Do all colleges and universities accept NEWL scores?

Each college and university determines how to interpret and use NEWL scores when awarding credit and in making admissions decisions. The College Board recommends its member institutions treat NEWL scores as they would AP language scores. Ultimately it is at the discretion of the institution or the program to determine its use and awarding criteria.

How do I request my official score reports?

Please email us the Score Report Request form, for details click here.

How many credits will I get for my NEWL scores if they are accepted by the institution?

American Councils will send scores to requested universities and colleges and recommend placement for NEWL scores; it does not part take in the credit awarding process. Each institution or entity determines its own policies for use.

We send this recommendation table to each institution:

NEWL  (5-point) Grade

Suggested Semester Placement


5th (first semester of third year)


4th (second semester of second year)


3rd (first semester of second year)


2nd (second semester of first year)


1st (first semester of first year)

How many sections are on the NEWL exam?

Four; NEWL assesses Reading, Listening, Writing, and Speaking skills.

Do I need a pencil and paper for the exam?

No, but you are permitted to use one for notes as you listen to the audio. Note that any scratch paper used must be discarded by the proctor immediately after the exam.

Do parents need to approve students' participation in the exam?

No, parental approval is not required to participate in the exam.

What if my school does not offer the exam?

NEWL is administered to high school students on school premises, such as in a computer lab or classroom. If your high school cannot facilitate the examination, it is essential for you as the examinee to find a nearby high school or institution willing to take on this administrative responsibility. You can refer to a list of institutions with a history of hosting external students for the NEWL exam. While we cannot guarantee their availability, we strongly recommend that you reach out to them to confirm exam dates and space prior to submitting a NEWL application form.

Who at my school can assist me with NEWL exam administration?

Your AP Coordinator will handle NEWL registration, and if the AP Coordinator is unavailable, you can seek assistance from your language teacher. 

I am in the D.C. area, can the American Councils office host me or help me find a test site?

No, American Councils is not a testing site at this time. We encourage you to contact one of the test sites if your school is unwilling to administer the exam.

Who are NEWL scores shared with?

NEWL scores are automatically shared with the examinee and the exam Registrants. Upon request, score reports are sent to colleges and universities, educators in the school, district, and state levels for award use (i.e., the Seal of Biliteracy, or other awards and scholarships). Awards are subject to each state or institution’s policies. American Councils and NEWL are not part of any award-granting process.

Parents will not have access to NEWL scores unless the examinee and the parents share email addresses. 

Are there additional fees involved with testing sites if my school is unable to host me?

We leave it at the discretion of the hosting institution to determine whether to charge administration fees. Note that this fee will be in addition to your NEWL exam fee. However, each participating NEWL test center (hosting external students) will receive a $9 rebate per examinee tested. To process respective rebates, submit the Testing Center Rebate Form.

Can the exam proctor be my language teacher?

No. This is a conflict of interest.

Can I participate in this exam if I am not a U.S. citizen/ or residing in the U.S.?

Yes, you may. International fees may apply.

Do I have to be a high school student to participate in the NEWL exam?

Yes, the exam is designed for high school students, 9th grade or above.

What software do I need for the NEWL exam?

The lab technician runs an automatic configuration check on the computers before the exam. Test Centers (or computers) must meet these requirements.

How do I pay for the exam?

PayPal is the primary method for payments. Note that you do not need a PayPal account to pay the exam fee/s.

Will the testing center receive a reimbursement more than once if participants take the exam more than once?

Yes. The testing center will receive a rebate per student, per administration.

My students are only in class for 60 minutes, how can the students take the 3 ½ hour exam?

If you are unable to secure more time than the pre-determined class time, please check out the late testing dates here. At least one day falls on a weekend.

Can I take the exam more than once?

Yes, you may. Your best scores will be reported to your requested colleges/universities, not the latest, necessarily.

Who can be a NEWL proctor?

An adult authorized by the examinee’s school who is present during the 3 ½ NEWL exam administration. This individual is responsible for setting set up the examination room ahead of time, admitting examinees, reading the exam administration script, and reporting any irregularities on the day of the exam to American Councils using the chat feature. The proctor must not have knowledge of the language being tested.

Who can be a NEWL IT specialist?

An adult authorized by the examinee’s school who is present during the 3 ½ NEWL exam administration and has admin privileges on the computers used (in the lab-based exam).

Note that all administrative personnel must speak English fluently, including the proctor and lab technician so that we can properly assist with setting up and administering the exam. The proctor may also be the lab technician.

How does my school register for the first time? 

The first step is to submit an application; upon approval, students can then be registered for the exam using the actesting.org portal.

Can the examinee's language teacher also serve as the exam coordinator or the Registrant? 


Does the testing time listed correspond to a certain time zone? 

The exam start time is in your local time, not in a particular time zone. However, if you attend an international school, the exam coordinator may need to work with American Councils to arrange an alternate time for students to test so the time difference can be accommodated.

Do students pay their exam fees directly to American Councils, or do they pay them to their schools? 

Fees can be paid directly to American Councils via PayPal. However, if your school has other arrangements, please confirm with your school/ Registrant.

If students register for the exam but later decide not to take the exam, can they have the exam fees refunded? 

Yes, if they decide not to take the exam before the registration deadline date. However, 50% of the fee is retained for unused exams if requests are made after the registration deadline. You may qualify for a full refund if you have a medical emergency. Documentations may be requested. All requests must be submitted no later than May 10th post-administration.

How long will it take for students' exam refund to arrive? 

Four to six weeks, depending on the method of payment.

Can I post on my school’s website about the NEWL exam?

Yes. In cases where information about NEWL is shared, i.e. on the school website, proper credit and direct links to both American Councils and the NEWL websites must be referenced. Note that it would be a violation of copyright law to copy the information and make it available on any other website without written authorization from American Councils.