Proficiency Assessment and Exams
Note: Be sure to see our Online Proficiency Assessment section to get a sense of what the Proficiency Assessment exams will be like.
The proficiency assessment enables Berklee to determine whether advanced levels of arranging, harmony, and ear training are right for you and to place you in classes with students of similar musical knowledge. All first-semester students will take an entering student proficiency assessment. It is important to remember that you cannot "pass or fail" the assessment and that no grade will be assigned to it.
The ESPA is delivered in two phases. An initial online version is available through the college's student portal. All students are required to complete the online ESPA. The online portion of the ESPA can be completed in about one hour's time and is delivered in three separate sections. Upon review of these results students may then be asked to take a more comprehensive, written version of the ESPA once they arrive on campus. The on-campus written assessment takes about two and a half hours to complete, and is scheduled during orientation week.
This website provides multimedia sample questions that cover some of the topics found in the arranging, ear training, and harmony proficiency assessments, as well as the Introduction to Music Technology exam. While your performance on these sample questions should not be viewed as a predictor of your actual first-semester assessment, feel free to try your hand at our Online Proficiency Assessment Sample Questions.
All non-native English speakers are required to take the English proficiency exam, which is administered during registration.
The English proficiency exam is not required for native English speakers.
This exam offers you the opportunity to receive credit for Traditional Harmony (CM-211 and CM-212) provided that you demonstrate strong comprehension of the subject matter. Before taking the Traditional Harmony and Counterpoint exam, you need to pick up an outline of test materials from the Professional Writing Center.
If you successfully "test out" of Traditional Harmony and Counterpoint and are registered for either CM-211 or CP-211, then you will need to drop the course from your schedule by the add/drop deadline.
For answers to questions about the Traditional Harmony and Counterpoint exam, contact the Composition Department.