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.

Entering Student Proficiency Assessment (ESPA)

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 online ear training assessment is available through the college's student portal. All students are required to complete the online ear training assessment. The online ear training portion of the assessment can be completed in about twenty minutes time. All students take a comprehensive, written assessment once they arrive on campus. The on-campus written assessment takes about two hours to complete, and is scheduled during orientation week.

Online Proficiency Assessment Sample Questions

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.

English Proficiency Exam

All non-native English speakers are required to take the English proficiency exam, which is administered during orientation week.

The English proficiency exam is not required for native English speakers.

Traditional Harmony and Counterpoint Exam (optional)

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 you 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. Most students complete this CBX in their 2nd or later semester on campus.

For answers to questions about the Traditional Harmony and Counterpoint exam, contact the Composition Department.

Introduction to Music Technology Exam (optional)

This exam offers you the opportunity to receive credit for Introduction to Music Technology (MTEC-111), a required course for all degree and diploma students, provided that you demonstrate strong knowledge of the subject matter. Before taking the Introduction to Music Technology exam, you need to pick up an outline of test materials from the Electronic Production and Design Department.

If you successfully "test out" of Introduction to Music Technology and you are registered for MTEC-111, then you will need to drop this course from your schedule by the add/drop deadline.

As noted above, you may try your hand online at some representative questions of the Introduction to Music Technology exam.