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Santa Monica College|Academic Programs|Modern Language|Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Do you give placement exams or assessment exams? 

    No, we don’t provide placement or assessment exams.  If you have studied the target language before and you aren’t certain which level is best for you, please contact the department chair (Dr. Toni Trives –310-434-4939 or trives_toni@smc.edu.)  All MLCD course outlines are available online in CURRICUNET, so you may look at the course outlines in order to ascertain whether or not you have already learned the information that is covered in a particular course.
  2. Do you give credit by examination?

    No.  If you plan to transfer and believe that you have the ability to test out of a language requirement, you should contact your transfer university to find out if they provide that option and service.
  3. What are arranged hours? 

    Arranged hours are required for all of our level 1, 2 and 11 classes.  Students are required to set aside time in their schedule to complete language lab work during the semester or intersession.  15 hours are required during each semester and 12 hours are required during each intersession.
  4. How do I know what to do in the language lab? 

    Each student should consult his/her instructor to determine what work should be completed in the language lab.
  5. Do I have to go to campus to complete my lab work? 

    There are currently two options for completion of lab work in order to get credit at SMC: 1) go to the Modern Language Lab in Drescher 219 or 2) access SANSSpace to use the online language lab.
  6. How do I find out more about the language lab and SANSSpace? 

    Ask your instructor.  These resources are only available to students who are enrolled in MLCD classes.
  7. Do I have to have an appointment to go to the lab? 

    No.  Students go to the lab any time that it is open.  The schedule is available on our web page.
  8. May I use the language lab if I am in a level 3, 4, 8, 9, 12 or 20 class? 

    Yes.
  9. I am taking level 1 in the spring, but I can’t take level 2 until the fall.  I’m afraid of forgetting what I learned.  What should I do? 

    Talk to your instructor about resources that you might use during the summer.  If you would like to discuss other options, contact the department chair for assistance.  (Dr. Toni Trives -310-434-4939 or trives_toni@smc.edu.)
  10. The catalog description says that the classes are taught in the target language.  How do I get help when I have trouble understanding in class? 

    Meet with your instructor during his/her office hours.  All MLCD faculty hold office hours on a weekly basis.  Also, the Modern Language Tutoring Center offers free tutoring for SMC students who are enrolled in MLCD classes.  Click on the Modern Language Tutoring Link to see the current schedule. 
  11. Do I have to have an appointment to go to the Tutoring Center? 

    No, Modern Language Tutoring is on a drop-in basis.  Please consult the schedule before going to the lab so that you will know if a tutor for your language will be available.
  12. There are a lot of Spanish classes.  Which Spanish class is for beginners?  Should I start with Spanish 1? 

    If you have never taken a language course before, it would be better for you to begin with Spanish 31A, which is a practical Spanish course that will help you to be more successful in Spanish 1.  Spanish 1 is a rigorous course for beginning students.  If you are a heritage speaker of Spanish and have never studied Spanish before, you should enroll in Spanish 11.
  13. Will Spanish 31A fulfill my language requirement for transfer? 

    No, it is transferable to CSU, but you will need to complete Spanish 1 with a “C” or higher to fulfill the language transfer requirement.
  14. Will Spanish 11 fulfill my language requirement for transfer? 

    Yes, Spanish 11 is transferable to UC and CSU.  It fulfills the language requirement for UC.  After successfully completing Spanish 11, you may enroll in Spanish 12, and after Spanish 12, you may enroll in Spanish 4.
  15. If I am a heritage speaker of Spanish, will it be better for me to take Spanish 1?  Isn’t it easier? 

    No.  Spanish 1 isn’t designed for heritage speakers.  It won’t help you to improve your Spanish as much as Spanish 11 will.  Spanish 11 is designed to help you to improve your Spanish so that you will be able to use it to advance your career.
  16. Do I need a computer for my class? 

    Students aren’t required to have computers to enroll in MLCD classes, but most of our classes have online textbook or resources or other online resources so our students often prefer to use their own computers to do their homework.  If you don’t have your own computer, you may use a computer in the Modern Language Lab to complete your homework or lab assignments.  If you don’t have time to stay on campus to do your homework, you will probably need to acquire a computer or get access to one away from campus.  A public library in your area might provide internet access for you.
  17. Is it true that I only need to take level one to fulfill my language requirement for transfer to UC? 

    Yes, but once you are at UC, you will need more than level one to graduate.  Most UC majors have a language requirement.  You should find out how many language levels you need in order to get your 4-year degree.  Contact your transfer university to find out.  You will save a lot of money and be more successful in your language classes if you complete your transfer university’s language requirement at SMC.  Language classes have a very high unit value: 5 units each for elementary and intermediate classes.  If you wait until after you transfer to complete your language requirement, you will need to pay more money than you would have paid at SMC, and you will have forgotten most of your language studies if you didn’t continue them.  It will be more difficult for you to be successful if there is a hiatus in your language studies.
  18. I just want to learn a language for personal enrichment. Is your department the right place for me? 

    Yes.  Santa Monica College offers many options for learning a new language.  SMC offers non-credit courses and in Modern Languages and Cultures we offer for-credit courses for departmental certificates, global citizenship credit for an AA degree, credit for transfer to UC, CSU and other public and private universities.  All students are welcome in our classes.
  19. What are your departmental certificates? 

    We have three departmental certificates: African and Middle Eastern Studies, Asian Studies, and Latin American Studies.  They were designed to introduce SMC students to area studies and to prepare them for careers and majors that are relevant to them.  These certificates are designed to support a variety of interdisciplinary studies from the Humanities to health care to business.  In each area, multicultural and multilingual acumen are an asset.  The certificates were designed to support our students’ desire to enhance their opportunities in the job market and in transfer to area studies programs.  Contact the department chair (Dr. Toni Trives -310-434-4939 or trives_toni@smc.edu) if you are interested in completing the requirements for an MLCD certificate.
  20. I graduated from a high school where the language that I’m studying was the language of instruction.  Can I study that language at SMC and use that course for transfer? 

    No.  You will not be able to get credit for the language requirement if you graduated from a high school where that language was used as the language of instruction.
  21. I have a job, I work, and I have a long commute to campus and little time to study. Is it okay if I just study on the weekends or a couple of days a week whenever I have time? 

    This is a common question.  Unfortunately, language classes require constant study.  You need to find study time at least five or six days a week.  Repetition and practice are the keys to success.  Students who only study a couple of days a week can’t remember all of the detailed information when they try to study over intense long periods of time.  It’s better to spread out the study sessions over the week and vary them by studying alone, with study partners, and by meeting with tutors.  Integrate tutoring sessions into your study routine.
  22. Why does the way that I write the language matter (spelling, written accents and diacritical marks, characters, script, etc.) ? 

    The SLOs for all of our classes address all of the four skills that are vital to language acquisition: listening, speaking, reading and writing.  All of our classes work to train literate students who are capable of communicating with native speakers of the target language without an interpreter or translator.