You are here: American University College of Arts & Sciences CLEAR Tool of Research Exam


The TOR (Tool of Research) Language Exam, is a required examination set up by your graduate program and administered by CLEAR to evaluate your reading ability to perform primary research in a language other than English.

CLEAR administers exams in the following languages:

  • Arabic (MSA)
  • Chinese (Simplified & Traditional)
  • French
  • German
  • Hebrew
  • Hindi
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Italian
  • Portuguese
  • Russian
  • Swahili
  • Spanish

If the language you want to be examined in is not listed above, please contact your academic advisor for options on setting up external testing.

All exams are administered in person, in a proctored setting, via a computerized platform.

TOR: Exam Format & Samples

What is the format of the TOR?

Each exam consists of three (3) texts of 650-800 words each. There are five (5) multiple choice questions linked to each text, for a total of fifteen (15) items.

How do I access the CLEAR Graduate Examination Samples?

Below you will find information on accessing the (TOR) Language Examination samples using your Blackboard account.

  1. Log-in to your Blackboard account.
  2. Click on: "My Courses".
  3. Type: "samples" on the "Course Search" box on your left.
  4. Hover your mouse over the Course ID: CLEAR_GRAD_EXAM_Samples. 
  5. At the end of the title there will be an arrow that will allow you to open a menu.
  6. Click "Enroll" in the menu.
  7. Once inside the Self Enrollment page, click "Submit".
  8. Click "OK" and the course will open.
  9. Select the link for the language sample you need.

Most American University master's and doctoral programs require research-level proficiency in reading comprehension in a foreign language. Taking the Tool of Research Language Exam administered by CLEAR is one way you can meet this requirement.

Please meet with your graduate academic advisor to determine whether your program has a TOR requirement and the options for how to satisfy your program's language proficiency requirement.

Register for a testing session during an available registration period using the GenBook button posted below, in the registration section.

If you need to modify or cancel your reservation, be sure to use the link provided in your confirmation e-mail.

Spring and Fall semesters

Four examination dates will be offered during each Spring and Fall semester, all on Saturdays. Summer sessions take place on Fridays. Unless otherwise stated, we will offer the following seating options for each session: 

  • 11AM-1PM; 
  • 2-4PM.

Registration for each examination session will open 3 weeks prior to the examination date and will remain open for 2 weeks or until all seats are assigned. Seating is limited and assigned on a first-come, first-served basis.

Once seating is full, the date will become unavailable through the booking system. At that point, please contact us if you would like to be placed on a wait list for this date.

Cancellations and rescheduling requests will be processed the week immediately before the examination, during business hours (Monday -Friday, 9am-5pm EST). Please write us at or call 202-885-2357 to cancel.

Please plan carefully.

Rescheduling and cancellation requests outside the cancellation/rescheduling window can not be transacted. No shows will be reported as FAIL grades. 

On the day of the examination:

  • You must have an official picture ID (AU or government-issued) to sit for the exam.
  • You must know your credentials (user name and password) to access the Blackboard system.
  • You must arrive at least 10 minutes before your session.

You may use a printed dictionary for the TOR. You can bring your own, but we can also provide you with one. Electronic dictionaries are not allowed.

How will I find out the results of my exam?

The computer-based exams will post results automatically upon completion.

Once the testing session is complete, the results will be forwarded to your department. Your department will e-mail you notification at this time.

May I retake the exam?

  • Each student may sit for the TOR Language Exam up to a maximum of three (3) times.
  • Master's candidates can only test in one language per session and are restricted to a 3-test limit overall.
  • You may not take the TOR more than twice within a 4-month period.
  • If you fail the exam after your second try, you are strongly urged to confer with CLEAR's Director, your advisor, department or school on how to improve your language skills before attempting the examination a third and final time.

TOR Exams Graduate Language Tool of Research Examination (TOR) Testing Session Schedule

*Please note that these testing sessions are reserved exclusively for on-campus students. MAIR online students should contact their advisor to arrange for testing.

Registration and Examination Dates for Upcoming Sessions:


Summer 2021

Testing Session 5: Friday, June 4, 2021 (Registration opens on May 18, 2021 at 9am EST)
Testing Session 6: Friday, August 20, 2021 (Registration opens on August 3, 2021 at 9am EST)

Fall 2021

Testing Session 7: Saturday, September 25, 2021 (Registration opens on September 7, 2021 at 9am EST)
Testing Session 8: Saturday, October 23, 2021 (Registration opens on October 5, 2021 at 9am EST)
Testing Session 9: Saturday, November 13, 2021 (Registration opens on October 26, 2021 at 9am EST)
Testing Session 10: Saturday, December 11, 2021 (Registration opens on November 23, 2021 at 9am EST)

Once seating is full, the date will become unavailable through the booking system. At that point, please contact us at if you would like to be placed on a waitlist for this date.

Schedule your TOR exam session online:

  1. Click the booking button below.
  2. Select the time you want to take your exam and fill out the information requested on the form.
  3. * Please be sure to specify the language you need in the "Special request" field.

Make an Online Appointment

About the Exam

Length: You have two (2) hours to complete the TOR exam.

Passing Score: In order to satisfy the requirement, you need to answer correctly 9 or more of the 15 questions presented (60% or better).

Location: Anderson Hall, B-10 (within the Library Computing Annex).

Contact Phone: 202.885.2357

Contact Email: