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 a proctored setting, via a computerized platform.

TOR: Exam Format & Samples*

*Be aware that these are not practice exams, these are format samples. We do not offer practice tests.


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 Format Samples?

Students may view (TOR) Language Examination samples using their Canvas account. 

The site has enabled open enrollment. You can self-enroll in the site here.

Please note that registrations to the site will be purged at the end of every semester.

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 Register link posted below, in the registration section.

Information is included in the Registration Info tab for individuals who need to cancel or modify a reservation.

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 Canvas system.
  • We encourage you to use a printed dictionary for the TOR. 
  • It is a good idea to have some scrap paper on hand to take notes while you work on the exam.
  • You must arrive at least 10 minutes before your session.


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 (ALL sessions are in person):


Spring 2023

Testing Session 1: Saturday, January 21, 2023
(Registration opens on January 3, 2023 at 9am EST (This testing session will be conducted in-person on AU campus.)

Testing Session 2: Saturday, February 11, 2023
(Registration opens on January 24, 2023 at 9am EST (This testing session will be conducted in-person on AU campus.)

Testing Session 3: Saturday, March 18, 2023
(Registration opens on February 28, 2023 at 9am EST (This testing session will be conducted in-person on AU campus.)

Testing Session 4: Saturday, April 15, 2023
(Registration opens on March 28, 2023 at 9am EST (This testing session will be conducted in-person on AU campus.)

Summer 2023

Testing Session 5: Friday, June 2, 2023
(Registration opens on May 16, 2023 at 9am EST (This testing session will be conducted in-person on AU campus.)

Testing Session 6: Friday, August 18, 2023
(Registration opens on August 1, 2023 at 9am EST (This testing session will be conducted in-person on AU campus.)

Schedule your TOR exam session:

Testing Session 3: Saturday, March 18, 2023 
(Registration opens February 28, 2023 at 9am EST)



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: American University Campus, Anderson Hall, B-10. 

Contact Phone: 202.885.2357

Contact Email: