• About

    In 2009, Zaytuna College was founded in Berkeley, California, with a mission that called for grounding students in the Islamic scholarly tradition as well as in the cultural currents and critical ideas shaping modern society.

  • Academics

    As a Muslim liberal arts college in the West, Zaytuna offers a curriculum that provides its students with a foundation in the intellectual heritage of two major world civilizations: the Islamic and the Western.

  • Admissions & Aid

    Our mission is to educate students to become morally, intellectually, and spiritually accomplished individuals ready to contribute to our contemporary world in ways that are proportionate to their gifts and to the needs of human society.

  • Campus Life

    Zaytuna’s campus is on Holy Hill and students enter the College as part of a cohort, a community of learners that travel together through the curriculum.

Arabic Assessment Guide for International Applicants

How to Prepare for the Arabic Proficiency Test


Due to regulations governing the F-1 student visa, international students are unable to join us for the Summer Arabic Intensive Program. Therefore, international students must first pass the Arabic Proficiency Test in order to receive an offer of admission. After evaluating your application, the Admissions Office may invite you to take the test covering material equivalent to the first twelve chapters of Al-Kitaab Fii Ta'allum al-'Arabiyya: A Textbook for Beginning Arabic, Part 1, 2nd Edition.


The Arabic Proficiency Test is comprised of one oral and one written exam.

For the oral exam, students will meet with an instructor online to answer Arabic questions using vocabulary and expressions learned in chapters 1–12 of Al-Kitaab. Short, pre-prepared oral speeches will be delivered from memory on topics pertaining to personal life, family, and past or future events.

The written exam is comprised of the following sections, with an emphasis on the vocabulary and grammar learned in chapters 1–12 of Al-Kitaab: 

  • Proper orthography (khatt)

  • Fill-in-the-blank and multiple-choice questions

  • Phrase and sentence identification (e.g., jumlah ismiyyah/fi‘liyyah, ism wa sifah, idafah)

  • Reading comprehension Q&A

  • Root (jadhr) and form (wazn) identification

  • Verb conjugations (tasrif al-af‘al)

  • Writing composition (insha’) on a past or future event


The following list identifies grammar topics presented within chapters 1–12 of Al-Kitaab:

  • Chapter 1: Arabic names, gender (al-mudhakkar wa al-mu’annath), nisbah adjectives, interrogatives (adawat al-istifham)

  • Chapter 2: Subject pronouns (al-dama’ir), common singulars and plurals (al-mufrad wa al-jam‘), the nominal sentence (al-jumlah al-ismiyyah)

  • Chapter 3: Family tree (shajarat al-‘a’ilah), the idafah construct, possessive pronouns (dama’ir milkiyyah)

  • Chapter 4: The imperfect mood (al-fi‘l al-mudari‘), verb negation (al-nafy), the verbal sentence (al-jumlah al-fi’liyyah)

  • Chapter 5: Adverbs, noun-adjective phrases (ism wa sifah), demonstrative pronouns (ism al-isharah)

  • Chapter 6: Al-Masdar, asking why (li-madha?) and explaining the cause

  • Chapter 7: Expression possession with li-/‘inda/ma‘a, fronted predicates (khabar muqaddam), the verb kana, “How much?” (Kam?)

  • Chapter 8: The perfect mood (al-fi‘l al-madi), negating the past tense verb (nafy al-madi), learning the forms (al-madi, al-mudari‘, al-masdar), roots and forms (al-jadhr wa al-wazn), the Arabic dictionary (al-qamus al-‘arabi), numbers 11–100 (al-‘adad)

  • Chapter 9: Laysa, ordinal numbers (al-a‘dad al-tartibiyyah), telling time (kam al-sa‘ah?)

  • Chapter 10: The subjunctive mood (al-mudari‘ al-mansub), prepositions and pronouns, object pronouns (dama’ir al-nasb)

  • Chapter 11: The imperfect mood (al-mudari‘ al-marfu‘), the adjectival sentence (jumlah al-sifah), quantifiers (kull, ba‘d, mu‘zam, iddat)

  • Chapter 12: Superlatives (ism al-tafdil), the future (al-mustaqbal), negating the future (nafy al-mustaqbal), subject-verb agreement within verbal sentences


To prepare for the Arabic Proficiency Test, we recommend one of the following options:

1. Study at an accredited institution: You may consider studying for our Arabic Proficiency Test by enrolling in online courses at Qasid Arabic Institute (based in Amman, Jordan).

2. Study with a tutor: We recommend that you study introductory Arabic with a qualified instructor proficient in Modern Standard Arabic (al-‘Arabiyyah al-fusha).

3. Study independently: If you have no prior training in Arabic grammar, we do not recommend that you attempt to prepare for the Arabic Proficiency Test on your own. However, if you have some prior training in Arabic grammar, then you may consider self-studying based on Al-Kitaab.

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