Proficiency Exam & Spanish Placement Exam

~For all students except Global Business Majors and Global Studies Majors

~These exams do NOT give units, a grade, or meet Area C3.

~Nursing applicants receive admissions points, if they pass Proficiency Exam OR if they take the Placement Test and get placed into 202.

~Exams assess speaking and writing, including pronunciation, grammar, expressing events in past/present/future, vocabulary, spelling, and - if they exist in the language - accents, characters and tones.

~Highly-proficient/native students often choose the Proficiency Exam, but it is up to you. 

~The Proficiency Exam, when passed, meets the LOTER.

~The Proficiency Exam may be taken a 2nd time, after 1st results are back. 

~The Spanish Placement Exam, if it places you into 202, meets the LOTER.

~The Spanish Placement Exam may only be taken once.

~The Spanish Placement Exam results are valid for the 1 year only. For example: Spring 2015 testers only have Summer 2015, Fall 2015 and Spring 2016 to take their placed course.

FAQs

Who should take these exams?

What level of skill is expected, and how does one prepare?

How do testing appointments work?

How do I schedule an exam?

When are exams held?



Who should take these exams?

  • Students seeking to meet the CSUSM Graduation Requirement OR who want to place directly into Spanish 102, 201, or 202.
  • Students who do NOT need units, grades, or area C3. (If those are desired, consider taking a course. Go to our Courses page for more information.)
  • Students who have both spoken and written skills in a language other than English. Most languages are accepted. Some common examples are: Spanish, French, German, Japanese, Arabic, Mandarin, Vietnamese, Farsi, Tagalog, and American Sign Language (ASL). If you are unsure if your language will be accepted, please inquire at llc@csusm.edu or Kellogg Library 1107.
  • Students who believe they would place into a 4th semester class are good candidates for the Proficiency Exam. The Proficiency Exams assesses to see if you are at or above the level of someone who completed the third semester of college or the third year of high school, with a solid grade. 
  • Students who are native/fluent are good candidates for the Proficiency Exam.
  • Students who took Spanish over 2 years ago, but do not believe they should start over at 101, can take the Spanish Placement Exam. That exam determines where a student falls in the spectrum of 101-202 (first through fourth semesters). If a student is placed into 202, they also meet the LOTER.
  • Global Business Majors should visit our GBM page for your test.
  • Nursing Applicants may test without a CSUSM ID.

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What level of skill is expected and how does one prepare?

  • Both exams ask you to speak and write. (ASL exams are expressive only.) You should therefore know how to pronounce and spell words correctly. 
  • The Proficiency Exam looks for proficiency - not fluency - that would match a student who did well in a third-semester college course or in their third year of high school language, or who is proficient for another reason like home language or international schooling. A few examples are: pronunciation, vocabulary, spelling, expressing time in the past/present/future/conditional, common grammar rules and their exceptions, and - in languages where these exist - accents, tones and characters.
  • The Proficiency Exam asks that a native speaker who speaks no English and is used to the speaking of non-natives be able to understand you. If you were put down in the middle of the country/region, surrounded by people who only use that language, would you comfortably be able to communicate?
  • If you receive a score of "Pass" on the Proficiency Exam, your LOTER will be marked as "met".
  • If you receive a score of "No Pass" on the Proficiency Exam, you may retake the exam ONCE. You will need to pay again. 
  • Spanish Placement Exam expectations vary depending on if you are trying to place into 102, 201 or 202.
  • If you are placed into Spanish 102-202, that placement is valid for 1 year only.
  • If you receive a score of "202" or "higher" on the Spanish Placement Exam, your LOTER will be marked as "met".
  • The LLC provides information via a Proficiency Exam Handout and a Spanish Placement Exam Handout.
  • If you are testing in a language taught on campus, you are welcome to come to the LLC to borrow textbooks and get tutoring.
  • If you are testing in a language not taught on campus, we may have materials to assist you. For example, we have a Tagalog textbook, an Italian-English dictionary, a Chinese-English dictionary, and online resources
  • If you are testing in a language that you took in high school or at another college a few years ago, we suggest reviewing your past course materials closely.
  • We highly encourage native speakers to review spelling and written accents, since they may not have written as much as they have spoken.

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How do testing appointments work?

  • Arrange testing at llc@csusm.edu or Kellogg 1107 with the below information.
  • Make and keep appointments with the Language Learning Center.
  • A notice of 24 hours is required for cancellation and to reschedule. If you do not cancel within 24 hours, it will be at least two months before a reschedule is possible. This is necessary to be fair to all students waiting for examinations. 
  • You must pay the fee of $49.50 via check (made payable to: CSUSM, Language Examination) or EXACT amount of cash (yes, bring quarters!). You will bring your payment with you when you come in to take your exam.
  • The fee is waived for Veterans on GI Bills other than Chapter 31 and for all Active Duty receiving tuition assistance. If this applies to you, state your military status when signing up for the exam and be prepared to show proof.
  • NO REFUNDS WILL BE GIVEN FOR MISSED APPOINTMENTS.
  • On the day of testing, present a valid Photo ID (e.g. CSUSM Student ID, CA Driver's License, passport, etc.).
  • On the day of testing, arrive 5-10 minutes early. If you are late, you will NOT be allowed to take the test.
  • For all languages other than ASL, you should allow for a total of two (2) hours for the entire exam.
  • ASL testers should allowup to one (1) hour for an "expressive" component (there is no "receptive" component).
  • Results take 4-6 weeks. You will be emailed your results.
  • It is the testing date (not the turnaround time) that will be noted in your student record. (May graduates may test through the spring.)
  • Because we are a testing facility, we do not have accommodations for children.
  • If you have a disability and will require reasonable accommodations to take the Exam, contact us at llc@csusm.edu or by phone at 760-750-8191.

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How do I schedule an exam?

First, make sure this is indeed how you want to meet the LOTER. Then...

  • In Spring and Fall, you can stop by Kellogg 1107 OR email llc@csusm.edu. See details below.
  • In Summer, you can only sign up via llc@csusm.edu. See details below.

    WHAT INFORMATION WE NEED TO GET YOU SIGNED UP:

     1. Full Name

     2. Campus ID Number (Some Nursing Applicants won't have it yet.)

     3. Contact Phone Number

     4. Preferred Email (where we will send reminders and your results)

     5. Current Standing (ex. Freshman/Sophomore/Junior/Senior)

     6. Any additional reasons for taking the exam (ex. Nursing Program, Global Business Major, etc.)

     7. Did you transfer to CSUSM from another institution? (Yes/No is fine)

     7a. If so, is this your first semester at Cal State San  Marcos? (Yes/No is fine)

     8. Which language are you looking to take the exam in? (Global Business Majors may not take the exam in Sign Language.)

     9. Do you want the Proficiency exam, the Spanish Placement Exam, or you aren't sure yet? To help decide, read this whole page, the Proficiency Exam Handout and the Spanish Placement Exam Handout. (Global Business Majors MUST take the Proficiency Exam.)

     10. List 3 preferred dates/times .

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When are exams held?

Exam Schedule

*The  ASL Language Proficiency Exam has its own schedule (below).*

Exams run up to two (2) hours. For example: if you choose a 10:30 AM time, plan to be testing until 12:30 PM.

Time slots below do NOT show current availability. 

Spring 2015

February 16th, Monday
9:00am, 1:00pm, 1:30pm, 2:00pm, 2:30pm

February 17th, Tuesday
9:00am, 9:30am, 10:00am, 10:30am, 12:00pm, 12:30pm, 1:00pm, 1:30pm, 3:00pm

February 18th, Wednesday
9:00am, 1:00pm

March 2nd, Monday
9:00am, 1:00pm, 1:30pm, 2:00pm, 2:30pm

March 3rd, Tuesday
9:00am, 9:30am, 10:00am, 10:30am, 12:00pm, 12:30pm, 1:00pm, 1:30pm, 3:00pm

March 4th, Wednesday
9:00am, 1:00pm

March 16th, Monday
9:00am, 1:00pm, 1:30pm, 2:00pm, 2:30pm

March 17th, Tuesday
9:00am, 9:30am, 10:00am, 10:30am, 12:00pm, 12:30pm, 1:00pm, 1:30pm, 3:00pm

March 18th, Wednesday
9:00am, 1:00pm

April 6th, Monday
9:00am, 1:00pm, 1:30pm, 2:00pm, 2:30pm

April 7th, Tuesday
9:00am, 9:30am, 10:00am, 10:30am, 12:00pm, 12:30pm, 1:00pm, 1:30pm, 3:00pm

April 8th, Wednesday
9:00am, 1:00pm


American Sign Language Exam Schedule

ASL does NOT meet the GBM Major requirement.

ASL Proficiency Exams take up to one (1) hour. For example: if you choose a 10:30 AM time, plan to be testing until 11:30 AM.

Time slots below do NOT show current availability.

Spring 2015

February 23rd, Monday
9:00am, 1:30pm, 2:30pm, 3:30pm

February 24th, Tuesday
9:00am, 10:00am, 11:00am, 12:00pm, 1:00pm, 2:00pm, 3:00pm

February 25th, Wednesday
9:00am, 1:00pm, 2:00pm

March 23rd, Monday
9:00am, 1:30pm, 2:30pm, 3:30pm

March 24th, Tuesday
9:00am, 10:00am, 11:00am, 12:00pm, 1:00pm, 2:00pm, 3:00pm

March 25th, Wednesday
9:00am, 1:00pm, 2:00pm


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