Proficiency Exam

This exam is for all students except Global Business Majors and Global Studies Majors

Nursing School applicants may also take this test to earn admissions points.

Special Note: The turnaround time to receive exam results for ALL EXAMS, regardless of language, is 4-6 weeks. You will be notified by e-mail when your results are in.

Reminder: Students looking to retake the Language Proficiency Exam must have received the result from their previous exam before scheduling another testing session.

Who should take this examination?

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

How does the testing work?

When are the examinations held?

How do I schedule myself for this examination?



Who should take this examination?

  • Students seeking to meet the CSUSM Graduation Requirement.
  • Students who do NOT need units nor Area C in General Education. (If unit credit and meeting Area C is desired, consider taking a course instead. Go to our Courses page for more information.)
  • Students who are proficient in a language other than English. Most languages are accepted. Some common examples are: Spanish, French, German, Japanese, Arabic, 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 are proficient in that language. Proficiency is assessed at the 201-level, both in speaking and writing (including pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary, spelling, and any accents). If you believe you would place into a 202-level course (4th semester), because you know the material covered in a 201-level course, then you are a good candidate for this exam.
  • Global Business Majors, please visit our Global Business Major Exam (GBM) page for information pertaining that particular test.
  • Nursing Applicants, you may test without a CSUSM ID, but please get us that ID as soon as you receive it.

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

  • The exam is looking for proficiency - not fluency - that would match a student who took and did well in CSUSM 201 (third-semester) or three years in high school, or is proficient for another reason like home language or international schooling. A few examples are: pronunciation, vocabulary, spelling, accent use and placement, major verb tenses, idiomatic expressions, general grammar rules, and common exceptions.
  • The exam will ask you to both speak and write. (ASL exams are expressive only.) You should therefore know how to pronounce and spell words correctly. A foreigner who speaks no English should be able to understand most of your production. If you were put down in the middle of the country, surrounded by people who only speak that language, would you comfortably be able to communicate?
  • If you are testing in a language taught on campus, you are welcome to come to the LLC to review the 201-level textbook, to ensure that you comfortable with that level. You can also talk to friends who took 201 in that language.
  • 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....
  • 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 does the testing work?

  • You will want to arrange, confirm, and keep appointments with the Language Learning Center, Kellogg 1107.
  • To set up your test date and time, send us an e-mail at llc@csusm.edu and let us know that you are interested in taking the exam.
  • 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 should arrive 10-15 minutes early and be ready to take the test at the scheduled time. If you are late, you will NOT be allowed to take the test.
  • For all languages other than ASL, you should allow thirty minutes for the oral component and one hour for the written component, for a total of 1.5 hours. ASL testers shoudl allow 45 minutes for an "expressive" component (there is no "receptive" component).
  • If you receive a score of "Pass", your student record will be updated and the LOTER entered as "met".
  • If you receive a score of "No Pass", you may retake the exam.** Any retakes of the Proficiency Exam will require you to pay the examination fee again. However, you need to have received the results of your previous test before scheduling another testing session.
  • Please be aware that, because we are a testing facility, we do not have accommodations for children.
  • For students with special needs, please contact John Segoria of Disabled Student Services at (760) 750-4905.
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When are the examinations held?

Language Proficiency Exam Schedule

Here is a list of starting times being offered. Exams will take approximately 1.5 hours. For example: if you sign up for a 10:30am exam, the exam will run from 10:30am to 12:00pm.

Please keep in mind that sign-ups are done on a first-come, first-serve basis. Also, be aware that the time slots listed below do NOT show availability. There may be a good chance that the time slot is already filled.

**ATTENTION: For those looking to take the exam in American Sign Language, please view the ASL Language Proficiency Exam Schedule or scroll down to the next box for our ASL exam schedule.


Spring 2014 Schedule

Spring 2014 Language Proficiency Exams
have concluded for the Spring 2014 semester.  

Summer 2014 Schedule

Summer 2014 Language Proficiency Exam
sign-ups will begin on Monday, April 21st 2014.

June 25th - Wednesday
9:30am, 10:00am, 10:30am, 11:00am, 11:30am, 12:00pm, 12:30pm, 1:00pm, 1:30pm, 2:00pm, 2:30pm, 3:00pm 

June 26th - Thursday
9:30am, 10:00am, 10:30am, 11:00am, 11:30am, 12:00pm, 12:30pm, 1:00pm, 1:30pm, 2:00pm, 2:30pm, 3:00pm, 3:30pm 

June 27th - Friday
9:30am, 10:00am, 10:30am, 11:00am, 11:30am, 12:00pm, 12:30pm, 1:00pm, 1:30pm, 2:00pm, 2:30pm, 3:00pm, 3:30pm


July 21st - Monday
9:30am, 10:00am, 10:30am, 11:00am, 11:30am, 12:00pm, 12:30pm, 1:00pm, 1:30pm, 2:00pm, 2:30pm, 3:00pm, 3:30pm

July 22nd - Tuesday
12:00pm, 12:30pm, 1:00pm, 1:30pm, 2:00pm, 2:30pm, 3:00pm

July 25th - Friday
9:30am, 10:00am, 10:30am, 11:00am, 11:30am, 12:00pm, 12:30pm, 1:00pm, 1:30pm



Language Proficiency Exam Schedule: American Sign Language

American Sign Language Proficiency Exams will take approximately one(1) hour. They are scheduled individually throughout selected weeks during the semester.

**Please note that scheduling is done first-come, first-served. Due to the technical resources needed, we can only administer one exam at any given time. So if there is a specific date and time that you would like to take the exam during, please schedule an exam with us as early as possible.

Spring 2014 Schedule

Spring 2014 American Sign Language Proficiency Exams
have concluded for the Summer 2014 semester.

Summer 2014 Schedule

Summer 2014 American Sign Language Proficiency Exam
sign-ups will begin on Monday, April 21st 2014.


June 30th - Monday
9:00am, 10:00am, 11:00am, 12:00pm, 1:00pm, 2:00pm, 3:00pm

July 1st - Tuesday
12:00pm, 1:00pm, 2:00pm, 3:00pm

July 2nd - Wednesday
11:00am, 12:00pm, 1:00pm, 2:00pm, 3:00pm


July 26th - Saturday
9:00am, 10:00am, 11:00am


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How do I schedule myself for this examination?

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

  • Note: All students must present a valid Photo ID (e.g. CSUSM Student ID, CA Driver's License, passport, etc.).
  • Contact our Proficiency Exam Student Coordinator, Peter Vu! You can either give him a call at (760) 750-8191 during his work hours, leave him a voice mail, or come on in to the Language Learning Center at Kellogg Library 1107.  You may also send us an e-mail at llc@csusm.edu letting us know that you are interested in taking the exam. Please include which language you are looking to take the exam in, in your e-mail. Note: We are not able schedule an exam for dates and times not listed on our exam schedule.

    Peter Vu
    Proficiency Exam Student Coordinator
    Language Learning Center
    Kellogg Library 1107 (new location!) 
    llc@csusm.edu
    (760) 750-8191

    Spring 2014 Semester Hours

    Monday: 8:30am - 9:30am; 11:00am - 6:00pm 
    Wednesday: 8:30am - 9:30am; 11:00am - 6:00pm
    Friday: 8:30am - 9:30am; 11:00am - 12:45pm;

  • Please be aware that there is an examination fee of $49.50 via check (made payable to: CSUSM, Language Examination) or cash by coming to the Language Learning Center in the Kellogg Library, Room 1107. Failure to pay one week before testing will result in losing your reservation.
  • 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.
  • You must inform the LLC at least 24 hours in advance if you will not be able to keep your testing appointment. Only by contacting us will you be allowed to reschedule the test for one of the next testing dates.
  • NO REFUNDS WILL BE GIVEN FOR MISSED APPOINTMENTS.
  • The turnaround time to receive results for ALL EXAMS, regardless of language, is 4-6 weeks. You will be notified by e-mail when your results are in.
  • It is the testing date (not the turnaround time) that will be noted in your student record.
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