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Proficiency Exam

Who Takes the Exam

Students who:

  • want to meet the graduation Language Other Than English Requirement (LOTER)
  • do NOT need units, grades, or area C3
  • can pay the fee of $91
  • have both spoken and written skills in any world language other than English (or ASL)
  • feel they would do well in a 4th semester college language class (equivilent to the 4th year of a strong high school program), because of past classes or personal upbringing
  • can express themselves without English (or ASL fingerspelling), even if they forget a word or expression
  • can express the present (I eat/I am eating) with great accuracy
  • can express the past (I ate) and future (I am going to eat) with reasonable accuracy
  • can express "I would" for languages such as Spanish, French, Italian, German, Dutch....
  • can use accents, characters and tones if required (or ASL classifiers and ordinal numbers)

Note: Global Studies Majors cannot test in ASL.

Note: Extended Learning's RN to BSN Online Students and Temecula-based Students may take the CSUSM Proficiency Exam in any language (including ASL) remotely, at a local testing facility or on Temecula's campus. Learn about Remote Exams.

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How Testing Works

  • The fee is $91 and is paid ahead of time. There is no profit; this pays evaluators. 
  • The fee is waived for Vets on GI Bills (other than Chapt. 31) and for Active Duty on tuition assistance..
  • Results take 8 weeks. Plan accordingly.
  • The Exam may be taken twice. (The ASL exam may only be taken once.)
  • The Exam takes 2.25 hours. (The ASL exam takes 1.25 hours.)
  • The Exam has two portions:
      1. written answers to 3 writing prompts, handwritten (or typing available upon request)
      2. spoken answers to 10 open-ended, brief questions, recorded via computer microphone.
  • Tests are scored "Pass" and "No Pass".
  • "Pass" updates Academic Requirements Report with LOTER as "Met".
  • The date exam was taken is used in the ARR (and for graduation), not the date results come in.
  • A notice of 24 hours is required to reschedule within the same term.
  • No refunds are given for no-shows.
  • We cannot accommodate pets or children.
  • We gladly accommodate documented disabilities. Please include that information in your registration.

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How to Sign Up

Email the below to

  • Tell us if you are a Global Studies Major, an RN to BSN student, or in the Nursing Program.
  • Desired Language for Testing (Note: Global Studies Majors cannot test in ASL.)
  • First and Last Name (as it appears for CSUSM)
  • Campus ID (9 digits, looking something like: 000123456. Some Nursing Applicants won't have one.)
  • Phone Number
  • Campus Email (If you are not yet a CSUSM student, use another.)
  • Your desired testing times and dates from the below schedule. (ASL Testers: Do NOT use the below schedule. Just send all days and times of the week you are free for 1.25 hours, and we'll find a time!)

Then....CSUSM then sends you an email confirming your slot (or following up with alternatives if the ones you requested are full). We also email you final details, a study guide, a payment information. You are all set!

On-Campus Testing Schedule

RN to BSN Students: Want to test off-campus near your home? Learn more about Remote Exams to see those details.

ASL Testers: Do NOT use the below schedule. Just send all days and times of the week you are free for 1.25 hours, and we'll find a time!

Day Date Time
Wed April 11 5:30-7:45
Fri April 13 2:30-4:45
Fri April 13 5:30-7:45
Sat April 14 9:45-12
Sat April 14 12:45-3
Fri April 20 3-5:15

Note: Please provide us with two or more of these dates and times that you will be able to test on, in the case that one of your desired slots is already taken 

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How to Prepare

  • Read the Printable Information Sheet (PDF)
  • Listen to these INTERMEDIATE spoken samples. [Notes: Use a computer; this site is not mobile-friendly. If your language is not listed, choose English.]
  • For Spanish: Self-Test Review Packets for 101102, and 201.
  • Write full sentences in the present, past and future on simple life topics like: my vacation, my family, my career goals, my life....
  • Get in-person or online free, peer tutoring in Spanish, French, German, Arabic, Mandarin, and ASL.
  • For over 45 languages: Extensive, free text and audio resources designed to help gain higher proficiency:

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