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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.  Indicate multiple times/days.

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: Summer 2018

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

Weekday Testing, 9 AM - 4 PM
Mon-Fri, July 5 - August 10: 9-11:15; 9:30-11:45; 1-3:15; 1:30-3:45

Late Afternoon & Evening Testing, 2 PM - 8 PM
Wed, July 11: 2-4:15; 2:30-4:45; 3-5:15; 3:30-5:45, 4-6:15; 4:30-6:45; 5-7:15; 5:30-7:45
Wed, July 25: 2-4:15; 2:30-4:45; 3-5:15; 3:30-5:45, 4-6:15; 4:30-6:45; 5-7:15; 5:30-7:45

Saturday Testing, 9 AM - 4 PM
August 11: Send all availability, 9 AM - 4 PM. We will schedule best times for the group.

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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.]
  • Write full sentences in the present, past and future on simple life topics like: my vacation, my family, my career goals, my life....
  • DuoLingo App and/or Website (like a free Rosetta Stone; very popular with students!)
  • For over 45 languages: Extensive, free text and audio resources designed to help gain higher proficiency:
  • In Fall and Spring semesters, get in-person or online free, peer tutoring in Spanish, French, German, Arabic, Mandarin, and ASL.
  • For Spanish: Self-Test Review Packets of detailed grammar that is taught in 101102, and 201. Note: This is NOT the format of the test, which is all open-ended oral and essay questions. This is just to give you some papers to practice with.

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