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Proficiency Exam

Students Who Take the Exam

  • want a Spring 2019 or Summer 2019 graduation date on their diploma and have not met the LOTER
  • want to meet Nursing program application points for Fall 2019
  • 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: Students with an Associate Degree for Transfer (AA-T, AS-T or ADT) should check their Academic Requirement Report (ARR) in to check if their requirement was waived. If it is, then you are all set. If it is not, then do plan to meet the LOTER with this exam or other methods. 

Note: Extended Learning's RN to BSN Online Students graduating in Spring 2019 or Summer 2019 must meet the requirement. They 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

  • To graduate in May, the Exam must be taken by April 30.
  • To graduate in August, the Exam must be taken by June 30. [There is no July or August testing.]
  • 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 the requirement 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 Prepare

  • Get in-person or online free, peer tutoring in Spanish, French, German, Arabic, Mandarin, and ASL
  • Borrow an LLC textbook to practice creating with these languages: Spanish, French, German, Arabic, Mandarin, Tagalog, Farsi, Dari, Vietnamese, Russian, or American Sign Language.
  • Write a journal/diary of your daily life, to get practice telling stories in present, past and future.
  • Use DuoLingo (app and website) to get your grammar flowing.
  • For over 45 languages: Extensive, free resources to help gain higher proficiency:
  • For Spanish: Self-Test Review Packets for 101102, and 201. (Also available in the LLC.) Note: These are waaaay more detailed and specific than is required on the Exam. This is to build your skills; the Exam asks you to use them in open-ended written and spoken answers.
  • Listen to these oral language samples of learners whose skills would make them pass:
    2. Choose your language from the list at left. If your language is not available, choose English.
    3. Click on “Speaking”.
    4. Scroll to INTERMEDIATE (the level our Exam asks for).
    5. Click the button “View Samples”. (There are usually 3-4.)

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How to Sign Up: 2 Steps!


1a. Languages that use the same keyboard/alphabet as English (even if accents are different) AND you want to type your answers:

Test literally whenever when you want! Send a desired date and time, and we'll set you up. The test will be added to your Cougar Courses, with Zoom proctoring. You will need:

  • 2.5 hours to take the exam, LITERALLY any time in the month, week and day (midnight, weekends...).
  • Computer with webcam, microphone, and permissions that let you download programs.
  • Headphones with a mic to ensure best recording quality.
  • To complete step 2 below to sign up!

1b. Languages that use a different keyboard/alphabet than English, OR any language that you want to handwrite, OR American Sign Language (ASL)

  • First and Last Name (as it appears for CSUSM)
  • Campus ID (9 digits, looking something like: 000123456)
  • Phone Number
  • Campus Email
  • Major/Program
  • Indicate if you are any of these:
    • Graduating Spring 2019 or Summer 2019
    • Global Studies Major (cannot use ASL)
    • RN to BSN through Extended Learning
    • Pre-Nursing or Nursing
    • Associate Degree for Transfer (Your diploma would say: ADT, AA-T, or AS-T. This is not the same as a regular Associate's Degree. You know if you are this.)
  • Provide exam times that work for you:
    • 1a - List your language and provide literally any 2.5 hour slot that is at least three days in the future (so we have time to set you up in Cougar Courses). You can even do over winter break. BE SPECIFIC, for example: "Mon, Sept 24, 9:15-11:45 AM". 
    • 1b - List your language and provide testing dates and times windows that work for you, within the regular workday: Mon-Fri, 9-5. We will find mutually-convenient times. [There will be one Saturday during Spring Semester for testing. Date forthcoming.]