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1. What is the Entry Level Math (ELM) requirement?

The ELM requirement is designed to assess the skill levels of entering CSU students in the areas of mathematics typically covered in three years of rigorous college preparatory mathematics courses in high school. Those undergraduate students who do not demonstrate college-level skills are directed to remedial math courses designed to help them attain these skills.

2. What is the ELM exam and who needs to take it?

The CSU has developed the ELM exam, a math placement test, in order to determine which students are ready to enroll in college level math courses. Students must take the ELM exam unless they can present proof of one of the following:

Ways to Meet the ELM Requirement

  • Early Assessment Program (EAP) – Receiving a status of "Ready for CSU or participating CCC college-level mathematics courses"
  • National Standardized Tests

    Test Required score for ELM requirement
    • 550 or more on the mathematics portion of the SAT Reasoning Test
    • 550 or more on a mathematics subject test (level 1 or level 2)
    • 23 or more on the mathematics test
    College Board AP
    • 3 or more on Advanced Placement Calculus or Statistics

  • Community College Course – A grade of C or better in a qualifying general education transfer math course (quantitative reasoning, B-4) at a community college satisfies the ELM requirement. See your academic advisor or check the ASSIST course transfer website popup window icon for more information.
  • ELM Examination - Unless students meet the requirement one of the ways above, they must take the ELM examination before their first term at the CSU. If they pass the exam, they meet the ELM requirement. If they do not pass, they must take non-credit remedial math classes.

3. What's on the ELM exam?

The ELM exam focuses on working with numbers and data; the connections between algebra and geometry; and problem-solving.

4. How long is the ELM exam?

The ELM contains 50 multiple-choice questions. Students are allotted 90 minutes to complete the test. Calculators are not allowed during the ELM exam.

5. When should students take the ELM exam?

Students should wait for the first scheduled test administration after they have been admitted unless instructed differently by the campus that admits them. Students must satisfy the ELM Requirement before they can enroll in college-level math courses.

6. How do students register for the ELM Exam?

The ELM is administered at the CSU campuses. Students should reference the ELM Website popup window icon for registration information.

7. Why does the CSU encourage students to take mathematics in their senior year of high school?

Students who complete their last math course in their junior year or earlier often have difficulties with the required college-level mathematics courses and with the ELM requirement.

8. What is the Early Assessment Program (EAP)?

The EAP has been developed to align the competencies required of incoming freshmen with the K-12 standards in English-language arts and mathematics. It is offered at all public California high schools on a voluntary basis and is designed to determine whether 11th graders are on track for college. More information about the EAP is available throughout this website.

The Program consists of three critical components: 11th grade assessment, senior year academic preparation activities, and professional development for English-language arts and mathematics teachers.

9. Why should eleventh-grade students take the EAP when many of them will be taking SAT I, SAT II, ACT, AP, and STAR tests?

The EAP is voluntary for eleventh-grade students and adds a minimal amount of time to the Algebra II and Summative Mathematics California Standardized Tests (CST). The benefits of participating include the opportunity:

  • to earn an exemption from the CSU-required mathematics placement test.
  • to identify the need for additional preparation for college-level courses.
  • to adjust senior-year coursework to prepare for college-level courses.
  • to avoid having to invest time and money in college remediation courses that do not count toward a baccalaureate degree.


10. When is the EAP given?

Most eleventh grade students are tested between mid-March and the end of May. If the CSTs are administered after the end of May, EAP results may not be available for planning senior-year coursework.

11. Where can I find more detailed information about the EAP?

A more thorough description of the EAP is located online at popup window icon.


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