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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

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

  • CAASPP Early Assessment Program (EAP) – Standard Exceeded: Ready for CSU or participating CCC college-level coursework in mathematics
  • CAASPP Early Assessment Program (EAP) - Standard Met: Conditionally Ready for CSU or participating CCC college-level coursework in mathematics.  Student must continue their preparation in the 12th grade by taking an approved math course and earn a grade of ‘C’ or better.  Students that do not meet the conditional requirement will need to participate in the CSU’s Early Start Program, unless they meet other Early Start Program exemptions.
  • National Standardized Tests

    Test ELM Exemption Score *ELM Conditional Exemption Score
    SAT
    • 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)
    • 490 - 540 on the mathematics portion of the SAT Reasoning Test
    ACT
    • 23 or more on the mathematics test
    • 20 - 22 on the mathematics test
    College Board AP
    • 3 or more on Advanced Placement Calculus or Statistics
    • N/A

    * Student must continue their preparation in the 12th grade by taking an approved math course and earn a grade of ‘C’ or better. Students that do not meet the conditional requirement will need to participate in the CSU’s Early Start Program, unless they meet other Early Start Program exemptions.

  • 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 is the result of collaboration among the California Department of Education (CDE), State Board of Education (SBE), and California State University (CSU). 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 when students take the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) in the 11th grade.

9. Why should eleventh-grade students take the CAASPP seriously?

Performing well on the assessments will give students the opportunity to:

10. How and when do students participate in EAP

Grade eleven students participating in the Smarter Balanced Summative Assessment will receive CAASPP results. CAASPP results will be used as the student’s EAP status.  Marking the release button at the end of the test will allow students to send their CAASPP results to the CSU and/or the CCC.  The release of the results does not affect the student’s application for admission.  Results are only used to determine placement of students after they have been admitted to the university.


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