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Entry Level Math (ELM) Exam

The CSU requires new students to be tested in mathematics as soon as possible after they are admitted and before enrolling at a CSU campus. The test is used to determine whether students are prepared for college work; and if they are not, to place the students in appropriate remediation courses or activities. Students may be exempt from this test if they have scored well on other specified tests or have completed appropriate courses. This test is not part of CSU admission requirements, but is a condition of enrollment if the student is not exempt. There is an $18 charge to take the test.

PURPOSE OF THE ELM

The ELM Examination is designed to assess and measure the level of mathematics skills acquired through three years of rigorous college preparatory mathematics coursework (Algebra I and II, and Geometry) of students entering the CSU. All non-exempt entering undergraduates must complete the CSU ELM prior to enrollment in any course, including remedial courses. Students who score 50 or above on the ELM will be placed in college-level mathematics classes.

Exemptions from the ELM are granted only to those who present proof of one of the following:

  • New SAT: A score of 570 or above on the mathematics section of the new SAT*
  • Old SAT: A score of 550 or above on the mathematics section of the old SAT Reasoning Test
  • SAT Subject Test: A score of 550 or above on the SAT Subject Test in Mathematics (level 1 or level 2)**
  • A score of 23 or above on the ACT Mathematics Test
  • A score of 3 or above on the College Board Advanced Placement Calculus AB or Calculus BC
  • A score of 3 or above on the College Board Advanced Placement Statistics examination
  • Completion and transfer to CSU of a college course that satisfies the requirement in Quantitative Reasoning, provided such a course was completed with a grade of C or better
  • A result of ‘Standard Exceeded: Ready for CSU or participating CCC college-level coursework in mathematics’ on the CAASPP Early Assessment Program (EAP) exam

The following Conditionally Exempt statuses require students to 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.

  • a)   New SAT: A score between 520-560 on the mathematics section of the new SAT Test*
  • b)   Old SAT: A score between 490 - 540 on the mathematics section of the old SAT Reasoning Test
  • c)   A score between 20 - 22 on the mathematics section of the ACT Test
  • d)   A result of ‘Standard Met: Conditionally Ready for CSU or participating CCC college-level coursework in
            mathematics’ on the CAASPP Early Assessment Program (EAP) exam

* In March 2016, the College Board began administering a new SAT. The new SAT scores are different than the old SAT scores. The CSU will accept both old and new SAT scores for students graduating in 2020 and prior. Students graduating after 2020 will be required to take the new SAT.

**Note: there were no changes to the SAT subject tests; therefore, the cut score for the subject test in mathematics (level 1 or Level 2) remains the same.

To support you in preparing to meet the ELM Requirement, the California State University has developed the Math Success Website.

On this site you will find:

  • Information about the CSU ELM Requirement
  • A personalized roadmap with an interactive checklist to track your progress
  • Information about the ELM test including practice problems and assessments
  • Information about the CSU Early Assessment Program (EAP)
  • Video testimonials of students
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