The California State University requires all students to take the English Placement Test and the Entry Level Mathematics test prior to enrollment in the California State Universities unless they are exempt by means of scores earned on other appropriate tests such as the ACT, AP, EAP and/or SAT. Although your EPT and ELM test scores are not requested as part of your admissions application to the university, you must satisfy the requirement before enrolling in classes.
Unless exempt, you must take the EPT and ELM tests by May 7, 2016 for fall 2016 enrollment. Because of heavy demand and limited seating, you should sign up for the tests much earlier than the May deadline. If you are required to take the EPT and/or the ELM but fail to do so, you will not be allowed to enroll at California State University, Northridge. If you do not perform well on the test(s), you will be placed in an appropriate developmental program during your first term of enrollment.
All new undergraduate students entering the California State University are required to take the English Placement Test (EPT) except those who qualify for an exemption. If you are not exempt, you must take the EPT and provide scores to the university prior to beginning your first semester of enrollment. Failure to take the EPT prior to registering for your first semester will result in your not being allowed to enroll at the CSU.
The EPT is designed to assess the level of reading and writing skills of entering undergraduate students so that they can be placed in appropriate courses. Those undergraduates who do not demonstrate college-level skills will be directed to courses or programs designed to help them attain these skills.
The English Placement Test requires approximately 2-1/2 hours to administer and contains the following three sections:
Essay - 45 minutes on an assigned topic
Reading Skills - 30 minutes to answer 45 multiple-choice questions
Composing Skills - 30 minutes to answer 45 multiple-choice questions
The EPT is given in conjunction with the Entry Level Mathematics (ELM). Students may take the test at the most convenient CSU campus. Please go to the online registration webpage to register for any CSU campus. For EPT questions please contact the Testing Center at (818) 677-2369
The CSU English Placement Test must be completed by all entering undergraduates, with the exception of those who present proof of one of the following:
- A score of "Exempt" or "Ready for college-level English courses" on the CSU Early Assessment Program (EAP)
- A score of 500 or above on the Critical Reading section of the College Board SAT Reasoning Test
- A score of 22 or above on the American College Testing (ACT) English Test
- A score of 3 or above on either the Language and Composition or Composition and Literature examination of the College Board Scholastic Advanced Placement Program
- Completion and transfer to CSU of the credits for a college course that satisfies the CSU General Education requirement in English Composition, provided such a course was completed with a grade of C or better
A score of "Ready for CSU or Participating CCC college-level English Courses- Conditional"
Meets the condition
- If your Critical Reading SAT score is between 460-499 or your ACT English score is between 19-21 with successful completion of a full-year CSU approved English course or activity during your senior year with a grade of "C" or better.
- A score of "Conditionally ready for college-level English courses" or "Conditional" on the CSU Early Assessment Program (EAP) taken on grade 11, provided successful completion of the Expository Reading and Writing Course (ERWC), AP English, IB English or an English course approved for extra honors weight on the University of California "a-g" Doorways course list
If you have any questions about being exempt from the EPT, check with the Admissions and Records Office, Bayramian Hall, main lobby or call (818) 677-3700.
All 23 California State University campuses administer the EPT (and the ELM) on a variety of variable dates. For a complete listing, check the California State University EPT/ELM Information bulletin. Pay close attention to the registration deadline listed by each test date since your registration must reach the testing office by the registration deadline.
Students may take the test at the most convenient California State University campus. Online registration is available for all campuses.
If you wish to take the EPT at CSUN, online registration is available. It is highly recommended that you test by one of the test dates listed below.
CSUN EPT and ELM testing calendar
|Test Date||Registration Begins at 8 a.m. on||Registration Ends at noon on||Reporting Location|
|November 21, 2015||June 22, 2015||November 6, 2015||Sagebrush Hall|
|February 13, 2016*||November 23, 2015||January 29, 2016||Sierra Walk|
|March 19, 2016*||November 23, 2015||March 4, 2016||Sierra Walk|
|April 16, 2016||February 15, 2016||April 1, 2016||Sierra Walk|
|May 7, 2016*+||March 21, 2016||April 22, 2016||Sierra Walk|
|June 18, 2016||May 9, 2016||June 3, 2016||Sagebrush Hall|
*System-wide EPT and ELM test dates.
+Last day to take EPT and ELM for fall 2016 enrollment.
For information on specific exam time and location, visit the Testing Calendar page.
The English Placement Test is given in conjunction with the Entry Level Mathematics exam. Online registration is available for all campuses. Go to the California State University EPT/ELM Information bulletin for a complete list of EPT and/or ELM test dates and registration procedures.
If you wish to take the EPT at CSUN, online registration is available.
There is an $18 charge for the EPT, payable when you register for the examination. Students who are unable to pay online via credit card, Paypal or e-check, must contact ETS at (925) 808-2142 for an alternate payment method. No student will be tested without proper payment and picture identification.
Accommodations for Students with Disabilities
Alternative testing accommodations such as extended time, electronic text, readers or scribes are available through the Disability Resources and Educational Services (DRES) department to students that have a documented disability and require accommodations to take the exam. If you are not a registered student with DRES and have a disability, please visit the DRES website for registration procedures.
In order to receive testing accommodations for the EPT and/or ELM tests, you will need to contact Disability Resources and Educational Services to provide proof of a disability and to schedule the tests. After review of your documentation, DRES will contact you to make an intake appointment with a disability counselor. This appointment should be scheduled at least 14 days prior to the EPT and/or ELM tests. To ensure all accommodations are in place for your tests, it is imperative that you contact the DRES office as soon as possible. Please understand that without the disability documentation and intake appointment we are unable to provide the requested accommodation.
Accommodations for Religious Observances
Non-Saturday testing is available for religious observances. If your religious observance prevents you from taking the test on the scheduled test date, students must sign up for the EPT online and contact the Testing Center to receive alternate testing arrangements at (818) 677-2369. Be prepared to provide documentation. The university EPT registration deadlines apply to all students, and accommodation requests must be submitted by the registration deadline.
Weeks before the test
- Check your ID
- Is it an acceptable government-issued ID or a high school ID?
- Is it current (or has it expired in the last 90 days; school year 2015-2016)?
- Do your first and last name match the names on your EPT admission ticket and your ID exactly? Corrections must be submitted no later than 4:00 PM (PT) on Friday the week prior to testing by contacting the Testing Center at 818-677-2369.
1 week before the test
Obtain a clear, plastic ziplock bag (maximum size 1 gallon/3.79 liters) to contain “allowable” items in the testing room.
The day before your scheduled test
Print an updated EPT admission ticket from the ETS registration website, to ensure that you have the final and correct reporting address for the test.
- Check the Testing Center’s website, for reporting location directions and a map.
- Review the list of items allowed in the ziplock bag.
- Report to testing location listed on your admission ticket. Allowing at least 15 minutes for arrival and parking is recommended.
- Take only page 1 of the admission ticket to the test. Leave this checklist at home.
- Do not take any prohibited items or electronic devices (including cell phones) to the test. Possession and/or use of such items is grounds for immediate dismissal from the test.
DO NOT WAIT UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE TO CONTACT US WITH QUESTIONS.
Items Needed for Admission Testing
Admission Ticket. When you registered for the EPT you should have printed out your ticket. If not, visit the ETS Registration webpage to do so prior to testing day. You must take the ticket with you to testing. Your ticket will contain the following pertinent information: reporting time, reporting address, test center instructions, and test center procedures.
The address on the ticket is a reporting address. Test takers are responsible for obtaining directions and arriving at the test location no later than the reporting time. The Testing Center strongly advises you to check the institution's website for specific directions to the test location, as well as for parking information and a campus map. Internet map searches may not provide reliable information specific to the reporting location. On test day where multiple rooms or buildings are used, the address will be a centralized location. You will be directed from there to a specific testing room or building.
For the administrations of the EPT, test takers are required to be at the reporting location no later than their respective test time. Refer to your EPT Admission Ticket for the exact test date and reporting time.
Prior to reporting to the test location, you must carefully read all pages of your admission ticket. Only page one of the admission ticket should be brought to the test. Your ticket may be used only for the test date printed on it.
All test takers can reprint their EPT ticket if it is misplaced. Visit the ETS Registration webpage and log in with your personal username and password.
The Testing Center recommends that test takers print out their EPT Admission Ticket the night before the exam to ensure that they have the most recent and accurate reporting address for their test. Alternate admission tickets will NOT be available on test day.
NOTE: Test takers should expect the test day to cover up to 4 ½ hours.
Identification. You must have a valid government-issued ID that is current (or has expired within 90 days of your test date) or a current school ID that contains a recent and recognizable photo. Your first and last name on your ID must match exactly the first and last name on your EPT Admission Ticket or else you will be denied admission.
Acceptable common forms of ID include, but are not limited to:
State or province-issued ID card
US military ID card (Common Access Card, or CAC)
US Permanent Resident Card (Green Card)
Canadian Permanent Resident Card
National ID card
Consular ID card
Current school year student ID
In some cases, a temporary driver's license if that license has both a physical description and a signature
IMPORTANT: All of the above forms of ID, along with all other forms of ID that may be acceptable, MUST contain a recent and recognizable photo, your first and last name. The ID must sufficiently authenticate your identity to the test center supervisor. Under no circumstances will access be permitted to the test center without proper ID. If you have questions about whether your ID is acceptable, you must contact the Testing Center at least seven (7) days PRIOR to your registered test date and be prepared to submit a scanned copy of your ID for review.
The following items are NOT acceptable forms of ID for access to the test center: Social Security card, Social Insurance card, birth certificate, credit card (including those with photo), ID expired for more than 90 days prior to your test date, photocopied ID, or employee ID (even for government employees), or previous school year student ID.
Pencils. Bring to the test center three or four sharpened No. 2 or HB wooden pencils—with good erasers. Pencils or sharpeners will not be supplied at the test center.
Social Security Number. You will need to know your social security number. Do NOT bring your social security card.
Items Allowed in the Test Room
Test takers may bring into the test room only a clear plastic ziplock bag, maximum size one gallon (3.79 liter), which must be stored under the chair. The sealed ziplock bag may contain only the following items: valid ID; wallet; keys; analog (nondigital) wristwatch; medical or feminine hygiene products (including diabetic testing supplies); #2 or HB wooden pencils, erasers, pencil sharpener, tissues and beverage in plastic container or juice box (20 oz./591 ml maximum size) and snack for break only. All items must fit in the ziplock bag such that the bag can be sealed.
Items Allowed on the Desktop
Test takers may only have pencils, erasers, and a pencil sharpener on the desktop. No electronic devices are permitted. Neither are timers of any kind except analog wristwatches.
Items Prohibited in the Testing Location
You may not bring into the testing center or use any of the following:
electronic timers of any kind
digital watches, alarm watches, beeping watches, calculator watches
cell phones, pay phones, beepers, pagers, personal digital assistants (PDAs)
photographic or recording devices
headsets, iPods, or other media players
books, dictionaries, papers of any kind
briefcases, handbags, backpacks of any kind
hats/hoods/beanies (except religious apparel) may not be worn on the head
weapons or firearms
IMPORTANT: Electronic devices, including cell phones, are not permitted in the test room, and the use of any electronic device is strictly prohibited. Any test taker discovered in possession of or using an electronic device, including but not limited to cell phones, pay phones, pagers, iPods™ or other media players, or personal computers, will be dismissed from the test and their test will not be scored. This policy will be enforced from the time test takers arrive at the test until they leave at the conclusion of the test—including restroom breaks. Violations will be grounds for score cancellation and you may be subject to a CSUN investigation. Test center staff assume no responsibility for personal items.
Test Center Regulations
Seating. The supervisor will assign each test taker a seat. Test takers are not permitted to choose their own seats, rooms, or building.
No latecomers. Under no circumstances will supervisors admit anyone after testing begins.
Restroom use. Use the restroom before checking in; once you are checked in, you will not be permitted to leave until after the start of the test.
Test administration. The supervisor will tell you when to start and stop work. Start and stop times will be written on the board.
Time. Supervisors will keep the official time. You may take an analog (nondigital) wristwatch to the test center. No other timers—including electronic and countdown timers—are allowed.
Testing staff. Testing staff will circulate throughout the testing room to ensure that examinees are working on the exam and no other materials are in use. The supervisor will announce a ten-minutes-remaining warning.
Scratch paper. Scratch paper or any other paper is not permitted.
Hats/hoods/beanies. No hats, hoods or beanie may be worn on the head (except items of religious apparel). These items will be left at the front of the room until conclusion of exam.
Handbags, backpacks, briefcases. No handbags, backpacks, briefcases, or bags of any kind—except a maximum-sized one-gallon (3.79 liter) clear plastic ziplock bag (sealed)—are allowed in the test room.
Food and drink. Food and drink may not be consumed during the test. Food and drinks are allowed if placed in the sealed ziplock bag in the testing room and consumed during the break only.
Leaving the room. If you find it necessary to leave the room during the test, raise your hand and obtain permission from the room supervisor. Your test materials will be collected and held until your return. You will not be permitted to make up the time. Use the restroom before reporting to the check-in station; once checked in, you will not be permitted to leave until after the start of the test.
Test Center Violations/Irregularities. Room supervisors will report to Testing Supervisor any test center violation/irregularity that occurs during the administration.
Testing materials. All testing materials, including test booklets and answer sheets are the property of the Educational Testing Service and must be returned to the room supervisor before dismissal from the test. Under no circumstances may test content or any part of the test be removed, reproduced, or disclosed by any means (e.g., hard copy, verbally, electronically) to any person or entity. Legal action may be taken against anyone who removes or reproduces test materials in any way, or shares test content.
Left-handedness. Room supervisors attempt to accommodate left-handed test takers. However, room supervisors cannot guarantee special desks or tables for you.
Creating a disturbance. Disruptive behavior in any form will not be tolerated. The test supervisor has sole discretion in determining what constitutes disruptive behavior. The test supervisor is authorized to dismiss from the test center any test taker who creates a disturbance.
Rights and Responsibilities of Test Takers
When you take the EPT, it is your responsibility to report all instances of suspected cheating on the part of any test takers and any other inappropriate behavior that becomes known to you.
You are an important part of protecting the EPT and ensuring a fair test environment. Cheating impacts everyone. If you believe that you have information about actual or potential test security violations, please contact the Testing Center office immediately.
Test Center Violations and Irregularities
If you engage in any test center violation or irregularity during the test—such as creating a disturbance; giving or receiving help; working on or reading the test during a time not authorized by the supervisor; removing test materials or notes from the testing room; taking part in an act of impersonation or other forms of cheating; failing to follow the directions of test center staff; or using books, ear plugs, rulers, papers of any kind, or other aids—you may receive a warning or you may be dismissed from the testing room, have your test score canceled by the Testing Center and you may be subject to other penalties for test center violations or irregularities.
Test takers who violate test center regulations, including but not limited to those listed below, will be subject to a warning notice, dismissal from the test center, and/or cancellation of their test score. Test takers may have their cases referred for further investigation to the Student Misconduct Board.
Possible Test Center Violations
- Attempting to take the test for someone else or having someone else take the test for you.
- Obtaining or attempting to obtain improper access to the test, a part of the test, or information about the test.
- Creating a disturbance. (Disruptive behavior in any form will not be tolerated; the test supervisor has sole discretion in determining what constitutes disruptive behavior.)
- Removing or attempting to remove test content from the test center.
NOTE: Under no circumstances may test content or any part of the test content, including the topic sheet, be removed, reproduced, and/or disclosed by any means (e.g., hard copy, verbally, electronically) to any person or entity. This includes making notes on paper, erasers, or other items and removing them from the test center. Legal action may be taken against anyone who removes test materials and/or reproduces test materials in any way.
- Bringing a weapon or firearm into the test center.
- Leaving the test center vicinity during the test session or during a restroom break. Test takers may not leave the building or the floor where the test room is located.
- Leaving the test room without permission.
- Reading, working on, marking, or erasing during unauthorized times, either beyond time limits or before the start of the test in the test booklet.
- Copying or other forms of cheating.
Electronic Devices: NO-TOLERANCE POLICY
The Testing Center has adopted a no-tolerance policy with regard to possession of electronic devices. Under no circumstances are test takers permitted to bring an electronic device into the test area. Test supervisors and their staff are advised NOT to hold such items and are instructed to dismiss any test taker found in possession of or using an electronic device. Such devices include, but are not limited to:
electronic timers of any kind
digital watches, alarm watches, beeping watches, calculator watches
cell phones, pay phones, beepers, pagers, personal digital assistants (PDAs)
photographic or recording devices
headsets, iPods, or other media players
Any test taker found in possession of or using an electronic device will be dismissed from the test center and their score will be cancelled.
Test Reporting Location
Visit our Test Reporting Locations Map for driving directions to all on-campus testing locations.
Out of State Testing
Students who are non-California residents and are unable to test at one of the California State Universities and need to test in their home state, must register online at the ETS website and select the test campus as "Out of State.” Please note that there is an out of state testing fee of $75 in addition to the testing fees.
After you have taken the appropriate placement tests, schedule an appointment with your advisor to select the appropriate course(s) to enroll in for your first semester at CSUN.
Total test score: Your total test score is the combined scores of all three sections. It will indicate whether you have the skills in reading and writing that will permit you to perform according to the standards expected of you in regular college writing courses. A low total score indicates that you should enroll in a class and/or laboratory designed to improve your skills.
Reading skills score: Your score on the reading skills section of the test will indicate whether you are reading on a college-entry level or whether you should receive special instruction in reading.
Composing skills score: Your score on the composing skills section of the test will indicate your ability to select sentences that establish clear meaning, your knowledge of sentence structure according to the conventions of standard written English at the college-entry level, and your ability to recognize statements that support or help develop a given idea.
Essay score: Your score on the essay will indicate whether you have the skills necessary to write in-class papers or examinations in college.
Because the EPT is a placement test, scores determine what courses students must attend. The chart below will help you and your advisor select the appropriate course:
|EPT Score||Course Placement|
|139 and below||ENGL 113A/UNIV 061 followed by ENGL 113B/UNIV 062|
|140-146||ENGL 114A followed by ENGL 114B|
|147 or higher||ENGL 115|
Failure to complete the required developmental courses in two semesters will result in disenrollment from CSUN. For information about compliance policy, consult the California State University Executive Order 665.
Helpful Sample Materials
To find out more about what's on the test, see Focus on English, which provides information about the entry-level English requirement of the California State University EPT test. The document explains scores on other tests that will exempt students from EPT and it includes answers to a number of frequently asked questions. The Focus on English pamphlet includes samples of the types of questions appearing on the new EPT test, as well as examples of essays and how they were scored. (Note: You will need Acrobat Reader to view these documents. It is available as a free download.)
See the California State University English Success website for test review questions.