Entry Level Mathematics (ELM)

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 2, 2015 for fall 2015 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.

General Information

The Entry Level Mathematics 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 California State University. The California State University ELM must be completed by all non-exempt entering undergraduates 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. 

The ELM exam requires approximately 90 minutes and contains 50 multiple-choice questions. 

The test content of the ELM emphasizes working with numbers and data, the connections between algebra and geometry, and problem solving. The test provides the major geometric formulae for reference because its purpose is to assess understanding of mathematical concepts and problem solving skills rather than recall of facts and equations.


To be exempt from the ELM, students must present proof of the one of the following:

  • A score of "Exempt" or "Ready for college-level mathematics courses" on the CSU Early Assessment Program taken in grade 11 in conjunction with the CST in summative high school mathematics or algebra II
  • A score of "Conditionally ready for college-level mathematics courses" or "Conditional" on the California State University EAP taken in grade 11 along with the California Standards Test in summative high school mathematics or algebra II, provided successful completion of a California State University-approved 12th grade math course that requires algebra II as a prerequisite
  • A score of 550 or above on the mathematics section of the College Board SAT Reasoning Test
  • A score of 550 or above on a College Board SAT Subject Test in Mathematics (Level 1 or Level 2)
  • A score of 23 or above on the American College Testing Mathematics Test
  • A score of 3 or above on the College Board Advanced Placement Calculus AB or Calculus BC exam
  • A score of 3 or above on the College Board Advanced Placement Statistics examination
  • Completion and transfer to California State University of a college course that satisfies the requirement in quantitative reasoning, provided such a course was completed with a grade of “C” or better

Note: The College Board SAT I and SAT II were renamed SAT Reasoning and SAT Subject Tests, respectively, beginning March 2005.

Students who qualify for an exemption that is not reflected in university records should check to see if the qualifying score was sent to CSUN when the test was taken. Contact ETS at (925) 808-2142 to double check where your scores were sent. If your scores have not been reported to CSUN, send a copy of your qualifying test scores to the address below so the exemption can be documented on your permanent academic record at CSUN. Please remember to keep a copy of the exemption notice for your records.

Admission and Records
California State University, Northridge
18111 Nordhoff St.
Northridge, CA 91330-8207

Test Dates

All 23 California State University campuses administer the ELM (and the EPT) 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 ELM 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 and Registration Dates for Entry Level Mathematics (ELM) Test
Test DateRegistration Begins at 8 a.m. onRegistration Ends at noon on
February 14, 2015*November 17, 2014January 30, 2015
March 21, 2015*November 17, 2014March 6, 2015
April 11, 2015January 25, 2015March 27, 2014
May 2, 2015*+March 1, 2015April 17, 2015
June 20, 2015March 29, 2015June 5, 2015

*System-wide EPT and ELM test dates.

+Last day to take EPT and ELM for fall 2015 enrollment.

For information on specific exam time and location, visit the Testing Calendar page.


The Entry Level Mathematics exam is given in conjunction with the English Placement Test. 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 ELM at CSUN, online registration is available.

There is an $18 charge for the ELM, 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.

Testing Accommodations

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 who 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 ELM online and contact the Testing Center to receive alternate testing arrangements at (818) 677-2369. Be prepared to provide documentation. The university ELM registration deadlines apply for all students, and accommodation requests must be submitted by the registration deadline.

Test Day

  • Students should report to the location listed on their admission ticket. Rooms are assigned on site.
  • Plan to arrive at least 15 minutes prior to your test time to allow for parking.
  • Current photo ID (driver's license, student ID, passport, etc.)
  • Several #2 pencils
  • Know your Social security number
  • Your printed admission ticket

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.

Test Scores

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. 

Because the ELM is a placement test, scores determine what courses students must attend. The chart below will help you and your advisor select the appropriate course:

Course Placement Determined by ELM Score
ELM ScoreCourse Placement
32 and belowMATH 092: Developmental Math I
34-49MATH 093: Developmental Math II
50 or higherSee advisor for course placement

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

You will almost certainly benefit from reviewing for the ELM, especially if you have not taken a math course during the past year. You can find information about the test and practice questions — 50 of them — in the California State University publication Focus on Mathematics. Another California State University publication, the ELM Problem Book, also offers numerous practice problems for review. (Note: You will need Acrobat Reader to view these documents. It is available as a free download.)

See the California State University Math Success website for test review questions.

Additional Information

Additional details may be found at the official California State University EPT/ELM website or the Online ETS Bulletin.


We have also provided a list of EPT and ELM FAQs for any additional questions you may have.

Early Assessment Program (EAP)

Early Start Program