Entry Level Mathematics (ELM)

All new undergraduate students entering the California State University are required to take the Entry Level Mathematics (ELM) except those who qualify for an exemption. If you are not exempt, you must take the ELM and provide scores to the university prior to beginning your first semester of enrollment. Failure to take the ELM prior to registering for your first semester will result in your not being allowed to enroll at the CSU.

The ELM 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 undergraduates who do not demonstrate college-level skills will be directed to courses or programs designed to help them attain these skills.

The ELM examination contains 50 multiple-choice questions (view ELM sample questionsOpens in new window ). Students are allotted 90 minutes to complete the test. Because the ELM is a placement test, "cut scores" determine what courses students must attend. The cut score for the ELM is 50, on a scale that goes from a lowest possible score of 0 to a highest possible score of 80.

Calculators are not allowed for the ELM placement test. The questions on the ELM do not require involved computations. Rather, the placement test includes problems that emphasize quantitative reasoning and problem solving.

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.

The ELM examination is given in conjunction with the English Placement Test (EPT). Students may take the test at the most convenient CSU campus. Go to www.ets.org/csu for online registration at any CSU campus. The CSU has a Math Success Website www.csumathsuccess.org that includes diagnostic tests, review courses, and videos.