Frequently Asked Questions About the CSU Placement Tests

General Questions

Where do I go to register online for the EPT/ELM?

Visit the registration information page to register for the EPT and ELM.

I received a letter that said I am exempt from the EPT/ELM. Where do I send my score report to prove this?

Contact the campus Admissions Office or Testing Office where you have been admitted for information on where to send your score report.

Do I have to take the EPT/ELM at the college I plan on attending?

No. You may take the test at whichever campus is most convenient to you. On the day of the test, you will be able to select up to four campuses where you would like the scores to be sent.

I am an international student. Do I need to take the EPT/ELM? Do my TOEFL® scores fulfill the requirement?

Please contact the Testing Office or Admissions Office at the campus you plan to attend to find out if you need to take the EPT/ELM.

I am testing tomorrow, but I do not know where to go and I have not received my ticket.

The EPT/ELM registration system automatically sends a message to the email address you provided during registration. This email contains a link to the admission ticket information. You can also login to the EPT/ELM registration site and print an admission ticket. The admission ticket may be printed or reprinted before the test.

When will I receive my test scores?

The score reports will be mailed out and made available online according to the schedule of Test Dates. Registered students who enter their Admission Ticket Number on their answer sheet at the time of testing will be able to view their scores by logging into the EPT/ELM registration website. At the time of testing, walk-in students will be asked to provide a Personal Identification Number (PIN) so you can retrieve your scores online at www.ets.org/csu.

How can my scores be forwarded to a different CSU campus or a community college?

You may request an additional score report directly from Educational Testing Service by mail. Duplicate score reports are free for the first year after the test date, and available for a cost of $25 per report after that. To order duplicate reports, send a check (if needed) payable to Educational Testing Service, accompanied by a letter indicating your name, Social Security number, the date on which you took the test, and the addresses to which you want the duplicate score reports sent. Mail to:

Educational Testing Service
EPT/ELM Program
P.O. Box 4004
Concord, CA 94524-4004

What if I forgot my PIN number?

You can retrieve your PIN number from the EPT/ELM registration system by clicking the “View your scores” link and entering your name, date of birth and Social Security number exactly as it was entered on your answer sheet.

I am using my four-digit PIN number. Why will it not allow me to sign in?

The PIN number needed to view your EPT/ELM score is a six-digit number that you entered on your answer sheet on the day of the test. You need to enter your first and last names, date of birth and PIN number exactly as they were entered on your answer sheet or else you will not be able to sign in.

The EPT/ELM scores website states an examinee could not be found. Why is that, when I took the exam two weeks ago?

This message means that either you are trying to view your scores before they have been posted or you did not enter your first and last names, date of birth and PIN number exactly as they were entered on your answer sheet. All scores are mailed and made available online according to the schedule of Test Dates. Your scores will be forwarded to the campus(es) you selected on the answer sheet.

About the EPT

Is this an admission test?

No. The results of the test will not affect your admission to any CSU campus.

I have not yet been admitted. Can I still take the test?

Yes. It does not matter when the EPT is taken, so long as it is taken before the deadline set by the campus at which you seek to enroll. You must take the test before you can enroll in CSU General Education courses.

I have completed freshman English at another university. Do I need to take the EPT?

Probably not. The EPT is not required if you have completed and transferred a campus-acceptable four-quarter or three-semester unit college English composition course with a grade of C or better. You should contact the Admissions Office or Testing Office on the campus where you plan to attend to confirm you have a transferable course.

Do I need to take the EPT if I did well on the SAT®, AP® or ACT® admission tests?

No. A score of 500 or above on the critical reading section of the College Board SAT® Reasoning Test exempts you, while a 3, 4 or 5 on either the Language and Composition or Composition and Literature examination of the College Board Advanced Placement® (AP) Program gives you six units of credit and exempts you from the EPT. Also, a score of 22 or higher on the ACT® English Test will exempt you. See Who Must Take the EPT for other grounds for exemption.

I have a high GPA in my high school English classes. Do I still have to take the EPT?

Yes. GPA is not a consideration in determining whether or not you have to take the EPT. The only grounds for exemption are those listed in What is the EPT?

I am still unsure whether I am required to take the EPT. What should I do?

The staff of the Admissions Office or the Test Office of the CSU campus that you plan to attend will be able to answer your questions.

Can I retake the EPT test?

No. The EPT test can only be taken once.

Why are you testing English?

Unless you read well enough to understand your textbooks and write well enough to complete essay tests and term papers, you will have difficulty in your other subjects. Reading and writing skills are basic.

What is the relationship of this test to the graduation requirements of my college?

The CSU Board of Trustees has called for a graduation requirement in student writing proficiency for all degree candidates. The EPT will help you prepare to meet that requirement at your campus by giving you descriptive information about your reading and writing skills.

How do I prepare for the test?

The test assesses an examinee’s reading and writing skills. You develop these skills with steady practice over a period of years. However, it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the kinds of questions and writing topics that you will find on the test. There are practice materials available at www.csuenglishsuccess.org.

I had English in high school. Shouldn't I be ready for college-level reading and writing?

Probably. But if you have not had very much practice in writing essays or in careful reading, you still might benefit from special instruction.

What if I don't do well on the test?

The CSU Early Start initiative will require students who do not perform well on the test to start remediation during the summer before the freshman year. Students who score below 138 on the EPT will be required to participate in Early Start. Contact the CSU campus that you plan on attending for further information regarding Early Start.

Will I have to pay for extra help if I receive a low score?

That will depend on where you satisfy the Early Start requirement and if you qualify for financial aid. Early Start English and math courses will be available at all CSU campuses, at a few community colleges and online.

I will be out of the country on the first test date available. What do I do?

You must take the test at the next opportunity. It is to your advantage to take the test as soon as possible, and you must take it before you can enroll in CSU General Education courses.

Do I have to take the test at the campus I will be attending?

No. Plan to take the test at whichever campus is most convenient for you. On the day of the test, you can select to have your scores reported to up to four CSU campuses.

How much time do I have to complete the test?

You have 45 minutes to complete the essay portion and 60 minutes to complete the combined multiple-choice portion (30 minutes for each of the two sections). If you are taking the ELM test at the same sitting, be prepared to test an additional 90 minutes for the ELM.

How do I receive my test scores?

Registered students who enter their Admission Ticket Number on their answer sheet at the time of testing will be able to view their scores by logging into the EPT/ELM registration website. At the time of testing, walk-in students will be asked to provide a Personal Identification Number (PIN) so you can retrieve your scores online at www.ets.org/csu. See the Test Dates for the score report release dates.

How long are my EPT testing materials and scores retained by ETS?

ETS retains essays for six months and answer sheets and test books for 18 months. Although essays and answer sheets (not test books) are available for review at the ETS office in Concord, they may not be returned to students. EPT scores are available from 1977 to the present.

About the ELM

Is this an admission test?

No. The results of the test will not affect your admission to any CSU campus.

I have not yet been admitted. Can I still take the test?

Yes. You may take the ELM anytime, so long as it is taken before the deadline set at the campus where you wish to enroll. You must take the test before you can enroll in CSU General Education mathematics courses.

Do I need to take the ELM if I did well on the SAT, AP or ACT tests?

No. If you scored 550 or above on the mathematics portion of the SAT Reasoning Test, 550 or above on a College Board SAT Subject Test in Mathematics (Level 1 or Level 2), 23 or above on the ACT math test, or 3 or above on an AP mathematics test (Calculus AB, Calculus BC, or Statistics), you are exempt from the ELM examination. Transfer students may be exempt through transferred coursework.

What about the UC/CSU Mathematics Diagnostic Testing Program (MDTP) tests? I took one of those and did well. Do I have to take the ELM test?

Yes, you do. However, those are rigorous tests and are excellent indications of mathematics skills. If you scored well on the MDTP intermediate algebra examination, you should do well on the ELM examination.

I have a high GPA in my high school math classes. Do I still have to take the ELM?

Yes. GPA is not a consideration in determining whether or not you have to take the ELM. The only grounds for exemption are those listed under What is the ELM?

I am still unsure whether I am required to take the ELM test. What should I do?

The staff of the Admissions Office or the Test Office of the CSU campus that you plan to attend will be able to answer your questions.

Can I retake the ELM test?

Yes, but not during the same testing period. For a list of the testing periods see the “Purpose of the ELM” section of the EPT/ELM Information Bulletin.

May I use a calculator during the ELM exam?

No. The questions on the ELM do not require involved computation. Rather, the test includes problems that emphasize quantitative reasoning and problem solving.

Why are you testing math?

With science and technology playing an increasingly important role in our society, all college-bound students — not just those who show special aptitude or interest — must have an adequate grasp of mathematics. More and more undergraduate majors require some proficiency in math, and many require either calculus or statistics or both.

What is the relationship of this test to the graduation requirements of my campus?

Basic mathematics provides the necessary background for the CSU general education quantitative reasoning requirement, which consists of a course at the level of college algebra or higher. Such a course is required for graduation. Completion of the ELM requirement is prerequisite to that course.

How do I prepare for the test?

Studies have shown that if you do not continue to use the math you have learned, you may have trouble recalling simple principles. If you have taken less than three years of college preparatory mathematics or have not used your math knowledge in some time, additional work and review may be necessary. Sample ELM questions are available at www.csumathsuccess.org.

I had plenty of math in high school. Shouldn't I be ready for college-level math?

Probably. But if you have not had very much practice in using your math recently, you will still benefit from a review.

What if I don't do well on the test?

The CSU Early Start initiative will require students who do not perform well on the test to start remediation during the summer before the freshman year. Students who score below 50 on the ELM will be required to participate in Early Start. Contact the CSU campus that you plan on attending for further information regarding Early Start.

Will I have to pay for extra help if I receive a low score?

That will depend on where you satisfy the Early Start requirement and if you qualify for financial aid. Early Start English and math courses will be available at all CSU campuses, at a few community colleges and online.

I will be out of the country on the first date available. What do I do?

You must take the test at the next opportunity. It is to your advantage to take the test as soon as possible, and you must take it before you can enroll in CSU General Education mathematics courses.

Must I take the test at the campus I will be attending?

No. Plan to take the test at whichever campus is most convenient for you. On the day of the test, you can select to have your scores reported to up to four CSU campuses.

How do I receive my test scores?

Registered students who enter their Admission Ticket Number on their answer sheet at the time of testing will be able to view their scores by logging into the EPT/ELM registration website. At the time of testing, walk-in students will be asked to provide a Personal Identification Number (PIN) so you can retrieve your scores online at www.ets.org/csu. See the Test Dates for the score report mailing and availability dates.

How long are my ELM testing materials and scores retained by ETS?

ETS retains answer sheets and test books for 18 months. Although answer sheets (not test books) are available for review at the ETS office in Concord, they may not be returned to students. ELM scores are retained for the life of the program and are available from 1983 to the present.