EPT/ELM Test Information

About the tests

What is the EPT?

The English Placement Test (EPT) assesses your level of ability in reading and writing. Your score will determine what English course you are prepared for in college. The EPT is not used for admission purposes.

What is the ELM?

The Entry Level Math test (ELM) assesses your level of ability in math through the beginning and intermediate algebra and plane geometry. The test emphasizes the understanding of mathematical concepts and problem-solving skills. You will not be allowed to use a calculator during the test. Your score determines your placement into an appropriate level math course. The ELM is not used for admission purposes.

Why do I have to take placement tests?

The EPT and ELM test(s) are not admission tests; they are placement tests that enable CSU, Chico to determine if you are prepared for college-level English and math. You do not have to be admitted to a CSU prior to signing up or taking either one of the tests. You will not be able to register for any courses until we have your EPT and/or ELM results on file or your proof of exemptions.

How can I prepare for the EPT or ELM?

It is recommended that you prepare to take the EPT and/or ELM as these tests help determine your readiness for college.

Exemptions

How do I know if I am exempt?

See if you are exempt from the EPT or ELM by checking your Student Center within your Portal account.

  • Note: If you believe that you are exempt based on test scores or other criteria, and your status does not reflect that, it may be that we do not have those test scores or needed documentation on file. Please submit test scores or other documentation to our office as soon as possible. We will accept faxed copies of SAT, ACT, high school transcripts or other documentation to update your exemption status. Our fax number is 530-898-6456.

What does it mean if I am exempt?

If you are exempt from the EPT you are ready to enroll in general education English. Likewise, if you are exempt from the ELM you are ready to enroll in general education math. 

You would not need to participate in the Early Start Program if you are exempt from the EPT and ELM. If you are exempt from one of the tests, you may still need to participate in Early Start Program depending on your score on either the EPT or ELM that you were required to take. Consult the Early Start Page for more information. 

If AP test result(s) or college course(s) were used to meet your exemption for the EPT and/or ELM, you may have also earned college units at CSU, Chico. You may be exempt from taking general education (GE) English or math. Please send official transcripts or test scores to the Office of Admissions so that we can evaluate and award credit if deemed appropriate.

Dates and signing up for the test(s)

When are test(s) offered?

There are many CSU systemwide test dates as well as individual dates given at specific campuses.

  • Note: We strongly encourage that you test early in March. However, for the fall 2014 application cycle, the last CSU systemwide test date is Saturday, May 3, 2014. Registration for this test is due April 18, 2014.  

How do I schedule the test(s)?

Registration is required for the test(s). You are encouraged to register by the registration deadline as walk-ons are not guaranteed.

  • Registration can be accessed through the ETS website.
  • You will need to register online, fill out the registration form and pay with a credit card, e-check or PayPal. Fee waivers are not available for use and checks will no longer be accepted the day of the test.
  • For questions regarding testing at CSU, Chico, please consult the Testing Office website or call 530-898-6218.
  • If you are from outside of the state of California, please call 1-925-808-2142 or e-mail csuoutofstate@ets.org. Out-of-state testing is arranged for the second week of the month, except in May when the test is the first week. Arrangements must be made by the 15th of the month before testing will take place. There is an additional fee of $50 for testing outside of the state of California.

Where can I take the test(s)?

You can take the test(s) at any of the 23 CSU campuses. You do not have to take the EPT/ELM at the university you plan to attend. See the out-of-state bullet above for specific accommodations if you are from outside of California.

What if I need additional accommodations?

If you have a disability and require reasonable arrangements for taking the test(s), you must contact the Testing Office or Disabled Student Service Coordinator at the campus you plan to test at to make arrangements before registering. Then, in the registration system you must select the appropriate checkbox for needed accommodations when registering for the test(s). The EPT and ELM are available in Braille, large-print and audio editions.

At CSU, Chico, the office is now called the Accessibility Resource Center. You are welcome to email them arcdept@csuchico.edu or call 530-898-5959. Additional information can also be found on their website.

Do I need to take the tests?

What if I am from out-of-state?

All incoming freshmen, regardless of residency status, are required to take the test(s) if you are not exempt.

If you live outside of the state of California, have been admitted to a CSU campus and need to take the EPT and/or the ELM before arriving in California, please call 1-925-808-2142 or e-mail csuoutofstate@ets.org.

Out-of-state testing is arranged for the second week of the month, except in May when the test is the first week. Arrangements must be made by the 15th of the month before testing will take place. There is an additional fee of $50 for testing outside of the state of California.

You may also take the test at any CSU campus.

Is it required if I am a lower-division transfer student?

If you are able to apply as a lower division transfer student, (less than 60 transferable semester units,) and you have not completed college level English and/or math, you are required to take the placements test(s), or provide our office with your exemptions. (See exemptions for details.) You will not be allowed to register for any courses at CSU, Chico until we have your placement test score(s) or exemptions on file.

What if I took placement tests at a community college?

Test(s) can ONLY be taken at a CSU campus. Placement tests taken at a community college will not be accepted. We do not see community college placement tests as equivalent to the EPT/ELM.

What if I took college courses in high school?

If you completed a college level English and/or a college level math course with a C- or better while in high school, you will need to send an official copy of your college transcript to our office to be evaluated. You may be able to earn college credit as well as be exempt from one or both tests. Please allow time for our office to evaluate your coursework and update your exemption status.

What if I participated in the Early Assessment Program (EAP)?

The Early Assessment Program (EAP) is an additional section of English and math questions on the California Standards Test (commonly known as STAR testing) students take in 11th grade. Depending upon the scores you receive in this section, you may be exempt or conditionally exempt from the EPT or ELM. 

You should have received a score report in the mail during late summer after 11th grade if you opted to take this additional section of testing. You can also view your scores at the EAP Check Status Online website.

Deadlines of the test(s)

What is the deadline for taking the test(s)?

We strongly recommend that you take the EPT/ELM early, preferably in March. However, the last CSU systemwide test is the May 3, 2014 test date. Taking the test by this date ensures that CSU, Chico will have your scores in time to register for your fall classes at Summer Orientation. You will not be able to register for any courses until we have your placement scores or exemptions on file. Your participation in the Early Start Program may also be required to participate in Summer Orientation and being able to register for your classes. 

  • Note: You can take placement tests beyond that date, but there is no guarantee that we will receive scores in time for your orientation session. This also may affect your participation in the Early Start Program. Please see the test date link for the dates scores are received by the campuses.

Information for the day of the test(s)

How much does it cost to take the test(s)?

Each test costs $18, so if you are taking both the EPT and ELM, the total cost is $36.

  • Students will be required to go online, fill out the registration form and pay with a credit card, e-check, or PayPal. Fee waivers are not available for use and checks will no longer be accepted on the day of the test.  
  • Note: If you are testing out-of-state, there is an additional $50 fee in addition to the cost of the test(s).

How much time do the tests take?

You should plan a minimum of two and a half hours for the EPT and a minimum of two hours for the ELM. For both tests plan at least four and a half hours. The EPT consists of a 45 minute essay and two 30 minute multiple-choice sections. The ELM consists of multiple-choice questions, and you are given 90 minutes. Additional time is used for instructions.

What do I bring the day of the test(s)?

What to bring to the test: your Social Security number, identification (either drivers license, school ID, or passport), your printed admission ticket, and several #2 pencils.

  • What not to bring: test fees (these are to be paid online,) food or drinks, your cell phone, calculator, MP3 player, or any sound emitting device.

Now that I have my scores...

Do I need to participate in the Early Start Program?

  • If your EPT score is less than 147, you will need to participate in Early Start prior to enrolling in fall 2014 courses. 
  • If your ELM score is less than 50, you will need to participate in Early Start prior to enrolling in fall 2014 courses.

How do I send my scores to CSU, Chico?

On the day of the test, you will have the opportunity to indicate the campus or campuses (up to four of them) where you want your scores to be sent. You can also access your scores online and request additional copies at the Educational Testing Service website.

Can I re-take the test(s)?

You can only take the EPT one time. You can repeat the ELM as many times as you want.

How do I interpret the scores I received on the EPT/ELM?

More information, advising and course selections will occur at your Summer Orientation session.

Consult the Early Start Program guidelines to see if you need to participate prior to enrolling in courses for the fall.

View our catalog to see what English and/or math courses you are advised to take.

Questions/Concerns?

For more information about the EPT and ELM, visit the ETS About CSU Placement Tests website.