Average ELM Test Scores

Instructor: Shelby Golden
While average scores for the ELM aren't available, CSU does report the percentage of incoming freshmen who earned the test scores required to demonstrate proficiency in math and enroll in college-level courses. Find out more about these scores and check out additional information about the ELM with this article.

ELM Proficiency Rates

The California State University (CSU) uses the Entry Level Mathematics Test (ELM) to ensure that incoming freshmen are prepared to handle college-level math classes. Those who pass the test are allowed to enroll in the mathematics courses they're interested in, while those who don't score high enough must take part in CSU's Early Start Program the summer before they begin attending school.

According to information released by the university, 72.6% of the first-time freshmen who took the test for the Fall 2015 semester scored high enough to be considered proficient in mathematics. In order to qualify as proficient, you need to achieve a score of at least 50 on the ELM.

Exam Contents

This exam tests what you know about numbers, data, algebra and geometry. You will need to answer a total of 50 questions for this test. Questions focus on accurately completing calculations, understanding percent, ratios and estimation, as well as grasping different methods of data representation. You'll also need to work with algebraic expressions, linear equations and linear inequalities. You should also be prepared to solve problems that involve geometric figures and measurements, as well as different forms of graphs.

Preparing for the Exam

Studying for the ELM Test can help you ensure that you score high enough to take math classes required for your major without having to complete the Early Start Program. You can use's ELM Study Guide as a tool to prepare.

This self-paced course was designed to help you review what you need to know to complete this test. You can get practice solving equations and expressions whenever it is convenient for you. These video lessons provide you with the information you need to know about numbers, basic calculations, expressions, geometric measurements and more. You can check your progress by completing short, interactive quizzes or larger chapter tests and easily contact mathematics experts if you need help with any of these subjects.

Taking the Test

There are many test dates available for the ELM throughout the year. However, some campuses have May 7th as the cut-off for admission to the Fall semester of 2016. Testing sessions typically fill up early, so you should try to register as quickly as possible, especially if you think you might need to complete the Early Start Program. Getting your scores and understanding how much work you need to do before you can begin your schooling will make the class registration process easier.

ELM Exemptions

Depending on your circumstances, you may not need to complete the ELM in order to begin taking college-level math classes. You are exempt from taking the exam if you achieve high enough scores on certain standardized tests, such as the SAT or ACT. Completion of certain AP tests may also allow you to skip this exam. Transferring a Quantitative Reasoning college course also provides you with an exemption.

You can check out the exact scores and tests that make you eligible to skip this exam on the Educational Testing Service's website (

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