EPT - English Placement Test

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Who must satisfy the CSU English Placement Test (Ept) requirement?

The CSU English Placement Test (EPT) is designed to assess the level of reading and writing skills of entering undergraduate students so that they can be placed in appropriate courses. Those undergraduate students who do not demonstrate college-level skills will be directed to courses or programs designed to help them attain these skills. The test is not a condition for admission to the CSU, but it is a condition of enrollment. Students may take the EPT only once. It may not be repeated.

What are the exemptions?

The CSU English Placement Test must be completed by all entering undergraduates, with the exception of those who meet of one of the following exemptions:

  • New SAT: A score of 550 or above on the Evidenced Based Reading and Writing section.
  • Old SAT: A score of 500 or above on the critical reading section of the old SAT Reasoning Test.
  • ACT: A score of 22 or above on the American College Testing (ACT) English Test.
  • Advanced Placement (AP): A score of 3 or above on either the Language and Composition or Composition and Literature examination of the College Board Scholastic Advanced Placement Program.
  • College Course: Completion and transfer to the CSU of the credits for a college course that satisfies the CSU General Education requirement in English Composition, provided such a course was completed with a grade of C or better.
  • EAP: A result of ‘Standard Exceeded: Ready for CSU or participating CCC college-level coursework in English’ on the CAASPP Early Assessment Program (EAP) exam.
  • The following Conditionally Exempt statuses require students to continue their preparation in the 12th grade by taking an approved English course and earn a grade of ‘C’ or better. Students that do not meet the conditional requirement will need to participate in the CSU’s Early Start Program, unless exemption was met through another pathway.
    • New SAT: A score between 510 – 540 on the Evidenced Based Reading and Writing Section
    • Old SAT: A score between 460 – 490 on the Critical Reading section of the old SAT Reasoning Test
    • ACT: A score of 19 – 21 on the English section of the ACT Test
    • EAP: A result of ‘Standard Met: Conditionally Ready for CSU or participating CCC college-level coursework in English’ on the CAASPP Early Assessment Program (EAP) exam

Claiming an exemption

If you have met one or more of the exemptions, but are still being told that you need to take either the EPT or the ELM, visit the Writing and Rhetoric Center office (EPT) and the Department of Mathematics (ELM) for information on how to claim your exemption.


Unless you are exempt, you must take the EPT and the ELM prior to enrollment in the CSU. According to CSU Executive Order 665, if you do not take these tests prior to the time of enrollment, you will not be allowed to enroll.

When will the exam be given?

The EPT is given on the same dates as the ELM (Entry Level Math Test). The ELM and the EPT may be taken individually or as a combination.

When should you take your EPT/ELM?

ELM-EPT test dates at CAL POLY are:
February 11 January 27
March 18 March 43
May 6 April 21
July 8 June 23
September 9 August 25

Students must pre-register for the exam by the registration deadline. Late or walk-in registration is not permitted at Cal Poly.


Students may take their tests here at Cal Poly or at any other CSU campus that is convenient to them. When you come to take your test, there will be a place on your answer sheet where you will be asked to indicate which CSU campuses you want the scores to be sent to. (You may select up to four.) Official scores will then be automatically sent to the campuses you select, and you will also receive a personal copy for your own records, sent to the home address you provide on the answer sheet.

Requesting Special Accommodations

Students wanting to test at Cal Poly who need special testing accommodations due to disabilities or who need non-Saturday testing due to religious convictions should see our Special Accommodations Request form.

To register to take the ELM and/or the EPT please see the online registration page.

Out-of-State Testing

Students can arrange to take the EPT and ELM tests outside the state of California. Call Educational Testing Service (ETS) at (925)808-2142 or e-mail csuout-of-state@ets.org. Out of state testing is arranged for the 2nd week of the month, except in May when the test is the first week. There is an additional fee of $75 for testing outside of California. ETS is the company that publishes and scores the tests. They can arrange for them to be given at a high school or college in your area.


The cost of the each exam (ELM or EPT) is $18, paid at the time the exam is taken. If both tests are taken, the cost is $36. You must present a check or money order on the day of the test, payable to "ETS". Cash will not be accepted.

EPT policies at Cal Poly

To find out more about the EPT testing policies at Cal Poly, including explanation of the EPT requirements for high school students vs. transfer students and EPT score interpretation, see the Writing and Rhetoric Center.

What the test will cover

To find out more about what’s on the test, see Focus on English (pdf), a publication of the California State University System.

See the CSU English Success Website for test review questions.

Additional details may be found at the official CSU EPT/ELM Website



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Contact and Location

Testing Services is currently not accepting reservations for winter or spring quarter. Contact Amy Gode if you have any questions: (805) 756-1399
Building 124, Room 119 (Directions)