CINQA General Math Advisement

General Mathematics Advisement for all Majors

ELM Requirement

Every student entering a CSU campus needs to either take the Entry Level Mathematics (ELM) exam or be exempt from it. You are exempt from taking the ELM if you have

  • Taken the SAT and scored at least 550
  • Taken the ACT and scored at least 23
  • Taken the Early Assessment Program (EAP) exam (in conjunction with the California Standards Test) and were exempt
  • Taken the EAP exam and were conditionally exempt, but then took an approved mathematics course during senior year
  • Received a score of 3 or above on the AP Calculus or AP Statistics exams.
  • Completed a transfer course that satisfies GE Quantitative Reasoning
  • Received a score of 49 or above on the CLEP College Algebra - Trigonometry exam or a score of 51 or above on the CLEP Calculus with Elementary Functions exam (see catalog).

If you are exempt from the ELM exam or have scored more than 50 on the ELM exam, then you are ready to enroll in college level mathematics courses (see below).

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Placement into Math courses based on ELM score

If you are not exempt from the ELM, then you are required to take it before being admitted. The score you get on the ELM determines which mathematics course you can/must enroll in.

  • If you score below 29 on the ELM, then you are placed in Math 89
  • If you score between 30 and 41, then you are placed in Math 90
  • If you score between 42 and 49, then you are placed in Math 91

The course sequence Math 89/90/91 is pre-collegiate (remedial). You have to enroll in the course you are placed in, and then enroll in the next course of the remedial sequence each quarter until you have completed remediation (passed Math 91). Note that Executive Order 665 requires that the remedial course sequence be completed within one calendar year from the date of first enrollment. Failure to pass Math 91 by the end of the fourth consecutive quarter leads to disenrollment from the university. A disenrolled student can only return to CSULA once the requirements for transfer students have been satisfied, in particular Block A of the GE program.

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Alternatives to taking the remedial courses:

You have the choice of taking an exit exam instead of any of the remedial courses. These exit exams can be taken in the University Testing Center located in Library South (Palmer Wing) room 2098. The exams are multiple-choice and completion of at least 12 out of 16 questions correctly constitutes a passing score. Each exam can be taken two times per quarter, but not more than once a day. Note that passing an exit exam does not give you credit for the course. If you are currently enrolled in a specific course, then you can take the exit exam for that course only during the time period from the first day of finals for that quarter to the end of the first week of the next quarter. For example, a student enrolled in Math 90 during the fall quarter can take the exit exam for Math 90 starting on the first day of the fall quarter's finals week until the first week of classes of the winter quarter.

If you need to complete the last course of the sequence (Math 91) during the fourth (often the summer) quarter, you can also take an equivalent course at a community college. Once you have successfully completed the equivalent course at the community college, you need to bring either an unofficial transcript or a note from your instructor to the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Studies, so they can lift the hold on your registration. However, you need to bring an official transcript to that office before the beginning of the next (usually fall) quarter, otherwise you will be disenrolled. In order to register for the college level mathematics course, you would go to the Mathematics Department located in Simpson Tower 206 with the unofficial transcript showing a passing grade in the course that is equivalent to Math 91 to be issued a permit.

Here are the courses that are equivalent to CSULA Math 91 at nearby community colleges. If you plan to take the equivalent of Math 91 at another community college, then you should see the Undergraduate Adviser in the Mathematics Department with a course description of the intermediate algebra course(s) at the community college of your choice and obtain a letter stating that course XXX at Community Collage XYZ is equivalent to Math 91 at CSULA. Bring this letter together with your unofficial transcript to the Department of Mathematics for your enrollment permit. The information in the table below is up-to-date as of Fall 2009, but be aware that course numbers and equivalencies change over time, so make sure to check with the Undergraduate Adviser for mathematics before taking a course elsewhere.

Community College Courses equivalent to Math 91 Additional Info
Pasadena City College (PCC) Math 131 Intermediate Algebra (4 units)
Math 133A Intermediate Algebra I (2 units)
Math 133B Intermediate Algebra II (2 units)
Corresponding computer-based courses are numbered 134 instead of 133
East Los Angeles College (ELAC)
Math 125 Intermediate Algebra (5 units)  
Mount San Antonio College (Mount SAC)
Math 71 Intermediate Algebra (5 units)
Math 71A Intermediate Algebra (3 units)
Math 71B Intermediate Algebra (3 units)
Math 71A&B covers material of Math 71 at slower pace; Math 71X is not acceptable as equivalent to Math 91
Glendale Community College
Math 101 Intermediate Algebra (5 units)
Math 119 Intermediate Algebra I (3 units)
Math 120 Intermediate Algebra II (2 units)
Corresponding computer-based courses have 200 numbers instead of 100 numbers (i.e., 201 is equivalent to 101, etc). View overview of GCC remedial sequence.
Los Angeles City College
Math 125 Intermediate Algebra (5 units)
Math 124A & 124B Intermediate Algebra (5 units)
Santa Monica College (SMC)
Math 20 Intermediate Algebra SMC Math 18 is not acceptable as a substitute for CSULA Math 91. View overview of SMC math sequence.


Please note that a passing grade in Math 91 (or equivalent course) or the Math 91 exit exam taken at CSULA is valid for ONE YEAR only for placement purposes. Should you have passed Math 91, an equivalent course, or the exit exam more than a year ago then you will be required to (re)take the Math 91 exit exam to show that you still have the mathematics skills necessary to succeed in college level mathematics courses.

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College Level Math requirements

Students required to take at least one Calculus course (Math 206-209) as part of their major or minor program need to complete Math 102 (College Algebra) and Math 103 (Trigonometry) as prerequisites to Math 206 (Calculus I) with a grade of C or better in each of the two courses. These prerequisites can be met by either:

  • Taking Math 102 and Math 103 and passing with a grade of C or better; or
  • Completing an equivalent courses (usually named College Algebra, Trigonometry or Pre-Calculus) with a grade of C or better at a transfer institution. You can use to find out which courses are equivalent to Math 102 and Math 103 at CSULA; or
  • Taking the corresponding exit exams in the University Testing Center located in Library South

The third option should be explored if you did very well in your corresponding high school courses, or even took AP Calculus (without taking the AP exam) in high school. Note that prerequisites need to be taken within one year of enrolling in Calculus courses. If it has been more that one year, you will have to take the respective exit exams at the University Testing Center located in the Library South. You need to contact the Mathematics Department so they can request authentication from the Registrar's Office for the workshop.

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Calculus sequence

If you have taken the AP Calculus exam, you may get credit for some calculus courses if you scored high enough. If you took the

  • Calculus AB exam and scored 3 or 4, then you get credit for Math 206
  • Calculus AB exam and scored 5, then you get credit for Math 206 and Math 207
  • Calculus BC exam and scored 3, then you get credit for Math 206
  • Calculus BC exam and scored 4 or 5, then you get credit for Math 206 and Math 207

When taking the calculus sequence at CSULA, you may be required to concurrently enroll in the respective Calculus workshops (206P, 207P, and 208P). Enrollment is required for students at risk, those students who had a grade of C or C+ in the prerequisite course(s). For example, if you had a B in Math 102 and a C+ in Math 103, then you would be required to enroll in Math 206P; likewise, if you had a C in Math 206, then you would be required to enroll in Math 207P. The workshops are open to all students regardless of the grades in the prerequisite course(s) and are graded CR/NC. During the workshop there is no lecture, instead students work on homework problems in small groups on the board with the assistance of the workshop instructor.

Note that if you need to repeat a Calculus course, you are required to also enroll in the corresponding workshop course even if you have received a grade of CR in the relevant workshop before.

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