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Freshman: Testing Requirements

A note for fall 2021 and fall 2022 first-time freshman: The California State University (CSU) has temporarily suspended the use of ACT/SAT examinations in determining admission eligibility for all CSU campuses f​or the 2021-2022 academic year. This temporary change of admission eligibility applies only for fall 2021, winter 2022, spring 2022, fall 2022, winter 2023, and spring 2023 admission cycles. For more information, please visit the First-Time Freshman Guidance and the First-Time Freshman Frequently Asked Questions​​ pages. ​

Testing Requirements​

​Freshman Prior to Admission

About ACT AND SAT testing requirements​

The California State University understands the challenges that students are facing due to COVID-19. In response, the CSU has temporarily suspended the SAT or ACT test requirements only for students applying for admission in fall 2021 as freshman. This means that SAT and ACT scores will not be used for determining who gets admitted into the CSU.

If you are accepted to a CSU campus ACT or SAT test scores will be used as one of the measures to place you in the proper mathematics and English courses.  You can visit the CSU Student Success site for further information on course placement.

Learn More About Grades and Tests

Learn More About the ACT

Learn More About the SAT

Campus Deadlines to Take the SAT and ACT (PDF)

WHICH TEST SHOULD I TAKE - THE ACT OR SAT?

Described below are some differences between the ACT and SAT; speak to your high school counselor to determine which test would be a better measure of y​our strengths and readiness for college classes.

WHAT THE ACT COVERS

The ACT covers four areas: English, mathematics, reading and science. The ACT composite score is used for admission to the CSU. The ACT also offers, as an option, the Writing Test. The CSU does not require the score from the Writing Test for admission purposes.

For more information about the ACT and to register for the test and send scores, go to ACT.org.

See the next section to know how to report/send your scores.​

WHAT THE SAT COVERS

The SAT currently consists of two main sections: Evidence-Based Reading and Writing and Math. Scores from Evidence-Based Reading and Writing and Math are combined and used for admission to the CSU. Scores from the Writing section will not be used for admission purposes to the CSU.

CSU campuses will accept old and current SAT scores for admission through 2020. Applicants may submit scores from either test.

See the next section to know how to report/send your scores.

Sending and matching your ACT and/or SAT scores to the campuses you applied **Even if you are a Fall 2021 or Fall 2022 First-Time Freshman, you should still submit your test scores if you have them to have them matched with your application for placement purposes, not admissions determinations**

ACT SCORES - REPORTING AND MATCHING TO YOUR APPLICATION

Making sure your ACT scores are sent to every campus you apply requires these steps:​​

  1. Write in your ACT ID correctly onto your Cal State Apply application in the Standardized Tests section. Unsure of your ACT ID? Visit ACT.org.
  2. On the ACT score report, you should have listed at least one CSU campus, as the score recipient. This will allow the CSU to send the scores to all campuses in which you applied, based on the matching ACT ID number – so make sure you type this in correctly.
  3. You can check to see if your ACT score has been matched to your Cal State Apply application by logging in and reviewing the Check Status page.

If you notice that your ACT scores have not been attached to your Cal State Apply application, contact the Applicant ​Help Center​.

SAT SCORES - REPORTING AND MATCHING TO YOUR APPLICATION

Making sure your SAT scores are sent to every campus you apply requires these steps:

  1. Write in your College Board ID correctly onto your Cal State Apply application in the Standardized Tests section.
  2. On the College Board score report, you should have listed a CSU campus, or the CSU systemwide institution code (3594), as the score recipient. This will allow the CSU to send the scores to all campuses in which you applied.
    To check where your scores were sent, or for more information on locating your College Board ID, visit this page.
  3. You can check to see if your ACT score has been matched to your Cal State Apply application by logging in and reviewing the Check Status page. If you notice that your ACT scores have not been attached to your Cal State Apply application, contact the Applicant Help Center.

OTHER TESTS TO EARN COLLEGE CREDIT - AP, IB and CLEP CREDIT 

Students may earn general education or lower-division major credits by taking a CSU-accepted external examination in place of a course.

The CSU faculties have determined the passing scores, minimum units of credit earned, and certification area (for General Education Breadth and/or U.S. History, Constitution, and American Ideals) of standardized external examinations, such as Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), and College-Level Examination Program (CLEP).

Each campus in the California State University system determines how it will apply credits earned by external examinations toward the degree major.

GRADES IN “A-G” COURSES AND TEST SCORES

The grades you earn in high school are the most important factor in CSU admission decisions. Your high school grade point average is calculated using your grades in all your college prep "a-g" classes completed after the 9th grade.

The California State University understands the challenges that students are facing in their current high school courses due to COVID-19. In response, the CSU has temporarily suspended the SAT or ACT test requirements only for students applying for admission in fall 2021 as freshman. This means that SAT and ACT scores will not be used for determining who gets admitted into the CSU.

If you are accepted to a CSU campus ACT or SAT test scores will be used as one of the measures to place you in the proper mathematics and English courses.  You can visit the CSU Student Success site for further information on course placement.

EARLY ASSESSMENT PROGRAM (EAP)

The Early Assessment Program (EAP) lets you know if you are ready for college-level work in English and mathematics at the end of your junior year of high school.

This early signal gives you the chance to improve your skills during your senior year or the summer before attending a CSU or community college.

Learn more about the CSU Early Assessment Program

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Early Start Program

If you're not ready for college-level math and/or English, you can use the summer before you start your freshman year to prepare.

Learn More

Ready for College Math & English?

Your Early Assessment Program (EAP) results will let you know if you need to participate in the Early Start Program the summer before you start college.

Learn More

The California Promise​ Program

This program enables a specific number of campuses of the CSU to establish pledge programs for first-time students who are interested and able to complete a baccalaureate degree in four years.

Learn More

After Admission: Placement & Other Tests

The CSU requires new students to be tested in English and mathematics before enrolling at a CSU campus, unless they are exempt by having scored well on specific tests.

Learn More