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Placement and AP Exams

Preparing to Register for Classes

Your Orientation Academic Advisor will explain UCSB requirements, and help you select and register for your fall courses. Before you can register, you may need to take some important steps. Read the information in this section and make the appropriate preparations so that course registration during the online Orientation will be as smooth as possible.

Math Placement Exam

The Math Placement Exam is not a requirement for most students at UCSB. However, for certain majors the exam is necessary to place you in a math class.

If your major is listed on the chart below and requires you to take Math 3A - or - if you want to choose Math 3A as an option for your major requirement, then you need to take the Math Placement Exam. Note the exceptions on the chart.

Go to the Math Department website to take the Math Placement Exam and to find out more about course placement. Please complete the exam online prior to your online Orientation session in order to register for a math class during Orientation.


Math Placement Exam is required if:

You are in one of the following majors or pre-majors:

Biochemistry, Chemistry, Computer Science,
Earth Science, Economics/Mathematics,
BS Environmental Studies, all Engineering majors,
BS Physical Geography, all Mathematics majors,
Physics, Statistics.

(If you have an AP Calculus score of 2 or higher, or you have taken a college level calculus course, you do not need to take the exam even if you are in one of the majors listed above).


Math Placement Exam is NOT required if:

You are not in one of the majors listed on this chart.
- or -
You have a confirmed score of 2 or above on the Advanced Placement Calculus AB or BC exam.
- or -
You are transferring college credit in calculus. If so, you'll need an unofficial copy of the transcript showing your college level work.

Please email the transcript to the Math Department or fax it to 805-893-2385. Include your UCSB perm number.


For questions, email: dnagy@math.ucsb.edu


Advanced Placement Exam Results

Official results from Advanced Placement (AP) exams are usually reported to UCSB in early July. However, at any of the Orientation sessions, students with pending AP scores will be able to register for a full set of courses appropriate for their first quarter at UCSB.

AP Math Exam Results

For most subjects, pending AP scores will not affect your ability to select appropriate classes for your first quarter. Math scores are the only exception. The AP Math test score is important for students in majors that require math in the first quarter. If you have your unofficial AP Math test score, have it available during Orientation! Students can refer to the College Board AP Scores for Students website to find their unofficial AP score if it is available. Follow the instructions on the website to obtain your score.

UC Entry Level Writing Requirement and Analytical Writing Placement Exam

The UC Entry Level Writing Requirement (ELWR) is in place to ensure that all students are prepared to be successful in University writing courses. There are several ways that students may have satisfied ELWR before arriving at UCSB. The options for satisfying ELWR prior to matriculation are listed on the UC ELWR website. Students who have not completed the Entry Level Writing Requirement will need to be placed in the appropriate writing course.


Incoming UCSB freshmen have two options for writing placement.


  1. The first option is to take the UC Analytical Writing Placement Exam (AWPE), which has been rescheduled to be offered online on June 20, 2020. More details about the exam can be found at https://admission.universityofcalifornia.edu/elwr/.

    Please note that AWPE exam results are not expected to be available until mid-July. Students who attend an Orientation session prior to receiving their AWPE exam results will not be able to register for a writing course during their Orientation registration pass time. Students will have the opportunity to adjust their schedule during the additional pass time (which takes place before fall classes begin) to include a writing course, should spaces be available.

  2. The second option is Writing Placement 2020 which is being administered by the UCSB Writing Program. Students who have not satisfied ELWR will receive an email with directions for completing the process and a deadline by which a response is needed in order to receive their writing placement in time for their Orientation session. In most cases, students who complete the UCSB Writing Program placement process by the deadline will have a writing placement in time for their Orientation registration pass time. For more details on Writing Placement 2020, see the Writing Program website at https://www.writing.ucsb.edu/academics/undergrad/awpe.

Please note that students do not need to complete the Entry Level Writing Requirement in the first quarter. Students are expected to complete this requirement within their first year at UCSB.

Foreign Language Placement Exams

Your Orientation advisor will explain foreign language requirements and placement. Not all students will need to take a foreign language placement exam. These exams are not administered during Orientation. They are offered at the beginning of each academic quarter.

Previous College-Level Courses

Please note: It is NOT necessary to have your high school transcripts available during Orientation.


If you have taken courses at another college or university, please have access to a copy of your unofficial transcripts during the online Orientation session. The transcript should show your name, the name of the institution, the course titles, and your grades. Official copies of all transcripts must be submitted to the UCSB Office of Admissions by July 1, 2020. Advisors at Orientation do not have access to the transcripts submitted to Admissions. Therefore, it is essential to have unofficial copies available for use during Orientation advising sessions. Transferable courses may satisfy general education, elective, or major requirements; and may serve as satisfactory prerequisites for advanced courses at UCSB. Academic departments may need to review and approve such credit before it is granted, particularly if the credit is from an institution other than a California community college. For specific questions, contact academic departments. Department websites and contact information can be found on the UCSB website at www.ucsb.edu. College of Engineering students can contact the Engineering Undergraduate Office at 805-893-2809.