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 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 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.

Email transcripts and questions to:


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.

Don't forget to submit any exam scores to UCSB Admissions by the July 15 deadline!


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.
View Your AP Scores


Entry Level Writing Requirement

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 UCSB Writing Program website.

Students who have not completed the Entry Level Writing Requirement will need to be placed in the appropriate writing course.

The UCSB Writing Program administers the Collaborative Writing Placement (CWP) for students who have not yet satisfied ELWR. Students will be contacted via email about registering for this placement program.

Note: There will be a deadline by which students must respond to this email in order to receive a 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, see the Writing Program website at Writing Program - ELWR

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 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.

Advisors at Orientation do not have access to transcripts submitted to Admissions. Therefore, it is important to have unofficial copies available for use during Orientation advising sessions.

Transferable courses may satisfy general education, elective, or major requirements. They also 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.