Do I need to take the ALEKS Math Placement Assessment?

  • All in-coming students must take the ALEKS Math Placement Assessment.  

I earned college-level credit for a math class via another university or college, or from an AP, IB, or CLEP exam.  Do I still have to take the ALEKS Math Placement Assessment?

Yes. However, when determining your math course registration, your highest placement from the ALEKS Assessment, AP/IB/CLEP scores, and previous college math courses will be used.

    • Please note taking the ALEKS Placement Assessment does not penalize students in anyway. The Math department will always consider a students' highest completed math courses or exam when determining course placement. Also, the ALEKS Math Placement Assessment is required as a prerequisite for some courses outside the Math department. For example, CS 161 requires an ALEKS score of 61 or higher to register (assuming pre-requisites are not met by other coursework). Please check with your Major advisor about departmental requirements.
    • If it has been more than a year since your last math class, taking the ALEKS Math Placement Assessment and revising in a Prep and Learning Module, an individualized tutorial, will provide a good refresher for your next course.

My ALEKS score is too low to qualify me for the Mathematics course I want to take; however, I have met the prerequisite with previous coursework—will I be able to move on to the next course?

Taking the ALEKS Placement Assessment does not penalize students in anyway. If you have already earned a C- or better in the prerequisite course, you will not be prevented from moving on to the next Mathematics course, regardless of your ALEKS score. However, in the case that your ALEKS score is lower than required, we strongly recommend you take advantage of the ALEKS Learning Module to review and prepare for success in your next Mathematics course.  

Does the Math Placement Assessment cost anything?

The cost associated with the Math Placement Assessment, including your access to the Learning Module in ALEKS, is included in your student fees.  There is no additional charge to you.

What is ALEKS?

ALEKS stands for Assessment and LEarning in Knowledge Spaces and is a web-based, artificially intelligent assessment and learning system.  It uses adaptive questioning to quickly and accurately determine what a student knows, doesn't know, and is ready to learn.  ALEKS avoids multiple choice questions, and instead uses input tools where you type or graph your answer.  At Oregon State University ALEKS is used for  placement into Mathematics courses, as well as to help you prepare for your course through the use of Prep and Learning Modules.  

I have a disability that may require accommodations.  Can ALEKS be adjusted to fit my needs?

Please read through ALL of the information about how to take the Math Placement Assessment.  If you still believe you need testing accommodations to take the math placement assessment, please contact Disability Access Services (DAS).  DAS and the Department of Mathematics will work together with you to determine the best way to meet your math placement accommodation needs.

Where can I take the ALEKS Math Placement Assessment?

You can take the ALEKS Math Placement Assessment from a personal computer with internet access.  If you do not have a personal computer, then you can complete the Math Placement Assessment at any of the student computing facilities at Oregon State University.  

How long will it take to complete the ALEKS Math Placement Assessment?

There is no time limit and the amount of time needed will vary by student, though most can finish in about 90 minutes.  There will be a maximum of 30 questions.

May I use a calculator while using ALEKS?

ALEKS will provide an on-screen calculator if you need one to complete a particular problem.  Otherwise, please do not use a calculator.

May I use any other resources during the ALEKS Math Placement Assessment?

You may only use a pen or pencil, paper, and the resources provided by ALEKS.  Please do not get any assistance from friends, family, other websites, textbooks, or any other resources not provided by ALEKS.  Using outside resources may lead to improper math placement and ultimately course failure.

What if I do not place into the course I wanted?

You can use an ALEKS Learning Module for a minimum of 3 hours to review and learn, and you may take another Math Placement Assessment to improve your placement.

Do I have to take the highest course I place into?

If you place high, you can always take a course that requires a lower ALEKS score.  For example, if you place into Differential Calculus (MTH 251), you can opt to take Elementary Functions (MTH 112) or College Algebra (MTH 111).  

While some students benefit from taking a review course to build a more solid foundation, others find themselves frustrated and bored in courses too far below their current math knowledge. If you’re unsure where to start, your academic advisor can help you decide. 

Can my ALEKS Math Assessment score be used to test out of a math class that is required for my major or for the Baccalaureate Core? 

No.  The purpose of the ALEKS Math Placement Assessment is to determine which Mathematics course(s) you are ready to take (which may be Math, Computer Science, etc…) - it’s your opportunity to demonstrate that you’ve met the prerequisites for a given course.  Your results on the ALEKS Math Placement Assessment are never used to satisfy degree requirements. If you want to earn MTH course credit-by-examination, you may do so via the College Level Examination Program (Linn Benton Community College offers these exams).

If your ALEKS score qualifies you to take a course at a higher level than one required for your degree program, generally the higher-level course may be used in place of the required course—please consult your advisor to determine the Mathematics course that is right for you and your degree program.

How long do I have to wait before retaking the ALEKS Math Placement Assessment?

The re-assessment will become available 48 hours after your previous assessment attempt, so you can have time to study. To help you study, you must spend at least 3 hours in a Learning Module before retaking the ALEKS Math Placement Assessment. 

How long do I have access to my Learning Module?

Your Learning Module will be available for 1 year after your initial Math Placement Assessment.

How can I get longer access or renew my access to my Learning Module?

Additional access to ALEKS can be purchased, if needed, by contacting: mathplacement@math.oregonstate.edu

Can I change to a different Learning Module later?

No, you may only use one Learning Module.  If you are unsure which module to select, use the module recommended by ALEKS.

Can I access the Learning Module in ALEKS before taking the Placement Assessment?

In order to use the Learning Module, ALEKS must first determine what you already know and what you're ready to learn, so the Math Placement Assessment must be taken before accessing the Learning Module.  

My ALEKS math placement score was below 15% and I did not place into any Mathematics courses.  What should I do?

 You can either:

  • Use a Learning Module in ALEKS to review and learn, and take another Math Placement Assessment to try to improve your placement. 
  • Consider dual-enrollment with a local community college, such as Linn Benton Community College, for the appropriate prerequisite course(s).

I forgot my ONID account user name and/or password.  What should I do?

Follow these Enterprise Computing Service Password Reset Steps.

What are the system requirements for ALEKS?

Click here for the system requirements for ALEKS.

Why am I getting a "Prerequisite Not Met" error when I try to register for a math class, even though my ALEKS Score is at or above the required level?

If you took the ALEKS Math Placement Assessment today, your assessment score may not yet be in the system.  The scores are loaded twice daily, at 7:15am and 3:45pm.  You should be able to register for your math class either after 3:45pm today or after 7:15am tomorrow.  You can find answers to other FAQs about common registration errors here.