Do I need to take the ALEKS Math Placement Test?

  • All first-year students must take the ALEKS Math Placement Test  
  • All transfer and post-baccalaurate students newly admitted to OSU must take the ALEKS Math Placement Test, unless your OSU transcript shows that you have earned a C- or better in a college-level math course from another college or university; or via a CLEP exam, AP exam, or IB exam.
    • Please note that you may still need to take the ALEKS Math Placement Test as some courses may have a math placement score as a prerequisite. In addition, some departments may require all students to complete the ALEKS Math Placement Test. 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 Test is strongly recommended - the Learning Module, an individualized tutorial, will provide a good refresher for your next course.

I am a first-year student, but I earned college-level credit for a math class via a community college or CLEP, AP, or IB exam.  Do I still have to take the ALEKS math placement test?


Does the Math Placement Test cost anything?

The cost associated with the Math Placement Test, 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 Test.  If you still believe you need testing accommodations to take the math placement test, 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 Test?

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

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

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 test?

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 Test 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 placement 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 test 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 test 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.

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?

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.  

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

The retest will become available 48 hours after your previous test 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 Test. 

How long do I have access to my Learning Module?

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

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:

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 Test?

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 Test 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 Test 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 test today, your test 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.