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Math Placement FAQ

Math Placement FAQ

All in-coming students must 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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 Precalculus II: Trigonometry (MTH 112Z) or Precalculus I: Functions (MTH 111Z).

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.

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 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.

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.

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

Additional access to ALEKS can be purchased, if needed, by contacting

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

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.

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.