ALEKS placement assessment instructions for engineering students

The Mathematics Placement Assessment will help you and your advisor determine the right Mathematics course for you. Instructions for taking the ALEKS Math Placement Assessment are a little different for engineering students than for non-engineering students, so please read on to learn about ALEKS as it applies to engineering majors.

The assessment will take approximately 90 minutes to complete. You should plan to take the test in one sitting. After the assessment, a targeted Prep and Learning Module is available for you to review and learn material, and to improve placement and eventual course outcomes. ALEKS is a “smart” assessment, that uses artificial intelligence to present you with learning modules targeted toward your mistakes, so doing the Prep and Learning Module after you take the assessment will help you sharpen your skills in areas where you may be rusty or have gaps in your knowledge.

All students are strongly encouraged to spend several hours using the ALEKS Prep and Learning Module. Even if you have achieved placement in your desired course, time spent in ALEKS will better prepare you for your upcoming course and ultimately lead to better grades.

First of all, RELAX. This is an “assessment,” NOT A TEST. The difference is that an assessment is designed to determine what you know. At the end of the ALEKS Placement Assessment, you will have a much better sense of your strengths and weaknesses in math. You will then have a chance to work on those weaknesses. There is really no penalty for incorrectly answering a question on the assessment. The most important thing is that you take the assessment seriously and give it an honest effort so that the assessment truly reflects your level of knowledge and math preparedness.

When Engineering students take the ALEKS Math placement assessment, it will be a digitally proctored assessment. Our expectation from you, our incoming engineering students, is that you will exercise the utmost integrity when taking the ALEKS exam. If cheating behaviors are flagged by the digital proctoring system when you take the exam, you will be asked to take your final ALEKS attempt (each student is allowed three attempts) on campus, proctored in person during Welcome Week in August. Be honest about your skill level. There is no benefit to cheating on the placement assessment – accurate math placements set you up for academic success! Therefore, while you are taking the assessment, do not consult any other source for help (friends, family, internet searches, etc.). The purpose of the placement assessment is to give an accurate measure of your current mathematical skills so that you will be successful in your mathematics courses.

How do I begin using ALEKS?

Log on the portal
Search for ALEKS in the search box.

New engineering students entering the university on main campus are part of the

SSOE Math Placement 2024-2025, Fall-Spring-Summer 2024

How do I get my ALEKS placement score?

After you complete the assessment, you will be presented with a pie chart showing your areas of strength and weakness. Your overall assessment score appears at the top of the page. If you have taken the assessment more than once, scores on previous assessments are shown below the pie chart. In this case, your highest assessment score is used for placement purposes.

If you forget your assessment score, you can log into ALEKS again to review your scores. 

If you are having difficulty viewing your score, please contact the academic operations manager in the Mathematics Department. 


Frequently Asked Questions

Who has to take the ALEKS Placement Assessment?

Everyone who wants to take the following courses:

Math 0120
Math 0125
Math 0200
Math 0220
Math 0400

has to take the ALEKS Placement Assessment before registering for these courses.

Are there any exceptions?

The following exceptions apply:

  1. You want to take one of the following courses:
    Math 0120
    Math 0125
    Math 0200
    Math 0400
    and meet at least one of the following conditions:
    • have gotten a C or better in Math 0031 at the University of Pittsburgh or in a transfer course equivalent to Math 0031
    • you have credit for Math 0120, or Math 0200, or a higher level math course, or their equivalents.
  2. You want to take Math 0220 and meet at least one of the following conditions:
    • have scored a 4 or 5 on the Math AB or Math BC Advanced Placement Exam
    • have gotten a C or better in Math 0200
    • have gotten a C or better in a transfer course equivalent to Math 0200
    • you have credit for Calculus 1, or a higher level math course and want to repeat Calculus 1.

What if I took the ALEKS Placement Assessment in CHS?

If you took ALEKS Placement Assessment in College in High School you can use its score. 

What topics are covered on the Placement Assessment?

The Placement Assessment covers only pre-calculus topics. Specifically

  • Whole numbers, fractions, and decimals
  • Percents, proportions, and geometry
  • Signed numbers, linear equations, and inequalities
  • Lines and systems of linear equations
  • Relations and functions
  • Integer exponents and factoring
  • Quadratic and polynomial functions
  • Rational expressions and functions
  • Radicals and rational exponents
  • Exponentials and logarithms
  • Trigonometry (students can earn 0 points here and still qualify for Math 0120)

Is there a fee for using ALEKS?

Yes.  There is a fee of $25 (subject to change) paid directly to ALEKS. 

Can I retake the ALEKS Placement Assessment?

Yes, you may take up to 3 placement assessments (an initial assessment plus up to two additional attempts) within twelve months of your first assessment. However, to make each attempt worthwhile, it is important that you spend time working in your ALEKS Prep and Learning Module in between placement assessments so that you can improve your skills. You will be required to complete five hours of practice modules before retaking the exam, and 24 hours must pass between attempts.

Can I retake the ALEKS Placement Assessment immediately?

You must wait 24 hours between placement assessments. There is generally no benefit to re-taking the assessment immediately after completing a prior attempt. Unlike the SAT or ACT, you cannot improve your results by simply re-taking the assessment without spending time in the Prep and Learning Module to refresh material that you may have forgotten or to learn new material.

Must I work in my ALEKS Prep and Learning Module between placement assessments?

Yes, after completing the assessment, you must spend a minimum of 5 hours in your Prep and Learning Module before repeating the assessment.

Are placement assessments timed?

Yes, you have 3 hours to complete a placement assessment once it has begun.

How long will a placement assessment take to complete?

Placement assessments require approximately 90 minutes to complete, but the amount of time will vary by student. There will be a maximum of 30 questions.

What happens if I do not complete the placement assessment in the allotted 3 hours?

You will have to restart the assessment.

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, you may not use a calculator.

May I use any other resources during a placement assessment?

You may only use a pen or pencil, paper, and the resources provided by ALEKS. You may not receive assistance from friends, family, other websites, other devices, textbooks, or any other resource not provided by ALEKS. Using outside resources will result in your behavior being flagged by the digital proctoring service. If you are suspected of cheating on the ALEKS assessment, you will be required to take your final ALEKS attempt in person during Welcome Week in August, and may result in Academic Integrity proceedings. We take academic dishonesty seriously. Improper placement in a math class may ultimately lead to course failure; it is important to us that you attempt ALEKS honestly so that we may place you appropriately, setting you up for success in your first math class.

What is my placement result?

Your placement result will be a percentage score. A minimum placement score is required to enroll in any entry level Mathematics course above College Algebra (Math 0031), as shown below.

Course Minimum Placement Score
Math 0200 - Precalculus 61
Math 0220 - Calculus 1 76

I just completed the ALEKS assessment, but I cannot enroll in the course I placed into. What should I do?

Be patient! ALEKS scores are loaded into the student information system overnight. You will be able to enroll in your course tomorrow.

Can I practice using ALEKS before I begin placement?

ALEKS will begin with a brief tutorial before your placement begins.

How long do I have access to my Prep and Learning Module and the placement assessment?

You will have twelve months of access from the time of your initial assessment.

What are ALEKS Progress Assessments?

While working in a Prep and Learning Module, you will periodically complete progress assessments to solidify your gains in knowledge.

Does progress in an ALEKS Prep and Learning Module count toward placement?

No, you must complete a new placement assessment to change your placement result. Click on the placement tab on the upper right of the page from within ALEKS. Only your placement assessment results will be used for course placement.

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

You can use a Prep and Learning Module to review and learn, and you may take another placement assessment to improve your placement result. You may take the placement assessment up to three times (an initial assessment plus up to two additional attempts). If you still do not achieve the required placement score for the course you want, you will have to take the prerequisite class and earn a minimum grade of C in that class. Prerequisites are as follows.

Course Prerequisite
Math 0200 - Precalculus Math 0031
Math 0220 - Calculus 1 Math 0200


I did not place into the class I wanted. Can I take it anyway?

No. To take any of the entry level courses listed above, you must either achieve the required minimum placement score, or take the prerequisite course.

Can I satisfy a prerequisite for an entry level mathematics course with transfer credit?

Yes. If you have transfer credit for a prerequisite course, you will not need to take the placement assessment. If you take the ALEKS assessment early in the summer and are required to take a prerequisite course to the course you had originally hoped to take, there may be time to take a 6- or 8- week summer prerequisite course at a college or community college close to you. Talk to an advisor if you’d like to discuss this option.

What if I placed into the class I wanted?

Congratulations! Continue to use your Prep and Learning Module to improve your chances for success. The placement result above is the minimum preparation required for your course! Take advantage of the targeted review and learning features in ALEKS to get a better grade in your class.

Where can I get assistance troubleshooting ALEKS?

You may contact ALEKS support by phone at (800) 258-2374, or by submitting a ticket at:

Respondus Monitor-specific support is at this webpage. You may also open a help ticket here by clicking "Submit a Ticket" at top right.