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- https://sou.edu/academics/mathematics/math-placement/aleks-frequently-asked-questions/
- https://sou.edu/academics/mathematics/math-placement/aleks-frequently-asked-questions/

Below is a quick reference for students who have some of the more common questions surrounding the Math Placement Assessment.

**Should I take the Math Placement Assessment?**

Incoming new students may be assigned a Math Level or Math Transfer Level (see Understanding Math Levels) and do not, by default, have to take the Assessment; however, if any student is entering the university without a designated math level, they are required to take the Math Placement Assessment before registering for a math course at SOU.

**What placement can I get from SAT, ACT, or SBAC scores?**

Please see the Understanding Math Placement Levels page.

**I have Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, or CLEP Credit... How will that transfer?**

For information regarding Credit-by-Examination courses, please review the following page: sou.edu/admissions/apply/equivalencies

**Can I take the Assessment, even if I have a Math Level?**

Students are encouraged to take the Assessment, especially if they feel their Math Level is incorrect. This is a great way to assure you are going to start in an appropriate math course. Students who elect to take the Assessment should be aware that if they are placed into a lower math level than what they were initially assigned, they will be designated the new math level. For example, if a student has a Math Level of 111 and they use the placement Assessment and are assigned a Math Level of 100, they will have to re-test to place back into Math Level 111.

**Can I test out of a course?**

Students who are designated a Math Level, say from an SAT or ACT test, which can only go to MTH 111 (College Algebra) but they feel they have skills beyond this level, they may take the Math Placement Assessment in order to place into courses all the way to MTH 251 (Calculus I). This is a great option for students who scored well on the ACT or SAT test, or have taken advanced coursework in high school, but didn’t receive college credit.

Please know, students who place into a *higher* level of math will not receive credit for any class which come before it, but simply be allowed to start at a higher level.

**If I don’t need to take it, should I consider taking it?**

We do not want you to waste your time or money taking a class for which you are under or over qualified. Placement scores are used to determine the most appropriate math courses for you as you move forward with your college coursework. After taking a Placement Assessment, you should meet with their advisor who will advise you on the best math class according to your placement score and your major.

This is a “Placement Assessment,” not a test. The difference is that a Placement Assessment is designed to determine what you know and what you need to work on. At the end of the ALEKS PPL Assessment, you will have a much better sense of your strengths and weaknesses in math. You will then have a chance to brush on topics that you may have forgotten.

Be honest. It is important that you take the Placement Assessment seriously and give it your honest effort so your score truly reflects your current level of knowledge and math preparedness. There is no benefit to cheating on the Placement Assessment – the only result will be that you will enroll in a class that is too difficult, or not challenging enough, potentially costing extra time and money. While taking the Placement Assessment, do not consult any outside sources for help (friends/family, internet searches, textbooks, notes etc…). We want an accurate measure of your current mathematical knowledge state.

Please note: Once you activate your ALEKS account, your access to the system will *expire* after one year, and you will be required to purchase an additional set of ALEKS tests.

**Does the Math Placement Test cost?**

Students who are taking the assessment for the first time will not have to pay for it, as the cost is included in the matriculation fee to register for courses. Students who are taking the assessment more than 5 times in their first year will incur a small $15 fee for an additional 5 assessments. Currently a student can take the assessment up to 5 times.

**Can I take the Math Placement Test multiple times?**

Yes! Students can take the test up to 5 times, without having to pay any extra fees.

You can retake the placement assessment to improve your score, however, please keep in mind that the most recent score will be used for math placement.

Students must wait 72 hours between Placement Assessments and are required to work in the Prep and Learning Modules for a specific amount of time prior to each Placement Assessment to increase success. There is generally no benefit to re-taking the Placement Assessment immediately after completing a prior attempt. You cannot improve your results by simply re-taking the Placement Assessment without spending time in the Prep and Learning Module to refresh material that you may have forgotten.

- Second attempt—required to complete 3 hours of work in the Prep and Learning Modules before attempting assessment.
- Third attempt—required to complete 5 additional hours of work in the Prep and Learning Modules before attempting assessment.
- Fourth attempt—required to complete 8 additional hours of work in the Prep and Learning Modules before attempting assessment.
- Fifth attempt—required to complete 10 additional hours of work in the Prep and Learning Modules before attempting assessment.

**What should I bring with me?**

Testing Format

ALEKS will begin with a brief tutorial to make sure you are comfortable with the math palette tools before your Placement Assessment begins. The tutorial shows you how to enter different types of answers, how to use the ALEKS calculator, and how to graph. If you aren’t sure how to input an answer, or need help while you are taking the ALEKS Placement Assessment, select the Help button below the answer pallet tools. Going to the tutorial during your Placement Assessment will NOT impact your Placement Assessment results.

ALEKS is not a multiple-choice Placement Assessment. It is open-response and requires you to work out solutions with a paper and pencil, then enter them into ALEKS. Though the test has a time limit of 2.5 hours, many students finish within less time.

It is likely that you will be asked questions on material you have not yet learned. On such questions it is appropriate to answer, “I don’t know”. On any question that you have familiarity with, however, it is important to do your best. “I don’t know” is interpreted by ALEKS to mean that you do not know how to solve the topic, and this will be reflected in the Placement Assessment results. There is no penalty for incorrectly answering a question on the Placement Assessment, it only helps ALEKS understand what you know and don’t know.

**What is on the Math Placement Assessment?**

ALEKS PPL is an online, adaptive system that covers a broad spectrum of mathematics topics. The length of the Placement Assessment will vary, but can be up to thirty questions. You will see some, but not all, of the math you have learned in high school. It is a Placement Assessment, not a preview of math courses at SOU. It is designed to identify if you are prepared for a particular course. After you take your first Placement Assessment, you will have the opportunity to review and master additional topics to reassess and improve your placement.

Topics covered:

- Real numbers (including fractions, integers, and percentages)
- Equations and inequalities (including linear equations, linear inequalities, systems of linear equations, and quadratic equations)
- Linear and quadratic functions (including graphs and functions, linear functions, and parabolas), exponents and polynomials (including integer exponents, polynomial arithmetic, factoring, and polynomial equations), rational expressions (including rational equations and rational functions
- Radical expressions (including higher roots and rational exponents)
- Exponentials and logarithms (including function compositions and inverse functions, properties of logarithms, and logarithmic equations)
- Geometry and trigonometry (including perimeter, area, and volume, coordinate geometry, trigonometric functions, and identities and equations)

**How can I prepare?**

Students should take the time to review material for the assessment, but only the material which they have had a previous exposure to. For example, students who have never taken a course on Precalculus should not try to test at a level above the course. There are many different resources to use to review for the assessment, depending on the student’s academic goal.

Are you interested in getting tutored? SOU students have access to the excellent peer tutors in our Math Tutoring Center located in the SOU Library.

Are you away from campus? That’s okay! Our Math Tutoring Center is proud to offer distance-based tutoring through Zoom calls.

If students are aiming to place into introductory collegiate math courses, and are looking to study independently, they should study some of the following resources:

For students who have a desire to place into more advanced courses, they can consider reviewing the following material:

- College Algebra and Precalculus Review – Written Examples and Notes
- Khan Academy: Algebra, Trigonometry and Precalculus

**How do I interpret my results?**

Your placement result (overall score) is a number between 0 and 100. It represents the percentage of topics ALEKS has identified you have mastered.

Course placement is determined as follows:

Math Level | Courses | ALEKS Score |
---|---|---|

ML 060 | Up to Math 60: Beginning Algebra | 0 – 9 |

ML 065 | Up to Math 65: Elementary Algebra | 10 – 29 |

ML 095 | Up to Math 95: Intermediate Algebra | 30 – 39 |

ML 100 | Entry Level Placement: Math 243 or Math 100 | 40 – 44 |

ML 111 | Up to Math 111: Precalculus I – College Algebra | 45 – 59 |

ML 112 | Up to Math 112: Precalculus I – Elementary Functions | 60 – 74 |

ML 251 | Up to Math 251: Calculus I | 75 – 100 |

Where can I see my score?

- You will receive your score immediately upon completion of your Placement Assessment.
- Your ALEKS score can be viewed by re-entering ALEKS using the same access link for which you took the Placement Assessment.
- Your scores are automatically added to your student profile, which is accessible by your advisor.

Need more information on understanding your score-tier? Check our Understanding Math Placement page.

**How long is the placement result valid?**

Your placement result is valid for two years. However, we strongly encourage students to begin on their math requirements during their first year.

**What if I didn’t get the placement I wanted?**

This is a perfect opportunity to take advantage of the Prep and Learning Modules offered within ALEKS PPL. An individualized study plan will be created based on your performance on the Initial Placement Assessment. ALEKS will identify what you know and what you are ready to learn next so you can brush up on lost knowledge.

**Which math course is required for my Major?**

Students should always contact their advisor(s) for the most accurate information regarding math requirements based on professional or academic interests. As a quick reference, you may check Math requirements for your major here.