ALEKS Math Placement Assessment

ALEKS logo

Holy Cross College requires an ALEKS mathematics placement assessment to determine readiness for various courses. The ALEKS Placement Assessment covers material from basic math through pre-calculus and will take approximately 90 minutes to complete. 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.

You must complete the math placement test before coming to SOAR to ensure that you will be able to register for the correct math class. There will not be time during SOAR for you to take this test. If you do not complete the test before SOAR, you will have to change your class schedule after orientation.

If you are enrolled in a mathematics course for the Fall 2017 term, you must take the exam between June 1, 2017, and August 19, 2017. If you intend to enroll in a mathematics course for the Spring 2018 term, and you will not have completed the course’s mathematics prerequisite, you must take the exam between October 1, 2017, and January 11, 2018. There is a $25 fee for ALEKS, which must be paid by credit card before you begin.

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.

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.

Be honest about your skill level. There is no benefit to cheating on the placement assessment–your only reward will be that you are forced to take a class that is too difficult for your current level of mathematical knowledge. 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.

Please read the frequently asked questions below. If you are ready to start the assessment, click here:

  1. Click Sign Up Now!
  2. Insert the Course Code: DETN9-MXLX9
  3. Click “I have never used ALEKS before”
  4. Click purchase access online
  5. Enter your payment information (math placement exam costs $25) and create a log-in account using your Holy Cross ID provided to you by our Admissions Office. Call the Admissions office at 574-239-8400 if you forgot your ID.

If you have questions about the exam or have difficulty accessing it, contact Dr. Martin Sulkanen at

Frequently Asked Questions

Who must take the ALEKS PPL Math Placement Exam?

  • All new freshmen coming to Holy Cross College.
  • All new transfer students who do not already have credit for MATH 151 (Calculus I for Science) or a higher level math course.
  • Holy Cross sophomores and upperclassmen who have enrolled in MATH 151 for the Fall 2016 term, and whose enrollment has been provisionally approved pending ALEKS placement exam results.

Where and when is the ALEKS Placement Exam is administered?

  • The ALEKS PPL Math Placement system is directly accessed online from anywhere.
  • If you are enrolled in a mathematics course for the Fall 2016 term, you must take the exam between June 1 2016 and August 19 2016. If you intend to enroll in a mathematics course for the Spring 2017 term, and you will not have completed the course’s mathematics prerequisite, you must take the exam between October 1 2016 and January 11 2017.

Is there a fee for using ALEKS?

There is a $25 fee that must be paid with a credit card before you begin.

What is my placement result?

Your placement result is your percentage mastery on the best assessment. In order to take the mathematics course in which you have enrolled, you need to meet the following ALEKS scores:

Course Number Title Required ALEKS Score (S)
MATH105 Mathematics for Liberal Arts S ≥ 13%
MATH110 Intermediate Algebra 30% ≤ S ≤ 45%
MATH113 College Algebra 46% ≤ S ≤ 60%
MATH118 Finite Mathematics
(Gateway Students Only)
53% ≤ S ≤ 67%
MATH125 Pre-calculus 61% ≤ S ≤ 75%
MATH141H Survey of Calculus 61% ≤ S ≤ 75%
MATH151 Calculus I for Science 76% ≤ S ≤ 100%

What does my ALEKS result mean about taking the course I have enrolled for?

  • If your exam score falls above the minimum score required for the course for which you have enrolled, you will be permitted to take the course. This score can be for any attempt of the exam.
  • If your exam score falls below the minimum required score for your intended course, you will be required to retake the exam until you achieve the minimum required score for that course.

Can I retake the ALEKS Placement Assessment?

Yes! You may take up to 5 placement assessments. 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.

Can I retake the ALEKS Placement Assessment immediately?

You must wait 48 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.
Note that the results of your first attempt at the ALEKS PPL exam may be affected by your unfamiliarity with the user interface (although at the start of the exam there is a thorough tutorial on how to use it). If this is the case, you can make a second attempt at the exam after 48 hours has elapsed.

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

Yes, for 5 hours between the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th placement assessments.

Are placement assessments timed?

Yes, you have 24 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.

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.

What happens if I do not complete a placement assessment in the allotted time?

You will have to restart the assessment exam.

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, textbooks, or any other resource not provided by ALEKS. Using outside resources may lead to improper placement and ultimately course failure.

How long is my placement result valid?

The calendar window for the ALEKS placement exam for the Fall 2016 term is June 1 – August 19 2016. Students intending to enroll in mathematics courses in the Spring 2017 term will need to take the ALEKS placement exam between October 1, 2016, and January 11, 2017, or have completed the course mathematics perquisites.

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?

You will have six months of access from the time that you start using your Prep and Learning module.

Is there an additional fee for my Prep and Learning Module?

No. Access to a Prep and Learning Module is included along with up to 4 placement assessments (however, the first exam does not include a module before the exam).

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.

Can I change to a different Prep and Learning Module later?

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

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.

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

No, you must achieve the minimum placement result to take each corresponding class.

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 help with ALEKS?
[Here, you can include an Overview Summary to help guide your students through ALEKS. The PDF document can be found in the Training section of ALEKS PPL; it is available for download after clicking on the “Training” link in the top navigation within the Administrator Module.]