1. Why do I need to take a math placement test?

You must satisfy the prerequisites for all of your courses. Many math courses have prerequisites that are satisfied either by earning a minimum score on a math placement test or by earning a minimum grade in another college or university math course (high school courses do not satisfy prerequisites).  

  1. When should I take a placement test?

You should take the math placement test shortly before you are eligible to register for a math course. If you are new University of Iowa student, you should take the math placement test at least 2 weeks before your orientation. This will allow you time to review and retake the test if you would like. If you previously took a math placement test (more than a year ago) at the University of Iowa, but have not taken any math courses, we strongly recommend that you retake the placement test to accurately determine your current skills.

  1. What materials can I use on the ALEKS test?

You may use a pen/pencil and scratch paper to solve the problems. You may not use books, notes, your own calculator, websites besides the ALEKS site, or any other resources except for scratch paper.

  1. How many times can I take the ALEKS test?

You may take the ALEKS test a total of 5 times.

  1. How long do I need to wait to take another ALEKS test?

You must wait at least 24 hours between successive ALEKS tests.

  1. Do I need to complete the ALEKS test at one time?

It is best if you take ALEKS in one sitting, but if you need to stop before your exam is finished, close the ALEKS window. When you log in again, ALEKS will start at the point where you left off. If you do not log in within one week of beginning your assessment, you will be required to start over.  You should plan for an ALEKS test to take about 90 minutes.

  1. What are the Prep and Learning Modules?

Once you have completed your first ALEKS placement test, you will be allowed to register in one of two Prep and Learning modules (Prep for PreCalculus or Prep for Calculus). The Prep and Learning modules use your initial placement score to show you the math topics you have mastered and then provide tutorials and instruction to help strengthen your skills. After spending time in the Prep and Learning modules, you will need to take another placement test to increase your placement score. The Prep and Learning modules require you to complete periodic assessments; these assessments are different than the placement tests and do not affect your placement score.

  1. How should I use the Prep and Learning Modules?

If you have not earned the ALEKS score required for the math course you would like to register for, you should use the Prep and Learning modules to review before retaking the placement test. If you have earned the ALEKS score required for the course you wish to take, you may also use the Prep and Learning modules to practice skills either before the semester starts or during the course if you find there is a topic you need to review.

  1. Do I have to use the Prep and Learning Modules?

It depends. You are required to use the Prep and Learning Modules if you want to take the ALEKS math placement test more than once. You must spend 3 hours in the Prep and Learning modules between your second and third tests, 3 hours in the Prep and Learning modules between your third and fourth tests, and 15 hours in the Prep and Learning modules between your fourth and fifth tests.

  1. What courses am I eligible to take based on my ALEKS score?

A table showing the minimum ALEKS score required for each math course is available here.  The best course for you will depend on your major and your previous math courses, so you should talk with your advisor to determine what course to take. You may take a course with a minimum score below your ALEKS score. If you attempt to register for a course above your ALEKS score, you will either be blocked from registering for the course or you will be removed from the class before the semester begins if you have not earned the required placement score. For example, if you have an ALEKS score of 60, you may take MATH:1340 Mathematics for Business (minimum ALEKS score: 45), MATH:1440 Mathematics for the Biological Science (minimum ALEKS score: 55), or MATH:1020 Elementary Functions (minimum ALEKS score: 60).  However, you may not take MATH:1380 Calculus and Matrix Algebra for Business (minimum ALEKS score: 65).

  1. After I log in with my HawkID, I get a message saying that the ALEKS course has expired, and I need a course code.  What should I do?

Please email Cynthia Farthing telling her that your access to the ALEKS math placement test needs to be extended. Be sure to include your name and student UID number in the email.

  1. I can log into the ALEKS test site, but I cannot take a placement exam.  Why?

There are two possible reasons for this: either you have not waited enough time between placement tests, or you have not spent the required amount of time in the ALEKS Prep and Learning modules since your last placement test. You are required to wait at least 24 hours between assessments. You must also spend 3 hours in the Prep and Learning modules between your second and third tests, 3 hours in the Prep and Learning modules between your third and fourth tests, and 15 hours in the Prep and Learning modules between your fourth and fifth tests.