aleks,placement, preparation and learning

Placement Guidance Webpage Information

ALEKS PPL is an optional way for students that are college ready to be placed directly into MATH 140, 190, 191, 192, MATH 201, MATH 211 or MATH 231.

The placement assessment is used to determine your readiness for various math courses. The ALEKS PPL covers material from Basic Math through Precalculus and will take approximately 60-90 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 course success.

You are strongly encouraged to spend few hours using the ALEKS Prep and Learning Module. Students who spend five or more hours in the Prep and Learning Modules can improve their placement, which saves time and money. 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 math strengths and weaknesses. 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. See the California State University-Bakersfield honor code.



Frequently asked questions

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Who has to take the ALEKS Placement Assessment?

Any student who wishes to be placed higher than (s)he is currently being placed. If you wish to be placed in MATH 192-Precalculus II, MATH 201- Calculus I, MATH 231- Engineering Calculus I or MATH 211-Calculus for Biological and Chemical Sciences.

Is there a fee for using ALEKS?

You will pay for ALEKS with a credit card before you begin and the cost is $25. This includes the five placement exam attempts over 12-months, access to personalized Prep and Learning modules for 6-months and a very detailed skills diagnostic across 314 math topics.

Can I retake the ALEKS Placement Assessment?

Your first exam will be taken on your own and unproctored.  This exam will allow you to become familiar with the program and to obtain a true assessment of your skills. 

You may take up to 5 placement assessments, but only the scores for proctored exams will count for placement. 

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.


Are ALEKS Placement Assessments proctored?

The first exam is not proctored and can be taken at your home. Only proctored exam scores will count toward placement.

Proctoring will be in Computer lab in SCI 3 Room 239. Please sign up in advance at SCI III Room 230.

Are placement assessments timed?

Your first exam is unproctored and untimed.  You have 2 hours to complete a proctored placement assessment.

How long will a placement assessment take to complete?

Placement assessments require approximately 60-90 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?

If the placement assessment is unproctored, you will have to restart the assessment. If the incomplete assessment is proctored and timed, you will be given a placement result, but it may underestimate your true ability.

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.

What is my placement result?

Your placement score represents the percent of 314 topics that you have mastered.  See the table below to understand your score….

Cut Score (%)

Range (%)

Course Placement

≥ 60%


MATH 140- Elementary Statistics I

MATH 190- Precalculus I

≥ 65%


MATH 191- Precalculus I

≥ 70%


MATH 192- Precalculus II

MATH 211-Calculus for Biological and Chemical Sciences

≥ 80%


MATH 201- Calculus I

MATH 231- Engineering Calculus I

How long is my placement result valid?

Your placement result is valid for 6 months.

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?

Access to a Prep and Learning Module is included along with up to 5 placement assessments over 12-months.

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.

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?

How do I begin using ALEKS?