FIND OUT MORE about mathematics courses and get answers to questions about Mathematics placement by checking the Mathematics section of the online course catalog.

If you have ISU Mathematics related questions about ALEKS please email You can expect a response within 48 hours.

What is ALEKS?

Assessment and LEarning in Knowledge Spaces is a Web-based, artificially intelligent assessment and learning system.

ALEKS uses adaptive questioning to quickly and accurately determine exactly what a student knows and doesn’t know in a subject.

Instructions on how to take the assessment will appear after you enter ALEKS through your Admissions MyAccount or Iowa State sign-on dashboard.

All incoming students (both new freshmen and transferring students) must complete the ALEKS placement assessment before attending orientation. Your placement into a Mathematics or Statistics course will be determined by your score on this placement assessment. It is strongly recommended that you take this assessment as soon as possible. This will leave you time to work on weak areas should you decide to retake the assessment to qualify for the course(s) you want to take. At the latest, the assessment should be completed at least five days before you attend orientation.

The ALEKS assessment consists of 20 to 35 questions. Allow 1-2 hours to complete the assessment. No calculators are permitted during the exam. This is to prevent the biasing of placement into courses for which students are not adequately prepared.

Students with a documented disability requiring accommodations for an online assessment should contact the Iowa State University Student Accessibility Services Office at 515-294-7220 or to discuss alternative arrangements.

Click here for a list of the scores required for entry level mathematics and statistics courses.

If your ALEKS score does not qualify you for the course you expected or hoped to take, the assessment can be taken up to five times, perhaps at the recommendation of an academic advisor. However, before retaking the assessment it is strongly advised that you complete a thorough review or remediation. There are several options for this review.

  • Take a Summer course at Iowa State University (Math 1400 or Math 1430). This course should be a prerequisite for the course you hope to take in the Fall. If you earn a C or better in this course you will be admitted to the next course without retaking the ALEKS assessment. A list of Summer offerings in Mathematics will be posted as they become available.
  • Take one of the ALEKS “Prep” modules. These reviews are designed by ALEKS to address the areas of deficiency as revealed by the ALEKS assessment. Review modules are offered free of charge. Click here for a table that will help you choose the right module based on your placement goal.
  • Take a remedial course at another institution. If you choose this option you will still be required to retake the ALEKS placement assessment so we can be sure that you have mastered the topics that are prerequisite to the course you desire to take.