What is the math placement assessment through ALEKS?

The Math Placement assessment through ALEKS covers a broad spectrum of pre-calculus material.

The ALEKS system is fully automated and the ALEKS assessment is adaptive.

The first questions asked will be drawn from across the pre-calculus curriculum, and may be too easy or too hard.

As the assessment proceeds, your answers will be used to give the system an idea of your abilities, and it will gradually focus the questioning in an appropriate way.

By the end of the assessment you should find the questions generally challenging but reasonable for your knowledge level.

The length of the assessment runs from 20 to 35 questions. 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 the topic, and this will be reflected in the assessment results. If you do not do your best on the assessment, ALEKS will underestimate your abilities and this will affect your placement recommendation.

Who is required to take the math assessment through ALEKS?

All new incoming and transfer students are required to take the math placement assessment through ALEKS.

How do I access the math placement assessment through ALEKS?

Using the 9-digit University ID number provided in your Office of Admissions letter, enter AccessPlus.

For instructions on finding ALEKS on AccessPlus, click here.


Do I need to install any plug-ins prior to taking the Math Assessment?

Yes, there is an ALEKS plug-in. Once in ALEKS, the system will automatically install the plug-in, however, you do have to:


How long is my ALEKS score valid for? Can I use ALEKS from other institutions to place into Iowa State University’s courses?

The ALEKS score that you take to enter into ISU is good for one year beyond the date you take it on. Note that other schools’ ALEKS tests are not a valid ALEKS placement score to be used as prerequisites for Iowa State University courses.


Do I need to take the assessment if I have AP credit or transfer credit in calculus?

Yes. Even though your AP scores and transfer credits will be used to give you credit for the corresponding course, the results of the assessment will be used in your placement. If your score does not indicate mastery of prerequisite material, you will be strongly advised to retake a course for which you have credit to ensure that you are properly prepared for the following course.