Skip to content





What Is ALEKS?

Mount Vernon Nazarene University requires an ALEKS Placement, Preparation and Learning (ALEKS PPL) Assessment to determine readiness for mathematics courses. ALEKS PPL is a web-based program that uses artificial intelligence to map a student’s strengths and weaknesses. The Placement Assessment is up to 30 questions and generally takes 60-90 minutes to complete.

ALEKS consists of three parts:

  • An initial placement assessment
  • The prep and learning module for individualized online review
  • Access to 4 additional placement assessments


What is the purpose of placement testing?

The purpose of the Placement Assessment is to give an accurate measure of a student’s current mathematical knowledge state so that they will be successful in mathematics courses. The Placement Assessment results will be used to determine the most appropriate courses for each student as they move forward with college coursework. After taking a Placement Assessment, students should meet with their advisor to review their results and enroll in the best classes based on their scores.

>ALEKS Instructions (PDF)

>Print all the FAQs posted below (PDF)

How to Prepare for the ALEKS Test

Why must I take the ALEKS PPL Assessment?

The Placement Assessment is used to determine the mathematics course in which you will have the greatest success. Upon completion of the Placement Assessments, your scores are sent to your academic advisor. Your advisor will review your scores and help make appropriate recommendations for course registration.
Who has to take the ALEKS PPL Assessment?

All incoming students who do not have ACT or SAT math subscores.

When do I take the ALEKS PPL Assessment?

Students should complete the ALEKS PPL initial assessment prior to registering for classes at MVNU. Subsequent assessments may change a student’s placement which could affect the courses that can be taken and so students should communicate with their advisors after each new assessment.

Are ALEKS PPL Assessments proctored?

MVNU has arranged for students to take their ALEKS assessments using the Respondus Lockdown browser system. Instruction describing how to use this system are available. In order to use Respondus Lockdown Browser, you must use a computer or tablet with a camera. If you do not have access to such a device, contact your advisor for alternate instructions.

Is there a fee for using ALEKS PPL?

Yes. As of October 2020, the cost is $20. This fee is paid to ALEKS and is subject to change.
Do I need to install any software or plug-ins prior to taking the ALEKS Placement Assessment?
You must install Respondus web browser on the computer you use to take the assessments. There are no additional required plug-ins or applets required with your use of ALEKS PPL. As long as you have access to the internet and are using an updated browser, you should not experience difficulties in taking your Placement Assessment. For a list of preferred browsers, please review the ALEKS system requirements on their support site:

What topics are covered during the ALEKS PPL Assessment?

ALEKS PPL is an online, adaptive system that covers a broad spectrum of mathematics topics. The length of the Placement Assessment will vary, but can be up to 30 questions. You will see some, but not all, of the math you have learned in high school. It is a Placement Assessment, not a preview of math courses at MVNU. It is designed to identify if you are prepared for a particular course. After you take your first Placement Assessment, you will have the opportunity to review and master additional topics to reassess and improve your placement.
Topics covered:

  • Real numbers (including fractions, integers, and percentages)
  • Equations and inequalities (including linear equations, linear inequalities, systems of linear equations, and quadratic equations),
  • Linear and quadratic functions (including graphs and functions, linear functions, and parabolas), exponents and polynomials (including integer exponents, polynomial arithmetic, factoring, and polynomial equations), rational expressions (including rational equations and rational functions
  • Radical expressions (including higher roots and rational exponents)
  • Exponentials and logarithms (including function compositions and inverse functions, properties of logarithms, and logarithmic equations)
  • Geometry and trigonometry (including perimeter, area, and volume, coordinate geometry, trigonometric functions, and identities and equations).

Can I practice using the ALEKS input tools before I begin the Placement Assessment?

ALEKS will begin with a brief tutorial to make sure you are comfortable with the math palette tools before your Placement Assessment begins. The tutorial shows you how to enter different types of answers, how to use the ALEKS calculator, and how to graph. If you aren’t sure how to input an answer, or need help while you are taking the ALEKS Placement Assessment, select the Help button below the answer pallet tools. Going to the tutorial during your Placement Assessment will NOT impact your Placement Assessment results.

Taking the Placement Assessment

What is the format of the questions on ALEKS?

ALEKS is not a multiple-choice Placement Assessment. It is open-response and requires you to work out solutions with a paper and pencil, then enter them into ALEKS. Be sure to have scratch paper with you.
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.

May I use any other resources during a Placement Assessment?

You may only use a pen or pencil, paper, and the resources provided within ALEKS. You should not receive assistance from friends, family, other websites, textbooks, or any other resource not provided by ALEKS. Using outside resources will lead to improper placement and potentially course failure.
Can I review a question after I've answered it?
Because ALEKS is adaptive, once you submit an answer, you cannot change it. Be sure to carefully check your answer before submitting your response.

What if I see questions I don’t know?

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 how to solve the topic, and this will be reflected in the Placement Assessment results. There is no penalty for incorrectly answering a question on the Placement Assessment, it only helps ALEKS understand what you know and don’t know.

Are Placement Assessments timed?

Yes, you have 3 hours to complete a Placement Assessment once it has begun.
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 Placement Assessment. If the incomplete Placement Assessment is proctored and timed, you will be given a placement result, but it will not be a true reflection of your abilities.

I am ready to start my ALEKS PPL Assessment. How do I begin?

MVNU provides you with step by step instructions for accessing the ALEKS system.
Placement Result

What is my placement result?

Your placement result (overall score) is a number between 0 and 100. It represents the percentage of topics ALEKS has identified you have mastered.
Course placement is determined as follows:

Course # Course Name ALEKS Score Range
MAT 0083    Basic Algebra 0-29
MAT 0093 Algebra 30-45
MAT 1013 Trigonometry ≥46
MAT 1033 Introduction to Mathematical Systems ≥46
MAT 1063 Mathematics for Elementary Teachers ≥46
MAT 1083 Foundation of Mathematics ≥46
MAT 2063 Introduction to Statistics ≥46
MAT 1023 Precalculus 46-75
MAT 1034 Calculus I 76-100
MAT 0083 Other MVNU Courses listing ACT math ≥17 ≥30
MAT 0083 Other MVNU Courses listing ACT math ≥19 ≥46


Where can I see my score?

You will receive your score immediately upon completion of your Placement Assessment.
Your ALEKS score can be viewed by re-entering ALEKS using the same access link for which you took the Placement Assessment.
Your scores are automatically added to your student profile, which is accessible by your advisor.
Your scores will be verified by the math department before the semester begins.

What if I do not place into the course I wanted?

This is a perfect opportunity to take advantage of the Prep and Learning Modules offered within ALEKS PPL. An individualized study plan will be created based on your performance on the Initial Placement Assessment. ALEKS will identify what you know and what you are ready to learn next so you can brush up on lost knowledge.
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 required is the minimum preparation for your course. Take advantage of the individualized review and learning features in ALEKS to get a better grade in your class.

Can I retake the ALEKS PPL Assessment?

Yes, you may retake the Placement Assessment up to 4 times (for a total of 5 attempts). However, to make each attempt worthwhile, it is important that you spend time working in your ALEKS Prep and Learning Module between Placement Assessments so that you can improve your skills. You will not be able to repeat your assessment until you have spent at least 3 hours in the Prep and Learning Modules.

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 Placement Assessment immediately after completing a prior attempt. You cannot improve your results by simply re-taking the Placement Assessment without spending time in the Prep and Learning Module to refresh material that you may have forgotten.
Prep and Learning Modules

How long do I have access to my Prep and Learning Module?

You will have six months of access to your Prep and Learning module. Access to the prep course will not begin until you select start on the top of your screen. DO NOT select into the Prep and Learning Module until you are ready to start working.
Is there an additional fee for my Prep and Learning Module?
Access to a Prep and Learning Module is included along with the additional Placement Assessments.
Must I work in my ALEKS Prep and Learning Module between Placement Assessments?
You can retake the Placement assessment up to four additional times to improve your score. (The highest score will be used for math placement). Students are required to work in the Prep and Learning Modules for 3 hours prior to each Placement Assessment to increase success.

What are ALEKS Knowledge Checks?

While working in a Prep and Learning Module, you will periodically complete a Knowledge Check to make sure you have mastered the topics you gained in Learning Mode. If you do not show mastery during the Knowledge Check, the topics will be added back into your Learning Pie so you can review them again.

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. Select the placement tab in the upper right corner of the ALEKS page to start a new Placement Assessment.

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 or consult with your advisor.

Technical Support

What do I do if my web browser gets stuck or my computer crashes while I'm taking the Placement Assessment?

Simply close the browser, or log out and log back in. ALEKS will resume the Placement Assessment exactly where you left off, with no loss of your previous answers.

Where can I get help with ALEKS?
ALEKS Instructions Print the FAQs
For More Info

For More Information


Site Designed and Developed by 5by5 - A Change Agency