About the ALEKS Assessment

Your ALEKS score will indicate the course you are eligible to take. However, you may enroll in a lower level math course after talking with your advisor.

What is the ALEKS Assessment?

The ALEKS Assessment covers material from basic math through precalculus and will take approximately 90 minutes to complete. 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 strengths and weaknesses in math. You will then have a chance to work on those weaknesses. There is really no penalty for incorrectly answering a question on the assessment.

Be honest. It is important to take the Placement Assessment seriously and to give it an honest effort so that the Placement Assessment truly reflects your current level of knowledge and math preparedness. There is no benefit to cheating on the Placement Assessment – the only result will be that you enroll in a class that is too difficult, or not challenging enough, potentially costing time and money. Therefore, while taking the Placement Assessment, you should not consult any outside sources for help (friends/family, internet searches, textbooks, notes etc...). The purpose of the Placement Assessment is to give an accurate measure of your current mathematical knowledge state so that you will be successful in mathematics courses.

Who must take ALEKS?

  • All incoming first-year students must complete the ALEKS placement assessment.
  • All incoming transfer students with no prior college-level coursework in math must take the ALEKS assessment.
  • All students enrolling in an entry level math course must take an ALEKS assessment if they have not successfully completed a prerequisite course with a C- or better in the 6 months before the first day of the semester for which they are enrolling 
  • If the score on the assessment indicates a lack of preparedness for the desired course, the student may take another ALEKS assessment. However, it is highly recommended that students use the free ALEKS Prep and Learning Module to build their math knowledge prior to taking another assessment.

When do I take ALEKS?

  •  Entering freshmen should complete the ALEKS assessment two weeks before attending New Student Orientation, to allow their advisors to plan for their courses.
  • Continuing students who need to enroll in a math course must complete the ALEKS assessment prior to being advised.

Are Placement Assessments timed?

No, you are free to complete the Placement Assessment at your own pace. The system will allow you to access your Placement Assessment for 24 hours. If you need to exit the Placement Assessment for any reason, you will be able to log back in and pick up where you left off.

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 the University of Memphis. 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).

What happens if i do not complete a placement assessment in the allotted time?

If you do not complete the Placement Assessment within 24 hours, you will have to restart the Placement Assessment.

How long will it take to complete the ALEKS assessment?

Be sure you are ready to take your assessment prior to logging on. Set aside at least a 90-minute block of time in which to complete the assessment. The length of the assessment varies by student, but there will be a maximum of 30 questions.

How much does the ALEKS Assessment cost?

Students are allowed to take the ALEKS assessment free of charge.

Is there a practice test for the ALEKS 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.

How long is my ALEKS assessment score valid?

Your placement result is valid for 6 months. Math is a discipline that requires practice. After 6 months, students who have not taken a college-level math course need to retake the ALEKS assessment so that they can be sure to take the math course that is best for their skills and knowledge.

Where do I take the ALEKS Assessment?

Students take the ALEKS assessment from home by logging into the myMemphis  portal. 

  • Please enter your UofM user name and your password. 
  • The username corresponds to the letters appearing before "@memphis.edu" in your University of Memphis email address. 
  • After logging into the myMemphis portal, click on the "Student" tab to locate the ALEKS channel.

What if my computer crashes while taking the assessment?

If you have computer problems, you should be able to log back into the ALEKS assessment and resume testing. When you log on again, ALEKS will bring you to the point at which you left off.

Do I need to install any software or plug-ins prior to taking the ALEKS Placement Test?

No. There are no 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.

How many questions are on the test?

Students complete a maximum of 30 questions. None of the questions are multiple-choice.

Once I answer a question, can I go back and change my answer?

Once you submit an answer, you cannot change it. You should keep this in mind while testing.

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 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.

How is my score calculated?

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

ALEKS chooses each question on the basis of a student's answers to all the previous questions. Each student, and therefore each set of assessment questions, is unique. It is impossible to predict the questions that will be asked. By the time a student has completed the assessment, ALEKS has developed a precise picture of his or her knowledge of the course, and has identified which topics in the course the student has and has not mastered.

An overview of how ALEKS works is available online at: http://www.aleks.com/about_aleks/overview

How can I find out what score I need on the ALEKS Assessment?

After you have completed the ALEKS Assessment, check with your advisor regarding the appropriate course for your major.  Please refer to the chart below for course placement.   


Courses That Can Be Taken Based on Major

 0 - 13

 A minimum score of 14 is required to enroll in a math course at the University of Memphis.

14 - 29 MATH 1100 Combo MATH 1420 Combo  
30 - 45 MATH 1710 Combo MATH 1420  MATH 1530
46 - 60 MATH 1710 MATH 1480  
61 - 75 MATH 1720 MATH 1730 MATH 1830
76 and above MATH 1910    

How can I find my ALEKS score after taking the assessment?

  • 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.

Will my ALEKS assessment score be posted to my academic transcript?

Your ALEKS score will not appear on your academic transcript.

If I take the ALEKS assessment more than once, which score will be used for placement in a math course?

The highest ALEKS score will be used for math placement.

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

After 48 hours, you can take another ALEKS assessment. However, it is recommended that you use the Prep and Learning Module to review and learn, and then 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 can I do if I am not satisfied with my score?

Students receive four assessments after the initial one. The second assessment may be started 48 hours after the first assessment. However, we encourage students to spend several hours in the Prep and Learning Module before taking another assessment. Most students do not improve their score until they utilize the Prep and Learning Module to work on their math skills. Before the third ALEKS assessment, students must work in the Learning Module for 3 hours. Between the third and fourth assessment, students must work in the Learning Module for at least 3 hours. After the fourth assessment, students must work at least 3 hours in the learning module before they can take the fifth assessment.

What is the Prep and Learning Module?

After the assessment, a targeted Prep and Learning Module is available for you to review and learn material, and to improve placement and eventual course outcomes. All students are strongly encouraged to spend several hours using the ALEKS Prep and Learning Module. 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. Students must begin the Learning Module within 6 months of completing the initial ALEKS assessment.

How long can I use the Prep and Learning Module?

Once students log into the Prep and Learning Module, they may use it for up to 6 months. Students using the learning module should check the email account provided to ALEKS for reminders about the amount of time remaining in the learning module. Once the 6 month period is up, students cannot receive additional time in the learning module.

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 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.