Academic Testing

Mathematics Online Assessment (ALEKS)

The ALEKS Mathematic Placement Assessment will be available online starting April 3, 2017.

Assessment and Learning in Knowledge Spaces (ALEKS) is a web-based assessment and learning system. Mount Saint Mary College requires an ALEKS mathematics placement assessment to determine readiness for various courses. The ALEKS Placement Assessment covers material from basic math through precalculus and will take approximately 90 minutes to complete. You have until June 16, 2017 to complete the ALEKS math assessment.

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.

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 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. 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, teachers, tutors, 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.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

ALEKSHow do I begin using ALEKS? 

  1. Review this FAQ page.
  2. Go to to create an account and take the placement assessment.  

Who has to take the ALEKS Math Placement Assessment?

As outlined on the Required Tests page, the student’s choice of major, combined with score earned on the Math SAT or Math ACT examination, determines if the math placement test is required by the college. All nursing majors are required to take the TEAS exam.

Mount Saint Mary College does not accept placement test scores from other institutions as a substitute for our own testing.

Students are responsible for making sure official transcripts verifying completion of college coursework are forwarded to the Mount's Registrar's Office.

What is the deadline for taking the ALEKS assessment?

You have until June 16, 2017 to complete the ALEKS math assessment.

Is there a fee for using ALEKS?

No, it is paid for by the institution.

Can I retake the ALEKS Placement Assessment?

Yes, you may take the test a total of two times before the testing deadline. However, to make the second attempt worthwhile, it is important that you spend time working in your ALEKS Prep and Learning Module so that you can improve your skills.

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 assessment immediately after completing a prior attempt. Unlike the SAT or ACT, you cannot improve your results by simply re-taking the assessment without spending time in the Prep and Learning Module to refresh material that you may have forgotten or to learn new material.

Must I work in my ALEKS Prep and Learning Module between placement assessments?

Yes, you are required to work in the placement modules a minimum of three hours between assessments.

Are placement assessments timed?

Yes, you have 24 hours to complete a placement assessment once it has begun.

How long will a placement assessment take to complete?

Placement assessments require approximately 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.

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.

How does ALEKS interpret the answer “I don’t know”?

Students may be asked questions on material that is unfamiliar. On such questions, the student should answer, “I don’t know." But for any question that is even slightly familiar to the student, it is important to attempt to answer. “I don’t know” is interpreted by ALEKS to mean that the student has no knowledge of the topic, and this will be reflected in the assessment results. If the student’s best effort is not given, then ALEKS will underestimate their knowledge.

How do I interpret my results?

See the Interpreting Test Results page. 

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 weeks 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 two placement assessments.

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. Only your placement assessment results will be used for course placement.

Can I change to a different Prep and Learning Module later?

No, you may only use the Prep and Learning Module recommended by ALEKS.

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. 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?

More help:
Contact Customer Support – Higher Education
Hours (Eastern Time):
Sunday, 4 pm to 1 am
Monday-Thursday, 7 am to 1 am
Friday, 7 am to 9 pm
Phone: (714) 619-7090
Fax: (714) 245-7190
Email: Contact ALEKS

Questions about the ALEKS plug-in? Go to

Mount Saint Mary Academic Honesty Policy

Academic dishonesty subverts the mission of the college and must be discouraged by application of a uniform college policy. Dishonesty is defined as cheating, plagiarism, and falsification, explained in the Undergraduate Catalog and in the Student Handbook.

The College reserves the right to require students to re-test in person on campus to assure that they are placed in an appropriate mathematics course.