Understand Your Score

ALEKS scores of 30 or higher reflect adequate preparation for college-level math. ALEKS scores cannot be interpreted in the same way as exam grades.

Course Placement Scores

You should select courses appropriate for your degree program. If your degree does not require any particular quantification course, you can meet your General Education requirement with any GQ course.

Your academic adviser will help you select appropriate courses when you are building your schedule. For first-year students, this conversation will occur at New Student Orientation.

Chart showing the various starting points for math placement.

You will not be permitted to take a math course that is above your readiness level (even if you are only one point away). If you want to place into a higher-level course, you may use ALEKS learning modules to practice your skills and retake the assessment.

Course placement information for English, chemistry, and world languages is in the Bulletin under Academic Information: Advising and Planning a Degree Program section. Open the “Planning a Degree Program” subsection and scroll to the Course Placements heading.

Programs that commonly prescribe quantification courses

Programs that commonly prescribe quantification courses.
Focus of intended major Commonly prescribed courses
Majors that focus on the sciences (e.g., biology, science education, chemistry), math, math education, or engineering MATH 140 (Calculus with Analytic Geometry I)
CHEM 110 (Chemical Principles I)
Majors that focus on business (e.g., accounting, finance, marketing, economics) or information systems MATH 110 (Techniques of Calculus)
STAT 200 (Statistics)
Majors that focus on communications (including advertising), social sciences (e.g., psychology, sociology, criminology), or childhood education  STAT 200 (Statistics)
Other appropriate General Education Quantification (GQ) courses selected with the help of your academic adviser
Majors that focus on the arts, humanities (e.g., history, philosophy, literature), or languages You will likely not need calculus or statistics, and will select General Education Quantification (GQ) courses appropriate for your intended major with assistance from your academic adviser 

Course Registration

New first-year students are required to attend a New Student Orientation (NSO) session at their campus of admission. Students will discuss ALEKS scores, academic interests, and academic background with advisers during NSO. Advisers will help students select appropriate courses during orientation.

Transfer students and continuing students should work with their assigned academic adviser or advising center.

Practice and retest

If you want to place into a higher-level course, you may use ALEKS learning modules to practice your skills and retake the assessment up to two additional times.

You must wait 24 hours between assessments and spend at least 10 hours actively using the learning modules before taking your second assessment. If you wish to test for a third and final time, you must invest in an additional 10 hours of practice.

Students who spend at least 15 hours in a learning module show the most improvement in their scores and a higher success in their enrolled course. Students generally improve their scores on each subsequent assessment, and 90% of students who retest move up by at least one course. The highest score is always used for placement.

To begin a learning module:

New placement scores are reflected in LionPATH the day after taking the assessment.

Need help deciding?

Your ALEKS score is used to help you start in the course where you have the best chance to succeed. If you need calculus, starting where you honestly place is the best path to success.

It is always in your best interest to improve your math skills, so you are encouraged to use the learning modules regardless of your score. If you need to consult with an adviser about your decision, email aleksadvising@psu.edu.

All access to ALEKS ends at the conclusion of the drop/add period of your first fall or spring semester.