Math Placement Exam Information - Fall 2017

You may need to take the math placement exam to assess your math skills before you register for a math course at St. Thomas.

Four pieces of information that determine whether you need to take a math placement exam:

- Your math ACT/SAT subscore

- When your ACT/SAT subscores were sent to St. Thomas

- Your major

- The math course(s) required for your major

You need to take a math placement exam only if your math ACT/SAT subscore is below the required level for the math course that you are interested in pursuing, if you do not have a math ACT/SAT subscore on record with the Registrar, or your ACT/SAT subscore was not sent to St. Thomas within the last two years.

What are the Math Requirements by course?

Not all students need to take a mathematics placement assessment. You only need to take the exam if any of the following apply to you:

  • Your ACT Math score was less than 28 and you want to take MATH 113, Calculus I.
  • Your ACT Math score was less than 25 and you want to take MATH 111, Business Calculus.
  • Your ACT Math score was less than 23 and you want to take MATH 108, Calculus with Review I.
  • Your ACT Math score was less than 20 and you want to take MATH 101, Finite Mathematics, or MATH 100, Mathematics Sampler.
  • You did not send your ACT scores to St. Thomas within 2 years of taking the test.

Entry into Core UST Mathematics Courses

How to sign-up for the math placement exam?

The ALEKS Placement Assessment covers material from Basic Math through Precalculus and will take approximately 90 minutes to complete. 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, 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. 

Is there a fee for using ALEKS?

You will pay for ALEKS with a credit card before you begin. The cost is 25 dollars, which includes access to Prep and Learning Module for six months and access to the five assessments for one year.

Can I retake the ALEKS Placement Assessment?

Yes, you may take up to 5 placement assessments. This includes 3 practice assessments and 2 proctored assessments. However, to make each attempt worthwhile, it is important that you spend time working in your ALEKS Prep and Learning Module in between placement assessments so that you can improve your skills. If you wish to take a second proctored assessment you will need to wait one month and complete five hours in the Prep and Learning Module.  

Are ALEKS Placement Assessments proctored?

Yes, up to two ALEKS Placement Assessments are proctored. Only proctored assessments count as math placement scores. On campus proctoring is highly recommended by scheduling an appointment with Molly Peterson ( Remote proctoring is available by completing the remote proctoring form.  

Can I retake the ALEKS Placement Assessment immediately?

You must wait one month between proctored 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, for 5 hours between proctored placement assessments.

Are placement assessments timed?

No, you are free to complete the assessment at your own pace.

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.

What is my placement result?

Your placement result is your percentage mastery on the latest assessment.

Course placement is emailed to each student by Molly Peterson (

How long is my placement result valid?

Your placement result is valid for 2 years.

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 months 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 5 placement assessments (3 practice and 2 proctored).

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 proctored placement assessment to change your placement result. Only your proctored 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 one Prep and Learning Module. If you are unsure which module to select, use the 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 proctored 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. 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.

How do I begin using ALEKS?

You will need to create an ALEKS account using your UST ID number and UST email address. Please click on the following