Department of Mathematics and Philosophy

ALEKS Exam Format and Description

Exam Format

The math placement/assessment is an online test which covers a broad spectrum of topics from basic math through precalculus. The ALEKS system is fully automated and the assessment is adaptive.

ALEKS avoids multiple-choice questions and instead uses flexible and easy to use answer input tools that mimic what would be done with paper and pencil (free-response environment).

When a student first logs on to ALEKS, a brief *tutorial shows how to use the following ALEKS answer input tools:

  1. how to enter answers
  2. how to use the graphing utilities
  3. how to use the built-in calculator that will be offered when appropriate.

*Take your time with this tutorial and be sure you understand how these features work.

Exam Description

Each assessment process consists of 20-30 questions and should take around two hours to complete. The exact number of questions will vary due to the adaptive mechanism. It will be 30 questions and only shorter if the student starts to consistently answer “I don’t know.” It is likely that students will be asked questions on material they have not yet learned. On such questions, it is appropriate to answer, "I don't know" (and is interpreted that the topic is not familiar to the student).  If students think they might know how to solve a question, they should try and answer the question. 

The first questions will be drawn from across the curriculum. Based on the previous answer to a question, the next question ALEKS presents, has a 50/50 chance of being answered correctly.  As the assessment proceeds, students' answers will be used to give the system information about the student's math knowledge, and it will gradually focus the questioning in an individually appropriate way.