Math Placement Exam

The University of Arkansas requires a Math Placement Exam (a.k.a ALEKS Placement, Preparation, and Learning Assessment (ALEKS PPL)) score to determine readiness for mathematics courses. Costs of the exam have been covered by a grant from the Office of Student Success; however, proctoring services outside of the University may require fees.

The Math Placement Exam is up to 30 questions and generally takes 60-90 minutes to complete.

Your first attempt is unproctored and will give you the experience of taking the assessment. You will then be directed to a Learning Module to help you prepare for your next attempt. The exam MUST be proctored in order for your score to be official.

ALEKS consists of three parts:

  1. An initial Placement Exam
  2. The Prep and Learning Module - an individualized, self-paced online review
  3. Access of up to 4 additional Placement Exam proctored attempts

The University encourages each student to spend time in the Prep and Learning Module, even if the desired score is achieved. Time spent in ALEKS will ultimately lead to better preparation and improved grades.

Please Read Though the Following Information Before Taking the Exam

Please access the Math Placement Exam through UAConnect.
System Availability is Generally M-F 6:00am - 2:00am, Sa-Su 12:00pm - 2:00am.

ProctorU services are now available! Detailed instructions are available below.

The Math Placement Exam is a web-based program that uses artificial intelligence to map a student's strengths and weaknesses. It is open-response entry exam and requires you to work out solutions with a paper and pencil, then enter them into ALEKS.

Why must I take the Math Placement Exam?

The Placement Exam is used to determine the mathematics course in which you will have the greatest success. Upon completion of the Placement Exams, your scores will be uploaded to UAConnect, where the appropriate personnel will review your scores and help make recommendations for course registration.

Who has to take the Math Placement Exam?

The Placement Exam is required to be taken by any current or in-coming University of Arkansans student who would like to take a MATH or STAT course without prior satisfactory requisites.

Is there a fee for using the Math Placement Exam?

The assessment is free! Costs of the exam have been covered by a grant from the Office of Student Success. Additional fees may be necessary when using proctoring services outside of the Department of Mathematical Sciences Testing Center.

What are the software requirements for using ALEKS? Do I have to install anything?

No. There are no required plug-ins or applets required with your use of Math Placement Exam. As long as you have access to the internet and are using an updated browser, you should not experience difficulties in taking your Placement Exam or using your Prep and Learning Module.

For a list of preferred browsers, please review the ALEKS system requirements on their support site: http://www.aleks.com/support/system_requirements.

Additional programs or plug-ins may be necessary with chosen virtual proctoring services.

What topics are covered in the Math Placement Exam?

Math Placement Exam is an online, adaptive system that covers a broad spectrum of mathematics topics. The length of the Placement Exam 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 Exam, not a preview of math courses offered by the University. It is designed to identify if you are prepared for a particular course.

After you take your first Placement Exam, you will have the opportunity to review and master additional topics to reassess and improve your placement.

Topics covered include:

Real Numbers

Fractions, Integers, and Percentages

Equations and Inequalities

Linear Equations, Linear Inequalities, Systems of Linear Equations, and Quadratic Equations

Linear and Quadratic functions

Graphs and Functions, Linear Functions, and Parabolas

Exponents and Polynomials

Integer Exponents, Polynomial Arithmetic, Factoring, and Polynomial Equations

Radical Expressions

Higher Roots and Rational Exponents

Exponentials and Logarithms

Function Compositions and Inverse Functions, Properties of Logarithms, and Logarithmic Equations

Geometry and Trigonometry

Perimeter, Area, and Volume; Coordinate Geometry; Trigonometric Functions and Identities; and Equations

Can I practice using the ALEKS input tools before I begin the Placement Exam?

ALEKS will begin with a brief tutorial to make sure you are comfortable with the math palette tools before your Placement Exam 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 Exam, select the "Help" button below the answer pallet tools.

Going to the tutorial during your Placement Exam will NOT impact your Placement Exam results.

Your first attempt at the assessment will be unproctored and give you practice taking the assessment. Only proctored exam scores can be used to qualify you for a MATH or STAT course.

Students are encouraged to take the initial Placement Exam about 6 months prior to the start of the semester to get full use of the Placement Exam, and the included Prep and Learning Modules and additional offered attempts; which expire after the aforementioned 6 month period.

Example Preparation Schedule:

Semester Attending Recommended Dates of Preparation
Summer 2019 December 1, 2018 - May 1, 2019
Fall 2019 March 1, 2019 - August 1, 2019
Spring 2020 July 1, 2019 - December 1, 2019

How do I take the Math Placement Exam? Do I have to be proctored?

For scoring purposes, taking the Placement Exam requires the student to be proctored while taking the exam.

Students may use the Department of Mathematical Sciences Testing Center during operational hours for free, but MUST present a valid UARK ID. Hours are available at https://mrtc.uark.edu.

ProctorU logoProctoring service fees may apply if the student wishes to take the exam outside of the Department of Mathematical Sciences Testing Center.

For our virtual proctoring option, please watch Get Started with ProctorU for an overview of the online proctoring experience. Review the instructions with screenshots for more detailed information.

  1. Create your ProctorU account and schedule your exam date and time.
  2. Practice with the initial Placement Exam in ALEKS and review using the Prep and Learning Module.
  3. Take your exam.
    1. Test your computer before the appointment.
    2. Go to ProctorU to start your exam session.
After you create an account and/or sign into ProctorU
  1. Click the button that says "Schedule New Session"
  2. In the confirmation menu, confirm the following using options from the three dropdown menus
    1. Confirm your institution > "University of Arkansas"
    2. Select a term > "Math Placement Exams"
    3. Select your exam > "ALEKS Math Placement Test..."
    4. Click "Find Sessions" to schedule your exam
  3. Schedule and confirm your time, and process your order

What is the question format on ALEKS?

ALEKS is not a multiple-choice Placement Exam.

It is open-response and requires you to work out solutions with a paper and pencil, then enter them into ALEKS. Be sure to have scratch paper with you.

May I use a calculator while using ALEKS?

ALEKS will provide an on-screen calculator if you need one to complete a particular problem. You may NOT use a handheld calculator.

May I use any other resources during a Placement Exam?

You may only use a pen or pencil, paper, and the resources provided within ALEKS.

You should not receive assistance from friends, family, other websites, textbooks, or any other resource not provided by ALEKS. Using outside resources will lead to improper placement and potentially course failure.

Review the information posted in Academic Integrity.

Can I review a question after I've answered it?

Because ALEKS is adaptive, once you submit an answer, you cannot change it.

Be sure to carefully check your answer before submitting your response.

What if I see questions I don't know?

It is likely that you will be asked questions on material you have not yet learned. On such questions it is appropriate to answer, I don't know. On any question that you have familiarity with, however, it is important to do your best.

I don't know is interpreted by ALEKS to mean that you do not know how to solve the topic, and this will be reflected in the Placement Exam results.

There is no penalty for incorrectly answering a question on the Placement Exam, it only helps ALEKS understand what you know and don't know.

Are Placement Exams timed?

Once you begin the exam, you are allotted 48 hours to access that session; however, please note that your time may be limited by testing center operating hours.

Hours available at https://mrtc.uark.edu.

Can I take breaks during the Placement Exam? What if I'm interrupted?

If you need to exit the Placement Exam for any reason, you will be able to log back in and pick up where you left off.Coordinate with your proctor if you need to take a break.

What happens if I don't complete a Placement Exam in the allotted time?

If the Placement Exam is unproctored, you will have to restart the Placement Exam. If the incomplete Placement Exam is proctored and timed, you will be given a placement result, but it will not be a true reflection of your abilities.

I am ready to start my Math Placement Exam Assessment. How do I begin?

Continue reading the documentation on this page and then press the button on the bottom of the page to continue.

Review the minimum score you need for a class by visiting https://math.uark.edu/undergraduate/placement/index.php.

What is my placement result?

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

When will I know my score? Where can I find my score?

  • You will receive your score immediately upon completion of your Placement Exam.
  • Your ALEKS score can be viewed by re-entering ALEKS using the same access link for which you took the Placement Exam.
  • Your scores will be uploaded to UAConnect overnight.
  • Your scores will be verified by the math department before the semester begins.

How long is my placement result valid?

Your placement result is valid for up to 12 months.

My score is too low. What if I do not place into the course I wanted?

This is a perfect opportunity to take advantage of the Prep and Learning Modules offered within Math Placement Exam.

An individualized study plan will be created based on your performance on the Initial Placement Exam. ALEKS will identify what you know and what you are ready to learn next so you can brush up on lost knowledge.

Once you have reviewed your materials in the Prep and Learning Modules, you may opt to retake the assessment for a better score.

What if I placed into the class I wanted?

Congratulations! You may continue to use your Prep and Learning Module to improve your chances for success.

The placement result required is the minimum preparation for your course. We encourage you to take advantage of the individualized review and learning features in ALEKS to get a better grade in your class. Costs for these services are included when you take the initial Placement Exam.

Can I retake the Math Placement Exam?

Yes, you may take the Placement Exam up to 5 times, including your first practice attempt. However, to make each attempt worthwhile, it is important that you spend time working in your ALEKS Prep and Learning Module between Placement Exams so that you can improve your skills.

Can I retake the ALEKS Placement Exam immediately?

You must wait 48 hours between Placement Exams. There is generally no benefit to re-taking the Placement Exam immediately after completing a prior attempt. You cannot improve your results by simply re-taking the Placement Exam without spending time in the Prep and Learning Module to refresh on material that you may have forgotten.

Please note these options will be available AFTER your first Placement Exam attempt.

How long do I have access to my Prep and Learning Module?

You will have 6 months of access to your Prep and Learning module. Access to the prep course will not begin until you select start on the top of your screen.

Do NOT select into the Prep and Learning Module until you are ready to start working.

Is there an additional fee for my Prep and Learning Module?

Access to a Prep and Learning Module is included along with the additional Placement Exams.

How do I use Multiple Attempts?

You can retake the Placement assessment up to four additional times to improve your score. Students are required to work in the Prep and Learning Modules for a specific amount of time prior to each Placement Exam to increase success.

  • 2nd attempt—required to complete 3 hours of work in the Prep and Learning Modules before attempting assessment.
  • 3rd attempt—required to complete 3 additional hours of work in the Prep and Learning Modules before attempting assessment.
  • 4th attempt—required to complete 5 additional hours of work in the Prep and Learning Modules before attempting assessment.
  • 5th attempt—required to complete 8 additional hours of work in the Prep and Learning Modules before attempting assessment.

The highest of these scores will be used for your math placement.

What are ALEKS Knowledge Checks?

While working in a Prep and Learning Module, you will periodically complete a Knowledge Check to make sure you have mastered the topics you gained in Learning Mode.

If you do not show mastery during the Knowledge Check, the topics will be added back into your Learning Pie so you can review them again. 

These Knowledge Checks will not factor into your Placement Exam score or the assessment's structure.

Does progress in an ALEKS Prep and Learning Module count toward placement?

No. You must complete a new Placement Exam to change your placement result.

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.

If you are using a virtual proctoring service, please refer to their technical support and FAQs for assistance or contact a company representative.

For University system related questions, email mathplac@uark.edu.

What do I do if my web browser gets stuck or my computer crashes while I'm taking the Placement Exam?

Simply close the browser, or log out and log back in. ALEKS will resume the Placement Exam exactly where you left off, with no loss of your previous answers.

Where can I get help with ALEKS?

http://www.aleks.com/faqs/technical

http://support.aleks.com/assess_placement

The University of Arkansas takes Academic Integrity very seriously.

It is important that each student give the Placement Exam an honest effort so that the Placement Exam truly reflects their current level of knowledge and math preparedness.

There are serious consequences and no benefit to cheating on the Placement Exam - the result will be that a student enrolls in a class that is too difficult, or not challenging enough, potentially costing them time and money. In addition, any incident of using unauthorized materials or outside help on a proctored Placement Exam will be reported to the All-University Academic Integrity Board for adjudication. This may result in sanctions beyond just the invalidation of the placement result itself.

Therefore, while taking the Placement Exam, students may not consult any outside sources for help (friends/family, internet searches, textbooks, notes, etc.).

The purpose of the Placement Exam is to give an accurate measure of a student's current mathematical knowledge so that they will be successful in mathematics courses.

Review https://honesty.uark.edu/policy/ for more information regarding academic honesty policies and sanctions for academic dishonesty.

Starting the Math Placement Exam

Once you have reviewed and understand the above information, please click on the button below.

Updated: 5/31/2019