Math Placement Test for Incoming Students

To increase student success in introductory math courses, FIU has implemented a mandatory math placement test for all entering students. The test, known as ALEKS, is a web-based, artificially intelligent system that uses adaptive questioning to determine exactly what a student knows. This information is used to place a student in a class for which she/he has a sufficient background. Since each math class assumes prior knowledge, it is extremely important for a student’s success to properly identify his/her math proficiency level.

Below you will find additional information concerning ALEKS placement test and options you have for enrolling in math courses based on your ALEKS score.

1. Who must take ALEKS placement test?

All incoming freshmen, regardless of AP, IB, dual enrollment and CLEP credits, and all incoming transfer students with no college credit in math must take the ALEKS placement test.

We strongly encourage ALL transfer students to take the exam if they need an additional mathematics course. If the score on the exam indicates a lack of preparedeness for the course, the student should seriously consider re-taking the prerequisite course or completing an ALEKS learning module.

Your are not allowed to receive any assistnace during the test. The unathorized use of books, notes, aids, electronics sources, or assistance from another person is a violation of FIU's Code of Academeic Integrety and is punisable under the provisions of that code; (see Code of Academic Integrity)

In any mathematics class an instructor has the right to administer an in-class, proctored exam during the first week of the semester to check the prerequisiste knowledge of students. If your performance on this exams is not consistent with your ALEKS placement score, you may be required to register for a lower level course. Extreme differences in results will be reported to the Dean of Undergraduate Education.

2. Why should I take it?

The placement test will evaluate your mathematics knowledge and skills level, which will help your academic adviser in placing you in a class in which you are most likely to succeed.

3. When should I take the test?

You should take the test as soon as possible but not later than the day before your orientation. You must bring the printout with your ALEKS score to the orientation, so your adviser can properly place you in a mathematics course. If if you don’t take the test prior to the orientation, you will not be allowed to register for a math course during that time. Do not wait until the last moment to take the test because if you are not satisfied with your score, you can retake the test or access the learning module and refresh your knowledge. Completing a learning module will require about 2-3 weeks.

The ALEKS placement score is valid only for one year.

4. Where and how do I access the test?

You can take the test from any computer that has internet access. You can use your own computer, or, if you don’t have one, you can use a computer in the University Testing Center at GL 120. Please call (305) 348-2840 to schedule an appointment.

To register and access the test

  1. Go to http: www.aleks.com/fiu
  2. Register as a new user
    (you will be asked to input your name, e-mail address, and student ID #, which is your Panther ID )
  3. Accept ALEKS Terms of Service and click Continue.
  4. You will be given your login name and password.
    (you will have the option to change your password once authenticated.)
  5. The registration process will be complete after you click Continue.
  6. After clicking Continue again, you will be taken to the site that contains the placement test and the learning modules.
  7. Click Placement to take the test.

5. Do I need to install additional software or plug-ins?

Yes, before you start the test, ALEKS will check your computer configuration and download all necessary software and plug-ins. You can check the system requirements at http:www.aleks.com/faqs/technical

6. What can I expect on the test?

This is a math test, so make sure that you have paper, pencil, a non-graphing calculator and ample time. ALEKS makes a calculator available for certain problems, but you might be more comfortable using your own. Before you start the test, you will go through a short tutorial on how to use ALEKS toolbar to input the answers. The test will consist of about 30 open-ended questions, some easy and some difficult. You will not know whether your answer is correct or not. Your answers determine what questions you are asked next, as ALEKS is probing the depth of your knowledge. Therefore, try to answer the questions to the best of your ability. You should answer “I don’t know” only if you truly don’t know the answer.

7. How long does the test take? Is there a time limit?

On average, the test takes 1 to 2 hours to complete. Do not rush through the test. If you are short on time, exit the test. When you log on next time, you will be taken to the exact place where you stopped. There is no time limit.

8. Should I ask for help while taking the test?

No, absolutely not. This test determines your placement into your first mathematics class, so it is extremely important that your score reflects your true ability. Any help received to increase the score will jeopardize your success in that class, as you might be placed in a course for which you do not have sufficient background. Receiving assistance on the AKEKS placement test is a violation of FIU's Code of Academics Integrity and is punishable under the provisions of that code; (see Code of Academic Integrity)

9. How do I find out my ALEKS score?

Your ALEKS score appears after you complete the test. You will see a pie chart showing your performance in different areas represented by color-keyed slices. The darker color in each slice represents your mastery level. Above the pie, you will see, under Course Mastery, the number of topics you did well on. Below the pie you will see “What you can do” and “What you are ready to learn” sections listing topics that you know and the ones you are ready to learn. At the bottom of this page, under the History tab, you will see a table that contains, among other things, the Assessment Performance Goal which is your ALEKS score.

10. What does my score mean? What class am I eligible for?

Your score shows the level of your math preparedness and as such can be used to help you choose a class that you are likely to succeed in. If you take a class for which you don’t have required prerequisites, you will have a hard time passing it. ALEKS placement test assesses your knowledge and indicates the class level that you can be successful in. The table below shows the classes you can register for depending on the score and your intended major. You will be able to discuss your preferences with your academic adviser during the orientation.

Course ALEKS Score
Extended Intermediate Algebra 0 - 15
Intermediate Algebra (MAT 1033) 16 - 29
College Algebra (MAC 1105) Minimum 30
Trigonometry (MAC 1114) Minimum 50
Precalculus Algebra (MAC 1140) Minimum 50
Precalculus Algebra and Trigonometry (MAC 1147) Minimum 65
Calculus I (MAC 2311) Minimum 75
Extended Finite Math ( MGF 1106) Minimum 16
Finite Math (MGF 1106) Minimum 25
Social Choice Math (MGF 1107) Minimum 20
Business Calculus (MAC 2233) Minimum 55
Mathematics for Information Technology (MAD 1100) Minimum 50
Discrete Mathematics Minimum 50

Please note that a student with a SAT math score below 460 or an ACT math score below 19 must take the PERT test for math placement. Contact the University Testing Center at (305) 348-2840 for additional information.

11. Do I have to take the test every time I want to register for a course?

No, you will have to take the test to register for the first math class only.

12. I failed a prerequisite course. Can a sastifactory score on the placement test be used to meet that prerequisite?

No. Performance in an entire course is a much better measure of a student's proficiency that performance on a placement test. The placement exam is used only when the available information about a student's performance in college level math courses is insufficient to determine a placement. In short, if you take a prerequisite course and don't receive a C or better in it, you must repeat that course.

13. Can I take the test more than once?

Yes. You can take the test as many times as you want. Your first attempt is paid for by the University but each additional try costs $10.

14. What can I do to increase my score?

Keep in mind, that the score is used only to place you in a class for which you have sufficient background. However, if you believe that your ALEKS score does not reflect your true abilities, you have two choices:

  • retake the test, or
  • complete one of the ALEKS learning modules and retake the test.

If your score is slightly above the minimum required for a specific class, you are encouraged to complete the learning module for that specific class to increase your skill level and boost your chances of successful completion of that course. For example, if your ALEKS test score is 31 and your major requires that you take College Algebra, you should complete the Prep for College Algebra learning module before the first day of classes.

15. How much does the test cost?

Your fist attempt at ALEKS placement test will be paid fo by the University. You will be asked to pay $10.00 (using a credit card) for the second and any subsequent tries and $30.00 for a 6-week access to a learning module.

16. Will the score appear on my transcript?

No, the score will be available to your adviser and used only to place you in the class that you have the prerequisites for.