What is ALEKS ?

ALEKS is an online math placement and learning program that Western uses to assess student readiness for math and math dependent courses. This video on the ALEKS website explains how the ALEKS Math Placement Assessment (also known as ALEKS Placement Preparation and Learning) works.

How many times do I need to take ALEKS MPA?

You must take both ALEKS MPA #1 (un-proctored/practice) and MPA #2 (proctored/official).  Your first ALEKS score will not count for math placement at Western; we treat MPA #1 as a practice test for our students. The scores for MPA #2 (or highest of scores from  MPA 2, 3, or 4 if you should decide to reassess) will count as official for math placement and registration purposes.

What are the MPA score requirements?
What if I’m not sure about the computer/technology requirements, or this requirement is a concern?

The computer requirements for taking the practice assessment (MPA#1) are pretty straight-forward, but you will need access to high-speed internet. Review the system requirements for MPA#1 here:

The requirements for the proctored/official assessment (MPA#2) are more rigorous but you can verify that you meet the following minimum requirements with a quick test found here:

  • Operating System:   Windows 7,8,9 ; Mac OSX 10.9 and higher
  • Browser:Google Chrome (minimum version 56)
  • Internet:Speed : 1.5 Mbps download, 750 Kbps upload
  • Web Camera and Microphone

If access to the above is problematic, then please contact our Testing Center via e-mail: or phone: (360) 650-3080 to see if you can wait till you get to campus to fulfill this requirement.

What if I took the former Math Placement Test (MPT)?

Students who took the former MPT can use those scores for math placement. Score Requirements

Can I use my ALEKS scores from another institution?

ALEKS scores can be transferred from another institution by logging into your ALEKS account, clicking on the three vertical dots located to the right of cohort in the “My Classes” section, and selecting the “send results” drop down option in the “My Classes” section.  Search by the college code: 2ECD42 or Western Washington University.

If the other institution does not allow automatic transfers through ALEKS, you must provide a printed copy of your scores from ALEKS and bring the report to the Registrar’s Office (Old Main 230).  Please make sure your score report shows your full name and remember to write your Western ID# on the report.
Please note: Western Washington University will only transfer in proctored exams taken within the past five years.

Which math course is required for my program?
What is the format of the questions on ALEKS?

ALEKS is not a multiple-choice test. 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. 


What topics are covered during the ALEKS Assessment?

ALEKS is an online, adaptive system that covers a broad spectrum of mathematics topics. The length of the Placement Assessment 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 Assessment, not a preview of math courses at your institution. It is designed to identify if you are prepared for a particular course. After you take your first Practice Placement Assessment, you will have the opportunity to review and master additional topics to reassess and improve your official placement score. You must take the MPA a second time in order to place into an appropriate course.

Topics covered:

  • Real numbers (including fractions, integers, and percentages)
  • Equations and inequalities (including linear equations, linear inequalities, systems of linear equations, and quadratic equations)
  • Linear and quadratic functions (including graphs and functions, linear functions, and parabolas), exponents and polynomials (including integer exponents, polynomial arithmetic, factoring, and polynomial equations), rational expressions (including rational equations and rational functions
  • Radical expressions (including higher roots and rational exponents)
  • Exponentials and logarithms (including function compositions and inverse functions, properties of logarithms, and logarithmic equations)
  • Geometry and trigonometry (including perimeter, area, and volume, coordinate geometry, trigonometric functions, and identities and equations).
Can I practice using the ALEKS tools before I begin the Placement Assessment?

Your first assessment is a Practice Assessment (MPA#1), that will not count as an official score.  ALEKS will begin with a brief tutorial to make sure you are comfortable with the online math tools before your Placement Assessment 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 Assessment, select the Help button below the answer input tools. Going to the tutorial during your Placement Assessment will NOT impact your Placement Assessment results.

Can I use a calculator or the internet for the ALEKS MPA?

No. ALEKS will provide an on-screen calculator, if you need one to complete a particular problem. Otherwise, you may not use a calculator. Be honest about your skill level. There is no benefit to cheating on the placement assessment – the result could be that you are placed into a class that is too difficult for your current level of mathematical knowledge, with a high potential for failure. 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.

I have taken the ALEKS MPA. How long before I can register for a math class?

Allow 24 hours for your ALEKS score to be loaded into the system after completing ALEKS. Remember that Assessment #1 does not count for purposes of registration.  The day after you have completed Assessment #2 you should be able to register for any math course for which you qualify – within your scheduled registration timeframe.

When can I see my ALEKS MPA score?

You will be able to see your ALEKS placement score immediately after you finish the MPA.

What course should I take based on my score?

The math course you take usually depends on your intended major. You should consult the WWU catalog to see what math course is required for your intended program of study. Once you determine the course you need, visit the ALEKS Placement Scores page to see what ALEKS score is necessary to register for that course.

What if my score isn't high enough to take the course I need? Is there any other way to get into the course I want?

You should first try to work through the Prep and Learning modules to improve your MPA score. If you have already done that, you should take the course for which you qualify. There is no other way to get into the course for which you wish to qualify other than having met the course prerequisite.

When will my access to ALEKS “expire”? And how much does it cost to retake it if it “expires?”

ALEKS access is valid for one year from the initial practice assessment, but students must access a Prep & Learning Module (PLM) within 6 months of completing the practice assessment (#1). The cost to register again after the initial enrollment has expired is $35.

How do I transfer my ALEKS scores to another institution?

ALEKS results can be transferred to another institution if the receiving institution will accept automatic transfers through ALEKS.  Students log into their ALEKS account, click on the three vertical dots located to the right of cohort in the “My Classes” section, and select the “send results” drop down option in the “My Classes” section. The college code and institution should appear if the institution has accepted to receive automatic transfers. 

 Prep and Learning Modules FAQs

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

You will have six 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. If your six months has expired, contact the Testing Center at (360) 650-3080. 


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

No. Access to a Prep and Learning Module is included along with the additional Placement Assessments.

Am I required to work in the ALEKS Prep and Learning Module between Placement Assessments?

You can take the Placement Assessment up to four times – the practice assessment plus three additional assessments. The highest score (after the practice assessment) will be used for math placement. Students are required to work in a Prep and Learning Module for a specific amount of time prior to the third and fourth MPA to increase success.

  • #1 MPA – Practice MPA
  • #2 MPA – Official for placement; Prep & Learning Module advised but not required
  • #3 MPA - Requires 3 hours of work in a Prep and Learning Module and 72 hour wait before attempting MPA #3.
  • #4 MPA - Requires 3 additional hours of work in a Prep and Learning Module and a 96 hour wait before this final assessment is attempted.
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 Plan so you can review them again.

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

No. You must complete a new Placement Assessment to change your placement result. Select the placement tab in the upper right corner of the ALEKS page to start a new Placement Assessment.

Can I change to a different Prep and Learning Module later?

No! You may only use one Prep and Learning Module. Choose carefully; if you are unsure which module to select, use the module recommended by ALEKS or consult with the Math Department.

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