FAQs

What is the ALEKS PPL?  

ALEKS PPL is an artificial intelligence assessment tool that identifies student strengths and weaknesses in mathematics. Using the ALEKS system helps ensure you are adequately prepared for your first mathematics course in college and that you begin with the mathematics course that is most likely to lead to your success. 

ALEKS offers you the opportunity to develop your mathematics skills by working through learning modules that are provided free of charge. If you do not achieve your desired placement the first time around, you can work through the modules suggested by ALEKS, then re-take the assessment up to two more times. 

Who needs to take the assessment?  

If you are an incoming first-year student, you need to take the assessment, even if you already have college level mathematics credits (AP, IB, dual enrollment, etc.) 

If you are a transfer student, you need to take the assessment if you have not yet completed the mathematics required for your major. 

If you have not taken the college level prerequisite course and you are a dual-enrollment or non-degree student, you need to take the assessment if you want to take a mathematics course at WCU. 

 

Can I practice before taking the mathematics placement assessment?   

There is no reason to practice first. You have up to three online attempts, and the very first one you take will generate a customized learning module for you to review. Do the very best you can on that test, so that the learning (review) module that ALEKS constructs for you accurately targets your areas for improvement.  

What is my goal on the mathematics placement assessment?  

Your goal score depends on the mathematics requirements for your major. Check specific degree plan requirements for your major in the Academic Catalog. The quick reference tables list requirements for many undergraduate plans. 

If you are an Exploratory Studies major, check the requirements for degree plans you are considering. It is to your advantage to score as high as you can to give yourself options. 

What format are the questions?  

ALEKS PPL questions are open response (not multiple choice) of (typically) 30 questions. You work problems out with paper and pencil and then enter your answers. Before the assessment begins, ALEKS provides a short tutorial to make sure you know how to enter answers and how to use the online calculator and graphing tool, which come up for items that allow their use. 

When do I need to finish the mathematics assessment?  

You must complete the assessment before you can enroll in a mathematics course. Incoming first year students must complete at least one attempt by the deadline listed in the new student portal so advisors can create a schedule. We recommend you take the assessment as soon as it is available to you so you have time to study and retake it if you don’t meet your goal.

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

Your progress in the ALEKS Prep and Learning Module will help you prepare to increase your score on the mathematics placement assessment, but does not count toward your placement. Before you can enroll in a mathematics course, you must earn the prerequisite score on the PPL for that course. The quick reference tables list the scores required for each course. 

What if I am a transfer student?  

You need to take the ALEKS PPL assessment before you can enroll in a mathematics course at WCU. If you have already completed the mathematics requirements for your major, you do not need to complete the assessment. 

How long does the mathematics placement assessment take?  

There are about 30 free-response questions on the assessment. Most students complete it in less than 90 minutes. Once you start the assessment, you have 3 hours to complete it. If you don’t finish, your progress will be reset and you will have to start again. This does NOT count as one of your three allowed attempts.  

Do I need to take the mathematics placement assessment in one sitting?  

Plan to finish the assessment in one sitting. Once you start the assessment, you have three hours to complete it. If you don’t finish, your progress will be reset and you will have to start again. This does NOT count as one of your three allowed attempts. 

Is the mathematics placement assessment timed?

Once you start the assessment, you have three hours to complete it. If you don’t finish, your progress will be reset and you will have to start again. This does NOT count as one of your three allowed attempts. 

Can I use a calculator on the mathematics placement assessment?  

DO NOT use your own calculator. The only materials you need are pencil and paper. ALEKS will provide a calculator on screen if it is required for a specific problem. 

I need an accommodation (e.g. screen reader), whom should I contact?  

Contact mathexam@wcupa.edu before you start the assessment if you need an accommodation. 

Once I have my placement results, what do I do with this information?  

If you are a first year student, your academic advisor will select a course for you based on your degree plan requirements.You do the opportunity to improve your score by completing work in a learning module and then retaking the placement assessment. 

Transfer and non-degree students will be able to enroll in a mathematics course per the university registration schedule once the ALEKS PPL score loads to the registrar’s system. The quick reference tableslist the scores required for each course. 

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

Once you start working on your learning module, you have access for 6 months.  

I didn’t place into the class I wanted. Can I take the course without the required placement score?  

No. You must earn the qualifying score before you can enroll in a mathematic course. The quick reference tableslist the scores required for each course. 

How do I get technical assistance with ALEKS? 

Contact ALEKS Support https://mhedu.force.com/aleks/s/alekscontactsupport (Phone/Email/Live Chat) 

  • Hours (Eastern Time): 
  • Sunday, 4:00pm to 1:00am 
  • Monday - Thursday, 7:00am to 1:00am 
  • Friday, 7:00am to 9:00pm 

What are System Requirements for ALEKS 

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