UKY.EDUUKNOWSEE BLUE

Banner Academy for Undergraduate Enhancement Division of Undergraduate Education

Placement Testing FAQs

I already took my COMPASS test and my scores have been sent, but I am still getting a letter informing me I need to take my test. Why am I getting this letter?

  • This letter is a mass mailing from admissions, and unfortunately they do not differentiate between who has taken COMPASS and who has not. If you have taken COMPASS you can disregard this letter. You will continue to receive information about placement tests until you come for your Summer Advising Conference.

I would like to verify that UK has my scores. How do I do that?

  • You will need to contact Enrollment Management and verify with them that they have your COMPASS scores. The person you need to contact is Michelle Nordin and her e-mail is mnordin@email.uky.edu.

I can’t take my COMPASS test before the deadline. Is that ok?

  • It is, but you MUST take your COMPASS test BEFORE coming to your Summer Advising Conference.

I have taken COMPASS tests at my high school. Can I use these test scores for UK?

  • Yes, those COMPASS scores will work for UK. If you are at a public high school in Kentucky, then your scores will be pulled at the end of the summer. You can also fax your scores to the attention of Michelle Nordin at 859.257.3823.

Where do I send my updated ACT scores or COMPASS scores?

  • All scores can be faxed to the attention of Michelle Nordin at 859.257.3823 or they can be mailed to: Office of Undergraduate Admission 
    100 W. D. Funkhouser Bldg 
    University of Kentucky 
    Lexington, KY 40506-0054

What is the ALEKS Online Math Placement Test?

  • ALEKS = Assessment and Learning in Knowledge Spaces. ALEKS is a powerful artificial-intelligence based assessment tool that zeros in on the strengths and weaknesses of a student's mathematical knowledge, reports its findings to the student, and then, if necessary, provides the student with a learning environment for bringing this knowledge up to an appropriate level for course placement.

Who is required to take the ALEKS Online Math Placement Test?

  • Students who have an ACT math subscore below 19 (or SAT below 460) are required to take the ALEKS online placement test.

  • Students who have an ACT math subscore 19 or above (or SAT 460 or above) will be placed in the appropriate math course based on their ACT or SAT scores. Please see the chart here. 

    You do not have to take the ALEKS Online Placement Test if the math component of your:

    ACT is 19 or above

    SAT is 460 or above

    KYOTE is 22 or above

    COMPASS is 36 or above

    If you would like to take a higher math course you would then take the ALEKS online placement test. You should consult with your academic advisor when making the decision whether or not to take ALEKS.

I’m a transfer student.  Do I need to take a math placement test?

  • Transfer students do not need to take a math placement test if they:

    • Have taken a 100-level or higher math course
    • Have submitted ACT or SAT scores to UK (However, if your math ACT subscore is below 19 or SAT subscore is below 460, and you have not taken a 100-level math course then you must take a placement test).

If I made a score of X on my ACT/SAT math exam, do I need to take the ALEKS placement exam?

  • Please see the information in the previous question.  

How does the ALEKS Online Math Placement Test work?

  • ALEKS avoids multiple-choice questions and instead uses flexible and easy to use answer input tools that mimic paper and pencil techniques. When you first log on to ALEKS, a brief tutorial shows you how to use these ALEKS answer input tools. You then begin the ALEKS Assessment. In a short period of time (30-45 minutes for most courses), ALEKS assesses your current content knowledge by asking a number of questions (usually 20-30). ALEKS chooses each question on the basis of answers to all the previous questions. Each student, and therefore each set of assessment questions, is unique. It is impossible to predict the exact questions that will be asked.
  • By the time you have completed the assessment, ALEKS has developed a precise picture of your knowledge of the material, knowing which topics you have mastered and which topics you haven’t. This information is represented by a multicolor pie chart shown to you at the completion of the assessment.

How do I access the test?

  • You will be able to access the ALEKS Placement test using this link: https://secure.aleks.com/uky Students will sign in with their linkblue username and password the same as they would for their MyUK.

Is there a fee for taking this test?

  • Yes $25.00 which can be paid by credit card through the ALEKS website.  For this $25 fee, you also get 6 weeks of tutorial material to help you pass the exam in the future. 

How many times may I take the ALEKS Online Math Placement Test?

  • You will take the ALEKS math placement test and then have the option to work in ALEKS for 6 weeks and retake the placement test.

How many questions are on the test?

  • Generally, you are asked 20 to 35 questions. None of the questions are multiple choice. Students who are unable to answer many of the first questions may only be asked a few questions.

Do I need a calculator?

  • No. ALEKS provides you with a calculator when needed. ALEKS grays out the button that starts the calculator when it thinks you should be working by hand. Paper and Pencil will be helpful.

How is the content of the test chosen?

  • There are several topics on the ALEKS Online Math Tests. ALEKS chooses each question on the basis of your answers to the previous questions. Each student, and therefore each set of assessment questions, is unique. It is impossible to predict the questions that will be asked. By the time you have completed the assessment, ALEKS has developed a precise picture of your knowledge of the course, knowing which topics you have mastered and which topics you have not out of all of the topics in the course.
  • The content of the questions is chosen from Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II topics.  The test measures the material you know in order to place you into the correct course. It is not to keep you out of courses, but it is putting you in the best credit-bearing mathematics course for your major in which you should be successful.

Once I answer a question, can I go back and change my answer?

  • No, once you submit an answer, you cannot change it. You should keep this in mind while taking the placement test.

What if I retest and do worse?

  • If a previous ALEKS math placement test score resulted in a higher math placement, the system will keep the higher score, unless the score has expired. Test scores are good for one year.

There is an "I don't know" button that can be used to answer questions. What is this for?

  • You may be asked questions on material that you have not yet learned.  Only click on "I don't know" for your answer to an ALEKS test question if you really don't know how to solve the problem and it is content that you have not seen previously.
  • Try your best to solve all problems that you think you might be able to solve.  It is much better to answer incorrectly on a topic that you have seen before, than to use the "I don't know" button and then skip related topics.  Once you answer a question, you cannot change your answer.
  • Do not think of the "I don't know" button as a way to skip a problem. It does much more than this.  It is important that you do your best on the assessment or ALEKS will underestimate your knowledge. 

How can I find out what score I need on the ALEKS Online Math Placement Test?

  • The chart on the Academic Enhancement and Mathematics websites is a general guide for which ALEKS scores allow access to certain math courses. Students will consult with their academic advisor between taking the ALEKS assessment and registering for a math course.

How long will the assessment take and what materials will I need?

  • Be sure you are ready to take your exam prior to logging on. Set aside at least a 2-hour block of time in which to complete the assessment. Most students will finish the assessment within an hour or so, but every student will be different. You will need only pencil and paper to work on problems. ALEKS has a built-in calculator available when needed, so you do not need a calculator.

How long are my ALEKS Math Placement Exam scores valid?

  • Scores are valid for one year.

Why would I use ALEKS Learning Mode?

  • You might choose this option if you feel that your pre-calculus or algebra skills are weak and you would like to review that knowledge in an effective online learning environment. This may be a good option if you have taken the initial placement exam and did not reach the minimum ALEKS score for your desired course. The ALEKS Learning Mode should assist you in reaching the required minimum score for placement into a Math class. Using Learning Mode does not result in a new math placement. Students will need to retake ALEKS Online Placement in order to attempt to place higher, after using learning mode or other review methods.

What are the system requirements for using ALEKS and other troubleshooting? 

What if my computer crashes while taking the assessment?                                              

  • If you have computer problems, you should be able to log back into the ALEKS assessment and resume testing. For ALEKS customer support please email at this website: ALEKS Customer Support.

How do I get technical support for the ALEKS Math Placement Test?

Is there telephone support for ALEKS?