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Placement Testing FAQs

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

  • You will need to contact Enrollment Management (admissions@uky.edu) and verify with them.

MATH (ALEKS)

Placement Testing Frequently Asked Questions

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 provides the student with a learning environment for bringing this knowledge up to an appropriate level for course placement.

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 (60 - 90 minutes), ALEKS assesses your current content knowledge by asking a number of questions (up to 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.

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

  • Students who have an ACT math score below 19, or
  • Students who have an SAT score below 460 if after March 2016 or SAT 420 if prior to March 2016
  • Any incoming student who desires to place into a higher mathematics course than is indicated by their ACT/SAT math score
    • For example, a student has a Math ACT score of 19 which places them into MA 111 – Contemporary Mathematics.  The student wants to take MA 109 – College Algebra which requires a minimum Math ACT score of 21.  Achieving the specified score (see Math Placement Chart) on the ALEKS Math Placement Exam for entry into MA 109 – College Algebra overrides the original placement.
  • A transfer student who does not have transfer credit for a 100-level or higher math course.  Taking the placement test is recommended if the transfer credit has not been received.

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

  • Transfer students need to take a math placement test unless they have transfer credit for a 100-level or higher math course

I took the AP Calculus Exam.  Do I still need to take the ALEKS Math Placement Exam?

  • Taking the ALEKS Math Placement Exam provides another important piece of information for your advisor as you discuss the best math course for you to take.  That score will not be used to place you in course below the one indicated by your ACT/SAT score so there is no harm in taking it while you wait for the AP score to be received by the Office of Undergraduate Admissions.

When do I take the ALEKS Math Placement Exam?

  • It is important to take your placement assessments at least two weeks prior to attending your see blue. U advising conference so you and your advisor can use the results to plan your schedule.

Semester Attending

Dates

Summer 2018

January 1, 2018 – May 1, 2018

Fall 2018

March 1, 2018 – August 1, 2018

Spring 2019

 

 

How long will does it take to complete the math placement exam?

  • You should plan on two hours of uninterrupted time to take the exam.  Since the test adapts to your answers, the actual length of the exam varies according to the student.  It is important that you answer each question, even if the answer you select is “I don’t know”, and that you complete the test.

What happens if I do not complete the assessment in the allotted time?

  • If the Placement Assessment is unproctored, you will have to restart the Placement Assessment. If the incomplete Placement Assessment is proctored and timed, you will be given a placement result.

Is there a practice exam?

  • There is no official practice exam but students are permitted to take their initial placement test in an unproctored environment so they have the opportunity to experience the exam before actually taking it for a placement score.  You are allowed three attempts of the exam; the first attempt is the only one that may be taken unproctored.  This unproctored exam score can be used for informational purposes only and not for placement into a course.

Do I need to have the ALEKS Math Placement Exam proctored?

  • In general, yes.  Any score used for placement must be from a proctored version of the ALEKS Math Placement Exam.  Please visit the ALEKS Math Placement Exam page for more information on locating a proctor.

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.

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.

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. 

I am ready to start my exam. How do I begin?  Click here to go to the ALEKS Registration page.

  • You will be able to access the ALEKS Math Placement test by clicking here. Admitted students will sign in with their Link Blue username and password the same as they would for their MyUK.

Is there a fee for taking this test?

  • There is no fee for admitted UK students to take the test. However, ProctorU and testing centers do have a fees.

When will I see my score?

  • You will receive your score immediately upon completion of your placement exam and can be viewed by re-entering ALEKS using the same access link for which you took the exam.  Your scores are automatically added to your student profile, usually within 2 – 3 business days.

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

  • You may take the ALEKS Math Placement Exam a total of three times but you must wait at least 48 hours between attempts. Any assessment score used for placement must be from a proctored test.  The first attempt may be used as an unproctored “practice” test but the second and third attempts must be taken in a proctored environment. For more information on proctoring, click here.

What if I retest and do worse?

  • If a previous proctored 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.

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

  • The chart on the Transformative Learning 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.

I did not place into the course I wanted.  What can I do?

  • This is the perfect opportunity to take advantage of the Prep and Learning Modules.  ALEKS creates an individualized study plan based on your performance so you can brush up on your skills.

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 would like to review math 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.  You have access to these modules for six months after you select start on the top of your screen.

Reading & Writing (Accuplacer)

What is the Accuplacer? 
The Accuplacer is a computerized assessment test given to individuals before entering college. It is used to help place students in the appropriate level of classes.

How long is the test? 
The test is not timed. The test usually takes students 1 to 2 hours to complete.

What is the format?

All ACCUPLACER tests use a multiple-choice format.* There’s no time limit on the tests, so you can focus on doing your best to demonstrate your skills.

 
Can I skip a question if I don’t know the answer? 

No. ACCUPLACER uses the latest computer-adaptive technology and the questions you see are based on your skill level. Your response to each question drives the difficulty level of the next question so it’s important to give each question as much thought as you can before selecting your answer.

  • The number of questions varies depending on which ACCUPLACER tests you take. There could be as few as 12 questions or as many as 40.

  • No one passes or fails ACCUPLACER tests, but it’s important to complete the test using your best effort, so you and your college have an accurate measure of your academic skills​

What should I bring to the testing site? 

A Government issued photo ID (i.e. Drivers' License, Passport, Learers Permit, etc.) or your U.K. Student ID.