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What is ALEKS?

  • Assessment and Learning in Knowledge Spaces (ALEKS) is a web-based assessment and learning system. Instructions on how to take the ALEKS assessment will appear after you enter ALEKS through your MyUNIverse account.  The ALEKS assessment is designed to be taken without a calculator. Use of a calculator may affect the accuracy of your placement recommendation. 
  • ALEKS consists of three parts:  an initial placement exam, access to four re-takes, and a six-month subscription to a self-paced review module.  Be sure to take advantage of the online review modules, as they are available at no extra charge and will help you prepare for a more successful experience in your UNI math courses.

What is the math placement assessment through ALEKS?

  • The math placement assessment covers a broad spectrum of topics from basic math through precalculus. The ALEKS system is fully automated, and the assessment is adaptive. The first questions will be drawn from across the curriculum and may be too easy or too hard. As the assessment proceeds, your answers will be used to give the system an idea of your knowledge, and it will gradually focus the questioning in an individually appropriate way. By the end of the assessment you should find the questions generally challenging but reasonable for your individual level of knowledge. 

Why is it important to complete ALEKS? 

  • New students must complete ALEKS in order to register for UNI math, chemistry, physics and business courses.  ALEKS will assist you and your advisor in choosing the appropriate university-level course(s) based on your knowledge and skills in math. ALEKS identifies any weak areas you may have and provides online review modules that will help you to improve those weaknesses, therefore increasing your likelihood of success in university courses. 

What is the time commitment to ALEKS?

  • You should allow 1-2 hours to complete the 20-35 questions given during the assessment. The exact number of questions will vary due to the adaptive mechanism. It is likely that you will be asked questions on material you have not yet learned. On such questions it is appropriate to answer, "I don't know." On any question that you have familiarity with, however, it is important to do your best. "I don't know" is interpreted by ALEKS to mean that you do not know the topic, and this will be reflected in the assessment results. If you do not do your best on the assessment, ALEKS will underestimate your knowledge.

How much time needs to pass between ALEKS assessments (for example, between taking ALEKS and then beginning a re-take)?

  • 48 hours

What is the minimum amount of time that I need to spend working on the online review module before re-taking the ALEKS assessment?

  • 5 hours before 2nd placement assessment; 5 hours before 3rd placement assessment; 3 hours before 4th placement assessment; 3 hours before 5th placement assessment

Who is required to take ALEKS?

  • All new freshman students at UNI are required to take the math assessment through ALEKS, as are all new transfer students who plan to take a math, physics or chemistry course during their time at UNI, and all College of Business majors (regardless of which math courses already completed).

When do I take ALEKS?

  • As a new student entering UNI in the summer or fall term, you must complete the ALEKS exam in advance of orientation/registration, at least one week prior to your scheduled orientation session.  It is recommended that you complete ALEKS near the end of your last high school or college-level math class.

Will I be charged a fee to complete ALEKS?

  • UNI students receive twelve months of free access to the ALEKS Placement, Preparation, and Learning Assessment.  An additional twelve months of access can be purchased for $15.  Click here for re-subscription instructions. Course code: 39PCQ-JJCH9

How do I access the ALEKS math placement assessment?

  •  Through your MyUNIverse account.  Use your CatID login and password to access MyUNIverse, and then click on the ALEKS icon.  Access MyUNIverse by clicking

How do I access my previous ALEKS score?

1. Log into your MyUNIverse account and click on the ALEKS icon.

2. Click on the "Actions" drop-down and select "Download Progress (PDF)." In order to see the inactive account, you might need to click on a button that says "Show my other ALEKS classes and more".


I've already taken ALEKS for another college or university.  Do I need to take it again through UNI?

  • If the college or university that you previously took ALEKS at at allows you to send your scores to another institution UNI will accept them.  To complete this process you need to log into ALEKS and locate your existing score.  On that page there will be a button to send the score if your college or university allows it. 
  • For Students Transferring Scores from Iowa State: ALEKS test scores arrive at UNI with the Iowa State ID number as the only identifier. If you are sending your scores from Iowa State University please email and include your name and Iowa State ID number.

Do I need to install any software or plug-ins prior to taking the ALEKS math assessment? 

  • No, there are no required plug-ins or applets required with your use of ALEKS.  As long as you have access to the internet and are using an updated browser, you should not experience difficulties in taking your ALEKS placement exam.  For a list of preferred browsers, please review the ALEKS system requirements on their support site:

Who do I contact if I'm having technical problems with ALEKS?

  • You should contact ALEKS directly if you are experiencing any technical difficulties with the software plug-in. ALEKS technical support is 800-258-2374. You may also access the following online help resources: 
  • Contact ALEKS by email through the following site:
  • For additional technical information and FAQ:

How long are my ALEKS scores valid?

  • Your score is good for 2 full academic semesters.

Do I need to take the assessment if I have AP credit or transfer credit in calculus?

  • Yes. Even through your AP scores and transfer credits will be used to give you credit for the corresponding courses, the results of the assessment will be used in your placement in another course. If your score does not indicate mastery of prerequisite material, you will be advised to retake a course for which you have credit to ensure that you are properly prepared for the following course. 

How will my score on ALEKS be used to select my courses?

  • Your academic advisor will use your score on the ALEKS assessment to determine your placement in various UNI courses. If you would like to improve your score, consider taking one of the ALEKS online review/prep modules to address your areas of deficiency. After building your skills through the modules, re-take the assessment. 

When will I meet my advisor to discuss my ALEKS score and enroll in classes? 

  • You will meet with your advisor during orientation. Your advisor will discuss your ALEKS scores, your academic interests, and academic background with you and then you will enroll in courses during orientation. For additional information about orientation programs, please visit:

What can I do if my score on ALEKS is lower than I expected? 

  • If your score on ALEKS is lower than you expected or hoped, you are strongly encouraged to complete the review modules available on the ALEKS website. These review modules are designed by ALEKS to address area(s) of deficiency as revealed by the assessment. After completing the review modules, you may elect to re-take the assessment. See for details on UNI courses and ALEKS scores, and which review module to work through before re-taking the assessment.

Do I need to re-take ALEKS if I'm only one or two percentage points below the cut score for my desired class?

  • Yes. You need to score at or above the cut score for a particular class in order to enroll in that class.  Just a one percent difference in ALEKS scores points to a gap in two or more concepts fundamental to your readiness for a course.  See for details on UNI courses and ALEKS scores, and which review module to work through before re-taking the assessment.

Can I earn college credit by completing ALEKS?

  • No.

Where can I find out more about mathematics courses and get answers to questions about mathematics placement? 

  • You will learn more about UNI courses, advising, and placement during new student orientation. More information about ALEKS and math courses at UNI is available by contacting the Department of Mathematics: 319-273-2631, emailing or online at:

I want to re-take the ALEKS, but it has been a year or more since I first took the assessment. How do I go about re-taking ALEKS now?

  • After your initial one year subscription to ALEKS review modules and re-takes expires, you have the option of purchasing an additional one year subscription to ALEKS review modules and retakes for $15. Click on the ALEKS link in your MyUNIverse account, use the course code 39PCQ-JJCH9, and follow the prompts. 

What do I do if my web browser gets stuck or my computer crashes while I'm taking the test?

  • Simply close the browser, or log out of the test, and then log back in. ALEKS will resume the test exactly where you left off, with no loss of your previous answers.


 Additional questions can be emailed to!