UC Blue Ash College

Math Placement Assessment FAQs


The Placement Assessment is used to determine the mathematics course in which you will have the greatest success. Upon completion of the Placement Assessments, your scores are sent to your academic advisor. Your advisor will review your scores and help make appropriate recommendations for course registration.

Students who wish to take a college-level Math course are required to take the ALEKS assessment to determine placement. Additionally, you will need to take the Placement Assessment in order to enroll in any of the courses requiring a math placement test.

You will have access to the assessment 48 hours after confirmation to the university and are encouraged to begin engaging with the prep materials as soon as possible. You should take the ALEKS assessment at least one week before attending your scheduled Bearcat Bound Orientation. At orientation, your academic advisor will interpret the assessment results for appropriate course selection, therefore it is recommended that you take it as soon as possible.

No, since ALEKS is offered online, you are expected to use the honor system to best determine your math ability and potential for success in college-level math classes. However, the university reserves the right to require a student to take a Placement Assessment in a proctored environment.

No. The use of ALEKS is included in your New Student fees.

No. There are no required plug-ins or applets required with your use of ALEKS PPL. As long as you have access to the internet and are using an updated browser, you should not experience difficulties in taking your Placement Assessment. For a list of preferred browsers, please visit the ALEKS support site.

ALEKS PPL 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 offered by the University of Cincinnati. It is designed to identify if you are prepared for a particular course. After you take your first Placement Assessment, you will have the opportunity to review and master additional topics to reassess and improve your placement.

Topics covered in the Placement Assessment:

  • 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)

Yes. ALEKS will begin with a brief tutorial to make sure you are comfortable with the math palette 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 are not sure how to input an answer, or need help while you are taking the ALEKS Placement Assessment, select the Help button below the answer palette tools. Going to the tutorial during your Placement Assessment will not impact your Placement Assessment results.

ALEKS is not a multiple-choice Placement Assessment. 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.

ALEKS will provide an on-screen calculator if you need one to complete a particular problem. Otherwise, you may not use a calculator.

You may only use a pen or pencil, paper, and the resources provided within ALEKS. You should not receive assistance from friends, family, other websites, textbooks, or any other resource not provided by ALEKS. Using outside resources will lead to improper placement and potentially course failure. It is furthermore a violation of the UC Student Code of Conduct.

No. Because ALEKS is adaptive, once you submit an answer, you cannot change it. Be sure to carefully check your answer before submitting your response.

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 how to solve the topic, and this will be reflected in the Placement Assessment results. There is no penalty for incorrectly answering a question on the Placement Assessment, it only helps ALEKS understand what you know and don’t know.

Yes, you have 2 hours and 30 minutes to complete an unproctored Placement Assessment once it has begun.

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, but it will not be a true reflection of your abilities.

Students who have utilized accommodations in high school may find having additional time on ALEKS placement test useful. If you wish to utilize an extra time accommodation on the Placement Assessment due to disability, you will have an opportunity to self-identify your need when logging into ALEKS. If you have any questions regarding accommodations, please email accessresources@uc.edu

Please contact ALEKS Customer Service for technical support.

Your placement result (overall score) is a number between 0 and 100. It represents the percentage of topics ALEKS has identified you have mastered. Check the list of Assessment Scores to see where your scores places you.

You will receive your score immediately upon completion of your Placement Assessment via Catalyst or by re-logging into ALEKS. Your scores are automatically added to your student profile, which is accessible by your advisor. Your scores will be verified by the math department before the semester begins.

Your placement result is valid for up to 12 months.

This is a perfect opportunity to take advantage of the Prep and Learning Modules offered within ALEKS PPL. An individualized study plan will be created based on your performance on the Initial Placement Assessment. ALEKS will identify what you know and what you are ready to learn next so you can brush up on missing knowledge.

No, you must achieve the minimum placement result to take each corresponding class.

Congratulations! Continue to use your Prep and Learning Module to improve your chances for success. The placement result required is the minimum preparation for your course. Take advantage of the individualized review and learning features in ALEKS to get a better grade in your class.

Yes, you may take up to five Placement Assessments. However, to make each attempt worthwhile, it is required that you spend time working in your ALEKS Prep and Learning Module between Placement Assessments so that you can improve your skills. Between your first and second attempts, you must spend 3 hours working in your ALEKS Prep and Learning Module. You must spend 5 hours working in your Prep and Learning Module between all subsequent attempts.

No. You must wait 48 hours between Placement Assessments. There is generally no benefit to re-taking the Placement Assessment immediately after completing a prior attempt. You cannot improve your results by simply re-taking the Placement Assessment without spending time in the Prep and Learning Module to refresh material that you may have forgotten.

Preparation and Learning Modules

You will have 12 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 access the Prep and Learning Module until you are ready to start working.

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

You can retake the Placement assessment up to four additional times to improve your score. The highest score will be used for math placement. You are required to work in the Prep and Learning Modules for a specific amount of time prior to each Placement Assessment to increase success, as outlined below:

  • 2nd attempt: Required to complete 3 hours of work in the Prep and Learning Module before attempting assessment.
  • 3rd attempt: Required to complete 5 additional hours of work in the Prep and Learning Module before attempting assessment.
  • 4th attempt: Required to complete 5 additional hours of work in the Prep and Learning Module before attempting assessment.
  • 5th attempt: Required to complete 5 additional hours of work in the Prep and Learning Module before attempting assessment.

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 Pie so you can review them again.

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.

No. You may only use one Prep and Learning Module. If you are unsure which module to select, use the module recommended by ALEKS or consult with your advisor.

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

Please contact ALEKS Customer Service if you need technical support, including help with login information. For all other questions, please email advhelp@ucmail.uc.edu.


Contact Information

Placement Testing
Muntz Hall
Phone: 513-558-9425