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ALEKS Math Placement Information and FAQs


Who must take the ALEKS math placement test?

The College of Charleston requires all entering students, both degree and non-degree seeking, to take the ALEKS mathematics placement test. This applies regardless of credit based on AP or IB exams or courses from another institution.

When do students take the test?

Students must complete the test at least two weeks before attending new student orientation. Please be aware that failure to take the placement test before orientation will delay your enrollment in a math course or in other courses that require math placement, such as Chemistry, Physics, Business or Economics courses. It is recommended that you take ALEKS early so you will have time to spend in the preparation and learning modules in order to retake the test to improve your score.

What does the test cover? How long is it?

ALEKS (Assessment and LEarning in Knowledge Spaces) is a powerful artificial intelligence based assessment instrument covering material from Basic Math through Precalculus. It will take approximately 90 minutes to complete the 30 question test. ALEKS is an untimed and individualized adaptive assessment designed to determine a student’s knowledge base in mathematics. Students have 48 hours to complete the placement test once they have started it.

How do I access the ALEKS math placement test?

The schedule for incoming students to access ALEKS is below. You must have your permanent MyCharleston login credentials in order to access ALEKS. It is important not to attempt to access ALEKS before your intended enrollment date is available. If you do you will not have as much time for remediation in the Prep and Learning modules.

Fall 2017 students      May 1, 2017 ALEKS is available

You can get directions for accessing ALEKS here.

Can I use a calculator or the internet for the ALEKS test?

ALEKS will provide an on-screen calculator if you need one to complete a particular problem. Otherwise, you may not use a calculator. Be honest about your skill level. There is no benefit to cheating on the placement assessment – your only reward will be that you are forced to take a class that is too difficult for your current level of mathematical knowledge. Therefore, while you are taking the assessment, do not consult any other source for help (friends, family, internet searches, etc.). The purpose of the placement assessment is to give an accurate measure of your current mathematical skills so that you will be successful in your mathematics courses.

Can I retake the test to earn a better placement score?

Yes, after the initial assessment, a targeted and individualized Preparation and Learning Module is available for students to review and learn material. Students will have up to four additional attempts (5 total) to improve their ALEKS placement score after the initial assessment. The highest attempt will be used for placement into mathematics courses. Students have up to 6 months from their first placement test to start the 6 month trial of learning modules. At the end of the ALEKS assessment and learning module preparation students will have a much better sense of their strengths and weaknesses in mathematics.

What do I have to do first before retaking the test?

Students must wait 48 hours between each new attempt and spend at least 8 hours working in the preparation and learning modules before each new attempt.

I have math transfer or AP credit, but didn't do well on the ALEKS placement test. Will my math credits still count?

Yes. Your math credits will still count and you won't need to take the course over again at the College of Charleston.

I have taken the ALEKS test. How long do I have to wait before I can register for a math class?

It takes 1-2 days for your ALEKS score to be loaded into the system after completing ALEKS. At that time you should be able to register for any math course for which you qualify.

When can I see my ALEKS score and what course should I take based on my score?

You will be able to see your ALEKS placement score immediately after you finish the test. The math course you take usually depends on your intended major. Most majors require specific math courses for completion of the major. You should consult the College of Charleston catalog to see what math course is required for your intended major. Once you determine the course you need visit the interpretation page to see what ALEKS score is necessary to register for that course.

What if my score isn't high enough to take the course I need? Is there any other way to get into the course I want?

You should first try and work through the learning modules to improve your score. If you have already done that, you should take the course for which you qualify. There is no other way to get into the course for which you wish to qualify other than having met a course prerequisite.

When will my placement score “expire”? And how much does it cost to retake it if it “expires?”

The ALEKS placement score is valid for one year. After one year the ALEKS placement score “expires”. Once a student's ALEKS score expires they will have to pay $25 to take ALEKS again if they need to qualify for placement into mathematics courses. You can access directions for registering for the self-pay ALEKS option here.

Is there a fee for the test?

The math placement test fee is included in student fees for entering freshmen and students transferring to the College of Charleston.

What if I need accommodations for  a documented disability?

Remember that ALEKS is an untimed assessment so extended time accommodations will not be necessary. For other accommodations SNAP (Students Needing Access Parity) Services provides assistance and guidance to students with a documented disability to ensure equal access to all programs and services of the College. You can contact the Center for Disability Services at

For Further Information, Please Contact:

Associate Department Chair
Debby Jeter
Office: Robert Scott Small 334
Phone: 843.953.8023

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