Assessment Exams: Math – ALEKS


About the Exam: Why do I need to take an assessment?

  1. Math is an important foundational subject for many Degree and Certificate programs. ALEKS PPL is a web-based program that uses artificial intelligence to map student’s mathematical abilities across many areas.
  2. After the Assessment, an individualized Prep and Learning Module is available for students. It is important to meet with an advisor after your initial exam.

Be Honest About Your Skill Level

The purpose of the ALEKS is to place you right math class. Thus, there is no benefit to cheating on the placement assessment. Afterall, you wouldn’t want to place into a math course higher than your skill level! In fact, incorrect placement could even delay graduation and negatively affect your GPA.

While taking the assessment, you are not allowed to access any other website or resources such as formulas, calculator, etc.

Student Code of Conduct Policy

Required Documents

Government issued photo ID or Student ID, mySFCC student account login information

How to Register

  1. Visit our Bookings page and set up an exam date and time.
  2. You do not need to study for the assessment in advance.
  3. The Assessment exam will have approximately 25 open-ended questions. Testers have 3 hours to complete the assessment, but on average students take about an hour to complete the exam. The exam cannot be paused or restarted once it begins. Please ensure you have enough time to complete the assessment when you book your appointment.

How to Access ALEKS in MySFCC

  • ALEKS is an application that is built into the MySFCC Apps section.
  • You will be linked with our testing cohort upon your first exam in the Testing Center.
  • Afterwords, you can access study material through the same ALEKS app to complete your Prep and Learning Modules for up to 1 year.

  • Each student is allowed 5 attempts to take the assessment test in a 12 month period, 2 are proctored and will need to be taken in the testing center, and 3 are unproctored practice tests that can be taken from anywhere. Unproctored exams are considered practice tests and are not considered official placement scores.
  • You may request for an unproctored attempt to be changed to a proctored one, with the permission of the testing center staff. The entirety of the attempt must be done at the testing center meaning your unproctored attempt must not be started for this change to be approved.
  • NOTE: testers must complete a preset number hours studying and a 48-hour “cooling off” period in between exams:
    • 1st and 2rd attempt = 5 hours study time between
    • 2nd and 3rd attempt = 5 hours study time between

Below are the SFCC course assessment scores for math. It is important to review this exam information with an advisor for accurate placement.

Please note that starting in the Fall 2024 Semester there will be no prerequisite for Math 1130, meaning students do NOT need to take the ALEKS assessment to place into this course.

ALEKS Frequently Asked Questions

Preparation for the Exam

ALEKS PPL is a web-based program that uses artificial intelligence to map a student’s strengths and weaknesses. The Assessment consists of approximately 25 open-ended questions. After the Assessment, an individualized Prep and Learning Module is available for students to refresh their knowledge on forgotten topics. Students then can reassess and improve their placement if they wish to.

ALEKS consists of three parts:

  • An initial placement assessment (Required to take proctored in the Testing Center)
  • The Prep and Learning Module, an individualized, self-paced online review (Optional)
  • Access to four additional Placement Assessments (Optional)

SFCC encourages each student to spend time in the Prep and Learning Module, even if the desired score is achieved, because time spent in ALEKS will lead to better preparation and improved grades.

What is the purpose of placement testing? 

The Placement Assessment results are used to determine the most appropriate courses for each student as they move forward with college coursework. After taking the ALEKS PPL Assessment, students should meet with their advisor to review their results and enroll in the best classes based on their scores. This is a “Placement Assessment,” NOT a test. Placement assessment try and gauge student’s baseline knowledge; in other words, they help us determine what student knows and what they might need to work on. At the end of the ALEKS PPL Assessment, a student will have a much better sense of his/her strengths and weaknesses in math. Students then have a chance to brush on topics that may have been forgotten or have not been practiced recently.

The Placement Assessment is used to determine which mathematics courses you are best suited for. Upon completion of the Placement Assessment, you should meet with your academic advisor to go over your results. Your advisor will review your scores and help make appropriate recommendations for course registration based on your educational pathway.

1. New students who have not already taken ALEKS PPL assessment are encouraged to take the exam prior to registering for first-semester classes.

2. Students who have not already taken the assessment and wish to enroll in a mathematics course at SFCC for the first time are required to take the ALEKS PPL mathematics placement assessment before registering in a math class.

ALEKS PPL Steps (PPL = Placement, Preparation, and Learning)

  1. Schedule an appointment on the SFCC Testing Center Bookings page to take your first proctored exam. 
  2. Bring a valid photo ID and your SFCC login information (i.e. your username and password)
  3. Testing Center staff will help you in log into the assessment through your mySFCC home page
  4. Before you start the assessment, you will complete a brief survey followed by a Tools tutorial to learn how to use ALEKS. We highly encourage you to take time to complete the entire tutorial so you will be comfortable navigating all the problem types.
  5. After you complete the first assessment, check the Math Placement Score Table to see the courses you are eligible for, and schedule an appointment to meet with an advisor. 
  6. If you did not earn the proficiency score you think you should, you can use the prep and learning modules to review and retake the assessment up to four more times, within a 12-month period. 
  7. If you earned the placement result needed to enroll in a particular course, you are still eligible and encouraged to use the ALEKS PPL learning modules to review and prepare for your math course. 

Be Honest About Your Skill Level

There is no benefit to cheating on the placement assessment. Placing into a math course higher than your current level of mathematical knowledge leaves you unprepared and is detrimental to your success at SFCC. While taking the assessment, please do not access any other website or resource such as formulas, calculator, etc.

You may only use scratch paper and a pencil provided by the testing center staff. Any personal items brought to the testing center will be placed in a locker. Textbooks, notes, calculators, and other resources, not provided within the ALEKS PPL assessment cannot be used by testing candidates. Using outside resources may lead to improper course placement resulting in subsequent course failure. It is also a violation of SFCC student conduct policy.

Transfer students and online students who have taken ALEKS PPL at another institution may submit their ALEKS scores to the Registrar’s office at SFCC. Students will be placed into courses based on those scores, however, to access the ALEKS PPL Preparation and Learning module to improve scores, students will have to take the initial proctored assessment through SFCC. This is the only way for the student to start working within the SFCC ALEKS PPL cohorts.

Registrar’s Office:

The ALEKS PPL exam is taken at the SFCC Testing Center.

The assessment is free for SFCC students.

For non-students there is a $25 proctoring fee. Payments can be at the SFCC’s Cashier’s Office prior to the exam time.

ALEKS is an adaptive, online program that encompasses 314 topics. The advanced AI can accurately sense a testing candidates’ proper placement in thirty or fewer questions, so the length of the Placement Assessment varies for everyone. It is designed to identify if you are prepared for a particular course. After you take the first placement assessment, you will have the opportunity to review and master additional topics to reassess and improve your placement using your customized Preparation and Learning module.

•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 (integer exponents, polynomial arithmetic, factoring, and polynomial equations), rational expressions (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.

ALEKS is an open-response test. When you first log into the exam, you will complete a brief survey that will help identify the topics your test will begin with. Then you will go through a short Tools Tutorial to show you how to enter your answers, use the calculator, and how to use the graphing tool. During the test you can click on the Help button at the top of the screen, at any time.

ALEKS PPL uses open-response questions for you to calculate and type in your answers. It also is unique in that it is a complete learning program. Following the initial assessment, the advanced AI system creates a customized Prep & Learning module so you can work to improve your math skills. ALEKS also allows Spanish speaking students to switch the test language to Spanish.

The ACCUPLACER exam we previously administered at SFCC was also an adaptive program. It was administered using twenty multiple-choice questions, and depending on your score, there could be other exams that would open. This exam does not allow for continued study to improve math skills, nor does it offer a Spanish language option.

The Testing Center follows accommodations set and requested through Student Accessibility Services. Any person with a disability who would like to request an accommodation for testing can contact SFCC’s Accessibility Services office at 505-428-1711. Please request specific accommodations and modifications prior to any scheduled exams.

Accessibility services and features offered through ALEKS PPL can be seen here:

Log into ALEKS, click the down arrow to the right of your name, click on Settings, scroll down to Accessibility and click on the button to turn on the feature. You will see options for Color Contrast and Color Blindness, select desired option.


Assessment Results

The placement result is your overall score on the assessment. This will be a number between 0-100. This represents the percentage of topics that ALEKS has determined you have mastered.

The score identifies which Math course you have placed in based on SFCC’s Cut Scores. If you have any questions regarding your course placement, please schedule an appointment with an advisor.

Institutional Cut Scores:

Class NameScore
Math 1105 + 1105L0-13
Math 110514-29
Math 1220 + 108 (coreq)30-45
Math 1115, 1350, 122046-60
Math 1250, 143061-75
Math 151076-100

Please note that starting in the Fall 2024 Semester there will be no prerequisite for Math 1130, meaning students do NOT need to take the ALEKS assessment to place into this course.

  1. Viewing your score: You will be able to view your results as soon as you finish the assessment, and you can access the score report anytime from your ALEKS PPL Dashboard.
  2. Uploading your score: The score for all proctored exams will automatically upload into our student record system and will be accessible by your advisor.

Scores are valid for up to 3 years.

This is the perfect opportunity for you to take advantage of the customized Prep & Learning module created for you upon completion of your assessment. The individualized plan will be based on your assessment results, with the intention of helping you to improve your math skills. These modules are available for 12 months from the date your start. *módulo de preparación y aprendizaje.

Students can retake the assessment up to four additional times in that 12-month period. The second assessment is un-proctored, and you can take it from home, as a practice test. The third assessment is another proctored exam to be taken at the SFCC Testing Center. Only proctored exam scores count towards course placement.

Congratulations! Continue to use your Prep and Learning Module to improve your chances for success. The placement result required is the minimum for your course. Take advantage of the individualized review and learning features in ALEKS to get a better grade in your class. Meet with your advisor if you have any questions or concerns. *módulo de preparación y aprendizaje.

You can register for a course at or below your ALEKS score. See your advisor to determine the best course of action for your Educational Pathway.

You must wait a required 48-hour rest period and complete 5 hours in your Prep and Learning module to unlock your next math assessment exam. You can track this on your ALEKS Dashboard. There is no benefit in immediately retaking the assessment. Statistics show that students need to spend 6-8 hours in their Prep & Learning module to advance into the next higher-level course.

Prep and Learning Modules

The Prep and Learning Module is your individualized study module, created after your initial assessment. It is an optional tool to help you improve your math assessment score and/or improve your classroom performance. *módulo de preparación y aprendizaje.

Once you have completed your initial assessment, you can use this pdf to guide you through using your Prep & Learning module. *módulo de preparación y aprendizaje.

No, there is no fee for SFCC students to use the Prep and Learning Module, making it an even more valuable resource. This application is available any time through a student’s MySFCC personal portal.

Math placement exams are taken at the SFCC Testing Center. Exams can be scheduled in the TC Bookings app.

You can retake the Placement Assessment up to four additional times to improve your score. The highest score will be used for math placement. Students are required to work in the Prep and Learning Module to ensure that attempts are worthwhile, and you have improved your skills. *módulo de preparación y aprendizaje.

2nd attempt—required to complete 5 hours of Prep and Learning Modules before attempting assessment.

3rd attempt—required to complete 5 additional hours of Prep and Learning Module before attempting assessment.

4th attempt—not required to complete any additional hours of Prep and Learning Module

5th attempt—not required to complete any additional hours of Prep and Learning Module

While working in your ALEKS Prep and Learning Module, you will periodically complete a Knowledge Check to make sure you have mastered the topics you gained in the Learning Module. 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, work in Prep and Learning modules does not count towards placement. You will need to complete another proctored assessment to change placement results.