What Is ALEKS?

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University – Prescott requires the ALEKS Placement, Preparation and Learning (ALEKS PPL) Assessment for all students who will be enrolling in a math course at the university. The goal of the placement is to determine readiness for mathematics courses. ALEKS PPL is a web-based program that uses artificial intelligence to map a student’s strengths and weaknesses. The Placement Assessment is up to 30 questions and generally takes 60-90 minutes to complete. After the Placement Assessment, an individualized Prep and Learning Module is available for students to refresh their knowledge on forgotten topics. Students then have the opportunity to reassess and improve their placement.

ALEKS consists of three parts:

  • An initial Placement Assessment.
  • The Prep and Learning Module, an individualized, self-paced online review.
  • Access to four additional Placement Assessments.

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University – Prescott encourages each student to spend time in the Prep and Learning Module, even if you achieve your desired score, because time spent in ALEKS will ultimately lead to better preparation and improved grades.

What is the purpose of placement testing?

The Placement Assessment results will help determine the most appropriate courses for each student as they move forward with college coursework. After taking a Placement 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. The difference is that a Placement Assessment helps determine what a student knows and what a student needs to work on. At the end of the ALEKS PPL Assessment, a student will have a much better sense of personal strengths and weaknesses in math and have a chance to brush up on topics that the student has not practiced for some time. Regardless of your ALEKS score, you should enroll in the recommended first-semester MA course for your degree as indicated in the Registration Guides. If you fall below the threshold for your required course, you should take steps to increase your proficiency before August.

Military Veterans can enroll in the Veterans Upward Bound TRIO Program for college prep online content.

Be honest. It is important that each student takes the Placement Assessment seriously and gives it an honest effort so that the Placement Assessment truly reflects their current level of knowledge and math preparedness. There is no benefit to cheating on the Placement Assessment — the only result will be a student enrolling in a class that is too difficult or not challenging enough, costing the student time and money. Therefore, while taking the Placement Assessment, a student should not consult any outside sources for help (friends/family, internet searches, textbooks, notes, etc.). The purpose of the Placement Assessment is to give an accurate measure of each student’s current mathematical knowledge state so that they will be successful in mathematics courses.


The Placement Assessment helps determine the mathematics course in which you will have the greatest success. Upon completion of the Placement Assessments, your results (the course you should register for) will post in the “To-Do List” of your Student Services Center in Campus Solutions within a couple of days of completion of your placement.

All students are asked to take the placement exam. Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, dual enrollment or transfer credit override ALEKS, although it is the student’s responsibility to register for the proper course since this will not happen automatically.

Students should complete the initial ALEKS Placement as soon as possible. After the initial placement, students can take four more placements after completing the initial assessment. ALEKS will develop a self-guided improvement plan based on your results and open up the second placement after five hours of study and a third placement after another eight hours of study, etc. If your placement improves, you may register for the new course once your results are posted in the “To-Do List” of your Student Services Center in Campus Solutions (this could take a couple of days). A student may also be required to take a proctored version of ALEKS on campus or in the first week of classes. Your score will be finalized after the first week of classes of your first semester.

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 review the ALEKS system requirements on their 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 at Embry-Riddle. It helps identify how prepared you are 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:

  • 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); and 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).

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 aren’t sure how to input an answer or need help while you are taking the ALEKS Placement Assessment, select the "Help" button below the answer pallet tools. Going to the tutorial during your Placement Assessment will not impact your Placement Assessment results.

A score of 70 or higher on ALEKS will award you MET credit for MA 111. This allows you to enroll directly into a subsequent course like MA 112, though you will not receive regular credit for MA 111. For more details, please contact your academic advisor.

Taking the Placement Assessment

ALEKS is not a multiple-choice Placement Assessment. It is open-response and requires you to work out solutions with a paper and pencil, and 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 a violation of Embry-Riddle's honor code.

Because ALEKS is adaptive, once you submit an answer, you cannot change it. Be sure you 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.

No, You are free to complete the Placement Assessment at your own pace. The system will allow you to access your Placement Assessment for 48 hours. If you need to exit the Placement Assessment for any reason, you will be able to log back in and pick up where you left off.

You will have to restart the Placement Assessment.

To start your ALEKS PPL Assessment, follow the ALEKS link in the “To-Do List” of your Student Services Center in Campus Solutions. You will not need to enter a login and password, as you will be automatically registered through Embry-Riddle. If you are interrupted, you may return to your initial assessment through this link. Alternatively, you may also access ALEKS through the ALEKS link in the Tools section of your ERNIE homepage.

For subsequent attempts at the placement assessment or access to learning modules, please access ALEKS through the ALEKS link in the Tools section of your ERNIE homepage.

Please note: After accessing ALEKS, you will have to access ALEKS through ERNIE, where you will find ALEKS listed in your "Tools" on the right side of the screen.

Placement Result

Your placement result (overall score) is a number between 0 and 100. It represents the percentage of topics ALEKS has identified that you have mastered. Recommended course placement is determined as follows:

Degree Program Recommended ALEKS Score First Math Course
Aeronautical Science Aeronautics
Air Traffic Management Aviation Business Administration
Business Administration
Cyber Intelligence and Security
Forensic Accounting and Fraud Examination
Forensic Psychology
Global Business and Supply Chain Management
Global Security and Intelligence Studies
Human Factors Industrial/Organizational Psychology
Interdisciplinary Studies
Unmanned Aircraft Systems
0-29 Retaking ALEKS is strongly recommended.
30-69 MA 111 or MA 120
70-100 MA 112* or MA 120
Aerospace Engineering
Applied Biology
Applied Meteorology
Computer Engineering
Electrical Engineering
Forensic Biology
Mechanical Engineering
Simulation Science, Games and Animation
Software Engineering
Space Physics
0-75 Retaking ALEKS is strongly recommended.
76-100** MA 241
* Students with a 70 or higher automatically receive MET credit for MA 111 and can enroll directly in MA 112.
** A 91 or higher is strongly encouraged for MA 241.

The table above does not account for transfer or AP credit. If you enter with transfer credit for one or more math courses, you should still attempt to obtain the minimum recommended score for MA 111 or MA 241, as appropriate to your degree program. For instance, an Aeronautics student with transfer credit for MA 111 should still attempt to obtain a 30 or higher in preparation for MA 112.

You will receive your score immediately upon completion of your Placement Assessment. Your ALEKS score can be viewed by re-entering ALEKS using the same access link for which you took the Placement Assessment. The course you should register for will post in the “To-Do List” of your Student Services Center in Campus Solutions within a couple of days of completion of your placement, allowing you to register for that class.

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 lost knowledge.

No. Any AP or transfer credit you have earned previously will not be affected by your score on the ALEKS exam. Your ALEKS score is relevant only to courses you enroll in at Embry-Riddle.

Yes, but you should take the steps to increase your math proficiency before the first day of class.

See the course placement table above. If you are a transfer student, you should contact your academic advisor directly for transfer credit evaluation and course placement.

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 important that you spend time working in your ALEKS Prep and Learning Module between Placement Assessments so that you can improve your skills.

You must wait 72 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.

Intermediate algebra is not routinely offered at Embry-Riddle Prescott. We recommend spending additional time in the learning modules to help you review the material and give the ALEKS placement another attempt. Even if you don’t end up earning a 30 or higher, you can still enroll in MA 111. The math placement coordinator (PRmathPL@erau.edu) or your academic advisor can address any concerns you may have about success and preparation for the Embry-Riddle math curriculum.

MA 143: Precalculus Essentials is not routinely offered at Embry-Riddle Prescott. We recommend spending additional time in learning modules to help you review the material and give the ALEKS placement another attempt. Even if you don’t end up earning a 76 or higher, you can still enroll in MA 241. The math placement coordinator (PRmathPL@erau.edu) or your academic advisor can address any concerns you may have about success and preparation for the Embry-Riddle math curriculum.

Prep and Learning Modules

You will have six months of access to your Prep and Learning Module. Access to the prep course will not begin until you select "Start"at the top of your screen. Do not select the Prep and Learning Module until you are ready to start working.

You should select a Prep and Learning Module according to your desired math class placement.

Desired Math Placement Prep and Learning Module
MA 111/MA 120 Prep for College Algebra
MA 241 Prep for Calculus

Access to a Prep and Learning Module is included along with the additional Placement Assessments. No fee is charged to the students for the Placement Assessment or the Prep and Learning Modules.

You can retake the Placement Assessment four additional times to improve your score prior to coming to campus. Students are required to work in the Prep and Learning Modules for a specific amount of time prior to each Placement Assessment to increase success.

  • Second attempt: Required to complete five hours of work in the Prep and Learning Modules before attempting assessment.
  • Third attempt: Required to complete eight additional hours of work in the Prep and Learning Modules before attempting assessment.
  • Etc.

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.

Please contact Prof. Brent Solie at PRmathPL@erau.edu for answers to your ALEKS-related questions. For more general questions pertaining to your class schedule and degree program as a whole, please contact the academic advisor for your college.

You can find your Academic Advisor and their contact information through your homepage in Campus Solutions in ERNIE.

Technical Support

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.

Embry-Riddle is committed to access for all students. It is university policy to provide reasonable accommodations to students with disabilities who qualify for services. If you would like to discuss and/or request accommodations, please contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS). SAS is located on the first floor of Hazy Library at the end of the hall. You may stop by, call 928-777-6749 or email Student Accessibility Services at prdss@erau.edu.