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ALEKS PPL: Math Placement, Preparation & Learning

Ensign College uses ALEKS PPL to give students the opportunity to review math skills and then place into the math course where they have the greatest chance for success.
students walking around campus
If you need information about how ALEKS PPL works, please read the information below.

If you are a new student or have a hold on your account, you will need to take the Initial Placement Assessment, work in the modules and then take an official Proctored Placement Exam within ALEKS PPL before registering for a second semester at Ensign College. Please read the information below for more details.

If you already know how ALEKS PPL works and are ready to take your Initial Placement Assessment,

  • Log in to MyEnsign
  • Go to your “Student Center.”
  • Under Academics (the first section at the top), select “Math Placement Exam.”
  • You will be directed to ALEKS PPL. Follow the directions on this site to begin your Assessment.
  • You can call the Testing Center at 801-524-1988 if you have any questions about accessing the Assessment.


Ensign College requires an ALEKS Placement, Preparation and Learning (ALEKS PPL) Assessment 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. This Placement Assessment is up to 30 questions and generally takes 60-90 minutes to complete. After the Initial Placement Assessment, an individualized Prep and Learning Module is available for students to refresh their knowledge on forgotten topics. After reviewing, students have the opportunity to take an official Proctored Placement Exam either at school or using online proctoring software. This Exam will give them placement into a math class at Ensign College.

ALEKS consists of three parts:

  • An Initial Placement Assessment, which will give you an idea of where you might place and what skills you can work on to improve that placement
  • The Prep and Learning Module, an individualized, self-paced online review
  • Access to up to two official Proctored Placement Exams

Ensign College 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 ultimately lead to better preparation and improved grades.

What is the purpose of placement testing?

The Placement Assessment results will be used to determine the most appropriate courses for each student as they move forward with college coursework. After taking a Proctored Placement Exam, students will be able to register for the class that is indicated by their placement score. Students who have questions are encouraged to meet with their Student Success Advisor.

ALEKS Math Pathway Graphic

This is a “Placement Assessment,” not a test. The difference is that a Placement Assessment is designed to 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 his/her strengths and weaknesses in math. Students then have a chance to brush up on topics that may have been forgotten or haven’t been practiced for some time.

Be honest. It is important that the Placement Assessment is taken seriously and each student 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 that a student enrolls in a class that is too difficult, or not challenging enough, potentially costing time and money. Therefore, while taking the Placement Assessment, students 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 a student’s current mathematical knowledge so that he/she will be successful in mathematics courses. Additionally, cheating on any entrance exam (including a placement assessment) is an honor code violation.

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    Why must I take the ALEKS PPL Assessment?

    ALEKS PPL is used to help you review math concepts you may have forgotten, and then determine the mathematics course in which you will have the greatest success. Upon completion of the Placement Assessments, you will receive a score which places you into a math course. Your Student Success Advisor will also have access to your scores and can make recommendations if you have questions.

    Who has to take the ALEKS PPL Assessment?

    All students who are in degree-granting programs and who don’t have AP credit, ACT/SAT scores or transcripts showing college math credit. The same requirements apply to students working toward any certificate that requires a Math class. Please note that AP/ACT/SAT scores expire for placement after 18 months. Students with test scores older than this, who have not yet taken a college math course, will be required to take the ALEKS PPL Assessment.

    When do I take the ALEKS PPL Assessment?

    It is recommended that students take the Initial Placement Assessment as soon as possible after admission. This will give you a good idea of what math classes you will need to plan on taking, and will also give you resources to improve your math score if necessary. You will have to take this Initial Placement Assessment, spend some time working in the modules and then take a final, Proctored Placement Exam prior to registration for your second semester. Otherwise a hold will be placed on your registration.

    If you are a continuing student who has not yet taken a math class, you may take your Initial Placement Assessment at any time. Please note that you will not be able to register for a second semester without taking a Proctored Placement Exam. We recommend that you begin the Initial Assessment no later than two weeks before registration opens for the following semester. That way you will have time to work in the Prep and Learning Modules and take a final, Proctored Placement Exam in time to register for classes. You can find the date that registration opens for next semester on the Academic Calendar.

    Are ALEKS PPL Assessments proctored?

    • Your Initial Placement Assessment may be taken at home and will not be proctored. When you are finished, you will receive your results and access to Prep and Learning Modules to help you improve your score.
    • Even if you are happy with your score, you should work in these modules. They will give you the best chance at placing into the course you would like. After you have reviewed using the modules, you may take an official Placement Exam. This exam will be taken in the Testing Center at the school. Alternatively, you may choose to take this Exam online, using specific proctoring software.
    • You will need to spend at least five hours in the Prep and Learning Modules and wait at least 48 hours before taking the final Proctored Placement Exam. This is to ensure that you’ve taken the time to review and rest before taking your official exam.

    Once I’ve taken an Initial Placement Assessment and worked in the Prep and Learning Modules, where can I take my official Proctored Placement Exam?

    • You may take the Proctored Exam in the Testing Center at Ensign College. It is located in room 404. You will need to make an appointment online using RegisterBlast to take the test.
    • You may also take your Proctored Exam online. If you choose this option, you will need to make a virtual appointment with the Testing Center using RegisterBlast. Testing Center employees will log you in to the test, and you will then be directed to install software on your computer called Respondus Lockdown Browser and Respondus Monitor. There will be an additional $5 ecommerce charge to use this software. Be aware that you will need a webcam to take the test remotely, and that you will need to use a computer running Windows or Mac OSX (not a Chromebook).
    • You may call the Testing Center at 801-524-1988 if you have any questions about making an appointment or taking this test.

    Is there a fee for using ALEKS PPL?

    ALEKS PPL costs $17. When you complete the Initial Placement Assessment, a charge will be added to your student account. If you choose to take your official Proctored Placement Exam online, there will be an additional $5 ecommerce charge, which you will pay using your credit card before you take the Exam.

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

    Not for the Initial Placement Assessment. 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:

    If you opt to take the official Proctored Placement Exam online using Respondus Lockdown Browser and Monitor, you will be directed to download the appropriate software.

    What topics are covered during the ALEKS PPL Assessment?

    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 Ensign College. 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:

    • 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).

    Can I practice using the ALEKS input tools before I begin the Placement Assessment?

    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.

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    Taking the Placement Assessment
    Taking the Placement Assessment

    What is the format of the questions on ALEKS?

    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.

    May I use a calculator while using ALEKS?

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

    May I use any other resources during a Placement Assessment?

    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 also a violation of the Ensign College's honor code to use outside resources on your official Proctored Placement Exam.

    Can I review a question after I've answered it?

    Because ALEKS is adaptive, once you submit an answer, you cannot change it. Be sure to carefully check your answer before submitting your response.

    What if I see questions I don’t know?

    It is likely that you will be asked questions on material you have not yet learned. On such questions it is best 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 your Prep and Learning Modules, and later 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.

    Are Placement Assessments timed?

    You are free to complete the Initial 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.

    When you take your official Proctored Placement Exam, you will have a time limit of two hours.

    What happens if I do not complete a Placement Assessment in the allotted time?

    Your Initial Placement Assessment is unproctored and untimed. If you do not finish it within 48 hours, you will have to restart it. Your official Proctored Placement Exam is proctored and timed. If you do not finish it in time, you will be given a placement result, but it will not be a true reflection of your abilities.

    I am ready to start my ALEKS PPL Assessment. How do I begin?

    If you are ready to begin your Initial Placement Assessment, follow the following instructions. Be aware that your student account will be charged $17 when you take this assessment.

    • Log in to MyEnsign
    • Go to your “Student Center.”
    • Under Academics (the first section at the top), select “Math Placement Exam.”
    • You will be directed to ALEKS PPL. Follow the directions on this site to begin your Assessment.
    • You can call the Testing Center at 801-524-1988 if you have any questions about accessing the Assessment.

    If you have already taken this Initial Assessment, you can click on the link above and navigate to Math Placement Exam to view your score and access the Prep and Learning Modules.

    If you have worked in the modules for at least 5 hours and have waited 48 hours after taking your Initial Assessment, you may be ready to take your official Proctored Placement Exam. To do this you should make an appointment to take the Exam at the Testing Center. You can do this using RegisterBlast .

    • Appointments need to be made 48 hours in advance. You may make the appointment as soon as you’ve finished the Initial Assessment, as long as you’ll be able to complete the 5 hours of work in the modules before the time of the test. Otherwise, you won’t be able to take the Proctored Exam at your scheduled time.
    • If you’re planning to take the Proctored Exam on campus in the Testing Center, make an appointment for ALEKS On-campus.
      • When you arrive at the Testing Center at your scheduled time, the proctor will help you log in and begin your exam.
    • If you’re planning to take the Proctored Exam remotely, make an appointment for ALEKS Virtual
      • You’ll need a webcam and a computer running Windows or Mac OSX (not a Chromebook) so that you can install the Respondus software.
      • Be aware that you will need to pay an additional $5 to download and use the Respondus proctoring software.
      • A proctor at the testing center will help you log in and download the software so that you can begin your Exam.

    You can call the Testing Center at 801-524-1988 if you have any questions about taking the Assessment.

    What is my placement result?

    Your placement result (overall score) is a number between 0 and 100. It represents the percentage of topics ALEKS has identified you have mastered.

    Course placement is determined as follows:

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    Placement Result
    Placement Result

    Where can I see my score?

    • You will receive your score immediately upon completion of your Placement Assessment.

    Course # Course Name
    ALEKS Score Range
    MAT 90
    Basic Mathematics
    MAT 97
    Introductory Algebra
    MAT 104
    Intermediate Algebra
    MAT 107
    Quantitative Analysis and Personal Finance
    MAT 108
    Math for the Real World (BYU-I, online)
    MAT 110
    College Algebra
    MAT 111
    MAT 252
    61 or higher
    MAT 237 Discrete Mathematics 61 or higher
    MAT 119 Business Calculus 61 or higher
    MAT 112 Calculus I 76-100

    • Your ALEKS score can be viewed by re-entering ALEKS using the same access link for which you took the Placement Assessment.
    • 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.
    • Only scores from officially Proctored Exams will be used for placement into a math course.

    How long is my placement result valid?

    Your placement result is valid for up to 18 months.

    What if I do not place into the course I wanted?

    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.

    I did not place into the class I wanted. Can I take it anyway?

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

    Which math course is required for my program?

    Check with your Student Success Advisor if you have questions about the courses that are required for your program.

    What if I placed into the class I wanted?

    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.

    Can I retake the ALEKS PPL Assessment?

    Yes, you may take up to two Proctored Placement Exams after your Initial Placement Assessment. However, to make each attempt worthwhile, it is important that you spend time working in your ALEKS Prep and Learning Module between assessments so that you can improve your skills. You will be required to spend at least five hours in the Prep and Learning Modules between your Initial Placement Assessment and your first Proctored Placement Exam, and another three hours if you’d like to take the Proctored Placement Exam again.

    Can I retake the ALEKS Placement Assessment immediately?

    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.

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    Prep and Learning Modules
    Prep and Learning Modules

    How long do I have access to my Prep and Learning Module?

    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 select into the Prep and Learning Module until you are ready to start working.

    Is there an additional fee for my Prep and Learning Module?

    Access to a Prep and Learning Module is included along with the additional Placement Assessments.

    Must I work in my ALEKS Prep and Learning Module between Placement Assessments?

    You can take the Initial Placement Assessment once and the Proctored Placement Exam two times so that you can get your best possible score. (The highest proctored score will be used for math placement). 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.

    • 1st Proctored Placement Exam—required to complete five hours of work in the Prep and Learning Modules before attempting assessment.
    • 2nd Proctored Placement Exam—required to complete three additional hours of work in the Prep and Learning Modules before attempting a second proctored assessment.

    What are ALEKS Knowledge Checks?

    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.

    Does progress in an ALEKS Prep and Learning Module count toward placement?

    No. You must complete a new Proctored Placement Exam to change your placement result. This must be done be either coming in to the Testing Center on campus, or online using specific remote proctoring software.

    Can I change to a different Prep and Learning Module later?

    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.

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    Technical Support
    Technical Support

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

    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.

    Where can I get help with ALEKS?

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    Disability and Accommodations Services
    Disability and Accommodations Services

    What if I need accommodations when I take tests?

    Disability and Accommodations Services are located on the 9th floor.
    (801) 524-1936

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