ALEKS Placement Test

Students get placed in math classes primarily by their ACT or SAT scores. The ALEKS Placement Test is only needed for students who want to place into a higher level class than their ACT/SAT scores will allow. Here are some key features of the test and its interpretation.

  1. The test and its software have been developed by ALEKS and have been adapted to fit the needs of Union College students and courses.

  2. Students must be registered for a Union College math course AND receive a Union College ALEKS code in order to test.

  3. Tests cost $40, and are payable directly at

  4. Calculus I is the highest class you can get into with this test.

  5. The test is an online, adaptive test. Every student gets a unique test.

  6. The test is comprised of 30 questions or less.

  7. Most students can finish in 90 minutes or less. The system cuts you off at 3 hours.

  8. Scratch paper is provided.

  9. Calculators and notes are not allowed. The test provides a calculator “app” and equations where it deems appropriate.

  10. The fee covers the initial test, up to 4 retakes, and nearly unlimited study modules.

  11. Students will have access to the study modules for 6 months, and to the testing feature for 12 months.
  12. Test scores can be interpreted as follows:
    1. 0-29 implies the student qualifies to take MATH 017, Elementary Algebra.
    2. 30-45 implies the student qualifies to take MATH100, Intermediate Algebra.
    3. 46-60 implies the student qualifies to take:
      1. MATH 111, College Algebra, or
      2. MATH 117, College Algebra Concise, or
      3. MATH 221, Elementary Statistics and Probability, or
      4. Any other course that has MATH 100 as a prerequisite.
    4. 55-75 implies the student qualifies to take MATH119, Trigonometry.
    5. 61-75 implies the student qualifies to take MATH 320, Mathematical Concepts for Elementary Teachers.
    6. 76-100 implies the student qualifies to take MATH 184, Calculus I.
  13. The testing system requires that you log at least 3 hours in the study modules before you can retake. 
  14. All testing and retaking needs to be done before the end of the add/drop period in order to enter a class this semester.

About Precalculus, College Algebra, and Trigonometry

  1. MATH 121, Precalculus (5 credit hours) has been cut in two and replaced with MATH 119, Trigonometry (3 credit hours) and College Algebra (2 or 3 credit hours).

  2. There are now two versions of College Algebra.

  3. MATH 117, College Algebra Concise (2 credit hours) should only be taken by students who are taking Trigonometry in the same semester. It does not carry enough credits to fulfill general education requirements.

  4. Not everyone has to take College Algebra. If your ACT Math score is high enough, you can start in Trigonometry.

  5. Regardless of which College Algebra course is taken, Trigonometry + College Algebra = Precalculus.