Math Placement at Florida Atlantic University
To better ensure student success, Florida Atlantic University has adopted a mandatory math placement exam, known as ALEKS, for incoming students. Because students come in with a wide variety of strengths an
d backgrounds in mathematics, it is reasonable to expect that there will be various levels of readiness among entering students. ALEKS is a powerful artificial-intelligence based mechanism to assess math proficiency and skill level. Students take the exam over the Internet and as many times as desired. The highest score is used to determine placement.
Please read carefully the information below concerning the options you have for enrolling in mathematics courses at FAU based on your ALEKS score. It is important for success in mathematics that you enroll in a course for which you have the necessary preparation and which leads to the math courses required for your particular major.
Who must take ALEKS?
All entering freshmen, regardless of AP, IB, dual enrollment, and CLEP credits.
In any mathematics class you take, your instructor reserves the right to administer an in-class, proctored exam during the first week of the semester. If your performance on this exam is not consistent with your ALEKS placement score, you may be required to register for a lower course or to complete remedial work prior to continuing. Extreme difference in results will be reported to the Dean of Undergraduate Studies.
How much does it cost? How, when and where do I take it?
The cost is $10.00 the first time the student takes the exam from home or any non-proctored location. All ALEKS retakes must be proctored in FAU's Testing and Evaluation center, either on the Boca Raton campus (Student Support Services building, Room 210) or on the Davie campus (Liberal Arts building, Room 243A) . If you are retaking the ALEKS and you are out of the FAU Service Area, please email the Testing Office at
for further instructions. Students are allowed two hours to complete the exam. The charge is $28.50 for each subsequent attempt. Credit card payment is accepted. For further information and instructions please visit
Students must take the exam no earlier than 6 months before the 1st day of classes for the semester they plan to take their 1st math class at FAU. We highly recommend that students take the exam early. Students enrolling in the fall semester, for example, should take the exam in March. Those entering in the spring should take it in August.
For the first attempt, students take the exam from home by logging in to
. Please enter your FAUNet ID (username) and your FAU password. The FAUNetID corresponds to the letters appearing before “@fau.edu” in your FAU email address. After logging in, click on the "Students" tab, then "Take the Math Placement Exam.
OK, I’ve taken the exam and have my score. Which class do I register for?
The class you take depends on your probable major. Click here for the
math placement advising guidelines
for detailed information. If you need help deciding what course is right for you, you should contact the freshman advising office.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does the exam take?
There is a time limit of two hours for the first time you take the exam and any subsequent times after that.
What should I expect on the exam?
Before starting, have ready whatever you might need for calculating answers: paper, pen or pencil. You should not use a hand-held device for taking this exam.
Before the first question, ALEKS will check your computer software configuration and download the plug-ins necessary to take the exam. Next, there will be a very brief tutorial explaining how to key in your answers.
The exam itself starts by posing questions, some fairly easy and some fairly difficult, to gauge your general ability and to give focus to subsequent questions. If you clearly don’t know the answer to a question, you should answer “I don’t know.” If the topic is one that you are familiar with, you should make an attempt at answering, because ALEKS interprets the “I don’t know” answer to mean that you are unfamiliar with the topic. The exam includes questions at many levels so, depending on your background, you may not be familiar with the content of every question.
Exam results appear on the last page. The pie chart at the top of the page displays your performance in various categories. The “What you can do” section that follows itemizes those categories that you performed well in. The “What you are ready to learn next” section lists those areas that you will need to review before taking the exam again.
Your ALEKS placement score appears above the pie chart: "__% Mastery.
I’ve forgotten my score. How do I find it?
Log in to the placement exam site again and click on “Retake Placement.” Your scores will appear under “Past Placements.” The only score that will not appear here is the score you received in going through the Preparation for Calculus learning module. FAU will obtain that score, however, and it will be used for course placement. Keep in mind that your highest exam score determines placement.
How long are my ALEKS exam scores valid?
How long does it take for my score to be posted so I can register for classes.
ALEKS scores are valid for 6 months prior to the first day of your mathematics course. You must retake the exam if over 6 months.
It takes up to 3 business days for your ALEKS score to be posted to the Banner system.
I don’t have a credit card and/or computer. How do I take the exam?
Should I seek help or assistance while taking the exam?
Come to the Testing and Evaluation office in the Student Support Services building (SU 80), room 210 on the Boca Raton Campus to pay the $10.00 charge and to receive your access code. If this is your first attempt, you can take the exam from your own personal computer or, if you do not have a computer, you may take the test at any computer lab on campus or in the library. For all subsequent attempts, students must take the exam in the Testing and Evaluation office, where the charge is $28.50 (if you are taking the exam out of the FAU Service Area, please email the Testing office at
for further instructions).
Do I have to take the exam every time I want to register for a lower division mathematics class?
No, absolutely not. If you get assistance on the exam, the score will not reflect your true mathematics ability, and your performance in the course will be in serious jeopardy.
No. You take the exam only for the first mathematics class you take. If you fail the course and your ALEKS score is over 6 months old, however, you will have to take the exam again.
I received a low score on the ALEKS exam. What should I do?
The exam contains questions for students with varied strengths and backgrounds in mathematics, so you should not worry about your particular score. More important than your score is the class in which you should enroll. Your course of action will very much depend on your probable major. Please refer to our
for more information. Questions may be directed to
If you want a better score to get into a higher-level class, you have several options. If you lack formal training in one or more of the prerequisite topics for the courses, you should take the prerequisite course(s) at FAU. If you previously studied all of the prerequisites and feel that you need a refresher, ALEKS offers a variety of online learning modules, each six weeks in length, designed to work with students to enhance their mathematics ability. The cost for each six-week learning module is $30.00.
If your score was at or slightly above the minimum score required for enrolling in a particular course, you should still consider one of the above options for enhancing your mathematics ability. Keep in mind that the higher your score, the better you will likely perform in the class.
Which ALEKS learning module should I register for?
If you wish to better prepare yourself for your mathematics course or wish to place into a higher level class, the following modules are available through ALEKS. The cost of each ALEKS learning module is $30.00. Students are given six weeks to complete the module. You can register for the ALEKS learning modules at the same site as the placement exam.
Will my ALEKS score appear on my transcript? Who will know my score?
Your ALEKS score will not appear on your transcript. The score is used primarily to determine course placement. Some FAU advisors might also use the score to offer advice on your strengths and weaknesses in mathematics.
I am having technical problems with ALEKS. Whom should I contact?