FIU uses the Math Placement Score (MPS) to place incoming freshman students in introductory math courses. MPS is calculated based on the student's SAT/ACT score(s), high school GPA and high school math classes; it appears in the student's MyFIU account.
Students who do not have an MPS may need to take the ALEKS placement assessment to determine which math class to take first at FIU. These students will be advised at freshman or transfer orientation that they must take ALEKS. Students who must take the ALEKS assessment may include international students, homeschooled students and transfer students who do not have prior math credit.
ALEKS is a web-based artificially intelligent system designed to determine exactly what a student knows. This information is used to place a student in a class for which they have sufficient background knowledge.
Consult the MPS and ALEKS Placement Table for the classes you can register for depending on the score and your intended major.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Who must take the ALEKS placement assessment?
Students who do not have a Math Placement Score may need to take the ALEKS placement assessment to determine which math class to take first at FIU. These students will be advised at freshman or transfer orientation that they must take ALEKS. Students who must take the ALEKS assessment may include international students, homeschooled students and transfer students who do not have prior math credit.
We strongly encourage transfer students who do not have prior math credit and need higher-level math (beyond MAC 1105 - College Algebra) to take the assessment. If the score on the assessment is less than the required minimum for that course, as indicated in the table below, the student should seriously consider completing an ALEKS learning module.
- Why should I take it?
The placement assessment will evaluate your mathematics knowledge and skills level, helping your academic advisor to place you in a class in which you are most likely to succeed.
- When should I take the assessment?
Students who need to take the ALEKS assessment should do so before course registration, as a score will be required to register for any course except MAC 1105.
Do not wait until the last moment to take the assessment because if you are not satisfied with your score, you can retake the assessment or access the learning module and refresh your knowledge. Completing a learning module will require about 2-3 weeks.
The ALEKS placement score is valid for 18 months.
- How do I access the assessment?
To register and access the assessment for the first time:
Option 1: Complete in person - recommended for local students
- Go to the University Testing Center website
- Select "Register for an Exam"
- In the registration form, choose "ALEKS First Time - Biscayne Bay" or "ALEKS First Time - Modesto Maidique"
- Select date and complete requested information
- You will receive a confirmation via email
- Photo ID is required on the day of the exam For assistance or additional information, please call 305-348-2441 for MMC or 305-919-4043 for BBC
Option 2: Complete online - recommended for out-of-state students
- Go to the ALEKS placement assessment website
- Register as a new user by clicking on "NEW USER? SIGN UP NOW!" (You will be asked to input your name, email address, and student ID #, which is your FIU Panther ID )
Note: Make sure to enter your FIU Panther ID number and not any other ID number. Otherwise, FIU will not receive your score.
- If you don't know your FIU Panther ID, log into MyFIU and click on "look up your Panther ID." This number can also be found on your admission acceptance letter.
- Accept ALEKS Terms of Service and click Continue.
- You will be given a login name and password. You will have the option of changing given password to one you can easily remember. Write down the login information, as you will need it to access ALEKS. Upon completion of the registration, an email with your login information will be sent to the email address you provided. Please retain this email for future reference.
- After clicking Continue again, you will be taken to the site that contains the placement assessment and the learning modules.
- Click on Placement to take the assessment.
To access your records:
- Go to the ALEKS placement assessment website
- Log in using your given username and password
- Look for a Record button to access your past assessment(s)
To retake an assessment:
- Go to the University Testing Center website to schedule the assessment. During the registration process, you will be asked to pay proctoring fee; you might choose an option of paying the fee immediately prior to the assessment. Only credit/debit cards are accepted - no cash.
- Arrive at the University Testing Center 10 minutes before your scheduled time
- You will be directed to a testing room where you will be asked to log in to the ALEKS site. (Make sure you have your login name and password with you!)
- If it is your second attempt, you will begin the assessment; otherwise, you will be asked to pay the assessment fee ($15) directly to ALEKS corporation before you begin. Make sure to have a valid credit/debit card with you.
If you have any trouble accessing ALEKS Placement, please contact ALEKS Support Center at 714-619-7090.
- Do I need to install additional software or plug-ins?
You can check the system requirements at ALEKS Technical Support.
- What can I expect on the assessment?
This is a math assessment, so make sure that you have plenty of paper to write on. You do not need a calculator since ALEKS makes it available for certain problems. Before you start the assessment, you will go through a short tutorial on how to use ALEKS toolbar to input the answers. The assessment will consist of about 30 open-ended questions, some easy and some difficult. You will not know whether your answer is correct or not. Your answers determine what questions you are asked next, as ALEKS is probing the depth of your knowledge. Because of the adaptive nature of the assessment, you will not be able to go back and change your answer. Therefore, try to answer the questions to the best of your ability. You should answer "I don’t know" only if you truly don’t know the answer.
- How long does the assessment take? Is there a time limit?
On average, the assessment takes about 90 minutes. You will have 2 hours and 30 minutes. The assessment should be completed in one sitting, so plan accordingly. The time starts when you start the assessment. After 2 hours 30 minutes, the assessment will close and you will be assigned the score earned at that time. This will count as one attempt. If your first attempt is interrupted (power outage/ internet connection issues), try to login back as soon as possible to finish the assessment. If you don't sign in during the 2 h 30 min from the start of the assessment, ALEKS will consider your attempt complete and you will receive the score you earned at the time of the exit. If you are not happy with that score, you can retake the assessment at the University Testing Center.
- Should I ask for help while taking the assessment?
No, absolutely not. This assessment determines your placement
intoyour first mathematics class, so it is extremely important that your score reflects your true ability. Any help received to increase the score will jeopardize your success in that class, as you might be placed in a course for which you do not have sufficient background.
Receiving assistance on the ALEKS placement assessment is a violation of FIU's Code of Academic Integrity and is punishable under the provisions of that code.
- How do I find out my ALEKS score?
Your ALEKS score appears after you complete the assessment. You will see a pie chart showing your performance in different areas represented by color-keyed slices. The darker color in each slice represents your mastery level. Above the pie, you will see, under Course Mastery, the number of topics you did well on. At the bottom of this page, under the History tab, you will see a table that contains, among other things, the Assessment Performance Goal, which is your ALEKS score.
Your ALEKS score will be available to your advisor within 24-48 hours. If you need it sooner, please print the results.
- What does my score mean? What class am I eligible for?
Your score shows the level of your math preparedness and as such can be used to help you choose a class that you are likely to succeed in. If you take a class for which you don’t have required prerequisites, you will have a hard time passing it. ALEKS placement assessment evaluates your knowledge and indicates the class level that you can be successful in.
Consult the MPS and ALEKS Placement Table for the classes you can register for depending on the score and your intended major. You will be able to discuss your preferences with your academic advisor.
Please note that a student with an SAT math score below 440 or an ACT math score below 19 must take the PERT assessment for math placement. Contact the University Testing Center at 305-348-2441 for additional information.
- Do I have to take the assessment every time I want to register for a math course?
No, you will have to take ALEKS to register for your first math class only. Remember however that the ALEKS score is valid only for 18 months, so if you do not take the math class you place into or are not successful in it, and your score is over 18 months old at the start of the semester, you will have to retake ALEKS before you are allowed to take the class again. If you fail a course you placed into, register for a prerequisite course or purchase ALEKS learning module to refresh the skills needed for that class.
- I failed a prerequisite course. Can a satisfactory score on the placement assessment be used to meet that prerequisite?
No. Performance in an entire course is a much better measure of a student's proficiency than performance on a placement assessment. The placement assessment is used only when the available information about a student's performance in college-level math courses is insufficient to determine a placement. In short, if you take a prerequisite course and don't receive a C or better in it, you must repeat that course.
- Can I take the assessment more than once?
Yes. You can take the assessment as many times as you want. The second and subsequent attempts have to be taken at the University Testing Center (one attempt per day). Please visit the University Testing Center website for available dates and times.
- What can I do to increase my score?
ALEKS score is used only to place you in a class for which you have adequate background. It is extremely important that the score reflects your true abilities, so the class you take will be a good fit for you. The class might still be challenging, but your prerequisite knowledge will be sufficient to succeed in it.
However, if you believe that your ALEKS score underestimates your knowledge, you have two choices:
- Retake the assessment, or
- Complete one of the ALEKS learning modules and retake the assessment.
If your score is slightly above the minimum required for a specific class, you are encouraged to complete the learning module for that specific class to increase your skill level and boost your chances of successful completion of that course.
If your score is sufficient to register for calculus, make sure that you have a good knowledge of trigonometry and precalculus algebra (especially exponential and logarithmic functions). Without adequate background in these topics, you will have a very hard time in the class. You will probably be better off taking Precalculus Algebra and Trigonometry (MAC 1147) prior to Calculus I.
- How much does the assessment cost?
Your first two attempts of ALEKS Placement Assessment are free (paid for by the Mathematics and Statistics Department). Any subsequent attempt costs $25 and is payable directly to the ALEKS
corporation. A six-week access to a learning module costs $38.
For current proctoring fees, visit the University Testing Center website.
- Will the score appear on my transcript?
No, the score will be available to your advisor and used only to place you in the class in which you are most likely to succeed.