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FAQs: September 30, 2014 and Prior

What is ALEKS?
Assessment and Learning in Knowledge Spaces is a Web-based assessment and learning system. ALEKS uses adaptive questioning to quickly and accurately determine exactly what you know and don't know in a subject. Instructions on how to take the assessment will appear after you enter ALEKS through your MyUNIverse account. The ALEKS assessment is designed to be taken without a calculator. Use of a calculator may affect the accuracy of your placement recommendation.

What is the math placement assessment through ALEKS?
The Math Placement assessment through ALEKS covers a broad spectrum of pre-calculus material. The ALEKS system is fully automated and the ALEKS assessment is adaptive. The first questions asked will be drawn from across the curriculum, and may be too easy or too hard. As the assessment proceeds, your answers will be used to give the system an idea of your knowledge, and it will gradually focus the questioning in an individually appropriate way. By the end of the assessment you should find the questions generally challenging but reasonable for your individual level of knowledge. 

Why is it important to complete ALEKS?
New students must complete ALEKS in order to register for a UNI math course.  ALEKS will assist you in choosing the appropriate university-level math and physics course(s) based on your knowledge and skills in math.  ALEKS identifies any weak areas you may have and provides review modules that will help you to improve those weaknesses, and therefore will help you be better prepared to succeed in university math and physics courses. 

How long with it take to complete ALEKS?
You should allow 1-2 hours to complete the assessment. You will be given 20-35 questions during the assessment. The exact number of questions will vary due to the adaptive mechanism. 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 the topic, and this will be reflected in the assessment results. If you do not do your best on the assessment, ALEKS will underestimate your knowledge.

Who is expected to take the math assessment through ALEKS?
All new freshman students at UNI are required to take the math assessment through ALEKS, as are all new transfer students who plan to take a math course or physics during their time at UNI, and all College of Business majors (regardless of which math courses already completed).

When do I take the ALEKS?
As a new student entering UNI you must complete the ALEKS exam in advance of orientation, at least two weeks prior to your scheduled orientation session. It is recommended that you complete ALEKS near the end of last math class, so that the material you've learned is fresh in your mind when you complete the assessment.

Will I be charged a fee to complete ALEKS?
There is no additional fee to take the ALEKS assessment the first or second time.  However, if you choose to complete an online review module in order to work on your areas of deficiency, you will pay $30 plus tax for a six-week subscription to the module.  If you choose to take ALEKS more than twice in order to increase your score, you will be charged a $15 fee per re-take.

How do I access the math placement assessment through ALEKS?
Through your MyUNIverse account. Use your CatID login and password to access MyUNIverse. You can find your CatID in your admissions letter. MyUNIverse can be accessed by clicking

Do I need to install any software to plug-ins prior to taking the Math Assessment? 
Yes, there is an ALEKS plug-in. Once in ALEKS, the system will automatically install the plug-in, but you do have to authorize installation. After it is installed, you will need to close your browser window and then go back into MyUNIverse to take the ALEKS placement assessment. ALEKS is cross-platform accessible.

Who do I contact if I'm having technical problems with ALEKS?
You should contact ALEKS directly if you experience any technical difficulties with the software or plug-in. ALEKS technical support is (714) 619-7090. You may also access the following online help resources: 
If you experience difficulty installing the plugin see:
Contact ALEKS by email through the following sites:
For additional technical information and FAQ:

How long are my ALEKS scores valid? 
Your score is good for 2 full academic semesters. 

Do I need to take the assessment if I have AP credit or transfer credit in calculus? 
Yes. Even though your AP scores and transfer credits will be used to give you credit for the corresponding course, the results of the assessment will be used in your placement in another course. If your score does not indicate mastery of prerequisite material, you will be strongly advised to retake a course for which you have credit to ensure that you are properly prepared for the following course.

How will my score on ALEKS be used to select my math course? 
Your academic advisor will use your score on the ALEKS assessment to determine your placement in UNI math and physics courses. If you would like to improve your score, consider taking one of the ALEKS online review modules to address your areas of deficiency. After building your skills through the modules, re-take the assessment.

When will I meet with my advisor to discuss my ALEKS score and enroll in classes? 
You will meet with your advisor during orientation. Your advisor will discuss your ALEKS scores, your academic interests, and academic background with you and then you will enroll in courses during orientation. For additional information about orientation programs, please visit:

What can I do if my scores on ALEKS are lower than I expected?
If your score on ALEKS are lower than you expected or hoped, you are strongly encouraged to complete the review modules available on the ALEKS website. These review modules are designed by ALEKS to address the area(s) of deficiency as revealed by the assessment. After completing the review modules, you may elect to complete the assessment a second time.

Can I earn college credit by completing ALEKS?

Where can I find out more about mathematics courses and get answers to questions about Mathematics placement?
You will learn more about UNI courses, advising, and placement during new student orientation. More information about ALEKS and math courses at UNI is available by contacting the Department of Mathematics: 319-273-2631, emailing or online at:

What do I do if my web browser gets stuck or my computer crashes while I'm taking the test? 
Simply close the browser, or log out of the test. and then log back in. ALEKS will resume the test exactly where you left off, with no loss of your previous answers.