Getting Started in ALEKS

Registering in ALEKS PPL

The following video will guide you through the registration process. You can also read the video script.


ALEKS PPL has an accessibility mode for blind persons using an assistive listening system (screen reader technology). JAWS 17+ is required. If you use screen reader technology, don't use the registration link on this page.  Contact the Disability Resource Center for additional information and instructions on registering in an ALEKS PPL cohort that supports the accessibility mode.  Our apologies for the extra step—ALEKS' artificial intelligence adaptively selects questions from a pool of tens of thousands of qualitatively different problems, which creates technical challenges in accessibility.

Your first ALEKS PPL session

After you register in ALEKS, you'll complete a one question survey, practice using the ALEKS input tools, and then start your first placement assessment. The ALEKS PPL First Assessment Walkthrough has more details.

Once you've completed your initial assessment, you'll be able to select your Learning Module. Be sure to learn about the Modules in the Guide to Success before making your choice.

Two important warnings

Before you start, we want to head you off from two common and easily avoided sources of confusion and regret among assessment novices.

ALEKS login gateway

Use a UCSC login gateway

Only use UCSC ALEKS gateways to log in to ALEKS PPL, for both assessments and work in your Learning Module, and use your Gold password.

If you go directly to ALEKS Corp's website, they'll be happy to sign you up, but they'll want money from you and won't be able to share your results with UCSC. If you use a UCSC gateway to something other than ALEKS, you won't arrive at ALEKS.

Your first assessment shapes your ALEKS learning path

For peak learning efficiency, ALEKS recommends the Learning Module best matched to your current abilities, as demonstrated in your first placement assessment, and creates a custom-fit course covering only the material within the Module that you need to learn or review. To get the full benefit of ALEKS' adaptivity, help ALEKS form an accurate model of your current knowledge and skills by solving every problem in your assessment to the best of your ability.

If you rush through your initial assessment, ALEKS might recommend a Learning Module below your true abilities.  If you skip a problem when you're assessing because you don't like it—even though you could solve it—expect to see similar problems in your Learning Module; if you bite the bullet and show ALEKS that you can solve that kind of problem, ALEKS won't ask you to practice them, but will allow you to if you want to.

Now that you know what to do—and what not to do—you're ready to register and take your first assessment. Good luck!


  1. Hello

    I clicked on the “register in ALEKS” button after watching the ppl tutorial video and what ensued did not play out like the video did. Instead it went to the ALEKS page gave me an option to register and when I did that the only thing I could do was “sign up for a new class.” When I did that it asked me to enter a “new course code” which I do not have. My question to you is how do I get a code? I’m a returning student to UCSC so maybe that has something to do with the complications I ran into.

    • David,

      If you already have/had a UCSC ALEKS PPL account, you’ll see what you describe or something close to that, depending on the status of your existing account. The video shows what should be seen by a first time user.

      There should be a button that says “Other courses” or something close to that (it’s been awhile) on your ALEKS home page; look for “Math Placement, All year 2015” on your home page or that “Other courses” page. If you can’t find that, or it doesn’t let you in, fill out the form you’ll be taken to by the “Help” link under Resources in the main menu of the Math Coach.


  2. Hello,

    I recently finished my placement exam on ALEKS. Is there a way for me to send my score to UCSC or is it automatically sent?

  3. Automatic for you, but not for us (unfortunately). UCSC runs an ALEKS report and posts new placement scores on a regular schedule. June through August, scores are posted every Monday except July 3 (holiday).

      • We (UCSC) process the scores weekly. Being a finicky mathematician, I feel compelled to say that they aren’t automatically sent to us – we reach out and grab them from ALEKS. Relevant point for you: you don’t need to notify us that you’ve taken an assessment, or send us your score, or anything like that.

  4. I don’t know which others you’re referring to. If you mean additional placement assessments, keep reading. If not, please tell me a little more.

    It’s a really, really good idea to reassess if you initially place into the 100 or 200 tier, or if don’t initially place into the calculus course you need for your (intended) major, but reassessment isn’t mandatory. The Guide to Success give the stats for UCSC students who reassess – if you take a look at those numbers, you’ll see why we encourage students to reassess if their initial score isn’t all they’d like it to be. Your best score determines your placement, so there’s no downside to reassessing.

    Unless money isn’t a concern, settling for a low placement and retaking a course you already had in high school isn’t a great strategy. The guaranteed easy A is a myth – at least in math – and there are better things to do with your time and tuition.

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