This Guide will help you determine, interpret, and improve your Math Placement tier, and show you how to use your ALEKS PPL Learning Module to revitalize and expand your mathematical knowledge.

Math Placement is a process! Assessments are essential components of that process, but enhancing your math skills through targeted study and learning about UCSC math courses are equally important steps on your path to success.

Math Placement Tiers
For enrollment purposes, your ALEKS assessment scores are converted to UCSC Math Placement tiers, which are transferred into your portal on specific posting dates. Your highest tier determines the UCSC math courses you're eligible to enroll in.

Learn about the UCSC Placement tiers.

ALEKS Learning Modules
Your Learning Module is an adaptive personalized self-study system offering targeted instruction for rapid improvement. A few hours study in your Module can improve your placement tier or boost your odds of excelling in your courses.

Using your ALEKS Learning Module.


  1. I took my last assessment on June 30, and scored a 77 (400 range). However, my test score has not been updated on “my test scores” page. Please let me know why.

  2. Because you posted your question two minutes after the first score posting cutoff after you completed your assessment. Score posting isn’t automated – one person runs and preprocesses the ALEKS reports, and then sends them to another person who posts them to our Academic Information System. That’s typically completed within a few hours, but not a few minutes.

  3. I scored low and in the 100 range. I want to go through the modules and reassess. In general, I know everyone is different, how long to the modules take to complete?

    • Both rates of progress and amounts of material to be reviewed/learned vary widely. Also, very few students complete their Learning Module – some review a lot of material, but many just spend the time required to be eligible to reassess – so I don’t think giving you the average time for those few students would be a good guide.

      Just to be clear: you don’t need to complete your Learning Module (LM) to be eligible to reassess; you need to work in your LM for at least five hours between assessments. You can (and should) keep working in your LM after you’ve placed into the tier you’re aiming for.

      Given that you scored low and seem committed to improving your placement, I’ll suggest the following approach: work in your LM long enough to have had one or two Knowledge Checks (and at least five hours, of course). If the Knowledge Checks show that you’re retaining the material you’ve been working on and can reliably recognize which concepts are being checked in each problem, then reassess. If your Knowledge Checks indicate that you tend to get flustered if you’re not sure what approach to use in a problem, consider using some outside resources (Kahn Academy, the UCI videos, a tutor, …) in addition to ALEKS, and specifically practice ID’ing problems.

      Important: Knowledge Checks assess your mastery of the material you’ve been working on, and the material underlying that. Placement assessments assess your mastery of everything up through precalculus. Some students tense up when they get a question they can’t answer in a placement assessment, but the best thing to do is simply give it your best shot and keep going. If the material starts becoming increasingly elementary, SLOW DOWN; you’ve probably been submitting a lot of incorrect answers. If you start getting a lot of questions that are at the advanced edge of what you’ve learned, that’s a good sign – ALEKS is looking for the boundaries of your knowledge, so if ALEKS is exploring the actual boundaries of what you’ve seen before, that means you’re successfully answering questions on material you’re familiar with.

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