Math Placement Testing | ALEKS® PPL

Important information you should know about math placement testing:

  • You aren't required to take math placement tests if you received:
    • ACT math score 22 or higher (valid for 2 years from test date) or
    • SAT (pre-2016) math score 520 or higher or
    • SAT (2016 or later) math score 550 or higher or
    • you have prior college math credit.

    If you aren't required to take a math placement test, you will be placed in a math level based on your ACT/SAT scores. See the criteria for math levels »

    If you don't know which placement tests you should take, please consult an advisor. New full-time students will meet with an advisor during New-Student Orientation.

  • You'll take an initial practice test. You can take your practice test on your own anywhere you have an internet connection.  The practice test familiarizes you with the testing experience and allows the system to draw up a preparation and learning plan for you.
  • You'll take all subsequent placement tests in the Testing Center.
  • Once you begin your placement process, you will have access to your account for 12 months. You may take the test up to five times in that 12 month period at no charge. After twelve months, you must pay a $15 fee to reactivate an account to take additional math placement tests. If you’re unsure about your ALEKS access, please send an email to testingcenter@mchenry.edu or call (815) 479-7544.
    • Prior to coming to the Testing Center, be sure you can access your myMCC account with your username and password. If you don't have a username and password, or have forgotten yours, contact Registration at (815) 455-8588. You will not be able to take this test without accessing your myMCC account.
    • When you come to the Testing Center, you must bring a current photo ID and you'll need to know your myMCC username and password. No appointment necessary.
    • The program has a non-graphing calculator included; a handheld calculator is not allowed.
  • You're required to spend five hours of online study/review in the Prep and Learning module before taking test 3, 4, and 5. Once you access your Prep and Learning modules, your Prep and Learning access will expire after 6 months so, complete your placement process on a timely basis.
  • We'll use your highest test score for placement.
  • The test is not timed but you should allow 60 to 90 minutes for each test. You cannot begin a test within two hours of the Testing Center closing hours so arrive at least two hours before closing time.
  • Once you've begun a math class, you no longer qualify to take math placement testing.
Math Placement Testing | ALEKS
Tests Location Requirements
Test 1 Anywhere with internet connection We recommend that you take Test 1 as a practice test. This test will determine your Prep and Learning Modules. Your score is not used for placement.
Test 2 Testing Center Test 1 must be completed. We recommend working in the Prep and Learning Modules before taking Test 2. Score is used for placement.
Test 3 Testing Center Minimum of five hours in the Prep and Learning Modules is required and one-day waiting period after Test 2. Score is used for placement.
Test 4 Testing Center Minimum of five additional hours in the Prep and Learning Modules is required and one-day waiting period after Test 3. Score is used for placement.
Test 5 Testing Center Minimum of five additional hours in the Prep and Learning Modules is required and one-day waiting period after Test 3. Score is used for placement.
  • How can I prepare for placement testing?

    To prepare for math placement testing:

    • Take the ALEKS practice test - there's a link to your practice test in myMCC, in the lower right corner of your homepage
    • Review using the ALEKS Prep and Learning modules
    • For additional practice, you may download the Mathematics Review manuals (do not print in the MCC computer lab).
    • Purchase the Mathematics Review Manuals in the MCC Bookstore for around $5.
  • How can I take my practice math placement test?

    Log on to myMCC with your myMCC username and password. See assistance logging on to myMCC for the first time or contact the IT Help Desk at (815) 455-8457.

    Select the math placement link on the right side of your myMCC home page.

  • How do I unlock my learning modules?

    Modules are available to you once you take your first practice test and the modules are unlocked. Modules are unlocked when you work through the learning path tutorials after your first practice test.

  • Can I take my math placement test in Spanish?

    When you log on for the first time, the Español option appears in the bottom-right corner. If you prefer to view ALEKS PPL in Spanish, select this toggle to change the language to Spanish. You can toggle between an English and Spanish translation of the ALEKS PPL Placement Assessment and Prep and Learning Modules too.

  • When should I take my math placement test?

    It's best if you take your math placement test and enroll in a math class as soon as you enroll at MCC. If you wait to take a math class, plan to complete your placement process within one year of taking a math class. Plan to complete your math placement process within six months of taking test one. Taking the practice math placement test early allows you to complete the Prep and Learning Modules and retake the test if you're not satisfied with your placement.

    You must wait a minimum of one business day between taking each ALEKS test and completing the designated amount of time in the Prep and Learning Module.

  • What course will I take based on my ALEKS placement score?
    ALEKS Placement Scores
    If your score on the ALEKS placement test is Then you may enroll in the following course(s)
    0-13 MAT 090
    14-29 MAT 095
    30-45 MAT 099
    46-60 Math level 1:  (MAT 120, MAT 150, MAT 161*, MAT 165*, MAT 201*)
    61-75 Math level 2:  (MAT 170*, MAT 171*,  MAT 220*)
    76-100 Math level 3:  (MAT 175*)

    *A score of 46 or above on the ALEKS placement test satisfies the geometry prerequisite for these courses.

    You will not be permitted to enroll in any courses higher than your score range, but may enroll in any course below your score range.  Cut scores are subject to change. 

  • How many questions are on the math placement test?

    There will be a maximum of 30 questions. Before you begin, complete the tutorial which shows you how to enter different types of answers, how to use the ALEKS calculator, and how to graph. See a quick video introduction to ALEKS.

  • When can I take my next test?

    You must wait a minimum of one business day between taking each ALEKS test and complete the designated amount of time in the Prep and Learning Module.

  • What should I do if my ALEKS class is inactive?

    You have 12 months’ access to MCC’s math placement test after you create your ALEKS account. Once you start your placement process your access to the placement test will expire in 12 months. If your placement test account goes inactive, you will be required to pay a $15 retake fee to re-start your placement process. See directions for acquiring additional access to ALEKS.

  • What if I need accommodations to take my placement tests?

    Contact Access and Disability Services in A260 or at (815) 455-8766.

  • Where can I go for technical assistance with ALEKS?
  • What level math will I be placed in based on my ACT/SAT scores?

    Placement into college level English or math is determined through the following:

    • Placement testing
    • Valid ACT scores
    • Valid SAT scores
    • Prior college coursework (subject to review)
      • If you have completed college-level English or math previously, bring a copy of your transcript when meeting with an Academic Advisor to review prior coursework towards placement and/or prerequisites.

    English Placement testing is not required if you received the following ACT and/or SAT scores (valid for five years from test date ) – you will fulfill the prerequisite for ENG 151:

    • ACT: 21 or higher in English
    • PRE-2016 SAT: 990 composite (reading and writing) or 490 writing
    • 2016 or later SAT: composite reading and writing score of 550

    Math Placement testing is not required if you received the following ACT and/or SAT scores (valid for two years from test date):

    • You will fulfill the prerequisite for initial placement in LEVEL 1 MAT 120, MAT 150, MAT 161, MAT 165, MAT 201 if you have:
      • ACT: 22 to 27 in math or
      • PRE-2016 SAT: 520 or
      • 2016 or later SAT: 550
    • You will fulfill the prerequisite for initial placement in LEVEL 2 – MAT 170, MAT 171 and MAT 220 if you have:
      • Not completed a high school or college trigonometry course with a C or higher
      • ACT: 28 or higher in math or
      • PRE-2016 SAT: 640 or
      • 2016 or later SAT: 660
    • You will fulfill the prerequisite for initial placement in LEVEL 3 – MAT 175 if you have:
      • Completed a high school or college trigonometry course with a C or higher and
      • ACT: 28 or higher in math or
      • PRE-2016 SAT: 640 or
      • 2016 or later SAT: 660

    Geometry In order to fulfill the Illinois geometry requirement, some students will be required to take a geometry placement test if the following conditions are not satisfied:

    • ACT: 22 in math or
    • PRE-2016 math SAT: 520 or
    • 2016 or later math SAT: 550 or
    • Successful completion of a full year of high school geometry with a C- average or better or
    • Placement score of 46 on the ALEKS math placement test

    The geometry placement is a computer-based exam. You will have to take an un-proctored "practice exam" before taking your official exam in the Testing Center and you can take the exam up to four times. If you earn 70% or higher, you will not need to enroll in MAT 096 geometry. Please check with an advisor to determine if you are required to take the geometry placement. Once you confirm that you need to take the geometry placement, stop by A245, or call the Testing Center at (815) 479-7544 for information on your next steps.

    MCC offers Modern language placement exams in French, German, and Spanish. If you have prior experience with French, German or Spanish, plan to take a modern language placement exam. The French and German tests are in paper/pencil format.

    The Spanish placement test is computer-based and you'll need a valid email address in order to test.

    All modern language placement exams can take up to two hours and may be taken only one time.  Your score will be available immediately.

    • Please note: You can take the modern language placement exam one time and testing is not an option after taking a college-level modern language class.

    Placement scores are normally available immediately, but there are some instances when they must be sent off to be scored. Please plan in advance, and allow plenty of time for your results.

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