What is ALEKS PPL?
ALEKS PPL is a program that provides individualized learning and assessment. It uses open-response questioning to zero in on your strengths and weaknesses in math, reports its findings, and provides you the opportunity to improve your placement with targeted learning.
Do I need to use ALEKS PPL?
Depending on your major you may need to use ALEKS PPL to satisfy math requirements or to enroll into the prerequisite math course. We recommend taking a look at the Math Requirements by Major page to determine what math courses you need.

If your major (minor) does not have a math requirement, then you do not need to use ALEKS PPL. Likewise, if you have qualifying AP/IB math scores or equivalent transfer credit you do not need ALEKS.

Is there a fee to use ALEKS PPL?
There is no fee to create your initial ALEKS PPL account, which is active for one year and can be extended upon request. If the placement cohort (eg. Math Placement, All Year 2020) has been deactivated, you may need to purchase into a secondary ALEKS PPL license for $20.00.

What if I have AP/IB Scores?
Check the Math Advanced Placement Scores & Other Credit page to see if your AP/IB scores satisfies the Math Placement prerequisite to enroll into your needed math course.
What if I took a college course?
You may be able to receive transfer credit for college level math courses at either a community college or another four year college or university. You must submit official transcripts and any supporting documentation by the appropriate deadlines.

When should I take my assessment?
We recommend that you complete your first placement assessment in late spring or early summer if you’ll be taking a UCSC math course in the coming academic year. That allows ample time for guided review and learning, as well as reassessment if you want to improve your placement.

Your ALEKS PPL license and Learning Module remain active for one year, so you can get started now, be ready to enroll in your target course, and use your Learning Module for efficient targeted review any time you want it in the coming year.

How many questions are on the assessment?
The ALEKS placement assessment contains up to 30 questions and usually takes about 90 minutes to complete, though your time may be longer or shorter.
What topics are covered on the assessment?
ALEKS PPL covers a broad range of mathematics topics.

  • Real numbers (including fractions, integers, and percentages)
  • Equations and inequalities (including linear equations, linear inequalities, systems of linear equations, and quadratic equations)
  • Linear and quadratic functions (including graphs and functions, linear functions, and parabolas)
  • Exponents and polynomials (including rational equations and rational functions)
  • Rational expressions (including rational equations and rational functions)
  • Radical expressions (including higher roots and rational exponents)
  • Exponentials and logarithms (including function compositions and inverse functions, properties of logarithms, and logarithmic equations)
  • Geometry and trigonometry (including perimeter, area, and volume, coordinate geometry, trigonometric functions, and identities and equations)
Is there a time limit on the assessment?
Once you start your assessment you will have 24 hours to complete it. You can take as long as you need to answer any individual question, so long as you complete the assessment within 24 hours. If for any reason you need to stop the assessment, you may return to it later. Your work will be saved, and you will be able to reenter the assessment where you left off. If you do not complete the assessment within 24 hours of starting, you will be required to start over from the beginning. Most students report taking 60–90 minutes to complete the assessment.

What information and materials do I need to take the assessment?
You will need your UC Santa Cruz Gold login credentials to create an account in ALEKS PPL. You will only need a paper and pencil to work out the problems. ALEKS will provide an onscreen calculator as needed.
How many times can I assess?
If you don’t meet your placement goal in your first assessment, you can reassess a maximum of two times. You must work in your ALEKS Learning Module for at least five hours and wait out a 24 hour ‘cooling off’ period between placement assessments, so give yourself plenty of time. You can use the learning modules during the ‘cooling off’ period
When will my ALEKS math placement score be posted?
You’ll see your placement assessment score in ALEKS as soon as you complete your assessment, but your MP tier will appear in your UCSC portal within three business days after the day you complete your assessment.
What is my MP tier (math placement tier), and how does it relate to my ALEKS results?
When your ALEKS results are posted to your UCSC portal that result is converted to your MP tier. You can find a conversion table here.
Why can't I reassess in ALEKS?
If you’ve met the reassessment criteria, 24 hour cooling off period, and five hours in the learning modules but still can’t reassess, contact ALEKS technical support.

I have reached the limit on the number of assessment attempts in ALEKS PPL. Can I request to reassess one more time?
In 2021, the UC Santa Cruz Academic Senate made a policy change that limited the number of assessment attempts for each student to three attempts.  Since ALEKS PPL is an adaptive assessment tool and is designed to help students prepare for math courses at UC Santa Cruz, your final placement score should adequately place you into the math course that is appropriate for your skill level.  Trust in the placement results.  We want to set you up for success.  

This course may not ultimately be the course you wanted to take but there are pathways to get to the courses that you need for your major.  Here are your options:

  • Enroll in the math course you are eligible for at UC Santa Cruz.  Then, when you have passed this course, take the next course in the sequence.

If you have AP or IB scores, you may use qualifying scores to place into mathematics courses without using your ALEKS PPL score.

My ALEKS license has expired. How can I renew my license?
You can request to renew your license by filling out the Application for an additional ALEKS PPL license form. Placement cohorts (e.g., Math Placement, All Year 2020) are active for two years: students are admitted to the cohort only during the first year; the cohort remains active for a second year to allow all students in the cohort full use of their one year ALEKS license. We stop issuing license extensions in a cohort six months before the cohort is deactivated. You will need to purchase a secondary ALEKS PPL license for $20.00.

What if I have technical difficulties during the assessment?
The ALEKS Support page is a good resource for troubleshooting your technical difficulties. You can also reach out to ALEKS support if you are unable to resolve the issue.

Who can I contact if I have questions about math placement or ALEKS PPL?
You can get a hold of someone for math placement and/or ALEKS PPL-related questions by filling out the Math Placement Help Form.