UMass Boston

Math Placement

Who needs to take the ALEKS Math Placement Exam?

All new first year students are encouraged to take the ALEKS Math Placement Exam to determine their starting point in math. Any continuing or transfer student wishing to take Calculus or a course on the Calculus track (ex: College Algebra, Pre-Calculus) must demonstrate readiness for the course. 

The goal of ALEKS is to provide an accurate reflection of your preparation and aptitude so that you can select the right math course to meet your educational needs. Some considerations:

  1. Important:  Learn why taking ALEKS on your own, and without any outside help is the fastest path to math success. Hold yourself to high ethical standards, and adhere to the University's academic integrity expectations when taking the ALEKS assessment. Any breach of the University's academic integrity expectations is a violation of the University's Code of Conduct, and will likely result in a compromised educational experience that may lead to poor grades or a delayed graduation. Read more about academic integrity. 
  2. Identify which math course(s) are required for your selected academic program.
  3. Think about your past math experiences, and assess your aptitude and preparation. 
  4. Consider the course sequence that will best lead you to success.
    • Value the benefit of building foundational knowledge and pursue your math development in a sound educational manner.
    • Not ready for your required math course? That's okay! Consider taking one of the pre-requisite courses.
      (e.g., Instead of starting with Calculus I, you may want to first build up your skills in College Algebra or Pre-Calculus.)
    • Each math class in a sequence builds on the on the one before it. Your instructor will not be able to teach content that should have been mastered before you came to the class.
    • Consult with your faculty or professional advisor to select a starting course that is both aligned with your ALEKS math placement result, and will also provide optimal foundational knowledge.  
    • Math proficiency is expected in most introductory and advanced STEM courses.
  5. Ensure that your testing environment minimizes distractions and that you have two hours of uninterrupted time. 
  6. To access the ALEKS Math Assessment: Log into WISER→My Academics→Placement Testing→ALEKS Math Place, Prep, Learn. Make sure the pop-up blocker on your internet browser is disabled or the link will not open.
  7. If you have any trouble accessing ALEKS through WISER, contact 

Additional notes: 

  • Understand your Quantitative Reasoning Requirement
    • BA: Math 114Q, Math 115, Math 125 (or substitute statistics).  Visit the ACES Testing Center website to learn about QR waivers for BA students. 
    • BS: Math 135, 140, or 145 depending upon major requirements

  • Visit the Math Placement website for information, including how to access it.
    • STEM students are highly encouraged to begin on the Calculus track (Math 115 -> Math 130 -> Math 140)
    • Math 114QR is typically not taken by students pursuing a Bachelor of Science because it is not part of the calculus track. 
    • Students who wish to attempt the placement test for a second time will need to spend at least three (3) hours in the ALEKS learning module before retaking the assessment. Five (5) hours of time in the ALEKS learning module will be required for a third attempt. 

  • Complete the pre-requisite math course (time and grade restrictions apply). For details, visit the Math Department Student Resource page.  
  • The Math Department offers helpful Student Aids including: ALEKS Expiration Grid, Pre-requisite Guide, & Course Learning Outcomes.
  • Some transfer courses do not count as exact UMass Boston equivalents. See the Math Transfer Electives for a listing of these courses.  Work closely with an academic advisor to understand how your transfer courses count towards your degree requirements and to select the next appropriate course in sequence.  
  • If you have any questions about Math Placement, please contact the Student Success Center.