Like most universities, the University of Maine requires students to meet a quantitative literacy requirement. Courses in many fields of study fulfill this requirement, and many of these courses do not require math placement information. A full list may be found in the catalog here (General Education Requirements, then Quantitative Literacy).
The following menu will guide you to the specific information you need regarding math placement.
- Majors and Courses That Require Math Placement Information
- Types of Placement Information
- Instructions for Accessing the ALEKS PPL Assessment (Math Placement Exam)
- About ALEKS Placement, Preparation and Learning (ALEKS PPL) Assessment
- Getting Ready to Take ALEKS
- Taking the Placement Exam
- Placement Results
- Prep and Learning Modules
- Technical Support
Majors and Courses That Require Math Placement Information
About two thirds of the majors offered at UMaine, as well as many minors, require a specific course or courses in mathematics, or another course that necessitates placement in math. If your major is on the list here, or if you are simply interested in taking a course that has a math placement prerequisite, then information about the appropriate math placement for you will be needed.
At UMaine, the ALEKS PPL Assessment is used to determine which math courses line up best with your math skills. Placement information for math may also be necessary for other courses. These are courses with placement information needed:
|Designator||Number||Title||Placement or Prerequisite|
|CHY||121||General Chemistry I||A grade of C or better in MAT 111, 116, 122 or 126, or no grade in any of these and a 61 or higher on the ALEKS Assessment|
|CHY||131||Chemistry for Civil, Electrical and Mechanical Engineers||MAT 122 (or MAT 126 or MAT 127) and only Civil, Electrical, and Mechanical Engineering majors|
|COS||125||Introduction to Problem Solving Using Computer Programming||A grade of C or better in MAT 111 or higher, or no grade record in MAT 111 and a 61 or higher on the ALEKS Assessment|
|MAT||111||Algebra for College Mathematics [no gen. ed. credit]||30 or higher on the ALEKS Assessment|
|MAT||115||Applied Mathematics for Business and Economics||A grade of C or better in MAT 111, or no grade record in MAT 111 and a 61 or higher on the ALEKS Assessment|
|MAT||116||Introduction to Calculus||A grade of C or better in MAT 111, or no grade record in MAT 111 and a 61 or higher on the ALEKS Assessment|
|MAT||122||Pre-calculus||A grade of C or better in MAT 111, or no grade record in MAT 111 and a 61 or higher on the ALEKS Assessment|
|MAT||126||Calculus||A grade of C or better in MAT 122, or no grade record in MAT 122 and a 76 or higher on the ALEKS Assessment|
|PHY||121||Physics for Engineers & Physical Scientists I||MAT 126 completed or taken concurrently|
Types of Placement Information
- If you earned at least a C in a college math course that is equivalent to MAT 111 (Algebra for College Mathematics) or to a higher-level math course, you can transfer that course to UMaine. Once the transfer is processed, the course can then be used to meet an applicable requirement for your program and/or as a prerequisite for placement.
- If you have scored a 670 or higher on the math portion of the SAT, or a 29 or higher on the math portion of the ACT, and your score has been reported to UMaine, then you can be enrolled in any math class up to MAT 126 (Calculus I).
- If you earned a score of 3 or higher on an AP Calculus test, and your score has been reported to UMaine, you will receive credit for MAT 126 (AB Calculus exam) or MAT 126 and MAT 127 (BC Calculus exam). That credit can be used to meet an applicable requirement for your program and/or as a prerequisite. See here for more AP information. (IB score credit may meet a general education requirement but cannot be used as a math prerequisite. See here for more IB information.)
Transfer or AP credit may be used for placement in the next level course, or to retake the same course. Either way, the ALEKS Assessment is not needed unless you wish to place into a course above the next level. Be aware that if you retake a course for which you already have credit, you will not receive credit a second time; the retaken course replaces the initial one. Most students do proceed to the next level rather than retaking a course. Students using transfer credit in MAT 122, MAT 126, or MAT 127 for their initial placement should contact the Department of Mathematics and Statistics for assistance with registration.
You will need to take the ALEKS Assessment if your intended academic program (major or minor) requires a placement (click here to check) and you do not have any of the alternative placement information in #1-3 above.
If you are not confident that your alternative placement information accurately reflects your preparation, you may wish to take the ALEKS Assessment to confirm it, and to benefit from the Prep and Learning Modules in ALEKS. You are welcome to contact your advisor, the staff member assisting you with registration, your college Dean’s Office, or the Department of Mathematics and Statistics for guidance.
Instructions for Accessing the ALEKS PPL Assessment (Math Placement Exam)
- Step 1: Navigate to this link (https://redirector.apps.maine.edu/mathplacement) and login with your University Single Sign-On credentials. Select the Math Placement Exam for University of Maine (if not automatically redirected)
- Step 3: Your account is now linked/paired to ALEKS. Click on “Continue”.
- Step 4: Follow the First Time Use Experience guide on the site. Complete the Survey (if required)
- Step 5: Complete the Tools Tutorial (if necessary).
- Step 6: Install the Respondus Browser (https://www.aleks.com/support/lockdown_system_requirements). Note that the Respondus Browser will not work on Chromebooks. For assistance installing the Respondus Browser, visit: https://mhedu.force.com/aleks/s/alekscontactsupport
- You may Begin the ALEKS Placement Assessment.
About ALEKS Placement, Preparation and Learning (ALEKS PLL) Assessment
The ALEKS Placement, Preparation and Learning (ALEKS PPL) Assessment is used at UMaine to determine readiness for mathematics courses. ALEKS PPL is a web-based program that uses artificial intelligence to map a student’s strengths and weaknesses. The Placement Assessment is up to 30 questions and generally takes 60-90 minutes to complete. After the Placement Assessment, an individualized Prep and Learning Module is available for students to refresh their knowledge on forgotten topics. Students then have the opportunity to reassess and improve their placement.
ALEKS consists of three parts:
- An Initial Placement Assessment
- The Prep and Learning Module, an individualized, self-paced online review
- Access to up to two additional Placement Assessments
The University of Maine encourages each student to spend time in the Prep and Learning Module, even if the desired score is achieved, because time spent in ALEKS will ultimately lead to better preparation and improved grades.
What is the Purpose of Placement Testing?
The Placement Assessment results will be used to determine the most appropriate courses for each student as they move forward with college coursework.
This is a “Placement Assessment,” not a test. The difference is that a Placement Assessment is designed to determine what a student knows and what a student needs to work on. At the end of the ALEKS PPL Assessment, students will have a much better sense of their strengths and weaknesses in math. Students then have a chance to brush up on topics that may have been forgotten or haven’t been practiced for some time.
Be honest. It is important that the Placement Assessment is taken seriously and each student gives it an honest effort so that the Placement Assessment truly reflects their current level of knowledge and math preparedness. There is no benefit to cheating on the Placement Assessment – the only result will be that a student enrolls in a class that is too difficult, or not challenging enough, potentially costing time and money. Therefore, while taking the Placement Assessment, students should not consult any outside sources for help (friends/family, internet searches, textbooks, notes etc…). The purpose of the Placement Assessment is to give an accurate measure of a student’s current mathematical knowledge so that they will be successful in mathematics courses. For more information on intellectual honesty, students may also consult the University of Maine Student Conduct Code.
How will I benefit from placement?
Students arrive at the University with various levels of math knowledge. The purpose of placement is to ensure that you do not waste time and money either taking a class on material you have already mastered, or taking a class which you do not pass because you are not adequately prepared.
Getting Ready to Take ALEKS
Generally, any student whose academic program is noted on the list here must take the ALEKS assessment unless they have an alternative form of placement into the course(s) they need for their program. The three alternatives (briefly, transfer, ACT/SAT, or AP) are explained above. Students in other programs who wish to take a course with a placement requirement will also need to take ALEKS unless they have an alternative form of placement. A list of courses with placement information needed is above.
When do I take the ALEKS PPL Assessment?
The ALEKS PPL Assessment is available to students once they have committed to the University of Maine, paid their deposit, and activated their UMS ID and password. (Note that it may take up to 24 hours after receiving your UMS ID and password before you will have access to the ALEKS PPL Assessment).
When you take the ALEKS PPL Assessment is up to you. If you anticipate needing placement information, especially for a course in your first semester or year of college, we encourage you to take ALEKS as soon as you can, so that your registration is not delayed because of missing placement information. In addition, it is beneficial to take the assessment while math knowledge is fresh in your mind from high school or preparatory classes. Waiting an extended amount of time to complete the ALEKS Assessment may result in an incomplete schedule if courses in your specific major require placement information .
Are ALEKS PPL Assessments proctored?
ALEKS PPL Assessments are not proctored; ALEKS instead uses the Respondus Lock-down Browser during the assessment. Be aware that before you enter into the assessment, ALEKS will take you through the process of downloading and installing the lock-down browser on the computer you will be using. It is important that this computer has the necessary permissions that will permit you to download and install Respondus. Note that the Respondus Lock-down Browser is not compatible with Chromebook.
Is there a fee for using ALEKS?
Students will be billed $25 for using the ALEKS Placement Assessment. This fee appears on their student account, viewable in MaineStreet, as a Math Placement Exam fee. This small fee covers three possible attempts as well as access to one Prep and Learning Module. In the event that you need to access an additional Prep and Learning Module, please reach out to your advisor.
Do I need to install any software or plug-ins prior to taking the ALEKS Placement Assessment?
No. There are no plug-ins or apps required with your use of ALEKS PPL. As long as you have access to the internet and are using an updated browser, you should not experience difficulties in taking your Placement Assessment. For a list of preferred browsers, please review the ALEKS system requirements on their support site: http://www.aleks.com/support/system_requirements
What topics are covered during the ALEKS PPL Assessment?
ALEKS PPL is an online, adaptive system that covers a broad spectrum of mathematics topics. The length of the Placement Assessment will vary, but can be up to 30 questions. You will see some, but probably not all, of the math you have learned in high school. It is a Placement Assessment, not a preview of math courses at the University of Maine. It is designed to identify if you are prepared for a particular course. After you take your first Placement Assessment, you will have the opportunity to review and master additional topics to reassess and improve your placement by completing a Prep and Learning Module. The Topics included on the ALEKS Assessment are the ones typically taught in high school mathematics courses.
Can I practice using the ALEKS system before I begin the Placement Assessment?
ALEKS will begin with a brief tutorial to make sure you are comfortable with the math palette tools before your Placement Assessment begins. The tutorial shows you how to enter different types of answers, how to use the ALEKS calculator, and how to graph. If you aren’t sure how to input an answer, or need help while you are taking the ALEKS Placement Assessment, select the Help button below the answer pallet tools. Going to the tutorial during your Placement Assessment will NOT impact your Placement Assessment results.
Who should I contact if I require a disability accommodation to complete the ALEKS Placement Assessment?
If a student requires additional accommodations such as extra time or the use of a screen reader, please contact University of Maine Student Accessibility Services.
Taking the Placement Exam
ALEKS is not multiple-choice. It is open-response. You will work out solutions with paper and pencil, then enter them into ALEKS. Be sure to have scratch paper with you.
May I use a calculator while using ALEKS?
ALEKS will provide an on-screen calculator if you need one to complete a particular problem. Otherwise, calculators are not permitted during the Placement Assessment.
May I use any other resources during a Placement Assessment?
You may only use a pen or pencil, paper, and the resources provided within ALEKS. You should not receive assistance from friends, family, other websites, textbooks, or any other resource not provided by ALEKS. Using outside resources will lead to improper placement and potentially course failure, if it results in you being placed in a course for which you are not prepared. It is a violation of the University of Maine’s Student Conduct Code.
Can I review a question after I’ve answered it?
Because ALEKS is adaptive, once you submit an answer, you cannot change it. Be sure to carefully check your answer before submitting your response.
What if I see questions I don’t know?
It is likely that you will be asked questions on material you have not yet learned. On such questions it is appropriate to answer, I don’t know. On any question that you have familiarity with, however, it is important to do your best. I don’t know is interpreted by ALEKS to mean that you do not know how to solve the topic, and this will be reflected in the Placement Assessment results. There is no penalty for incorrectly answering a question on the Placement Assessment. Any answer only helps ALEKS understand what you know and don’t know.
Are Placement Assessments timed?
The ALEKS Placement Assessment is limited to three hours. However, most students take 60-90 minutes to complete the ALEKS Placement Assessment.
What happens if I do not complete a Placement Assessment in the allotted time?
You will be given a placement result, but it will not be a true reflection of your abilities.
I am ready to start my ALEKS PPL Assessment. How do I begin?
ALEKS uses the Respondus Lock-down Browser during the administration of the assessment. Before you enter into the assessment, ALEKS will guide you through the process of downloading and installing the lock-down browser on the computer you will be using. It is important that this computer has the necessary permissions that will permit you to download and install Respondus. Note that the Respondus Lock-down Browser is not compatible with Chromebook.
Your placement result (overall score) is a number between 0 and 100. It represents the percentage of topics ALEKS has identified you to have mastered.
Course placement at the University of Maine is determined as follows:
|76 or higher||
|61 or higher||
|30 or higher||
If you have scored below 30 on the ALEKS Placement Exam, your score indicates your math skills need review in order for you to be prepared for MAT 111. Please work through the ALEKS learning modules and retake the assessment to improve your score.
Once you have finished the ALEKS Placement Assessment, your score will be automatically uploaded to your student record. Once the score is uploaded, you will be eligible to register for math courses as indicated in the placement guide. You can check to see that your placement results have been uploaded by logging in to MaineStreet and viewing your Placement Test Scores in the Student Menu.
If you are not satisfied with your placement, you can retake the assessment. You are required to use the Prep and Learning modules for a minimum of five hours in between each attempt to prepare. See Improving your score below for more information.
Where can I see my score?
You will receive your score immediately upon completion of your Placement Assessment. Your ALEKS score can also be viewed by re-entering ALEKS using the same access link at which you took the Placement Assessment. Scores will be available through your MaineStreet account as well. Although your score is stored in MaineStreet, it will not be displayed on your transcript.
How long is my placement result valid?
Your placement result is valid throughout your time as a UMaine student, with no expiration date.
What if I do not place into the course I wanted?
To improve your score, take advantage of the Prep and Learning Modules offered within ALEKS PPL. An individualized study plan will be created based on your performance on the Initial Placement Assessment. ALEKS will identify what you know and what you are ready to learn next so you can brush up on lost knowledge and then, after five hours using the module, retake the ALEKS Assessment.
Students can select the study module that corresponds to the course they would like to be placed into. Each module includes some review of earlier material but the emphasis is different depending on the module selected.
Students who want to work toward enrollment into MAT 111 should use the Prep for Intermediate Algebra module. For MAT 116 and MAT 122, students should use the Prep for PreCalculus / Business Calculus module. For MAT 126, students should use the Prep for Calculus I module.
Improving your score
If you are using ALEKS for placement, you will not be permitted to take a course that is above your readiness level as identified by the ALEKS Assessment. If you want to be placed into a higher-level mathematics course, you may use the ALEKS learning modules to improve your skills and then retake the assessment. You must qualify for a mathematics course before enrolling in the course.
You may retake the ALEKS mathematics assessment up to two more times after using the learning modules. The majority of students improve their scores on each subsequent assessment, and 90% of students move up by at least one course. The third placement assessment is the final assessment available.
You must wait 48 hours between assessments, and spend at least 5 hours using the learning modules before taking your second assessment, and an additional 5 hours using the learning modules before taking the assessment for your third and final time. Students who spend 15 hours or more in a learning module show the most improvement in their scores.
Which math course is required for my program?
Course requirements vary by program. To determine what math courses you will need to take for your program of study, consult with your advisor or the UMaine Course Catalog.
What if I placed into the class I wanted?
Congratulations! We hope you continue to use your Prep and Learning Module to improve your chances for success. The placement result required is the minimum preparation for your course. Take advantage of the individualized review and learning features in ALEKS to get a better grade in your class.
Can I retake the ALEKS PPL Assessment?
Students who are not satisfied with their course placement have the opportunity to retake the assessment. You may take up to three Placement Assessments. However, to make each attempt worthwhile, it is important that you spend time working in your ALEKS Prep and Learning Module between Placement Assessments so that you can improve your skills.
Can I retake the ALEKS Placement Assessment immediately?
You must wait 48 hours between Placement Assessments. There is generally no benefit to re-taking the Placement Assessment immediately after completing a prior attempt. You cannot improve your results by simply re-taking the Placement Assessment without spending time in the Prep and Learning Module to refresh material that you may have forgotten.
Prep and Learning Modules
You will have six months of access to your Prep and Learning module. Access to the prep course will not begin until you select start on the top of your screen. DO NOT select into the Prep and Learning Module until you are ready to start working.
Is there an additional fee for my Prep and Learning Module?
Access to one Prep and Learning Module is included along with the additional Placement Assessments.
Must I work in my ALEKS Prep and Learning Module between Placement Assessments?
You can retake the Placement Assessment two additional times to improve your score. (The highest score will be used for math placement.) Students are required to work in the Prep and Learning Modules for a specific amount of time prior to each Placement Assessment to increase success.
- 2nd attempt—required to complete a minimum of 5 hours of work in the Prep and Learning Modules before attempting assessment.
- 3rd attempt—required to complete a minimum of 5 additional hours of work in the Prep and Learning Modules before attempting assessment.
What are ALEKS Knowledge Checks?
While working in a Prep and Learning Module, you will periodically complete a Knowledge Check to make sure you have mastered the topics you gained in Learning Mode. If you do not show mastery during the Knowledge Check, the topics will be added back into your Learning Pie so you can review them again.
Does progress in an ALEKS Prep and Learning Module count toward placement?
No. You must complete a new Placement Assessment to change your placement result. Select the placement tab in the upper right corner of the ALEKS page to start a new Placement Assessment.
Can I change to a different Prep and Learning Module later?
No. You may only use one Prep and Learning Module. If you are unsure which module to select, use the module recommended by ALEKS or consult with your advisor.
What do I do if my web browser gets stuck or my computer crashes while I’m taking the Placement Assessment?
Simply close the browser, or log out and log back in. ALEKS will resume the Placement Assessment exactly where you left off, with no loss of your previous answers.
Where can I get help with ALEKS?
For questions about ALEKS, visit https://www.aleks.com/support/troubleshooting, https://mhedu.force.com/aleks/s/alekscontactsupport, or http://support.aleks.com/assess_placement.
Where can I get help with billing questions?
For billing questions related to the ALEKS PPL Placement Assessment, contact the University of Maine Bursar’s Office.