Take Your ALEKS Math Assessment

All students admitted to Penn State have demonstrated the ability to succeed academically. A Penn State education is meant to help you become an independent learner. Therefore, you need to develop new study skills, refine time management strategies, and actively use learning resources in order to be successful at the collegiate level. It's important for you to begin in the courses that match your readiness and are most likely to lead to success. 

Click on the links below for more information about the various placements:

ALEKS Math Assessment

Your first step in preparing for New Student Orientation (NSO) is to take your ALEKS Math Assessment. The results from the ALEKS Math Assessment are used to determine your appropriate starting level in mathematics and chemistry -- please take this assessment seriously

Completing the ALEKS Math Assessment is required of all entering first-year students regardless of AP, IB, dual enrollment, and CLEP credits. All majors at the University require courses in quantification. You may not take certain courses in mathematics, statistics, or chemistry without demonstrating readiness through this assessment.

There is no additional cost associated with completing the ALEKS Math Assessment. 

Click here to access the ALEKS Math Assessment. You should allow 2-3 hours to complete the assessment. Please remember to take this assessment seriously. 

Chemistry Placement

Many science, engineering, and health-focused programs require CHEM 110. CHEM 110 is a rigorous course involving significant mathematical manipulation and algebra proficiency. Placement into an appropriate course will take place during the conversation you have with your adviser at New Student Orientation. Your placement will be based on your previous exposure to chemistry in high school, the results of any honors or AP chemistry exams, and your performance on the ALEKS Math Assessment.

If you have no previous chemistry studies, you should begin with CHEM 101, since CHEM 110 is not an introductory course. If you have gaps in math and/or chemistry preparation, you'll need additional preparation before taking CHEM 110. Additional evaluation may be done during the beginning of the semester to fine-tune your placement.

English Placement

Penn State requires all students take a first-year composition course that can be satisfied by ONE of the following:

  • ENGL 015 (Rhetoric and Composition);
  • ENGL 030 (Honors Freshman Composition);
  • CAS/ENGL 137H (Rhetoric and Civic Life I); or
  • ESL 015 (ESL/Composition for American Academic Communication II).

If English is your second language, you may schedule either ENGL or ESL composition courses.

At NSO, you will work with an adviser to determine your appropriate English placement. Your SAT-READ scores will be used as a guide for your placement. However, these scores are not prescriptive. Previous English coursework is also a factor in scheduling a first-year composition course.

Most students demonstrate adequate preparation and are placed into ENGL 015. If you demonstrate strong preparation, you may be encouraged to take an honors composition course. If your SAT-READscores indicate weakness in your preparation, you may need to schedule ENGL 004 (Basic Writing Skills) before scheduling ENGL 015. Students enrolled in ENGL 004 or ENGL 015 may also concurrently schedule ENGL 005 (Writing Tutorial), a 1-credit course that offers additional writing support.

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Last updated: February 15, 2019