Math Placement Test

What MATH course should I take?

All students are required to satisfy the Foundational Math component of the REAL Curriculum, but different majors and minors require different foundations. Three courses—MATH 100, 121, and 125—are designated as Foundational Math, but depending on your program of study, your transfer credits, and your current mathematical toolbox, you may have already satisfied this requirement, or it may be best for you to take our math placement test ALEKS PPL instead of taking one of these courses. A sufficient score on ALEKS PPL will satisfy the Foundational Math requirement by competency without taking a MATH course. 

Please take the Foundational Math Decision Tree survey before coming to Quest to help you decide the best place for you to start and whether or not we recommend you take the math placement test ALEKS PPL. If you are considering multiple majors, please feel free to take the survey multiple times. If you have questions, please contact your advisor, or email the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at

Note: Students in the Honors College may use credit for MATH 132 Honors Applications of Mathematics (designated R) to satisfy the Foundational Math requirement by competency instead of taking a Foundational Math course, but you should see if another MATH course is required for your major before taking it. (It's a good class; you can still take it for the Honors credit and R credit even if another MATH course is required.) 

Academic Integrity

If you take ALEKS PPL, it is important that your score represents your own work and your work alone. In addition to the obvious moral implications, cheating on a math placement test is unwise as it only places you into a course you are unprepared to take. ALEKS PPL is taken in LockDown Browser, a web browser that does not allow other windows to be open, and it uses the remote proctoring system Respondus Monitor. Cheating on ALEKS PPL is a violation of the Radford University honor code, and violations will be reported to the Office of Standards and Conduct. Furthermore, you will receive a score of zero on the math placement test, meaning that you must take one of MATH 100, 121, or 125.


ALEKS PPL is more than just a test of your current mathematical skills. It builds a personalized study plan to help you improve your placement score by working problems based on your initial assessment. This work will also be beneficial to you in the MATH class you place into.

Before you take ALEKS PPL:

  1. Plan to take ALEKS PPL at least four or five days before coming to Quest. There will not be time to take it at Quest, and you cannot register for a MATH class higher than MATH 125 or any STAT class until the day after you take ALEKS PPL.
  2. Use a computer instead of a phone or tablet. You must be able to install software on this computer in order to use LockDown Browser, and you must have a camera enabled to use Respondus Monitor.
  3. The time limit for the test is 2 hours, 30 minutes. Please set aside a little more that than this time to get set up and take a short pre-test survey before you take the initial assessment. Find a place with a stable internet connection and a distraction free environment.
  4. Have your Radford University username and password ready. ALEKS PPL will need these to transfer your score into the Radford University system the evening after you take it.
  5. Have a credit card ready. The cost is presented as the cost of the test ($16.01) plus a payment fee ($3.99), which total to one payment of $20.
  6. If you have accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act, such as extended time on a test or accommodations for the blind or visually impaired, you may use these while taking the assessment, but you must contact the Center for Accessibility Services instead of following the link to ALEKS PPL below.

When you are ready to take ALEKS PPL:

  1. Click here to login to ALEKS PPL with your Radford username and password. You will then be asked to pay $25 and create an ALEKS account. You will also need the proctoring password MATH4RADFORD.
  2. There is a short pre-assessment quiz about the last math course you took and your intended major.
  3. The initial assessment consists of 30 questions. They are adaptive so that the questions you are asked depend on your answers to the previous questions. You have 2 hours, 30 minutes, to complete the initial assessment.
  4. Have scratch paper and a pencil available to do the work needed for the problems.
  5. The calculator you are allowed to use is built into ALEKS PPL, and so any external devices are both not allowed and not needed.

After taking ALEKS PPL the first time:

  1. Your score on the initial assessment will be available to you immediately, and it will be uploaded to the Radford University registration system overnight to use for course registration.
  2. You may not be happy with your initial score. That is okay! ALEKS PPL creates a personalized study plan for you based on your answers to the initial assessment to help you improve your skills and prepare you for your upcoming classes or to retake the assessment. Retaking the assessment:
  • The $25 fee includes up to four retakes.
  • Retaking the test immediately after the initial assessment is not a recipe for success. To take the test again, you must wait 48 hours AND work for 3 hours in your study plan.
  • Working in your study plan not only helps you with the content, but it also gives you more experience with the user interface. We have seen students increase their scores by up to 40 points with practice. 
  • If you retake the assessment after Quest and improve you score to place into a higher MATH course than you registered for at Quest, email the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at to register for a different MATH or STAT course.

Test Score Prerequisites

Several MATH and STAT courses have prerequisites that incorporate a score on ALEKS PPL. They are listed below along with their course prerequisite.

A score of 46 on ALEKS PPL establishes Foundational Math competency under the REAL Curriculum. You do not receive credit for MATH 100 or any other course, but the degree requirement is satisfied.

Some degree programs require MATH 125. If your ALEKS PPL score is high enough to place into a class higher than MATH 125--that is, 61 or greater--contact the department offering your program to see if they will allow this score to satisfy the their degree requirement or if credit for it or another MATH course is required.

You may take a class lower than your placement score allows, but we recommend that you take the highest class that you can place into.

Course ALEKS PPL Score Prerequisite  Or Course Prerequisite
STAT 130 Understanding Statistics in Society 46 or greater Any MATH course
STAT 200 Introduction to Statistics
46 or greater Any MATH course
STAT 219 Statistics for Biology 46 or greater Any MATH course
MATH 126 Business Calculus 61 or greater C or better in MATH 125
MATH 138 Precalculus II 61 or greater C or better in MATH 125
MATH 168 Calculus I with Integrated Precalculus I 61 or greater C or better in MATH 125
MATH 171 Calculus and Analytic Geometry I 76 or greater C or better in MATH 138