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Oklahoma State University

OSU Math Placement Exam Information

OSU uses the Assessment and LEarning in Knowledge Spaces (ALEKS) Higher Education: Mathematics system provided by McGraw Hill Education for the OSU Math Placement Exam.  This system is a Web-based, artificially intelligent assessment and learning system that uses adaptive questioning to quickly and accurately determine exactly what a student knows and doesn’t know to assist in math course placement.  This exam is approximately 30 questions in length and is untimed, though most students complete the exam within two hours.  Calculators are provided on-screen within the exam, so students are not allowed access to any additional calculators, websites, or other unapproved aids when taking the exam.  At OSU, this exam is used for math placement and math remediation.  Generally, all OSU students must take this exam in order to satisfy enrollment restrictions in math and statistics courses, unless a student has previously earned college credit in these areas.  Students with questions about the exam content itself, math placement, or math remediation should contact the OSU Department of Mathematics for more information.

Access to Learning Modules

OSU selected the ALEKS system for the OSU Math Placement Exam because it also provides students with online learning modules.  These modules are designed to help students study and practice to improve their math skills in between exam attempts and are recommended for repeated use.  Students are encouraged to put real effort into using the learning modules over a sustained period in order to improve their exam scores.  Six months of free access to these learning modules are provided to students. The 6-month period begins the first day that the learning modules are accessed by a student (not on the day the placement exam is completed). Students can also purchase additional access to the learning modules beyond the 6-months from the vendor.

Learning Modules are available to a student after completion of one attempt of the OSU Math Placement Exam.  To access the Learning Modules, simply log back into the OSU Math Placement Exam system and an option to access the Learning Modules will be available.

Maximum Number of Exam Attempts

Students may take the OSU Math Placement Exam up to five times during a one-year period to improve their score.  This one-year exam period begins when a student first logs into the OSU Math Placement Exam system. Students in need of a sixth attempt must have permission from the Department of Mathematics and may be required to participate in structured tutoring sessions prior to being granted the additional attempt.  The student will also be charged $35 for a 6th attempt (or for any additional attempt made after the one-year period expires) as a new account must be purchased for the student.

Exam Score Expiration

Scores earned on the OSU Math Placement Exam are valid for one year from the date the exam is taken.  Students who earn an appropriate score should enroll in (and successfully complete) a math course during this one-year period, or they will have to take the OSU Math Placement Exam again for placement purposes and to remove enrollment restrictions.

Exam Retakes

Students must wait a minimum of 24 hours between exam attempts. Students wishing to improve their scores and math skills are encouraged to log into the system to use the learning modules before scheduling a subsequent attempt.

Exam Administration

Most students will have to take the OSU Math Placement Exam in a proctored environment in order for the score to be valid for remediation and placement purposes.  However, students are allowed to take their first attempt in an unproctored environment.  Students with ACT Mathematics subscores of 19 or greater, New SAT Math Section (SAT R Math Section, offered March 2016 or later) scores of 530 or greater, or Old SAT Math Section (SAT Mathematics, offered prior to March 2016) scores of 460 or greater, can use their score from this first unproctored attempt for placement purposes.  However, students' ACT or SAT scores must be in their OSU academic record prior to taking the exam for the score from this attempt to count.

Students who do not have the above subscores on file in OSU's Banner system who take their first attempt unproctored can use the score for informational purposes only (it will not count for placement or remediation).  All students should note that this first attempt counts as one of their five permitted attempts.  All attempts after the first must be taken in a proctored environment.  See Taking the OSU Math Placement Exam in an Unproctored Environment for more information.


Information on taking the OSU Math Placement Exam in a proctored environment and on locating a proctor is available here.

Exam Scores for Placement and Remediation

Visit the Math Placement page for information on the exam scores required for math course placement and math remediation at OSU.


The cost of the OSU Math Placement Exam plus the 6-months of access to the learning modules is covered through student assessment fees.

Accessibility for Students with Disabilities

There are no audio elements in the OSU Math Placement Exam, and the exam is untimed. Microsoft magnifier or similar products work with the exam. There is not currently a screen reader.  Use of a human assistant is permitted for students needing a screen reader.  Use of the mouse is currently required, and it is not possible to print out the exam in advance due to the computer-adaptive nature of the exam.  A human assistant is permitted for students needing assistance using the mouse.  For additional questions please contact Student Disability Services.

Frequently Asked Questions About the OSU Math Placement Exam