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Math Placement

A number of Oswego majors require a calculus-based or applied business math course (MAT 104, 120, 208 or 210). Before attending Orientation, some incoming students need to take a math placement exam to ensure they are able to complete these courses with satisfactory grades. 

  • Your major is on the Math Placement Exam list or
  • You are an incoming EOP student or
  • You are currently undeclared but are interested in a major that is listed. If this is the case, contact the Math Placement Coordinator at [email protected] 

  • Incoming students: the exam must be taken as soon as possible and also prior to registering for an Orientation program. Your advisor will be utilizing this score to appropriately place you in a Math course. 
  • Returning students: A score must be uploaded before you can register. Test scores are uploaded overnight. If you complete the test before 5pm you will be able to register after 9am the following day.


You are exempt from the ALEKS PPL math placement exam if you have completed the prerequisite course with a grade of D- or higher for college credit. While a grade in the D range in a prerequisite course allows you to advance to the next course, this grade indicates that the student’s performance was unsatisfactory. In this case, it is very likely you will fail the next course and may wish to repeat the prerequisite course to better prepare for the next course. We encourage you to consult with your academic advisor in this situation.

Prerequisite Course Credit Transfer

If you have already completed the prerequisite course at another institution, credit for the prerequisite must be evaluated and applied to your degree audit before you will be allowed to register. Oswego must have an official transcript on file showing that you have passed the prerequisite course before you will be permitted to register in the next class. If you need a waiver, please email [email protected].

What does my score mean?

Course Pre-requisite and Exam Score for Each Course
*MAX 100 Basic Mathematics No prerequisite, strongly recommended for ALEKS scores in the range of 0-29.
MAT 101 Intermediate Algebra No prerequisite, strongly recommended for ALEKS scores in the range of 30-45.
MAT 104 College Algebra  College credit in MAT 101 or the equivalent from another institution or ALEKS score of 46 or higher
MAT 120 Precalculus College credit for MAT 104 or ALEKS score of 61 or higher
MAT 208 Mathematical Applications for Business and Management College credit for MAT 104 or ALEKS score of 61 or higher
MAT 210 Calculus I College credit for MAT 120 or ALEKS score of 76 or higher

*Note: If you have placed in MAX 100, be aware this course does not carry college credit towards your degree. 


If you believe that you were placed in a course lower than your math background indicates, we strongly encourage you to utilize the Prep and Learning Module and retake the ALEKS PPL placement test to improve your placement.  This will enable you to complete your degree requirements on a more appropriate timeline.

First-Year Students

If you plan to receive AP credit for Calculus or are currently enrolled in the prerequisite course at another institution, you should inform your advisor as soon as possible. After doing so you will need to complete the math placement waiver form. Please contact [email protected].  

If your AP score is below a 3 you will need to successfully complete the ALEKS placement in order to remain in the course for which you are registered. 

Transfer Students

If you are currently enrolled in the prerequisite course at another institution you should inform your advisor as soon as possible. After doing so you will need to complete the math placement waiver form. Please contact [email protected]

We will need the final transcript for the prerequisite course in order for you to remain in the course for which you are registered. 

Returning Students

You’ll be able to register for the next course but if you fail the prerequisite course, you'll be deregistered from that class and may need to take ALEKS PPL to re-register for your failed course. This may require the purchase of a new subscription. 

If you need to retake the exam, log into MyOswego and click on the Registration tab. There you will find the link to Math Placement. 

Information to Know

What is ALEKS PPL?

ALEKS PPL is a powerful artificial-intelligence based assessment tool that zeroes in on the strengths and weaknesses of a student's mathematical knowledge, reports its findings to the student, and if necessary provides the student with a learning environment for bringing this knowledge up to an appropriate level for course placement.

What is the exam like?
  • The ALEKS Placement Assessment covers material from Basic Math through Precalculus.
  • The exam is an open-response, adaptive assessment that covers hundreds of topics in 30 questions or less (it is not multiple choice).
  • The assessment is untimed but you must complete it within 3 hours of when you begin.
  • Placement assessments require an average of 90 minutes to complete but the amount of time will vary by student.
Exam rules
  • You will need paper and a pen or pencil. No other items are permitted to be used during the exam.
  • ALEKS will provide an on-screen calculator if you need one to complete a particular problem. Otherwise, you are not allowed to use a calculator.
  • You may not receive assistance from family, friends, other websites, textbooks or any other resource not provided by ALEKS.
  • Use of outside resources including calculators, notes, books, or websites, may lead to improper placement and course failure and is considered cheating.
  • The Mathematics Department reserves the right to require a student whose ALEKS PPL Assessment is inconsistent with other assessments to retest under proctored conditions. If a student is found to have cheated, the student will be in violation of the SUNY Oswego Academic Integrity Code and subject to its penalties.
After the exam
  • Your score will be automatically uploaded into myOswego before you can register for your math class. The process may take up to 24 hours.
  • You may check the meaning of your score on the Prerequisite and placement score information page.
  • If you are not satisfied with your placement results, you may retake the ALEKS PPL Assessment up to four times.
  • After the assessment, a targeted Prep and Learning Module is available for you to review and learn the material, and to improve placement and eventual course outcomes.
  • Before you can retake an assessment you must work in the Prep and Learning Module a minimum of three hours (1st retake), five hours (subsequent retakes).
  • There is a 48-hour waiting period between reassessments.
  • Your highest assessment score will be used for course placement.
  • Your score is valid for 12 months. If your score expires between registration and the first day of classes you must purchase a new subscription and retake the exam or you will be deregistered as your prerequisite will no longer be valid.
Preparing to retake the exam

There is a preparation and learning module available in the ALEKS PPL program after you complete the exam the first time. This module offers a collection of practice problems and explanatory material available to help you review and learn the material, and to improve placement and eventual course outcomes.

  • The Prep and Learning Module available to you is chosen by the ALEKS program, based on your initial ALEKS PPL assessment performance.
  • After you finish the Initial Assessment, you will see your ALEKS Learning Pie. This pie represents your current knowledge of the course material. Notice that ALEKS has assessed that you already know some of the material!
  • Even if you have achieved placement in your desired course, time spent in the ALEKS Prep and Learning Module will better prepare you for your upcoming course and ultimately lead to better grades.
  • You will have six months of access from the time you start using your Prep and Learning Module.
  • The cost for the Prep and Learning Module is included in your ALEKS PPL subscription.
  • Progress made in the Prep and Learning Module will not count towards your placement score. You must complete a new placement assessment in order to change your placement result.
  • While working in the Prep and Learning Module, you may consult other sources such as textbooks, websites, and tutors if you choose to do so.
Module expiration

Prep and Learning Modules expire 6 months from when you first access them. You must complete 3 to 5 hours in the Prep and Learning modules and wait 48 hours prior to testing again. If your modules expire you will not be able to test again unless you purchase a new subscription.

Help with ALEKS PPL

If you have a disabling condition that may interfere with your ability to successfully complete any exam, please email [email protected]. If you have not already done so, you may complete the Accessibility Resource Services Special Needs Identification form.


There is no cost to you for your initial subscription to ALEKS PPL. You may need to pay for any subsequent subscriptions if you do not register for the course prior to your score or subscription expiring.