The University of Arizona

Information for Incoming Freshmen

Important Information and Quick Links- Please Read Before Testing

Everything you need to know about the Math Placement Test (Assessment) is on this page. Please read this page before emailing or calling the Math Department.  Email is the preferred form of contact so students can get information in writing.  We offer in-person advising at orientation and are happy to talk to any student at that time.

Incoming freshman students are asked to take the Math Placement Test at least one week prior to their orientation date.  Please do this regardless of any credits that you have or expect.  It is used for science and other courses, and helps us prepare a schedule for you.   If you were told by anyone outside the Math Department that you do not need to test, you have been given incorrect information. Please test. 

Related Resources

Math Placement

All incoming Freshmen who may need to take an entry level Math class or who need to take a Science course (most require placement) must take the placement exam regardless of transfer credit, AP/IB Credits or Dual Enrollment Courses. Math Placement is standard practice for colleges and universities, and is an important part of student success at UA. The overall purpose of our placement process is to determine, based on a student’s background and current demonstrated ability, which Math course may be appropriate. Although placement into a course does not guarantee a passing grade, our experience has shown us that the Math Placement Test may be the clearest indicator of success in our courses.

  • Please complete the test at least one week prior to your orientation date, if possible. 
  • There are two different tests.  Read about the tests to determine which one to take.
  • You may verify your score in your Next Steps Center 24 hours after testing.
  • All students are encouraged to review before taking a UA Math course.
  • Please note that math placement test scores are good for one year only. After that, a student will need to retest and score appropriately in order to be eligible for your first UA Math course.
  • There are no exceptions to the eligibility requirements, even if you are one percentage point away. However, if you have college math credits, you may meet the requirements (only if you tested). See a math advisor at orientation and bring a copy of your college math transcript.

Students are to take this test without the assistance of any persons, textbooks, online materials, or any other assistance, as if it is a proctored test. The only calculator allowed is the built-in calculator provided with the ALEKS program, and other calculators are not allowed. Any violation of this will be considered cheating and a violation of the UA Code of Conduct. There are can be serious consequences to artificially high placement testing scores. It is important to make an honest attempt at the test. Once you complete the test, your score is final regardless of any technical difficulties you may encounter during the exam.

The UA ALEKS Online Math Placement Test is not a timed test. However, ALEKS is not accessible with screen reading technology. Please contact the Disability Resource Center at (520) 621-3268 or with questions or concerns.

  • What if I don't test? You should test prior to your orientation date, and if you choose not to you may need to later and may have to pay an additional fee. If you test the night before, your score will be processed in time to register. The freshman scheduling program relies on this test for Math and Science courses placement, and having the appropriate test score is an important of this process. If you choose not to test, for whatever reason, the Math Placement portion of your Next Steps Center will show as incomplete. This will not prevent you from adding UA courses that do not rely on the Math Placement Test. However you must test - even if you think you have completed your UA foundation Math requirement. If you call us or email to ask about this, the Math Department will tell you to take the test. You may test after orientation, but will have to add the appropriate course on your own.
  • What percentage do I need on the UA ALEKS Online Placement Test? Check the requirements for our courses.
  • You can review your math skills and the placement test topics before testing.
  • Figure out which UA math placement test to take.
    • Prep for College Algebra is a high school Algebra test and is appropriate for students who have not yet taken Precalculus.
    • Prep for Calculus is basically a Precalculus test. This test is for students with previous recent experience with Precalculus and Trigonometry and can possibly place students as high as Calculus. Students with no experience with PreCalculus and Trig should not take this test. There is NO CALCULUS on this test.
  • Access the placement test through the Next Steps Center at least one week prior to your orientation.  You will need to read important information about the test in Next Steps prior to starting the test. Make sure you read important information and tips about the test available through the "Print and Read before Testing" document in your Next Steps Center.
  • You don't have to take the highest level math course that you place into. Many students opt to take a lower level course. See a math advisor at orientation about this option.
  • If you have Technical Difficulties, please refer to the information on the "Print and Read before testing" document in the Next Steps Center for instructions on how to get assistance. Any technical difficulties while testing need to be directed to ALEKS Customer Support not to the Math Department.

College Math Credit

  • Do you have college math credit?
    • If you have COLLEGE MATH CREDITS or AP, IB, or CLEP CALCULUS CREDIT, bring an unofficial copy of your college level transcript or Math AP, IB, or CLEP exam score, if possible and talk to a math advisor at orientation. High school transcripts are not used to verify college credits. If you need to take a UA MATH or Science course listed here, please take the Math Placement Test. College Math credits are not automatically used for placement into a UA Math course. Please note that it is the student's responsibility to adjust his/her schedule once these credits are in the UA system.


Department of Mathematics, The University of Arizona 617 N. Santa Rita Ave. P.O. Box 210089 Tucson, AZ 85721-0089 USA Voice: (520) 621-6892 Fax: (520) 621-8322 Contact Us © Copyright 2018 Arizona Board of Regents All rights reserved