Mathematics Placement at COD

College of DuPage uses the ALEKS PPL (Placement, Preparation, and Learning) Placement Test for all students who are not able to meet the prerequisite of a mathematics course by other means. ALEKS PPL is a web-based, artificially intelligent assessment and learning system. It uses adaptive questioning to quickly and accurately determine exactly what you know and what you are ready to learn. This means that ALEKS PPL is unique for every student and will expose your particular strengths and weaknesses. The ALEKS PPL Placement Test is not a multiple choice test. All questions are free response. After completing the ALEKS PPL for the first time, you will get a detailed pie chart (see below) of your current mathematical knowledge, and will have the opportunity to review the mathematical topics in a Prep and Learning Module to help you prepare for upcoming placement tests and your courses. View a video introduction to ALEKS PPL.

Certain math courses also have a geometry prerequisite. Click here for information.

There are important deadlines that you need to keep in mind as you plan your ALEKS PPL placement schedule.

  • You will have up to four attempts at the ALEKS PPL Placement Test.
  • You will have up to one year to complete all attempts based on your account expiration date. This is an important deadline to remember. Do not miss opportunities to take placement tests because you lost track of time.
  • Each of your ALEKS PPL scores will be good for a year, so it is to your advantage to take your math courses early. Once your last valid placement score expires you will be charged a fee to take the ALEKS PPL Placement Test again.

Sample placement pie chart

Sample placement pie chart

It is important to remember that math placement at COD involves more than simply taking a test. It includes a built-in opportunity to brush up on some of your skills. This is accomplished through the following steps. When you proceed through these steps, remember that they are designed to help you find the best math course for your ability, so relax and work carefully. There is really no penalty for incorrectly answering a question. Instead, ALEKS PPL is designed to determine what you know. At the end of the test, you will have a much better sense of your strengths and weaknesses. You will then have a chance to work on those weaknesses. The most important thing is that you take the assessment seriously and give it an honest effort so that the results truly reflect your level of knowledge and math preparedness.

Step 1: Your first attempt at the ALEKS Placement Test.

Test 1, your first attempt at using ALEKS PPL is unproctored. You may use a COD computer in an open computer lab or a personal computer. The result of Test 1 will not be counted in your student record, but it is used to help determine topics in your Prep and Learning Module and can therefore affect your eventual placement. Each ALEKS PPL Placement Test consists of 25 to 30 questions, and average completion time is about 90 minutes. ALEKS PPL automatically saves all progress, so this unproctored test does not have to be completed in one sitting. You simply log back in to complete the test. Before beginning the test, ALEKS PPL will walk you through a quick tutorial on how to use the system, including how to enter your answers, use the graphing tool, and use the on-screen calculator. Also, because your answers help ALEKS PPL determine what to ask you next, you cannot review an answer once it has been submitted.

It is important that you use only the resources provided by ALEKS PPL. You should not use any textbooks, websites, friends, family, or a personal calculator. ALEKS PPL will provide an on-screen calculator as needed, but it will not appear on every problem. Non-permitted use of these resources may gain you entry into a course for which you are not prepared. To take Test 1, go to insideCOD student portal and log in with your student ID and password. Click on the tab labeled Math Placement Test.

Step 2: Interpret your score.

When you have finished Test 1, you will receive a placement result and a pie chart similar to that above. The pie chart represents the number of topics that you have mastered in each subject group. The score does not represent the percentage of questions answered correctly but the percentage of the total topics that you have mastered. You can use the score chart below to see where you might place when you complete a proctored test in an approved testing center. Course descriptions can be found at

Score-Course Table

If your score on the ALEKS Placement Test is:

Then you may enroll
in the following course(s)


Math 0460, Math 1104


Math 0481, Math 1100


Math 0465***


Math 0470, Math 0482***, Math 1102, Math 1115, Math 1108 ***


Math 1120, Math 1218 , Math 1220, Math 1428 , Math 1321 ***


Math 1533, Math 1635, Math 2115,
Math 1431


Math 1432, Math 2134


Math 2231

*** These courses have an additional geometry prerequisite that may not be satisfied by ALEKS PPL, and the geometry requirement of Math 1321 cannot be met using an ALEKS PPL placement score. You will receive details about satisfying this requirement in the Score Report Form from the Testing Center when you take ALEKS PPL Placement Test 2. Also, see the Geometry Placement section of this document for more details.


  • You will not be permitted to enroll in any courses above your score range, but may enroll in courses below your score range.
  • These cut-scores are valid through registration for Fall 2018. If you are enrolling after that, please go to the Testing Center to receive a new score report form because the cut-scores may have changed.

Step 3: Use The Prep and Learning Module.

After taking Test 1, you will have the opportunity to use the Prep and Learning Module to review those mathematical topics you are ready to review and learn. This will help you place into your preferred mathematics course when you take Test 2. ALEKS PPL will recommend a Prep and Learning Module for you. We suggest that you choose either the module recommended or perhaps one level up if you feel confident in this choice. Be careful when making this choice because you can only make it once. If you are unsure which module to choose, seek advice from a counselor or a mathematics faculty member.

The ALEKS PPL Prep and Learning Module keeps track of your progress as you work through the problems. This process in ALEKS PPL has been designed to improve your performance on the placement test and in your future math classes. You access the Prep and Learning Module the same way you did Test 1.

Step 4: Take Test 2.

Test 2 is your first proctored test. To take it, go to any COD approved testing center including the one on the main campus in Berg Instructional Center (BIC), Room 2A06. See for details. Bring your student ID and password with you. When you are finished with the test, print your results. You will receive a score report form from the front desk explaining what your score means.

Step 5: Retake the placement test (if you want).

If you are not satisfied with your placement score from Test 2, you may take the ALEKS PPL Placement Test again. At least 3 hours must be spent in the Prep and Learning Module before taking Test 3, but the more time spent, the higher the likelihood of your desired course placement. Test 3 will become available the day after you have taken Test 2, so that you can have time to study.

If you are not satisfied with your placement score from Test 3, you may take the test again. At least 5 additional hours must be spent in the Prep and Learning Module before taking Test 4, but the more time spent, the higher the likelihood of your desired course placement. Test 4 will be available the day after you have taken Test 3. Note that this last attempt must be taken before your account expires.

Step 6: Enroll in a mathematics course.

Within 24 hours of taking an ALEKS PPL Placement Test, your score will be loaded into the student information system. Once your registration window opens, you can enroll in the courses that match your placement score as listed in the Score-Course Table above. Choose the course that best suits your educational goals, keeping in mind that you are responsible for all of the prerequisite knowledge for that course. If you have never taken the prerequisite course, you might conclude that you need to take it even though your placement score allows you to take the higher level course.

Each placement result will expire one year from the date it was earned, so you should register for your course within a year of taking the placement test. (Of course, with math, the sooner, the better!) Also, the Prep and Learning Module is available for during the year your ALEKS account is valid. Once enrolled in a math course, you may continue to use the Prep and Learning Module to strengthen your math skills.

Geometry Placement

An ALEKS PPL score of 46 or higher will meet the geometry requirement for Math 0465, 0482, 1108, 1428, and 1431. In addition to the ALEKS PPL Placement Test, there is an ALEKS Geometry Test that can also be used to satisfy the geometry prerequisites of certain math courses. An ALEKS Geometry Test score of 30 will satistfy the geometry perquisite for Math 0465, 0482, 1108, 1428, and 1431. An ALEKS Geometry Test score of 50 will satisfy the geometry requirement for Math 1321 and 1322. If you do not obtain the needed score, you can also meet the requirement by taking Math 0470.

While the ALEKS PPL score of 46 or higher will expire as a geometry prerequisite one year from the date it was earned, the ALEKS Geometry Test score will not expire.

The procedure for taking the ALEKS Geometry Test is similar to ALEKS PPL. Start by visiting the student portal where you will access the test. You take your first unproctored test on a personal computer or any public COD computer. The score is not used for placement. Once this test is completed you may use ALEKS to review in preparation for your proctored tests. Go to one of COD's testing centers and take a proctored version of the test. You may retake the proctored ALEKS Geometry Test only once, and it must be within 8 weeks of your first proctored attempt. The higher of the two scores will be used for placement. A personal calculator is not allowed on the test. If a calculator is needed, it will appear on the computer screen.

To prepare for any of the geometry tests, you can go to the Math Assistance Area in SRC 2102 and sign up for a geometry review session.

The Compass Test.

COD previously used the ACT Compass Placement Test. If you have valid placement test scores from the Compass test, they will still be accepted, but you can also take the ALEKS PPL Placement Test using the procedure outlined above. This is your choice. The score that places you the highest is the one that will be used.

Additional resources and contact information.

If you have technical questions regarding the ALEKS placement test, please see:

Also, placement help can be found at COD through counseling and advising, the math assistance area, or mathematics faculty.


Contact Information

Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Division
Berg Instructional Center (BIC), Room 2E06, (630) 942-3210

College of DuPage

425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn IL, 60137

(630) 942-2800 (Main)

(630) 942-3000 (Student Services)

  2019 College of DuPage