Academic Assessments and Placement Tests

Depending on your major and existing course credits, you may be required to take placement assessments for math and/or writing. You will receive information regarding which assessments you are required to take in your initial adviser email. 

Learn more about each academic placement assessment and how to access them below.


To access your Math and Writing Placement Assessments, log into Blackboard via your IIT Portal at

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You can find your assigned assessments in the "Organizations" section of Blackboard.

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Illinois Tech uses the ALEKS PPL Mathematics Placement Exam to assess a student’s prerequisite knowledge for course placement. Backed by decades of research, ALEKS Placement, Preparation, and Learning (ALEKS PPL) is the premier adaptive learning and assessment platform used by millions of students around the world.

Most majors at Illinois Tech suggest that students take MATH 151 (Calculus I) in their first semester of study. The ALEKS PPL Math Placement determines whether students can take MATH 151 right away or whether they need to take MATH 148 (Preparation for Calculus) before taking MATH 151. Students that place directly into MATH 151 graduate faster and achieve higher overall grade-point averages.

ALEKS PPL Math Placement

The placement has three parts: an Initial Assessment, a Prep and Learning module, and a Proctored Assessment.

ALEKS PPL is run by an artificial intelligence engine that with a high degree of accuracy determines your current math knowledge and what you are ready to learn. It is critical that you take the assessment honestly and earnestly to get a valid assessment score and learning path. Do not use outside resources including help from others, websites, a smartphone, or calculator when you are using ALEKS PPL, neither for the assessments nor in the Prep and Learning module. Outside resources will only interfere with your progress and success.

After the initial assessment, students use the ALEKS Prep and Learning module to refresh lost knowledge and build your math knowledge. The time you invest in ALEKS Prep and Learning will directly lead to improved assessment scores and a better chance of placing into MATH 151.

The average completion time of the assessment is 90 minutes, though your time may be longer or shorter, so plan accordingly. The length of the exam is approximately 30 questions. Paper and pencil will be helpful. A calculator will be provided by ALEKS PPL when needed, thus you should not use your own. ALEKS PPL is a fully automated, adaptive system that covers a broad spectrum of pre-calculus material.

Students should log into the system and begin the Prep and Learning module by June 1. Exceptions will be made only in special circumstances—contact your admissions counselor if this is needed.

Who needs to take the Math Placement Assessment?

The Math Placement Assessment is REQUIRED for new undergraduate students, with the following two exceptions:

  1. If you already have course credit for MATH 151 due to Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), GCE A-Levels scores, or transfer credit from another university, then you do not need to do the ALEKS PPL Math Placement. If you have questions about this, email Undergraduate Academic Affairs at 

    Please note that AP credits will be evaluated by mid-June.
  2. The following majors do not require MATH 151, so students in these majors usually do not need to do the ALEKS PPL Math Placement*:
    • Architecture
    • Behavioral Health and Wellness
    • Communication: General Communication
    • Communication: Journalism of Technology and Business
    • Communication: Professional and Technical Communication
    • Consumer Research, Analytics, and Communication
    • Digital Humanities
    • Global Studies
    • Humanities
    • Industrial Technology and Management
    • Information Technology and Management
    • Psychological Science
    • Science, Technology, and Society
    • Social and Economic Development Policy

*Minors, certificates, etc., may also require MATH 151 or more advanced mathematics courses for which the ALEKS PPL Math Placement would still be needed. All other new undergraduate students must take the ALEKS PPL Math Placement.

All new first-year and transfer students are required to submit an essay to demonstrate basic writing proficiency prior to registering for classes. If your submitted essay does not demonstrate basic writing proficiency as defined by Illinois Institute of Technology, then the student will be required to enroll in COM 101 or COM 111 in their first semester.

Learn more about how to prepare your writing assessment essay. Instructions on how to submit your writing assessment essay can be found in Blackboard.

Writing Placement Exemption

Students may be exempt from submitting the Writing Placement Assessment if they meet one of the following criteria:

  1. Receiving transferable credit for COM 101
  2. Receiving a score of 4 or better on the AP English exam
  3. Receiving sufficient ACT or SAT English/Writing scores:
  • ACT Writing 8 or better
  • SAT Writing and Language 33 or better
  • SAT Essay 9 or better (prior to March 2016)
  • SAT Writing 600 or better (prior to March 2016)

AP English Exam scores are not released to universities until July. If you receive a 4 or higher on the AP English Exam, the requirement to enroll in COM 101 or COM 111 will be waived.

For Chemical Engineering majors: Students in chemical engineering who have neither Advanced Placement credit nor transfer credit for CHEM124 have the option to take the CHEM124 proficiency exam to waive the class, but no credit will be awarded. This test is optional. If you are interested in taking this assessment, please contact Undergraduate Academic Affairs at ugaa@iit.ed or call 312.567.3300.