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. 

How to Access Your Assessments in Blackboard

To access your Math and Writing Placement Assessments, log into Blackboard via your myIIT Portal.

1. Enter your login information using your UID and Password. Then navigate to the menu icon on the top right hand side of your screen and click on "Blackboard."

Screen shot to show what the blackboard website looks like

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

Organization website image



Detailed Assessment Information

Learn more about taking the Math, Writing, and Chemical Engineering placement exams below.

Tutorial Video: Taking Your Math Placement


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. You can access each component in Blackboard through your myIIT portal.

Initial Assessment

ALEKS PPL is run by an artificial intelligence engine that with a high degree of accuracy determines your current math knowledge and what your 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 while you assess and work in ALEKS PPL. Outside resources will only interfere with your progress and success. 

Prep and Learning Module

After the initial assessment, students use the ALEKS Prep and Learning module to refresh lost knowledge and build your math knowledge. You are required to spend a minimum of 5 hours working in the Prep and Learning Module, but students often spend more than 5 hours to help them prepare for the Proctored Exam. 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.

It's suggested that you aim for at least a 80% or 90% completion score in ALEKS Prep and Learning (5 hours minimum) before taking the proctored assessment. There is also a review button to review earlier material.

Proctored Assessment, administered by ProctorU

When you feel like you are ready, sign up for a proctored assessment administered by ProctorU. Only the proctored assessment counts for placement. If you do not pass, you can pay an additional fee of $10 (directly to ProctorU) to try again, with up to three additional attempts allowed.

Please note that the average completion time is 90 minutes, though your time may be longer or shorter, so plan accordingly. The length of the exam is approximately 30 questions. You will have a limit of 4.5 hours to complete the exam from start to finish. 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.

Scheduling your proctored assessment

Please note that you cannot schedule your proctored assessment until you complete your initial assessment and spend at least 5 hours working in the Prep and Learning Module.

Make sure your computer passes the test before you schedule the appointment. Schedule appointments at least 72 hours in advance and cancel appointments at least 24 hours in advance or else there will be an additional fee.

You are only allowed to schedule proctoring one time. Cancelled appointments may restrict scheduling.  Do not take the proctored assessment until you feel certain that you will get a score of 80 or above.

If you did not pass the proctored assessment

If you did not pass, you can retake the placement up to three more times for an additional fee of $10, paid directly to ProctorU. But before retaking the exam, you should work on the ALEKS Prep and Learning module. Remember, the time you invest in ALEKS Prep and Learning will directly lead to improved assessment scores and a better chance of getting the score required to place into MATH 151. It's suggested that you aim for at least an 80% or 90% completion score (5 hours minimum) in ALEKS Prep and Learning before taking the proctored assessment. It also has a review button to review earlier material.

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 in mid-July. If you took the AP exam or similar but you are still waiting to find out your test scores, then it's probably wise to begin the process of the math placement— take the initial assessment and begin working in the prep and learning module.
  2. The following majors do not require MATH 151, so students in these majors usually do not need to take 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 incoming degree-seeking students (not exchange or visiting) must meet a Basic Writing Proficiency Requirement. The requirement can be satisfied in any of the following ways:

  • If you have transfer credit for a University Writing Course (COM101 at IIT).
  • If you have a 4 or better on the AP English exam.
  • If you have an 8 or better on the ACT Writing exam or a 33 or better on the SAT Writing and Language exam.
    • If you took the former SAT available prior to 2016: a 600 or better on the Writing exam or a 9 or better on the Essay.
  • If none of the above apply to you nor are sufficient for placement, we will request you to submit a new essay for us to evaluate.


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.