Academic Assessments and Placement Tests

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

How to Access Your Placement Tests in Blackboard

1. Go to and enter your username and password. If this is your first time logging in, you will be prompted to change your password immediately. Once your password has been changed, you should have access to your Illinois Tech account.

Access login

2. Click on the “Blackboard” icon from My Apps.

Access Channels Blackboard

Download detailed instructions

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.

Completion of ALEKS Math Placement exam is required to register for your math course.

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 Access Illinois Tech portal.

ALEKS Math Placement Test Process and Stages

Initial Assessment (Practice Exam)

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. 

Please note that you can only take the practice exam once. 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.

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 score below an 80 on the proctored assessment

If you score below an 80, you can retake the placement up to three more times for an additional fee of $10, paid directly to ProctorU.

Before retaking the exam, here are some ways to study:

  1. 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.
  2. Reach out to the Academic Resource Center to work with a tutor.
Taking a summer math course

If you are unable to score an 80 or above when you retake the test, you may also choose to take a math course over the summer. Taking a summer math course will help you review advanced math needed for MATH 151.

Illinois Tech is offering MATH 148: Pre-Calculus and MATH 147: College Algebra from June 26-August 5. To enroll in a summer math course at Illinois Tech:

  1. Reach out to your admission counselor to let them know you want to take a summer course. They will create a summer course application on your behalf.
  2. Reach out to Academic Affairs at to register for the appropriate math course.
Math placement scores and time for degree completion.

View a detailed diagram of the ALEKS Math placement scores and progress pathways at Illinois Tech here

Who is exempt from the ALEKS Math Placement Exam?

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

  • 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 complete 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.


All incoming degree-seeking students (not exchange or visiting) must meet the Basic Writing Proficiency Requirement (BWP). Students enter Illinois Tech with a wide variety of backgrounds and experience in communication skills, and meeting the BWP ensures you have the foundational communication skills you’ll need to succeed in your coursework while at Illinois Tech.

There are 3 ways for students to demonstrate they have the foundational communication skills needed to succeed at Illinois Tech, or to meet the BWP:

  1. Transfer credit or high standardized test scores. Students may present any of the following:
    1. Transfer credit for a University Writing Course (COM 101 or 111 at Illinois Tech); 
    2. AP credit (a 4 or higher on the AP English Language exam)
    3. A score of 8 or higher on the ACT Writing
    4. A score of 33 or higher on the SAT Writing and Language exam (note: if you took the former SAT available prior to 2016, you can present either a 600 or higher on the SAT Writing or a 9 or higher on the SAT Essay).
  2. Passing the Writing Placement Exam.
  3. Taking and passing either COM 101 (Writing in the University) or COM 111 (Writing in the University for Multilingual Speakers of English)*.

If you do not have transfer credit or sufficiently high standardized test scores, we recommend you take the Writing Placement Exam before your first semester at Illinois Tech. This exam will determine whether you will need to take COM 101 or COM 111, or whether you already have the foundational communication skills you need to succeed at Illinois Tech.

International Students*

For international students who are required to submit TOEFL or IELTS scores for admission to the university, your scores on those exams may indicate which courses you will take instead of taking the Writing Placement Exam. See chart below.

Writing Course Placement for International Students Submitting TOEFL/IELTS

TOEFLIELTSWriting Course Placement
Reading or Writing
Reading or Writing
COM 111
Reading or Writing
Overall <6.0 and
Reading and Writing ≥6.0
Overall ≥6.0 and
Reading and Writing =6.0
HUM 200 (sections starting with E)

Please note: Students who are required to take COM 111 or HUM 200 (section E) as part of their admission to the university will not participate in the Writing Placement Exam and must take the courses listed above according to their respective TOEFL/IELTS scores.

If you are an international student and were not required to submit your TOEFL/IELTS scores with your admission application, and you do not meet any of the other BWP requirements outlined above, you are required to take the Writing Placement Exam.

Taking the Writing Placement Exam

You can access the placement exam in the "Organizations" section in Blackboard. Once you complete the exam, our writing team will evaluate it and communicate your results and course requirements.

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 or call 312.567.3300.

3. You can find your assigned assessments in the “Organizations” section of Blackboard.

Blackboard Orgs

Note: Only relevant organizations will be listed on your Blackboard site.