Ohio University

Math Placement

Why is the Math Placement Level important?

All Ohio University Athens Campus students have a Math Placement Level assigned to them based on their math ACT/SAT score. The Placement Level determines the student’s initial math course unless the Tier I quantitative skills requirement has been satisfied by transfer or Advanced Placement credit. Math placement is also sometimes used for courses in departments other than Mathematics.

Students without ACT or SAT scores, Advanced Placement credit, or a transferable math course must take an online Math Placement Test using the ALEKS placement system. Ohio University recommends that all students with a Developmental Math Placement and some students in certain majors take a Math Placement Test (regardless of transfer or Advanced Placement credit) in order to begin in the most advantageous math course. ALEKS not only gauges your Math Placement Level, but also gives you the tools to improve your placement. ALEKS is trusted by colleges and universities across the nation to help students find the best placement.

Do I need to take the Math Placement Test?

The need to take the Math Placement Test depends on your major and your current placement level.

See Placement Tests for Incoming OHIO Students [EXCEL]. This chart assumes you are not transferring credit to Ohio University for a course in that subject area. If you are transferring in credit, or if you have any questions, please check with an Academic Advisor.

Can I improve my Math Placement Level?

Yes, you can! If you are an Athens Campus or an eCampus student who has never taken an Ohio University math course and you would like to improve your current Math Placement level, you can take the Math Placement Test and use the Learning Modules in ALEKS to improve your Math Placement Level.

How do I take the Math Placement Test?

If we recommend that you take the Math Placement Test, you will receive an email with the link in your Catmail. If you’re an Athens Campus student, you can log in to the ALEKS placement system anytime.

When should I take the Math Placement Test?

If you would like to improve your Math Placement Level by taking ALEKS, please do so as soon as possible before you arrive at Orientation. Completing the Math Placement Test prepares you for appropriate course registration.

I took the Math Placement Test. How do I know what my new Placement Level is?

The chart below explains how Ohio University applies ALEKS scores:


I took the Math Placement Test but did not receive the score I was hoping for. Now what?

Great news! You can take the online Math Placement Test for a total of three attempts. After your first attempt, you have two retake attempts. If you are unhappy with your first score, we encourage you to study using the ALEKS system and take the test again. You will need to spend at least three hours studying in the learning module before the system lets you retake the test. Your likelihood of improving your math placement increases as you study more hours in ALEKS. There is no limit to the number of hours you can study between placement attempts. We strongly encourage you to retake the test if you find yourself scoring between 1-10 points away from the next placement level. You can do it!

I took the Math Placement Test and I am satisfied with my score. What’s next?

If you are a new or transfer student we will help you enroll in the most appropriate math class during Bobcat Student Orientation (BSO). If you are a current Ohio University student who has never taken a math class at Ohio University, contact your advisor to ensure that you enroll in the most appropriate math course for your major. The choice of the course in which you should enroll (if any) depends on your major, University Catalog of Entry, and Math Placement Level. Be sure to discuss all course selections with your academic advisor, whether you are a new student at Orientation or are a current student. You can review the chart below to help you determine what math course options will be best for you.


I am having trouble logging in to ALEKS to take the Math Placement Test or I still have more questions about the Math Placement Test. Who can I contact for help?

If you are having any technical difficulties or have further questions, please contact the Department of Mathematics at 740.593.1254 or mathematics@ohio.edu.

What should I do if I get an “unauthorized user” error?

If you receive an “unauthorized user” error when attempting to log into ALEKS, there could be several reasons for this:

  • Students with credit for a math course from Ohio University are not permitted to take the placement test.
  • Only undergraduate Ohio University students are permitted to take the test (no faculty, staff, etc.)
  • Students can only take the test as early as one month prior to attending BSO.

If you believe you should be able to take the test and you get this error screen, please contact the Department of Mathematics at 740.593.1254 or mathematics@ohio.edu.

Information About a Proctored Placement Level 3 Test

Un-proctored testing is appropriate for most students. However, students who would like to pursue a Placement Level 3 from either having a Developmental Placement, a Placement Level 1, or no placement assigned, need to take the test in a proctored environment. Here are the instructions and things you need to know about pursuing a proctored test.

Steps to take the test in a proctored setting:

  • Log on to https://www.ohio.edu/testing-services/on-campus.html
  • Follow the directions under “How To” for proctoring to set up an appointment.
  • Be sure to choose “Computer Based” for the testing format.
  • Go to the testing center at your scheduled time, and be sure to bring a photo ID with you.
  • You have up to 3 hours to complete the test, but many people complete it in 1.5 hours.

Helpful Things to Know About Taking the Math Placement Test in a Proctored Environment

  • The latest appointment available any day is 2 p.m.
  • You may not bring a calculator. ALEKS will provide an onscreen calculator if you need one for a particular problem.
  • The proctor will provide you with scratch paper and pencils.
  • Be sure you know your OHIO ID and password to get into ALEKS.
  • No testing is available during finals week, due to the heavy volume of final exams in the Testing Center.
  • Personal items are not allowed in the testing space, so your personal items will be stored in a locker.
  • At least 48 hours need to have passed between your last test and your scheduled proctored test.
  • If you were required to complete any learning modules, please do that prior to taking the proctored test.

Placements are not exemptions. Each of OHIO's placement tests are designed to identify the course in which a student should begin. A placement does not exempt a student from a required course.