Math Placement Assessment (MPA)

UVM requires a Math Placement Assessment (MPA)to determine readiness for calculus courses. The Math Placement Assessment uses a platform called ALEKS PPL, which is a web-based program that uses artificial intelligence to map a student's strengths and weaknesses. The Math Placement Assessment is up to 30 questions and generally takes 60 - 90 minutes to complete. After the Placement Assessment, an individualized Prep and Learning Module is available so that you can refresh your knowledge on forgotten topics. You will then have the opportunity to reassess and improve your placement.

What is the purpose of placement testing? The Math Placement Assessment is used to determine which mathematics course you should begin with in order to have the greatest success. Your scores will be sent to your academic advisor or student services personnel, who will review your scores and help make appropriate recommendations for course registration.

Be honest. It is important that the Math Placement Assessment is taken seriously, and that you give it an honest effort so that the Placement Assessment truly reflects your current level of knowledge and math preparedness. There is no benefit to cheating on the Placement Assessment – the only result would be that you enroll in a class that is too difficult, or not challenging enough, potentially costing time and money. Therefore, while taking the Placement Assessment, you should not consult any outside sources for help (friends/family, internet searches, textbooks, notes etc...). The purpose of the Placement Assessment is to give an accurate measure of your current mathematical knowledge so that you will be successful in mathematics courses.

Who Needs to Take the Math Placement Assessment?

All students who wish to take Fundamentals of Calculus 1 (MATH 019 or MATH 1212) or Calculus 1 (MATH 021 or MATH 1234) must take the assessment.

What if I have AP credit? If you are coming in with AP credit (Calculus AB or BC) and plan to take any calculus course (MATH 019, 020, 021, 022, 121, 1212, 1224, 1234, 1248, or 2248), you still need to take the Placement Assessment.

What if I have transfer credit for math? If you have transfer credit for some MATH course(s) and are finished with your math requirements, you do not need to take the MPA. If you plan to take additional MATH at UVM, please check with the Department of Mathematics & Statistics ( as to whether or not you need to take the MPA.

Taking the Placement Assessment

Is the Placement Assessment timed? How long will it take? Most students will finish the Placement Assessment in around 60 - 90 minutes, but it's untimed, and you are free to complete it at your own pace. The system will allow you to access your Placement Assessment for 72 hours after you begin. If you exit the Placement Assessment for any reason, you will be able to log back in and pick up where you left off.

What if I don't finish? If you leave the Placement Assessment without completing it and don't go back and finish within the 72 hour window, your score will be dropped and won't count as one of your attempts. All you have to do is log back in and start over.

What if I need accessibility accommodations? Students with accessibility questions should contact Student Accessibility Services at

What is the format of the questions? The questions on the Placement Assessment are open ended, not multiple choice. You should work out the solutions on paper before entering your answers. Be sure to have a pen or pencil and scrap paper to work on.

Can I use a calculator? An on-screen calculator for you to use on specific problems where one is needed. You may use only the on-screen calculator, and only for those questions where it is provided. Do not use any other calculators/apps/etc.

May I use any other resources during the Placement Assessment? You may only use a pen or pencil, paper, and the resources provided within the Placement Assessment. You may not receive assistance from friends, family, other websites, textbooks, or any other resource outside the Placement Assessment. Using outside resources will lead to improper placement and potentially course failure, and is a violation of UVM's Code of Academic Integrity.

What if I don't know how to do a problem? It is likely that you will be asked questions on material you have not yet learned. On such questions it is appropriate to answer I don't know. On any question that you have familiarity with, however, it is important to do your best. I don't know is interpreted by ALEKS to mean that you don't know the topic, and this will be reflected in the Placement Assessment results. There is no penalty for incorrectly answering a question on the Placement Assessment, it only helps ALEKS understand what you know and don't know.

What do I do if my web browser gets stuck or my computer crashes while I'm taking the Placement Assessment? Simply close the browser, or log out and log back in. ALEKS will resume the Placement Assessment exactly where you left off, with no loss of your previous answers.

Can I retake the Placement Assessment? Yes, you may take the Placement Assessment up to 4 additional times after your initial assessment. However, to make each attempt worthwhile, we recommend that you spend some time working in a Prep and Learning Module so that you can improve your skills before retaking the Placement Assessment.

How do I know which course to take once I have my results? Which course you are advised to take depends on the requirements of your program as well as your results on the Placement Assessment. Follow this link for general guidance, and consult your academic advisor.

Signing Into the Math Placement Assessment

To access the Math Placement Assessment, follow the link below and sign in with your UVM netid.

The first time you log in, you will need to enter a class code, which you can find at this link (UVM login required).


If you have any other questions or concerns regarding the Math Placement Assessment, please contact the Department of Mathematics and Statistics (