ALEKS Assessment and Learning Tool

The Initial Assessment Module


Prep and Learning Modules


In Summer 2020, the mathematics department is offering all students enrolled in Math 1A, 10A, 16A, and 32 access to a new online learning tool, ALEKS PPL ( This is a continuing pilot program aimed at supporting students to prepare for Berkeley introductory mathematics courses. Use of the modules has been shown to improve student performance in college level math courses.

ALEKS PPL will enable students to engage in an individualized mathematics learning experience tailored to their unique strengths, as well as to gaps they might have in their preparation. The purpose of the ALEKS PPL system is to help students identify and strengthen particular areas of mathematical knowledge relevant to the math courses they plan on taking at Berkeley.

Students who plan on taking a math course or a course that requires some mathematics are encouraged to begin using ALEKS PPL resources over the summer, but will have access to the tool throughout the Fall and Spring semesters.

Additionally for Summer 2020 Berkeley's Math Department is offering a Pre-Calculus Essentials (Math 98) 3-week course in Summer Session E (July 27th-Aug 14th) created by Berkeley Math Department faculty to focus on the essentials of what you need to know to excel in your first math courses.  We recommend that you use the ALEKS PPL assessment tools along with enrolling in this course. 

Please visit the Precalculus Essentials website for access to materials, registration information and additional resources! 


What is ALEKS PPL? The ALEKS PPL system is designed to help you identify and strengthen areas of knowledge relevant to Berkeley mathematics courses. The tool offers you an individualized mathematics learning experience tailored to your unique strengths as well as any gaps you might have in your preparation. 

What is PreCalculus Essentials (Math 98) 3-week class?
The PreCalculus Essentials (Math 98) summer class is a customized three week class starting in Summer Session E (July 27th-Aug 14th) created by Berkeley Math Department faculty to focus on the essentials of what you need to know to excel in your first math courses.  The course can be taken for one unit credit with a fee OR for free for no-unit-credits.

Should I use ALEKS PPL and enroll in summer class PreCalculus Essentials?  
If you plan on taking a math course (or a course that requires some mathematics) at Berkeley, you should begin using ALEKS PPL resources along with enrolling in PreCalculus Essentials (Math 98) class this summer. 

What will ALEKS PPL and the PreCalculus Essentials summer class provide to me? 
An adaptive assessment that you can use to determine what you know and what you need to work on. The purpose of this assessment is to help you identify and focus on topics that you might wish to brush up on, that you may have forgotten, or that you’ve not practiced for some time. 

The materials prepared for PreCalculus Essentials 3-week course are not like other resources online: the course is prepared by the faculty who will be teaching you and will explain foundational concepts from a university level perspective. Find more details on Precalculus Essentials website.

Why should I use ALEKS PPL? 

  • Use of the modules has been shown to improve student performance in college level math courses. We encourage you to do that.

  • Participating in the assessment may count toward extra credit in your math class or may be required by your math instructor as part of the course (more details to come from your instructor).

  • Your scores on the assessment will NOT affect your grades at Berkeley and will not replace in-class instruction. 


What topics are covered in ALEKS PPL?

ALEKS PPL is an online, adaptive system that covers a broad spectrum of mathematics topics. The length of the modules will vary, but can be up to 30 questions. You will see some, but not all, of the math you have learned in high school. Topics covered:

  • Real numbers (including fractions, integers, and percentages)

  • Equations and inequalities (including linear equations, linear inequalities, systems of linear equations, and quadratic equations),

  • Linear and quadratic functions (including graphs and functions, linear functions, and parabolas), exponents and polynomials (including integer exponents, polynomial arithmetic, factoring, and polynomial equations), rational expressions (including rational equations and rational functions

  • Radical expressions (including higher roots and rational exponents)

  • Exponentials and logarithms (including function compositions and inverse functions, properties of logarithms, and logarithmic equations)

  • Geometry and trigonometry (including perimeter, area, and volume, coordinate geometry, trigonometric functions, and identities and equations).


The Initial Assessment Module

What is the format of the questions on ALEKS?

ALEKS does not use multiple-choice. It is open-response and requires you to work out solutions with a paper and pencil, and then enter them into ALEKS. Be sure to have scratch paper with you.

May I use a calculator while using ALEKS?

ALEKS will provide an on-screen calculator if you need one to complete a particular problem. Otherwise, you may not use a calculator.

May I use any other resources during the initial module?

You may only use a pen or pencil, paper, and the resources provided within ALEKS. You should not receive assistance from friends, family, other websites, textbooks, or any other resource not provided by ALEKS.

Can I review a question after I've answered it?

Because ALEKS is adaptive, once you submit an answer, you cannot change it. Be sure to carefully check your answer before submitting your response.

What if I see questions I don’t know?

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 do not know how to solve the topic, and this will be reflected in the module’s results. There is no penalty for incorrectly answering a question, it only helps ALEKS understand what you know and don’t know.

Are the modules timed?

You are free to complete the module at your own pace for up to 2 hours. If you need to exit the module for any reason, you will be able to log back in and pick up where you left off.

What happens if I do not complete a module in the allotted time?

You will be given a result, but it will not be a true reflection of where you stand. You may take an additional unproctored module, which can be completed over the course of any 24 hour time period, to obtain a more accurate reflection of where you stand.


What is my result?

Your result (overall score) is a number between 0 and 100. It represents the percentage of topics ALEKS has identified you have mastered. Note that ALEKS includes a number of topics that help you determine how well prepared you are for  Math 1A, Math 10A, Math 16A and Math 32. As such, incoming students are not expected to have mastered the majority of topics in ALEKS. You can find our provided recommendations based on ALEKS assessment scores on the Precalculus Essentials website.

Where can I see my score?

Your ALEKS score can be viewed by re-entering ALEKS using the same access link for which you took the module.

What do I do with my results?

This is a perfect opportunity to take advantage of the tools the Math Dept is offering this summer 2020.  

Option A (highly recommended): Register for the Precalculus Essentials summer 3-week class starting in Summer 2020 Session E July 27th-Aug 14th by completing the registration form found on the Math Department, Precalculus Essentials website.

Option B: Access Prep and Learning modules offered within ALEKS PPL system for  individualized learning modules that are included with the ALEKS-PPL assessment tool. An individualized study plan will be created based on your performance on the initial module. ALEKS will identify what you know and what you are ready to learn next so you can brush up on lost knowledge.


Can I retake the ALEKS PPL check-in modules?

Yes, you may take up to 4 of them on your own time. To make each attempt worthwhile, it is important that you spend time working in your ALEKS prep and learning module between attempts so that you can improve your skills.

Can I retake the ALEKS check in modules immediately?

 There is generally no benefit to re-taking these check-in modules immediately after completing a prior attempt. Instead, you should spend some time in the prep and learning module to refresh material that you may have forgotten or learn new material.

Prep and Learning Modules

How long do I have access to my prep and learning module?

You will have one year of access to your prep and learning module. Access to the prep course will not begin until you select start on the top of your screen. DO NOT select into the “Prep and Learning Module” until you are ready to start working.

Is there a fee for my Prep and Learning Module?

No, access to a Prep and Learning Module is included and is being provided to you for free this year.

What are ALEKS Knowledge Checks?

While working in a Prep and Learning Module, you will periodically complete a Knowledge Check to make sure you have mastered the topics you gained in Learning Mode. If you do not show mastery during the Knowledge Check, the topics will be added back into your Learning Pie so you can review them again.


Who do I contact if I have questions?

For technical questions about use of ALEKS PPL, please contact ALEKS at For questions about UC Berkeley procedures and policies with regards to ALEKS, please contact Precalculus Essentials email at essentials [at] math [dot] berkeley [dot] edu (essentials [at] math [dot] berkeley [dot] edu).

What do I do if my web browser gets stuck or my computer crashes while I'm taking the modules?

Simply close the browser, or log out and log back in. ALEKS will resume the modules exactly where you left off, with no loss of your previous answers.

Where can I get help with ALEKS?