About the Math Diagnostic Test (ALEKS PPL)

We recommend that the following students take the MDT at least 3 weeks before their New Student Session:

  • Students who do not have AP credit or other course credit for Math 1, Math 3A, Math 31A, or Math 31AL
  • Students who are waiting for UCLA to receive their AP test scores or other course credit and do not know how their AP test scores will transfer in
  • Students who have AP credit or other course credit for Math 1, 3A, 31A, or 31AL but wish to repeat them at UCLA. Please note that repeating the course means no grade or unit credit and a permanent transcript notation.

Taking the diagnostic test does not grant additional credit or remove credit that is already awarded by UCLA Admission. Taking the diagnostic test does not waive students out of a math course as it is only a placement test.

Each student who takes the MDT through ALEKS PPL will be charged a non-refundable $20 fee upon logging in, which covers 12 months of access to the Prep and Learning Module.

Newly-admitted studentsUCLA Admission has to first process your transcript before advisors can give concrete recommendations on whether or not you need to take the MDT. Transcripts are typically not processed until 1-3 weeks before your New Student Session. After UCLA Admission processes your transcript, if you disagree with the credit given or not given, then you can petition with us by emailing ugrad[at]math.ucla.edu.

If you plan skip the MDT before attending your New Student Session, it would be at your own risk and you may not be eligible to enroll into Math 1, 3A, 31A, or 31AL during your enrollment window.

UCLA requires students to take a math diagnostic test (MDT) called ALEKS Placement, Preparation and Learning (ALEKS PPL) Assessment. The MDT determines the mathematics course in which you will have the greatest success. ALEKS PPL is a web-based program that uses artificial intelligence to map a student’s strengths and weaknesses. The assessment is up to 30 questions and generally takes 60-90 minutes to complete. After the assessment, an individualized Prep and Learning Module is available for students to refresh their knowledge on forgotten topics. Students then have the opportunity to reassess and improve their placement.

ALEKS consists of three parts:

  • An Initial Placement Assessment
  • The Prep and Learning Module, an individualized, self-paced online review
  • Access to 1 additional Placement Assessments

UCLA encourages each student to spend time in the Prep and Learning Module, even if the desired score is achieved, because time spent in ALEKS will ultimately lead to better preparation and improved grades.

Students should take the MDT at least 2 days before their enrollment pass is active because it takes about 24 hours for the MDT score to sync with the enrollment system. 

During academic terms (fall, winter, spring), we close the MDT at the end of Week 2 and re-open it on Monday of Week 4.

The assessment will ask up to 20-30 questions. You should plan to complete the assessment in one 2-3 hour sitting, uninterrupted – you CANNOT pause or go in and out of the test.

You must work in your Learning Module for at least five hours in between placement assessments. There’s a 48 hour “cooling off” period after each placement assessment. You can work in your Learning Module during this time, but you cannot start a new placement assessment until the cooling off period has ended.