Placement test results determine your course placement for your first year.

About the Tests

Students must complete their Placement Tests at least one week before their Orientation session. All Placement Tests are accessible to first-year students from the checklist in the online Applicant Portal, and later via email from: All students are required to complete their own tests and adhere to the Academic Integrity Policy. Failure to do so may result in university disciplinary action.

A student's accepted major determines which tests will be required. All students will enroll in the appropriate courses based off their Placement scores at Orientation. The possible tests include:


The UMass Lowell Department of Mathematics and Statistics is dedicated to ensuring that students have the best possible math experience by placing them into the class best suited to their abilities.

Students majoring in Engineering, Sciences, Business, Economics or Sound Recording Technology must take the Calculus ALEKS Placement Test before attending Orientation. Students in other majors are not required to take a math test.

The Calculus ALEKS Placement Test in an online test that may be taken at home using the Respondus LockDown Browser and Monitor. No outside resources are allowed during the 25-question test and is open for 2.5 hours after it begins.

If students do not have appropriate technology to take the Calculus ALEKS Placement Test at home, they may email: at least a week prior to Orientation. If students need accommodations, please register with Disability Services or email: if you have not already registered to request assistance.

If you have questions about your results, please login to the application portal.

Please be aware that the Calculus test may only be taken once, so students are highly encouraged to prepare with the practice material provided by the Math Department.


What technology is needed to take the Calculus ALEKS PPL with Respondus?

Respondus LockDown Browser can be used on Windows personal computers, macOS, and iPads (with the Respondus LockDown Browser App installed). Students will also need a camera on their computer for Respondus Monitor. Unfortunately, you cannot use Chromebooks. If you do not have adequate technology, students can make an appointment at the UMass Lowell Testing Center at least a week prior to Orientation. To schedule an appointment, please email:

Please check the System Requirements to ensure that your Windows, Mac, or iPad have sufficient operating systems.

How do I to take the Calculus ALEKS Placement Test?

Student success is very important at UMass Lowell and appropriate placement in mathematics will ensure progress for students. We use ALEKS Placement tests to accurately assess, prepare, and place students into mathematics courses where they are most likely to succeed.

Prepare for your assessment:

  • Students must have a camera on their laptop or computer.
  • Select a distraction free environment for the assessment. Try to avoid television and background noise to make sure you can focus. Move to a quiet space without other people in view of the webcam.
  • Make sure your room is well lit, avoid dark rooms.
  • Avoid wearing baseball caps or hats that block your view.
  • Place your computer or iPad on a stable surface like a desk or table, avoid your lap or bed.
  • No outside assistance is permitted.
  • No calculators are permitted. A calculator icon will appear on the screen when it is allowed to be used.
  • Blank paper and a pen/pencil may be used.
  • The use of any mobile device during the test, including phones or tablets, is prohibited.
  • Be prepared to show your government-issued photo ID at the start of the exam.
  • Students have 2.5 hours to complete the ALEKS PPL Assessment, this does not include time spent on the survey or tutorial. Please provide at least 30 minutes for setup prior to the exam.
  • If students need accommodations, please register with Disability Services or email: if you have already registered to request assistance.

After logging into ALEKS for the first time, students follow the prompts for the following:

  • first time use experience consisting of animated pages which introduce ALEKS PPL
  • brief survey
  • ALEKS Tools Tutorial
  • download Respondus LockDown Browser
  • set up Respondus Monitor (webcam)
  • complete the ALEKS Placement Assessment
  • view your results
  • explore features on your ALEKS personal homepage, if desired

Take the ALEKS PPL Assessment:

  1. Log into your Applicant Portal and, under your Admitted Student Checklist, select the "Placement Tests" checklist item.
  2. Your ALEKS login credentials are on this page. Follow any listed instructions to reach your home page.
  3. Selecting Get Started to begin the Tools Tutorial. The Tools Tutorial will show you how to enter your answers into ALEKS. If you aren't sure how to input an answer or need help while you are taking the ALEKS Placement Assessment, select the Help button below the answer pallet tools.
  4. After completing the Tools Tutorial, you will receive a congratulatory message. Select Continue to return to the home page.
  5. You will be prompted to start your Placement Assessment, including tips on how to take the assessment. Students are allowed to take the assessment twice, three hours are provided to complete the assessment, and you are reminded to adhere to UMass Lowell’s honor code.
  6. Select Get Started
  7. Select Download LockDown Browser (download will open in a new tab)
  8. Select the download for your operating system (Windows, Mac, or iPad). Open the installer and follow the prompts to install Respondus.
  9. Return to the ALEKS tab, if needed.
  10. Select Launch LockDown Browser + Webcam
  11. Select Continue at the LockDown Browser prompt to accept the default message (I want to use a webcam Respondus Monitor)
  12. Review and Agree to the Student Terms of Service
  13. Follow the prompts to set up Respondus Monitor (9 step process)
  14. Select Begin Exam

During the Placement Assessment, students can see their progress by viewing the status bar in the upper-right corner. They can also see the time remaining on the assessment.

What’s Next:

Upon completion of the ALEKS Placement Test, students will immediately see their results and can view which class they placed into at any time.

How do I schedule an appointment at the UMass Lowell Testing Center for the Calculus ALEKS Placement Test?

To schedule an appointment, please email:

Can I use a calculator during the ALEKS Placement Test?

If a calculator is permitted for a specific question, ALEKS will provide you one on-screen. Otherwise, you may not use a calculator. 

How do I get help?

What if I don’t have access to the required technology? (ex. I only have a Chromebook, phone or no computer at all)

  • If you don’t have adequate technology, please schedule an appointment at the UMass Lowell Testing Center at least a week prior to orientation. To schedule an appointment, please email:
  • If you’re unable to configure Respondus LockDown Browser or Monitor, contact ALEKS technical support at (800) 258-2374 or submit a ticket on the ALEKS Customer Support website

What if my computer freezes during the test?

  • If your computer shuts down during the assessment, please attempt to continue the test, if possible. ALEKS will remember where you left off, but the timer will continue while you’re away. Since you have three attempts, you can take the assessment again, if needed.
  • Students can select ALEKS Help during the assessment. Select your name in the upper right corner and select ALEKS Help in the drop down.

Writing Placement Survey

All first-year students, except those in the Honors College, regardless of their major, must complete the Writing Placement Survey prior to attending Orientation.

The Writing Placement Survey gives students the opportunity to discuss their writing history and provide a writing sample to demonstrate the expression of ideas, attention to grammar, and development of perspective. Students will read a short passage and an assignment question that are based on a relevant or cultural issue. Students are expected to support their position with appropriate reasoning and examples. The individual position of each student will not influence score or placement.

The university's college writing faculty evaluates each student's writing sample and works with the student to determine placement into his or her writing course.

A sample essay (pdf) with reviewers' comments, is available for your review.

See Practice Tests.