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10901 Little Patuxent Parkway
Columbia MD, 21044
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312 Marshall Avenue, Suite 205
Laurel, MD 20707
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6751 Columbia Gateway Drive
Columbia MD 21046
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Join Us for Pop Up Test Center Info Sessions

pop-up testingPop-up Test Center Info Sessions will be available on Mondays and Wednesdays, 3PM to 4PM as well as Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1PM to 2PM.

What are Pop-Up Test Center Info Sessions?

This is an opportunity to meet with a testing administrator via Zoom to discuss all things placement related, no appointment needed! 

Join Pop-Up Test Center Info Sessions

What topics are covered during the ALEKS PPL Assessment?

ALEKS PPL is an online, adaptive system that covers a broad spectrum of mathematics topics. The length of the placement assessment will vary but can be up to 30 questions. You can expect to see some, but not all, of the math you learned in high school. ALEKS is a placement assessment, not a preview of math courses at Howard Community College. It is designed to identify if you are prepared for a particular course. After completing the initial placement assessment, you will have the opportunity to review and master additional topics to reassess and improve your placement.

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)

Can I practice using the ALEKS input tools before I begin the placement assessment?

ALEKS will begin with a tutorial to make sure you are comfortable with the math tools before the assessment begins. The tutorial demonstrates how to: enter the different types of answers, use the on-screen calculator, and graph. If, during the assessment, you are unsure how to input an answer or need help, select the Help button below the answer pallet tools to return to the tutorial. Using the tutorial during the assessment will not impact your placement results.

Disability Accommodations

If you require additional accommodations, such as the use of a screen reader, please contact Disability Support Services.

Get Ready

You can take the ALEKS Math Placement Assessment at home on a personal computer, laptop, or tablet. Prior to testing, you can verify that your device is supported using the following link: ALEKS - Check Your System Setup. The only materials allowed during the assessment are scratch paper and pencils. No books, notes, or other resources should be used. There is no benefit to cheating on the math placement assessment – you may enroll in a class that is either too difficult or not sufficiently challenging, potentially costing you time and money.

The ALEKS Math Placement Assessment is a timed 3.5-hour exam. If the exam is disrupted due to technical issues, your work will be saved, and you will be able to reenter the assessment where you left off.

Use of a personal calculator is prohibited. ALEKS will provide an on-screen calculator if one is needed to complete a particular problem. Find a quiet place free of distractions, and make sure to have paper, pencils, or pens for scratch work.

Take the Assessment

New Students must set up their Howard Community College (HCC) username and password at HCC password services webpage before they can sign in to ALEKS PPL.

Once you have your HCC credentials, use the link provided below and log in using your HCC username and password. If after entering your username and password you are not able to access the exam, check that your password is correct. If necessary, you can reset your password.

Download and reference the student factsheet or the quick instructions for ALEKS PPL to help you navigate through your ALEKS PPL experience.

Once you log into ALEKS PPL, you will first take an unproctored assessment and continue to an individualized Prep and Learning Module. It is highly recommended that you spend at least five hours in the Prep and Learning Module to prepare for your official, proctored assessment. When you feel you are sufficiently prepared, you should take your first proctored assessment.

You will have to wait 24 hours between assessments and will need a password for official, proctored assessments. When prompted for a proctor password in the box labeled “Proctor Password Required,” enter HCC2020.

If you are not satisfied with your placement, you can retake the assessment – all students are eligible for two proctored assessments (unproctored assessments do not count towards placement, but it is highly recommended to try your best to better prepare you for the official, proctored assessments).

Create your ALEKS PPL account and begin your first math placement test.



If you originally tested at the Test Center and already have an ALEKS PPL account, you can retest at home. Students should sign in at ALEKS PPL using the username and password created at the Test Center. It is highly recommended that you spend at least three hours in the Prep and Learning Module to prepare for your second and final proctored attempt.

Understanding Your Score

You will receive your score immediately upon completion of the placement assessment. These scores can be viewed by login in to you ALEKS account through the ALEKS PPL website.

In order to register for a math class, a student must achieve the minimum placement result for the corresponding class. The table below explains how to understand your ALEKS score. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact an advisor for clarification.

ALEKS PPL Placement Score Range

Course IDCourse NamePlacement Score Range
YD-707Math Review 10-1
YD-807Math Review 22-3
MATH-061*Basic Math & Geometry4-21
MATH-037*Mathematical Foundations22-29
MATH-067*Elementary Algebra22-29
MATH-070Intermediate Algebra30-45
MATH-132**Topics for Math Literacy30-45
MATH-127Concepts of Math Literacy46-60
MATH-128Concepts of Math II46-60
MATH-141College Algebra46-60
MATH-145Business Calculus61-75
MATH-155Pre-Calculus I & II61-75
MATH-181Calculus I76-100

* Reading placement of ENGL-083/090 or higher required. ** Reading placement of ENGL-121 required. 

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