Loyola University Chicago

Mathematics and Statistics


Math Placement at Loyola

Math placement at Loyola University Chicago (LUC) is only for students enrolling in Precalculus I (MATH 117), Precalculus II (MATH 118), Applied Calculus (MATH 131) and Calculus (MATH 161). Intermediate Algebra (MATH 100) begins the sequence and has no prerequisite.

For some undergraduate degrees one must begin in MATH 161 or MATH 131 in order to graduate in four years.  For other undergraduate degrees one must begin in MATH 118 or higher to graduate in four years.  Please check your degree requirements so that you know in which math course you need to start in order to graduate in four years.

Math placement at LUC has two steps. You are initially placed into a course based on your ACT/SAT math subscore (see Step 1), your AP Calculus AB or BC exam result (see FAQ "I took the AP Calculus exam" below) or your transfer credits. Students who wish to take a higher level math course than determined by the SAT/ACT/AP placement may take the Math Placement Assessment (MPA). (See Step 2.)


Incoming first-year students: You are placed into a math course based on your math ACT/SAT subscore or AP Calculus result. If this placement does not meet your academic needs, see STEP 2.

Incoming transfer students: Refer to your Application Status Page to review whether you need to take the MPA (Math Placement Assessment).

Currently enrolled students during the academic year: If you have not yet taken MATH 100, MATH 117 or MATH 118, you can take the MPA. See FAQ "When and where do I take the MPA" below. Or contact the Math Placement Coordinator, John Houlihan at jhouli1@luc.edu.

Please note: Only MPAs that are proctored are valid for placement. The un-proctored MPA is practice only and is not valid for placement.

ACT Math subscore

SAT I Math subscore (prior to 3/1/2016)

SAT-R Math subscore (after 3/1/2016)

0–23: MATH 100

24–25: MATH 117

26: MATH 118

27: MATH 131

28–36: MATH 161

0 - 589: MATH 100

590–639: MATH 117

640–659: MATH 118

660–679: MATH 131

680–800: MATH 161

0–560: MATH 100

570–600: MATH 117

610–620: MATH 118

630–650: MATH 131

660–800: MATH 161

SAT II, Math 1C or
SAT Math Level 1 Subject Test
SAT II, Math 2C or
SAT Math Level 2 Subject Test
AP Calculus AB or BC
200–534: MATH 100
535–634: MATH 117
635–800: MATH 118
200–534: MATH 100
535–634: MATH 118
635–800: MATH 161

1, 2: MATH 100
3: MATH 117
4, 5: See AP Calculus credit.


STEP 2:  Students may enroll in a higher level math course than determined in STEP 1 provided a sufficient score is obtained on a proctored MPA.

LUC empowers students with both the opportunity (the MPA) and the means (the Learning Modules) to place into a higher math course. Students can take the proctored MPA as often as they wish prior to taking MATH 100, MATH 117 or MATH 118. The MPA is bundled with Learning Modules to refresh and/or increase math memory. Students should plan to use the Learning Modules 30-45 uninterrupted minutes at a time, two or three times a day for four or five days in a row before they see a change in their MPA score. How much change occurs depends on a student's determination, the implementation of that determination, a student's initial score, what score the student is trying to obtain, and the rate at which the student learns math.

MPA score

0 - 44: MATH 100

45 - 59: MATH 117

60 - 74: MATH 118

75 - 100: MATH 131 or 161

If you do not know if you need one of these math courses or which math course you need to enroll in, review the web pages of your major or program, or consult with an academic advisor. Please contact The Hub with any further questions at (773)-508-7700.

Frequently Asked Questions

You can take as many MPAs (math placement assessments) as you like.  LUC (Loyola University Chicago) pays for the first bundle of five. Every subsequent bundle of five costs $15, payable online, through the ALEKS link in LOCUS.  Each bundle consists of one unproctored, practice MPA, the score of which is not used to place you in a class, and four proctored MPAs, the scores of which are used to place you in a class and six months of access to Learning Modules (if initiated within six months of the first MPA).

Before coming to LUC, take the unproctored, practice MPA as if it were proctored. That is, finish it is 90 minutes. Use only blank paper and a pencil or pen.  Do not use any assistance of any kind, including but not limited to, calculators, search engines, math web sites, notes, books, or people.  Once the first MPA is finished, the MPA (ALEKS) will generate Learning Modules based on your correct and incorrect answers specific to you.  Use them to refresh/increase your math memory/knowledge. Use the Learning Modules for an interval of 30 to 45 uninterrupted minutes. Do that two or three times a day.  That should prepare you to do better on the next MPA.

To take the unproctored practice MPA and to access the Learning Modules, log into the luc.edu/locus.

  • Please enter your LUC UVID (the letters appearing before "@luc.edu" in your LUC email address, your username) and your password.
  • After logging into LOCUS,

                   New Students Entering in the Fall: Look within the Next Stop portlet (example below).  You will see the link to the MPA - ALEKS - there.

  • All Eligible Students: Look in the Enterprise Menu (example below). Click on Academics.  You will see the link to ALEKS there.

To take the proctored MPA, the results of which are used to place you in a math class, you must come to LUC or an approved proctored testing facility.  See the next FAQ.

You must take a proctored MPA in order to use the results to place you in a math class. The proctored MPA lasts 90 minutes. (If you need extra time, contact the Student Accessibility Center: Placement Tests to receive approval and to make arrangements.) You are strongly encouraged to take the practice, unproctored MPA and to work on the Learning Modules before taking the proctored MPA. 

The 90 minute proctored MPA will be offered at LUC on the following dates, times and LUC locations (CC -  Crown Center, IC - Information Commons, SULL- Sullivan Center, IES/BVM Bldg-6349 N. Kenmore):

  • January - April 24, 2020 on regular class days:
  • Mondays and Wednesdays. Arrive between noon - 1:20 pm IES 603. Bring a laptop.
  • Tuesdays and Thursdays. Arrive between 10 - 10:30 am IES 603. Bring a laptop.

If LUC is too far away or you cannot make the dates and times, you can take a proctored MPA at a proctored testing site (for example, see http://www.ncta-testing.org/find-a-cctc-participant or a community college near you) if it is approved by the Math Placement Coordinator.  To do that:

  1. Take the practice, unproctored MPA. If you do not do this, when you go to a non-LUC location, even if it is proctored by a human being, it will not count toward placement. Only the second through fifth MPAs of each bundle at non-LUC locations are deemed proctored by the software program.

  2. Set up an appointment at a proctored test center near you, generally a community college.  Use a search engine to find a site. You are responsible for any fee the center charges.

  3. Send in the contact information (person in charge, institution, email address, and phone number) for the test site you have chosen to the MPC (Math Placement Coordinator).  This must be done a few days before your scheduled test so that the MPC can send proctoring instructions to the test site.

  4. You will need to bring your laptop as a backup to the test site in case the test site’s computers do not run the LockDown browser which is required for the proctored MPA. As long as your laptop has no math notes written on its case, you can use your laptop to take the MPA in a proctored setting. You access the MPA as you would at LUC. Open a web browser. Type in www.luc.edu. Click on the LOCUS link in the upper right hand corner. Log into LOCUS. Click on the Math Placement/ALEKS link in your portal (or click on Academics and then the Math Placement/ALEKS link).  Click through ALEKS. Click on the button to start the test. Type in the password. Launch the LockDown browser. Start the test.

If none of these arrangements is possible, please contact the Math Placement Coordinator, John Houlihan, jhouli1@luc.edu to try to set up an alternative testing time.

The current MPA is ALEKS PPL ("ALEKS"), Assessment and LEarning in Knowledge Spaces, Placement Preparation and Learning. ALEKS is a Web-based, artificially intelligent assessment and learning system, which uses adaptive questioning to quickly and accurately determine exactly what a student knows and doesn’t know.  ALEKS then provides the student individualized topics (Learning Modules) which the student can use to learn the material with which the student had difficulty.  When using the Learning Modules, ALEKS also provides the advantages of one-on-one instruction, 24/7, from virtually any Web-based computer for a fraction of the cost of a human tutor.

Please be aware that the Learning Modules will be available to you for at most six months, if started within six months of your first MPA, but ending on January 31.


Every bundle of MPAs includes one (1) practice unproctored MPA which is not used for placement, four (4) proctored MPAs, which are used for placement, and six months of access to individualized Learning Modules.  LUC pays for the first bundle.  Each successive bundle is $15, payable online by the student.

The MPA assesses eleven major math topics.

1. Whole Numbers, Fractions, and Decimals

2. Percents, Proportions, and Geometry

3. Signed Numbers, Linear Equations and Inequalities

4. Lines and Systems of Linear Equations

5. Relations and Functions

6. Integer Exponents and Factoring

7. Quadratic and Polynomial Functions

8. Rational Expressions and Functions

9. Radicals and Rational Exponents

10. Exponentials and Logarithms

11. Trigonometry

 See a complete detailed list here.

Only students whose ACT/SAT math scores have not placed them into the math course they want or need (see http://luc.edu/math/placement/ ) and who have a link to ALEKS in LOCUS need to take the MPA.  If your ACT math score was 28 or above, do not take the MPA.  If your SAT-R math score was 660 or above, do not take the MPA.

Students with majors listed here need to take math courses.  Generally, in order to graduate in four years, Chemistry and pre-health majors need to start in MATH 118, Precalculus II while students majoring in Physics, Engineering, and/or Math & Statistics need to start in MATH 161, Calculus I.

It is also strongly recommended that all transfer students who have appropriate transfer credit take the MPA if they will need additional math courses at LUC. If the score on the MPA indicates a lack of preparedness for the course, the student should apply themselves to mastering the topics in the ALEKS Learning Module and take the MPA until they have the appropriate score.

New students should contact Undergraduate Admissions prior to May 1. After May 1, you may contact the HUB to confirm that your new major requires math, and request access to the MPA.

  • E-mail: placementtest@luc.edu
  • By phone: 773.508.7700
  • In person: Sullivan Center for Student Services, 6339 N. Sheridan Road, Chicago, IL 60660.

If you are registering prior to the date when the AP Calculus results are known, and your ACT and/or SAT math subscores do not place you into the math course you need/want (see luc.edu/math/placement), you should take the MPA. Click here to see the AP scores that qualify for credit.

No. Loyola's math placement is specifically designed to place students into a Loyola University Chicago math course, or appropriate course requiring math pre-requisites.

Possibly. Some courses require certain levels of math before you can take them. To find the prerequisites for a course, use the class search or course catalog features in LOCUS (if you don’t have a login, you can sign in as a guest) and look at the course descriptions.

Contact an academic advisor.  Your advisor will be listed in LOCUS on your Student Center. 

Incoming first year students should contact First and Second Year Advising.

Transfer, junior, or senior students should contact their College or School advisors. 

Online: http://www.luc.edu/advising/schools.shtml

The proctored MPA must be completed within 90 minutes. For those who need extended time accommodations due to a documented disability, please contact Services for Students with Disabilities at least one week in advance of the scheduled MPA date. Additional information about utilizing accommodations for the MPA can be found here: https://www.luc.edu/sac/placementtests/

Precalculus and calculus courses (MATH 117: Precalculus I, 118: Precalculus II, 131: Applied Calculus, and 161: Calculus) at Loyola University Chicago (“LUC”) are rigorous and professors expect that students placed in the course are capable of meeting the demands of the material. Since students are admitted with a wide variety of strengths and backgrounds in mathematics and from a wide variety of high schools, these expectations may differ from students’ experiences in high school math courses.  Furthermore, students might be unaware that they may struggle in collegiate math courses.

Therefore, to better ensure student success in these math courses, LUC places students in these math courses based on standardized tests and/or transfer credit(s).

Incoming first-years: LUC places students in classes based initially on students’ recent ACT and/or SAT math scores and/or transfer credits.

Transfer Students: LUC places students in classes based upon academic advisors evaluation of transfer credits.

Current Students: See the math placement coordinator. 

If any student is dissatisfied with their initial placement, the student can take one sample math placement assessment ("MPA") and up to four proctored math placement assessments at LUC.

The MPA (math placement assessment) is for math placement.  It cannot be used to skip a class, pass a class, or get back on track. Once a student has started the math sequence of MATH 100-117-118, the only way to complete it is to pass the classes with the grade of a C- or  higher.