Loyola University Chicago


Math Placement Assessment

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, students must begin in MATH 161 or MATH 131 in order to graduate in four years.  For other undergraduate degrees, students 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, 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 Student Portal 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 for 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, check your Student Portal, or consult with your Orientation Academic Advisor. Please email PlacementTest@luc.edu with any other questions. 

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). Any unused assessments and time in Leanring Modules expire on January 31 of each year.

Before coming to LUC, take the unproctored, practice MPA as if it were proctored. That is, finish it in 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 for several days.  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 locus.luc.edu

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

Within the LOCUS Student Homepage, select Student External System (the bottom-right option).  

LOCUS Student Homepage


In the navigation menu to the left, select ALEKS (the second option). 

Student External Systems


To take the proctored MPA, the results of which are used to place you in a math class, see the next FAQ: When and where do I take a proctored MPA?.

The following instructions are very detailed and contain a great deal of information regarding the MPA. Please read them completely and thoroughly.

You must take a proctored MPA in order to use the results to place you in a math class. Because of COVID-19, all proctored MPAs last 180 minutes under the principle of universal design.  Generally, students complete the MPA in 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, cell phones, search engines, math web sites, cheat sheets, notes, books, or people.  Each student has a unique knowledge state that consists of the math topics the student knows, does not know, and is ready to learn. The ALEKS placement assessment determines the unique knowledge state of each student. The system can then properly place students into a course based on their math abilities.

Loyola University Chicago takes academic integrity very seriously and investigates all allegations of academic dishonesty. Integrity is a character-driven commitment to honesty, doing what is right, and guiding others to do what is right. Loyola University Chicago students and faculty are expected to act with integrity in their educational pursuits. Cheating on an academic evaluation or assignment is a violation of the academic integrity policy. If you are found to be in violation of the academic integrity policy, academic sanctions will be imposed. For more information, please refer to the academic integrity policy found here: https://www.luc.edu/academics/catalog/undergrad/reg_academicintegrity.shtml.  

Between each MPA there is a 24-hour waiting period and, concomitantly, a 3-hour minimum work requirement in the Learning Modules. Once those conditions are met, you can take the MPA at any time anywhere. 

A proctored assessment requires that a LockDown Browser be installed on your computer. ALEKS will prompt you to download and install the LockDown browser once. Once it is installed you do not have to do it again.  ALEKS will initiate and run the LockDown browser.  You will be recorded while taking the assessment. Your computer will need a video camera.  ALEKS will prompt you through a process testing your video camera. It is highly recommended you use a desktop or laptop running Windows or Macintosh. Chromebooks cannot run the MPA.  The ability to run the MPA on any device other than a Windows or Mac desktop or laptop is unknown.

Items needed to take the assessment:

  •  Pencil/pen and paper (to work out answers). Students may not use calculators or have any assistance of any kind except pencil and paper while taking the MPA.
  •  Your LUC user name and password.
  •  A photo ID. A high school or college ID is preferred. If it is a driver's license, cover up sensitive information: license number, date of birth, etc.
  •  Computer with a webcam (You may wish to check your lockdown browser set-up prior to the second or “true” proctored MPA. See https://www.aleks.com/support/lockdown_test for instructions)

Technical limitations:

The MPA requires the use of LockDown Browser and a webcam. The webcam can be built into your computer or can be the type that plugs in with a USB cable. The LockDown Browser will prevent you from accessing other websites or applications; you will be unable to exit the test until all questions are completed and submitted. The Webcam ensures that you take the exam without assistance of any kind except a pencil and blank paper.

Technical specifications:

  • Windows: 10, 8, 7
  • Mac: OS X 10.10 or higher
  • Web camera (internal or external) & microphone
  • A broadband internet connection, a wired connection is preferred.

Watch this short video to get a basic understanding of LockDown Browser and the webcam feature. https://www.youtube.com/embed/XuX8WoeAycs?rel=0&autoplay=1 or https://web.respondus.com/student-help/ Click on Video:

Overview of LockDown Browser
When taking the proctored MPA that requires LockDown Browser and a webcam, remember the following guidelines:

  • Ensure you're in a location where you won't be interrupted
  • Turn off all other devices (e.g. tablets, phones, second computers) and place them outside of your reach
  • Close all programs on your computer except your browser that opens LOCUS.
  • Clear your desk of all external materials — everything but blank paper, a pencil or pen, keyboard and mouse.
  • Make sure you've allotted about 90 minutes to complete the MPA
  • Remain at your computer for the duration of the test

To produce a good webcam video, do the following:
o Do not wear baseball caps or hats with brims
o Ensure your computer is on a firm surface (a desk or table). Do NOT have the computer on your lap, a bed, or other surface where the device (or you) are likely to move
o If using a built-in webcam, avoid tilting the screen after the webcam setup is complete
o Take the exam in a well-lit room and avoid backlighting, such as sitting with your back to a window

If you need technical assistance with the MPA, please contact ALEKS Support at (https://mhedu.force.com/aleks/s/alekscontactsupport)

The proctored assessment is password protected. The password is LUC2021

If you have questions or concerns about the MPA, please contact the Math Placement Coordinator, John Houlihan, jhouli1@luc.edu.

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.


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 work 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 placementtest@luc.edu to confirm that your new major requires math, and request access to the MPA.

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/

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.

Students who require accommodations due to a documented disability must contact Services for Students with Disabilities at least one week in advance of their scheduled MPA date. Additional information about utilizing accommodations for the MPA can be found here: https://www.luc.edu/sac/placementtests/