As a condition of admission, some students are required to participate in Smart Start. Students may be able to remove or reduce this requirement by taking placement assessments.  Some students are required to participate in both Smart Start Math and Smart Start English. These students will take one or both of the assessments to determine the Smart Start requirement.  Some students are required to take just one of the two Smart Start programs. 

  • Math: Students who have not yet assessed at 46% on the ALEKS assessment by July 30, 2019 will begin at GSU in the Smart Start Math program that begins August 12, 2019. Math Placement (ALEKS) is currently available.  Results are known immediately after assessment. Students who are proactive will have the opportunity to utilize online learning modules to help improve scores and then retest to try and improve scores.  However, all assessments must be done by July 30, 2019. IMPORTANT: The only ALEKS scores that will be considered must be proctored at the Governors State University Testing Center, or during orientation.

  • Writing/English: Students who have not taken the writing assessment by July 30, 2019 will begin at GSU in the Smart Start Writing program that starts August 12, 2019.  Faculty reviewers of the writing assessment will notify the student if their assessment is at a level appropriate to be exempt from Smart Start English. English Placement is available beginning May 1, 2019.

Writing Activity

Please review the English Writing Activity Tutorial before beginning the Writing Activity.

ALEKS Mathematics Placement Assessment

The ALEKS Placement Assessment covers material from Basic Math through Precalculus and will take approximately 90 minutes to complete. After the assessment, a targeted Prep and Learning Module is available for you to review and learn material, as well as to improve placement and eventual course outcomes. 

First of all, RELAX. This is an "assessment", NOT A TEST. The difference is that an assessment is designed to determine what you know. At the end of the ALEKS Placement Assessment, you will have a much better sense of your strengths and weaknesses in math. You will then have a chance to work on those weaknesses. There is no penalty for incorrectly answering a question on the assessment. The most important thing is that you take the assessment seriously and give it an honest effort, so the assessment truly reflects your level of knowledge and math preparedness. 

Who has to take the ALEKS Placement Assessment?

All students admitted to the university who are required to enroll in Smart Start Mathematics must take the ALEKS Placement Assessment. 

Is there a fee for using ALEKS?

The use of ALEKS is included in your GSU student fees.

Can I retake the ALEKS Placement Assessment?

Yes, you may attempt the ALEKS Placement Assessment up to five times. However, to make each attempt worthwhile, you must spend time working in your ALEKS Prep and Learning Module in between placement assessments to improve your skills.

Remember, you must wait at least 48 hours between attempts. 

Where can I complete the ALEKS Mathematics Placement Assessments/ Will the ALEKS Placement Assessments be proctored?

You may practice the ALEKS exam from any computer with internet access up to three times. However, the only scores that will be considered for your placement will be from assessments proctored on-campus at Governors State University.

How long will a placement assessment take to complete?

Placement assessments require approximately 90 minutes to complete, but the amount of time will vary by student. There will be a maximum of 30 questions. 

May I use a calculator while using ALEKS?

ALEKS will provide an on-screen calculator, if needed. Otherwise, you may not use another calculator. 

May I use any other resources during a placement assessment?

You may only use a pen or pencil, paper, and the resources provided by ALEKS. You may not receive assistance from friends, family, other websites, textbooks, or any other resource not provided by ALEKS. 

How long is my placement result valid?

Your placement result is valid for six months. 

How long do I have access to my Prep and Learning Module?

The Prep and Learning Modules will expire on September 15, 2019. 

Does progress in an ALEKS Prep and Learning Module count toward placement?

No, you must complete a new proctored placement assessment to change your placement result.

Where can I get help with ALEKS?

Please review the ALEKS Overview Summary. You may also review the links below:

Access Services for Students with Disabilities

Governors State University believes education should be accessible to everyone. If you have a temporary health issue or a permanent disability, please contact Access Services for Students with Disabilities at 708.235.3968.

How do I begin using ALEKS?

Please click on the following link.

Please review the English Writing Activity Tutorial before beginning the Writing Activity.

Additional Questions

If you have additional questions, please contact the Office of Admission and Student Recruitment at 708.534.4490.