Calculus Placement Exam

For all questions regarding the Calculus Placement Exam or ALEKS PPL, e-mail us
Our staff cannot answer individual questions over the phone. In your e-mail, please include your full name, SJSU ID number, your major, and whether you are a returning student or incoming freshman.


About the CPE

If you are in a major that requires calculus or advanced mathematics, you may be asked to take the Calculus Placement Exam (CPE) to demonstrate readiness first. The Calculus Placement Exam at SJSU is conducted through ALEKS PPL, an adaptive online program that uses artificial intelligence to map a student's strengths and weaknesses.

It consists of 3 parts:
1. Initial Assessment (30 questions, about 60-90 minutes to complete)
2. Prep and Learning Module (individualized, self-paced online review, with up to 2 practice tests)
3. Access to 2 Proctored Placement Assessments (proctored by the SJSU Testing Office)

NOTE: The Initial Assessment is NOT the CPE. It is used to recommend study modules for you.
Only results from the in-person, proctored Placement Assessments are counted as your CPE.

ALEKS will display a total of 5 assessments.

  • The first is your initial assessment. (unofficial)
  • The second is an unproctored practice test. (optional, but encouraged)
  • The third is a proctored placement assessment. (in person only, OFFICIAL CPE SCORE)
  • The fourth and fifth are not used unless you opt to retake the test for a higher score. If you do, the fourth will be practice, and the fifth your proctored retest. Only 1 retake is allowed, no exceptions.

How to Begin

Students begin on their own by completing the Initial Placement Assessment.

After you finish the Initial Placement Assessment, use the Prep and Learning Module to help refresh knowledge on forgotten topics. We encourage students to spend time in the Prep and Learning Module; time spent in ALEKS will ultimately lead to better preparation and improved grades on both the placement assessment and in math classes.

You may use the second assessment as a practice test, completed on your own.

If you score 80 or higher on the Initial Placement Assessment, you may move on to schedule the proctored assessment right away. If you score 79 or below, there is a 2-week cooldown period before you can take the proctored assessment, during which time you should use the study modules and practice test in ALEKS to help you prepare.


Taking the Proctored Assessment

When you are ready for the Proctored Assessment, e-mail the Testing Office to schedule an appointment. In your e-mail, mention your full name, SJSU ID number, and your major. Available times are 9:00am, 11:30am, and 2:00pm, Monday through Friday. Most students will take around two hours to finish.

Upon arrival, present a current photo ID. A fee of $20 will be collected (cash/check only).

You may NOT schedule your assessment on the same day as your orientation. It is best if you complete the proctored assessment 3 or more business days before you arrive for orientation. If you test too close to your orientation date, the results may not show in the system during your orientation session.

If you live more than 50 miles away from SJSU, you may have your Proctored Assessment administered at another CSU test center, or at a college/university test center in your area. Click here for more information.


After the Test

Your score will automatically be uploaded at the end of the next business day. The score will be used to recommend the highest possible math course for your major.

For information on minimum score requirements, click here.

You may retake the placement assessment one time. Only the highest score will be counted. There is another 2 week cooldown period between proctored assessments. For best possible scoring, students are encouraged to spend time in the Prep and Learning Module before retaking the placement assessment. E-mail the office when you are ready.