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College Advising Center

Placement Exams

ALEKS Mathematical Proficiency

Lewis & Clark College requires all students to take three Scientific & Quantitative Reasoning (SQR) courses, at least one of which has an algebraic proficiency prerequisite. Many natural science and social science courses also have this prerequisite.

The ALEKS assessment helps to determine students’ high school proficiency in algebra, precalculus, or calculus. Prior to registration, all incoming students are required to take the online ALEKS Mathematical Placement in order to meet this prerequisite unless:

  • you have a AP Calculus AB or BC score of 4 or 5
  • you have an IB Mathematics Higher Level score of 5, 6, or 7.  

Most students take the ALEKS twice over the summer: once to get familiar with the exam and again after reviewing the relevant learning module. Students often score significantly higher after retaking the exam. Before taking (or retaking) the exam, students must complete at least eight hours of study with the relevant learning modules, and twelve hours are recommended.

Students can independently take the exam over the summer, and can only retake it in a proctored environment once they arrive on campus. The ALEKS may be taken no more than five times in a year. 

Students without a strong background in algebra may take QR 101: Foundations of Quantitative Reasoning. However, it is highly recommended that students take the ALEKS placement at least twice before registering for QR 101, or keep working on ALEKS modules and retake the ALEKS exam again in the fall.

  • QR 101 is a 4-credit course that requires an ALEKS score of 30 or above as the prerequisite.
  • Students take this course as an elective, and, if they need to take it, should enroll in it during their first year.

Note: Incoming students can set up an ALEKS account over the summer and use it for free for one year. If an incoming student does not set up an account during the summer, it will cost $25 to set up an account.

For advice on which learning modules to consult, and which classes your score allows you to take, please check out Placement: How to interpret your ALEKS Score.

Interpreting ALEKS scores
  • Below 30: Students should review the relevant ALEKS learning module and take the test again.
  • Between 30 and 52: Students place into QR 101. However, it is highly recommended that students retake the test after reviewing the relevant learning modules at least twice before registering for QR 101, or keep working on ALEKS modules and retake the ALEKS exam again in the fall. 
  • 53 and higher: Students can register for courses that have a prerequisite of QR 101 or equivalent (i.e., relevant AP or IB HL scores)
  • 76 and higher: Students can register for courses that have a Math 115 prerequisite (such as Math 131: Calculus I or CS 171: Computer Science I)


Foreign Language Placement Exams

L&C requires students gain intermediate-level proficiency in a foreign language, and offers courses in Arabic, Chinese, Classical Greek, French, German, Japanese, Latin, Russian, and Spanish.

To begin new language study at L&C, you should register for a language at the 101: Beginning I (e.g. Span 101: Beginning Spanish I) level in your first semester. In the spring, you can continue language study at the 102: Beginning II level, and complete the Foreign Language requirement by taking 201: Intermediate I in the fall of your sophomore year. 

However, if you have previous experience in one of these languages and are interested in continuing study in that language,you are strongly encouraged to take the relevant Foreign Language Placement Exam

  • If you place into a language at the 102 or 201 level, you should register for that level course in your first (ideally) or second semester at L&C. Placement results are considered valid for one year.
  • Students who take a FL Placement Exam and place into 202: Intermediate II or a higher level are required to take a proctored, confirming test during NSO. Once placement is confirmed, the General Education requirement in Foreign Languages is fulfilled. 
  •  AP and IB Higher Level exam scores do not meet the General Education requirement in Foreign Languages. You need to take the foreign language placement exam to determine the right course for you to take or to fulfill the requirement.
  • Assessment for Chinese, French, German, Japanese, and Spanish can be taken online. Assessments in Arabic, Classical Greek, Latin, and Russian can be taken via Skype over the summer or in-person on campus.


Optional Music Theory & Aural Skills Exam

Students who are considering a major or minor in music should take the Music Theory Assessment Placement during the summer.