CWU Testing Services
Bouillon Hall 125
400 E. University Way
Ellensburg, WA 98926
Phone 509-963-1847
Fax 509-963-1849

Assessment and Learning in Knowledge Spaces (ALEKS)

The Assessment and Learning in Knowledge Spaces (ALEKS) test is an adaptive test that assesses students' preparedness for college-level math. ALEKS is the preferred math placement test for CWU for placement into courses that have a math requirement.


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 really 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 that the assessment truly reflects your level of knowledge and math preparedness.

Be honest about your skill level. There is no benefit to cheating on the placement assessment – your only reward will be that you are placed into a math class for which you do not yet have the skills to succeed. Therefore, while you are taking the assessment, do not consult any other source for help (friends, family, internet searches, etc.). The purpose of the placement assessment is to give an accurate measure of your current mathematical skills so that you will be successful in your mathematics courses.

How to Take the ALEKS Test

We encourage all students to take the ALEKS test at home. If you need to explore alternate options, please contact us at

Access PDF instructions for ALEKS for CWU students.

  • Register for the ALEKS Exam
    1. Make sure that you are using Mozilla Firefox as your web browser
    2. Log into your myCWU student account using your CWU username and password
    3. Click on the “Student” tab
    4. On the left side of the screen, click on “Orientation”
    5. Select “ALEKS Math Placement Exam”
    6. Select either:
    • “Pay Now” to pay the non-refundable $35 fee by credit/debit card, or
    • “Charge to Student Account”
    1. Select your cohort (for example: 2021 Respondus, Fall 2021)
    2. Complete the tutorial
  • Take the Initial Knowledge Check

    The Initial Knowledge Check is not used for placement.

    Please Note:

    • You must download the LockDown Browser (see instructions below)
    • If prompted for a password, please use: gocwu1
    • You must complete the Initial Knowledge Check and at least 3 hours of study modules before trying to take a Proctored Exam
    • You must wait 48 hours and complete 3 hours of study modules between each test
    • You must take at least one proctored test for placement, but you do not have to take all 5 proctored tests
    • The $35 fee includes the Initial Knowledge Check, 4 proctored attempts to achieve a qualifying score, and access to the Study Modules for 1 year
    • Only tests 2 to 5 will be used for placement
    • Tests 2 to 5 must be proctored, using the LockDown Browser
    • Please use only the calculator provided online
  • Schedule and Take Assessments 2 to 5

    Log into myCWU and select ALEKS to take tests. See additional instructions below to ensure that your Lockdown Browser and webcam are installed properly.

    This assessment requires the use of LockDown Browser and a webcam (also called Respondus Monitor). The webcam can be built into your computer or can be the type that plugs in with a USB cable.

    To ensure that the LockDown Browser and the webcam are set up properly, follow the steps below:

    1. Log into ALEKS through myCWU and select your cohort
    2. Click "Start Exam"
    3. Enter Password: gocwu1
    4. For first-time access, install the Lockdown Browser: start the assessment and select "Download LockDown Browser." Once these steps are complete, you can continue into the assessment or exit and return later when ready.
    5. If you are ready to proceed, you will then be prompted for the payment (only the first time you access ALEKS)
    6. The first time "LockDown Browser and Webcam" is launched, you will be prompted to complete a Webcam Check. This will ensure that your webcam is working properly, and will check for system requirements.
    7. Complete the verification process for your microphone/webcam. You will be asked to present a photo ID (Student ID or Government Issued ID) at this point.
    8. Return to ALEKS and click "Launch LockDown Browser and Webcam" to start the assessment
    9. Click on the appropriate operating system (i.e.: Windows, Mac) to open the installation file, then follow the instructions in the wizard to install the browser

    Troubleshooting the LockDown Browser

    Several resources are available if you encounter problems with LockDown Browser:

    • To run a system check, log into ALEKS and select the course/cohort
    • Start the assessment and select "Check your LockDown Browser Setup"
    • This will check that the browser was installed correctly and will enable you to do a Webcam Check outside of an assessment
  • What You Need to Prepare for Assessments 2 to 5

    When taking an assessment that requires LockDown Browser and Webcam, remember the following guidelines:

    • Have a picture ID available, either a Government Issued ID or a CWU Student ID
    • Ensure that you are in a location where you won't be interrupted
    • Turn off all other devices (e.g. tablets, phones, second computers)
    • Clear your desk of all external materials not permitted (books, papers, other devices including phones, calculators)
    • You will be required to use the onscreen calculator
    • You will have a maximum of 3 hours to complete your exam, so allow sufficient time to complete it
    • You must remain at your computer for the duration of the assessment

    To produce a good webcam video, do the following:

    • Avoid wearing a baseball cap or hat with brim
    • Ensure that your computer or tablet is on a firm surface (desk or table), not on your lap, a bed, or other surface that might move
    • If using a built-in webcam, avoid tilting the screen after the webcam setup is complete
    • Take the exam in a well-lit room and avoid backlighting, such as sitting with your back to a window
    • These testing sessions are recorded and reviewed so please dress appropriately by avoiding nudity, revealing clothing, or clothing with offensive language or slogans
    • Avoid using blankets, scarves, or anything else that may obstruct a clear view while testing

    You will be asked to do an environmental scan. To produce a good environmental scan, do the following:

    • Use your web camera to show that you are alone in the room and your testing area is free of all prohibited items
    • Slowly pan your camera to show a 360 degree view of your testing space that includes the ceiling, floor, and under your table/desk
    • Show the surface of your work area
    • Hold up each piece of scratch paper and show the front and back
    • Please note that your test score may be invalidated if you do not perform a proper environmental scan
    • Remember that LockDown Browser will prevent you from accessing other websites or applications. You will be unable to exit the assessment until all questions are completed and submitted.

Payment and Scheduling

Payment for this test is handled through your myCWU portal. You will be prompted for payment during the registration process.

You do not need to schedule the exam through Testing Services when using your webcam and the LockDown Browser. However, please be aware that a video and audio recording of your testing session will be made as you complete the exam.

Canceling, Rescheduling, No Shows, and Refunds

Visit the What to Expect webpage to view CWU Testing Services' refund policy.