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Heartland Community College


What is ALEKS?  

Heartland Community College requires an ALEKS Placement, Preparation and Learning (ALEKS PPL) to determine readiness for mathematics courses if you do not have any active Math waivers. ALEKS PPL is a web-based, adaptive program that uses artificial intelligence to map a student’s strengths and weaknesses. The placement is up to 30 questions and covers a wide range of topics (PDF). After the Placement, an individualized Prep and Learning Module is available for you to refresh your knowledge on forgotten topics. You will have the opportunity to review and master additional topics to reassess and improve your placement. 

ALEKS consists of two parts:

  • Access to 5 placement attempts in a proctored environment
  • The Prep and Learning Module, an individualized, self-paced online review which you are able to access after the first proctored attempt

Ready to begin?

In order to access your ALEKS account, navigate to You will be asked to enter your Heartland credentials. If you have not set-up your Heartland password, please do so on the Manage My Password page.

How to prepare for ALEKS 

Once you have completed your first proctored attempt, a personalized learning path will be created. While time spent in the Prep and in the Learning module does not change your placement, it will help you become familiar with the topics that you may see on the day of your placement test.  

Attempts and Next Steps


Next Steps 

Preparation to Retest

First and/or Second attempt

Meet with an advisor to enroll in classes
 (unless you wish to retest)



Applicable for those who wish to retest after completion of the second attempt
  • Login to your ALEKS account to complete three hours in your personalized learning path (strongly encouraged)
  • Schedule your proctored appointment with the Testing Center that will count towards your placement 
  • Pay the $5.00 math fee to the Business Office 

Third & fourth attempt

Meet with an advisor to enroll in classes
 (unless you wish to retest)


Applicable for those who wish to retest after completion of the third or fourth attempt

Final attempt 

Meet with an advisor to enroll in classes  No retests are available after the fifth/final attempt


Frequently Asked Questions

  • Please ensure that you are logging in using You will then be asked to enter your Heartland credentials. If trouble still persist, please contact the Testing Center.
  • You must ensure that you are logged out of your other Gmail accounts
  • There is not a time limit on the proctored exams, but you can expect to spend 60-120 minutes.
  • This placement is used to determine the mathematics course in which you will have the greatest success. Upon completion of the math placement test, your scores are uploaded into your Heartland account. After your first proctored attempt, a Testing Center staff member will review your scores, answer questions and talk to you about your next steps. 

    It is important that the Placement is taken seriously and that you give an honest effort so that the Placement truly reflects your current level of knowledge and math preparedness. There is no benefit to cheating on the placement – the only result will be that you may enroll in a class that is too difficult, or not challenging enough, potentially costing time and money. Therefore, while taking the placement, you should not consult any outside sources (friends/family, internet searches, textbooks, notes etc...) besides the PDF that the Testing Center providesDuring the proctored attempts, outside resources are not allowed and are in violation of the Student Code of Conduct. The purpose of the Placement is to give an accurate measure of your current mathematical knowledge so that you will be successful in mathematics courses.  

  • There are no required plug-ins or applets required with your use of ALEKS. As long as you have access to the internet and are using an updated browser, you should not experience difficulties in completing your practice attempt.  For a list of preferred browsers, please review the ALEKS system requirements on their support site. 
  • ALEKS will begin with a brief tutorial to make sure you are comfortable with the math palette tools before your placement begins. The tutorial shows you how to enter different types of answers, how to use the ALEKS calculator, and how to graph. If you are not sure how to input an answer, or need help while you are taking the ALEKS Placement, select the Help button below the answer pallet tools. Going to the tutorial during your Placement will NOT impact your placement results. Additionally, you will be given a handout that you can utilize during your unproctored and that will be provided for you during your proctored attempt that will give you directions on how to format the questions. 
  • ALEKS is not a multiple-choice placement. It is open-response and requires you to work out solutions with a calculator (select questions), paper and pencil, then enter your answer into ALEKS. Be sure to have scratch paper with you during your unproctored attempt. The Testing Center will provide scratch paper for you during your proctored attempt. Additionally, you will be given a handout on how to format your answers that you can utilize during your proctored attempt.
  • ALEKS will provide an on-screen calculator if one is allowed on that question. Handheld calculators are not allowed. 
  • It is likely that you will be asked questions on material you have not yet learned. On such questions it is appropriate to answer, "I don't know". On any question that has familiar content, it is important to do your best. "I don't know" is interpreted by ALEKS to mean that you do not know how to solve the topic, and this will be reflected in the placement results. There is no penalty for incorrectly answering a question on the placement, but answering, "I don't know" too frequently may result in ALEKS automatically submitting your exam.
  • There is not a fee for your first and second attempt. However, a $5.00 math retest fee will apply for your third, fourth, and fifth attempt.   
  •  No, you are free to complete the placement at your own pace. If you need to exit the placement for any reason, you will be able to log back in and pick up where you left off if you return to it within a week. Before leaving the Testing Center, you will need to schedule a time to return to complete your placement. Please note that the Prep and Learning Modules will not be accessible while you have an attempt in progress. 
  • The placement test is untimed so you may take as much time as needed. 

    If you need any other type of accommodations, please visit Student Access and Accommodation Services

  • While working in a Prep and Learning Module, you will periodically complete a Knowledge Check to make sure you have mastered the topics you gained in Learning Mode. If you do not show mastery during the Knowledge Check, the topics will be added back into your Learning Pie so you can review them again.
  • If you've mastered all the available topics, you can review topics that you've already mastered. Or you can contact the Testing Center and request access to the next prep and learning module.

Contact the Testing Center

WDC 2600
Heartland Community College
1508 Vermillion Way
Normal, IL 61761
Phone: 309-268-8077

HCC Lincoln

Phone: 217-735-1731

HCC Pontiac

Phone: 815-842-6777