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    Academic Programs

New International Students: Math Selection Assessment (MSA)


All new international undergraduate students must enroll in Freshman Composition and Mathematics in their first semester unless they are exempt. In order for us to place you in the appropriate Mathematics course for Fall 2019, you need to complete the Math Selection Assessment (MSA).

The MSA is organized as a free class (XMTH991) that uses an online system called ALEKS Placement, Preparation and Learning. Upon your enrollment in XMTH 991 by the international advisor, the system is available to you online all day, every day until August 23, 2019.

Your MSA (XMTH991) instructor will email instructions to you on how to register with ALEKS. After registration, you will complete a survey and take a tutorial on how to use the ALEKS system. Next, ALEKS will give you an online diagnostic test called an “initial placement assessment.” It measures your present mathematical skills.

Once you arrive at CSUN, you will take the official placement assessment with a proctor.

After you finish the diagnostic “initial placement assessment,” ALEKS will take you to the “Placement Tab” where your test results will be displayed both graphically (as slices of a disk or “Placement Pie”) and numerically (as a percent).

The numerical result will be given as a percent. Using this percent, you can see which course you would most likely place into after taking the official proctored placement assessment at CSUN. The following table lists the required percentages on the official proctored placement assessment for various courses:

  • 0-39% M196QR or M196S
  • 40-64% M102 (Pre-Calculus I), M103 (Business Math), M131 (Mathematical Ideas), M140 (Introductory Statistics), M210 (Basic Number Concepts)
  • 65-79% M105 (Pre-Calculus II)
  • 80-100% M150A (Calculus I) or Math 255A (Calculus I for the life sciences)

After your diagnostic test you can practice concepts in the ALEKS system before your arrival at CSUN. We strongly recommend that you use the ALEKS system to practice.


To place into a Mathematics course for Fall 2019, you must start the MSA program from home and take an official proctored assessment on the ALEKS system at CSUN. This test cannot be taken anywhere else.

You can take the test starting Monday, August 12, 2019 and it must be completed by Friday, August 23, 2019 at 3 PM. The percentage on this test will determine which math class you will take in Fall 2019. Failure to participate in the MSA course, including the proctored final, will result in you being placed into the lowest level math class for Fall 2019.

 See more details here.