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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 2018, you need to complete the Math Selection Assessment (MSA).

The Math Selection Assessment (MSA) is organized as a free class (XMTH991) that uses an online system called ALEKS Placement, Preparation and Learning. The system is available online all day, every day throughout the summer.

Your MSA (XMTH991) instructor is Otilia Gonzales (email address: ). She 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).
On the graphic below, the slices represent core topics that you need to know for success in your math courses. The darker slices represent information you know and the lighter slices represent information you need to learn.

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 in August. 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 2018, you must 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 13, 2018 and it must be completed by Friday, August 24, 2018 at 3 pm. The percentage will determine which Math class you will take in Fall 2018. Failure to participate in the MSA course XMTH991 will result in you being placed into the lowest level math class for Fall 2018.