Math Assessment (ALEKS)

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Information for New Engineering Students

Watch this video for a brief overview of selecting your first mathematics course at CU-Boulder!

The ALEKS test assesses your pre-calculus algebraic and trigonometric preparedness. A minimum ALEKS score is required to be eligible to enroll in selected mathematics, science, economics, and business courses. For more information about the ALEKS math assessment and to take the test, please visit the ALEKS website. 

If you are a new engineering first-year freshman student, you will be pre-enrolled in an Applied Math (APPM) course based on your first ALEKS assessment score (see courses and minimum scores for enrollment at the ALEKS website).

APPM 1235 Pre-Calculus for Engineers - A four-credit course developing techniques and concepts prerequisite to engineering calculus through the study of trigonometric, exponential, logarithmic, polynomial, and other functions. Requires a first ALEKS score of 61% or higher.

APPM 1340/1345 - Calculus 1A with Algebra (APPM 1340) and Calculus 1B with Algebra (APPM 1345) are each four-credit courses that together cover the material of Calculus 1 for engineering-bound students, spread over two semesters to allow for a slower-paced development of Calculus 1 foundation, knowledge and skills. The APPM 1340/1345 two-course sequence includes a four-week review of algebra and trigonometry, although not as much as in APPM 1235 (Pre-Calculus for Engineers). Thus, the APPM 1340/1345 sequence is appropriate for students with high proficiency in trigonometry who want to take calculus at a slower pace.

NOTE:  The APPM 1340/1345 course sequence is equivalent to APPM 1350 (Calculus 1) plus 4 credits of algebra/trig review. Students must complete both APPM 1340 and APPM 1345 to receive credit for Calculus 1.  Enrollment in APPM 1340 requires a first ALEKS score of 61% or higher.

NOTE FOR EITHER OPTION ABOVE: A strong math foundation is crucial for your success in engineering; this can be best achieved by solid preparation (i.e., enrolling in either the precalculus course or the two-semester Calculus 1 course).  However, this means you may need to enroll in Calculus 2 the summer after your freshman year in order to stay on track for a four-year engineering degree program.  Otherwise, your time-to-degree may require more than four years.

APPM 1350 Calculus 1 for Engineers - A four-credit course in analytical geometry and calculus including limits, rates of change of functions, derivatives and integrals of algebraic and transcendental functions, applications of differentiations and integration.  Requires a first ALEKS score of 76% or higher.

Concurrent Mathematics Work Groups – Students enrolled in APPM 1350 (Calculus 1 for Engineers) may consider concurrently enrolling in the accompanying COEN 1350 (Calculus 1 Work Group), which is a one-credit, pass/fail course which emphasizes collaborative learning techniques.  Similarly, students enrolled in APPM 1235 (Pre-Calculus for Engineers) may consider concurrently enrolling in the accompanying COEN 1236 (Pre-Calculus Work Group).  At each weekly class period of Work Group, you will work in groups of 3-4 students on problems that are different than your regular class homework.  Before moving on to a new problem, all students in the group must understand, and be able to explain, the solution. 

Do you already have college credit for Calculus 1 (or more)?

More Questions?

If you have further questions about your choice of Applied Math class, you may contact your academic advisor or Professor Anne Dougherty (303-492-4011 or


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