Virginia Western is currently using alternative methods for determining placement for applicants.
If you are a prospective high school/home school dual enrollment student with questions about placement, please contact your school counseling office or the Virginia Western Dual Enrollment Office (540-857-7313).
If you are a prospective applicant who will have completed high school or earned your GED prior to beginning your program of study, a Virginia Western Onboarding Specialist will contact you after you submit your application to discuss placement.
Placement testing is required of some students before beginning classes at Virginia Western. All students who are entering a program of study or enrolling in any courses requiring a mathematics or English prerequisite (Description of Courses) may need to take the Virginia Placement Test (VPT). This may include transfer students who do not have credit in mathematics or English.
Students must submit their applications for admission to Virginia Western before taking the placement tests. Placement testing must be completed prior to meeting with an academic adviser to establish a course schedule.
Students can retake the placement test one time within 12 months of their initial attempt.
Exemptions for Placement Testing
Please refer to the links below for information about Placement Test requirements and exemptions for Placement Testing.
About the Virginia Placement Test
The VPT is a computerized test composed of two separate assessments, English and math. Each test will take between 1.5 and 2 hours to complete. Students needing to complete both tests should consider taking them on separate days to avoid fatigue. Individual testing times depend on how long it takes the test taker to answer the questions and how consistently he or she answers the questions.
Placement tests are not graded per se; they are simply used to place students into appropriate courses. However, students should put their best effort into these tests to demonstrate a readiness to take college level courses and to avoid being placed into courses that may not be needed.
- The English test has two parts: a written essay component and a multiple choice component.
- The written essay is more heavily weighted in the total English score. Students should take their time and write a complete essay to the best of their ability.
- During the essay component, students will be asked to write a well-developed essay response to one of two prompts provided on the test.
- Computerized help tools such as spell check and auto correct will not be available.
- Once students start the essay portion, they will need to complete it without leaving, except in a case of extreme need.
- Multiple choice component – Students will answer 40 multiple-choice questions on reading and writing fundamentals.
- Students may need to take a math placement test before enrolling in a math course. Some other courses such as science and computer science courses also require a qualifying score on the math placement test. Some programs such as nursing require a qualifying score on the math placement test.
- Students can use the electronic calculator that is provided as a pop-up window that is part of the mathematics test. The calculator is a basic four function model with a square root button. It appears on all questions except for the section on basic arithmetic. (Most students will not see this part of the test.)
- We strongly recommend that students, who wish to test into Calculus, practice with a four function calculator instead of a graphing calculator.
- Personal calculators of any kind cannot be used.
Preparing to take the Virginia Placement Test
When students prepare to take the placement tests, the importance of reviewing material that has previously been studied cannot be over emphasized. The placement test is not an admissions test or an aptitude test. The test measures how well students demonstrate skills and proficiencies that will indicate the courses they are prepared to take. Not reviewing before taking the placement test could place students into courses that are below their actual skill level. This can delay a student’s progress by one or more semesters, causing disruption in course sequencing and costing extra time and money.
Students are highly encouraged to start the review process early to provide enough time to practice and to build confidence in taking the placement test. This will ensure the most accurate course placement for each student.
Students looking for further assistance in preparing to take the VPT can sign up for individual tutoring support in the Testing Center.
Taking the Virginia Placement Test at Virginia Western
- Placement tests are given in the Testing Center located on the ground floor of Brown Library. Hours of operation are listed to the right.
- Placement tests are not timed but it will generally take between 3 and 4 hours to take both tests.
- No appointment is necessary to take a placement test.
- You will need a picture ID and your student identification number (received once you submit an application to VWCC).
- There is no fee for placement testing.
- Any student who is retesting will need to present a testing slip from Advising.
- Please do not bring children with you to the Testing Center.
Please feel free to call the Testing Center with questions: 540-857-7250
Placement Testing Policies
- You may not have any personal belongings with you while you are testing. All electronic devices should be turned off and stored away.
- No outside resources, papers, books, electronic or computer/web-based resources of any kind can be used during the test.
- A lock down browser that will not allow you to access anything other than the test will be used.
Placement Test Results
- After completing the placement test, students will be given a copy of their score reports to take to their academic advisor or counselor for further discussion.
- Placement test scores are valid for 5 years.
- One retest is allowed within 12 months of the initial attempt of the Virginia Placement Test.
- Once a student has enrolled in a developmental course in English or math, retaking the placement test in that subject is not permitted. The result of the developmental course will determine the student’s future course sequence.