Virginia Western - The Community's College

Student Services :: Testing Center

Placement Testing

Preparing for the Virginia Placement Test Workshop Registration

Placement testing is required of most 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) (includes transfer students who do not have credit in mathematics or English) must take the Virginia Placement Test (VPT).

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 the initial attempt of the VPT.

Information for VPT Administrators

Exemptions for Placement Testing

New students are exempt from taking the placement tests if they have taken the SAT and received a score of 500 or above on critical reading and writing and/or 520 or above on math, or if they have taken the ACT and received a combined score of 21 or higher in the English and writing and/or a score of 22 or higher in math. Students must bring a copy of their scores with them to their counseling/advising appointment. Scores are valid for two (2) years from the testing date.

About the Virginia Placement Test

The VPT is a computerized test composed of two separate assessments, English and math. Each test will take between 2 and 3 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.

VPT English

  • 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.

VPT Math

  • Students must take a math placement test before enrolling in any 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 Workshops

We are currently offering a series of workshops for potential students who wish to maximize their placement scores by reviewing the basic elements covered in the English and Mathematics components of the Virginia Placement Test. This should assist students in receiving a more accurate placement recommendation.

All workshops will run for 2.5 hours and will be held in B112 on the Main Floor of the Brown Library. Registration is required!

VPT English Workshops:
Tuesday, January 13th – 5:30-8:00 PM
Tuesday, February 10th – 5:30-8:00 PM

VPT Basic Mathematics Workshops (Units 1-5):
This workshop is designed to help you prepare for the VPT- Mathematics assessment if you are intending to pursue a program of study such as English, journalism, humanities, liberal arts, fine arts and graphic design, human services, education, culinary arts, criminal justice, administrative support technology or a trades-related program (air conditioning and refrigeration, electrical wiring, etc.)

Wednesday, January 14th – 5:30-8:00 PM
Wednesday, February 11th – 5:30-8:00 PM

VPT Advanced Mathematics Workshops (Units 6-9):
This workshop is designed to help you prepare for the VPT- Mathematics assessment if you are intending to pursue a program of study that requires significant mathematics coursework, such as science, technology, engineering, mathematics, business, and the health professions.

Thursday, January 15th – 5:30-8:00 PM
Thursday, February 12th – 5:30-8:00 PM

Click here to register for any of these Workshops.

For further assistance please email testingcenter@virginiawestern.edu or call 540-857-7250.

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 which 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.

VPT Preparation Resources

VPT English

This document is intended to help students review for the VPT-English Test. It should prove useful whether students use these resources before or after taking the VPT-English Practice Test. The document is arranged according to six broad categories. Each category includes links to specific online resources as well as bulleted lists of activities that students will find at the online sites.

  1. Additional Assessments and Practice Tests
  2. Reading Comprehension and Vocabulary
  3. The Writing Process
  4. Grammar and Mechanics
  5. Editing and Proofreading
  6. Research and Documentation

Online Resources for VPT English Review (pdf)
(All links were verified on December 7th 2012.)

VPT Math

This site is designed to help students prepare for the Mathematics placement test by strengthening existing skills and brushing up on the skills that need improvement. This interactive site asks sample questions and checks the answers before allowing students to move on. If the student gets an incorrect answer, links to outside resources on that specific topic are suggested for further review.

Note: At this point, Math Site is a pilot, containing only resources for the first three units of the VPT Math.

VPT Math Practice Site

Practice Test

Students can take a diagnostic practice test in VPT English, math, or both. Following the practice test, students are able to view their scores and receive feedback on which areas they can benefit from further review.

Click here for further instructions on taking the VPT practice test.

You can download a printable set of practice questions for the VPT here.

Taking the Virginia Placement Test at Virginia Western

Placement tests are given in the Testing Center located on the ground floor of Brown Library.

The Testing Center is open Monday through Thursday from 8:00 AM - 8:00 PM, on Friday from 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM, and on Saturday from 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM. Placement tests are not timed but generally will take between 2 and 3 hours. Please NOTE: You must start a placement test at least 2 hours prior to closing.

No appointment is necessary to take a placement test. Students will need a picture ID and their student identification number (A student ID number will be generated after completing the VWCC online application process). There is no fee for placement testing. Any student who is retesting or does not feel that he or she needs both tests will need to present a testing slip from Advising.

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.
  • "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 2 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.

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