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penciling in answers on a test

Placement tests are designed to help plan a student's best course of study and to promote student success at TCC.


Most new students who wish to enroll in classes at TCC must complete the College's Placement Tests.

These tests are not admissions tests.

To ensure accurate course placement,

it is vital that you prepare by reviewing

Math and English competencies.

About the Placement Tests
  • For students whose native language is not English (ESL), reading, grammar and oral skills are evaluated.
  • Based upon your scores, you will be placed in either college-level courses, developmental courses, or ESL (non-credit) courses.up
Preparing for Placement Testing

All students are encouraged to prepare for placement testing. The importance of reviewing material that has previously been studied cannot be over emphasized. Not reviewing before taking the placement tests could place students into courses that are below their actual skill level. This can delay the students' progress, 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, especially in mathematics.

Resources are available to help students perform at their optimum--and TCC strongly recommends that students use them. Preparation materials vary by English and math, and also vary by a student's academic background. Most students will need to complete the Virginia Placement Test (VPT) for English and Math.

Review the following links to help you prepare for the Placement Test:

Virginia Placement Test (VPT)



Resources to Review English:

Resources to Review Math:

Resources for Dealing with Test Anxiety:


For more information about the VPT for English and Math

Placement testing is required for:
  • The following students are required to take the Placement Test:

    • New students who plan to complete an associate degree or certificate
    • Non-curricular students who plan to enroll in a course that requires competency in English must take the placement test for English
    • Non-curricular students who plan to enroll in any mathematics course must take the mathematics placement test
    • Non-curricular students who have completed nine or more credit hours at TCC and have a grade point average below 2.0
    • Students applying for admission under the Exceptions to the General Admission Policy
    • Most students who are non-native English speakers
  • Nursing applicants who wish to be considered for admission into the Nursing Program must take the Nursing Entrance Exam (HESI A-2). [more]
Testing exemption - students NOT required to be tested:
  • The following students are NOT required to take the Placement Test:

    • Students who submit a transcript to an advisor/counselor showing completion of college-level English and/or math with a grade of C or better from an accredited institution where English is the official language. Developmental courses from other institutions may not be used for exemption from placement testing.
    • Students with satisfactory Advanced Placement (AP), CLEP, DANTES, or Excelsior College scores for English and/or math, as determined by the college.
    • Students who demonstrate satisfactory scores, as listed below, on either the ACT or SAT instrument if taken within two years prior to enrollment in English or in mathematics. The student should provide a copy of the official scores from ACT or SAT to an advisor/counselor who will interpret the scores to determine if an exemption from the college’s placement tests is appropriate.
      The scores that exempt a student from the English placement test at TCC are:
      • ACT combined score of 18 or higher on both the English and reading tests OR
      • SAT score in critical reading and writing of 500 or higher.

      The scores that exempt a student from the math placement test at TCC* are:

      • ACT score in mathematics of 22 or higher OR
      • SAT score in mathematics of 520 or higher.

      The advisor/counselor will allow you to enroll in college-level English or select math courses as indicated by your scores.

      * NOTE:  With the indicated math scores, students qualify for placement into MTH 152 or MTH 158.
      If your curriculum requires MTH 163 or higher, you must take the math placement test.

Testing Centers


Students may take placement tests at any campus Testing Center.

Military students may take placement tests at any campus Testing Center or on many of the local military bases.

Prior to testing, students must present a photo ID at the exam site.
Testing fee  

As of December 20, 2014 there is no testing fee required.



Special accommodations up

Students with disabilities are encouraged to make an appointment with an Educational Accessibility Counselor at least 45 days before classes begin, and should bring medical documentation of the disabling condition that is no more than three years old.  Educational Accessibility Counselors can assist students in obtaining the required documentation.

Students with documented disabilities may qualify for academic accommodations such as more time on tests, priority registration, and other services as needed.

Transactions between counselor and students with disabilities are confidential. Information regarding students with disabilities will not be shared with anyone without the student’s written permission. The student’s confidential files, related to his/her disability, never become a part of the student’s academic record.


Retaking Placement Tests


Test scores are valid for two (2) years after the date of the test. Students who take the placement tests and do not enroll in an applicable developmental math or English course are allowed to take one (1) retest within 12 months. Students who attempt applicable developmental coursework will be ineligible for a retest.

Testing for Non-Native English Speakers: English-as-a-second-language students (ESL)
  • Most non-native English speaking students are required to take an English-as-a-Second Language placement test before enrolling in college courses.

  • Placement Testing for ESL students is available in every campus Testing Center according to the Placement Testing Schedule.

  • Select non-native English speakers are NOT required to take the ESL Placement Tests and instead take the placement tests for native speakers. These include students who have earned a TOEFL score of 550 (paper-based), 213 (computer-based), or 80 (Internet-based).

  • Students who do not demonstrate appropriate proficiencies on the native speaker’s English test may be placed in ESL or developmental classes. [TCC ESL website]

Information about other tests
New Developmental English Curriculum (Spring 2013)