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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.

Click here to view resources to help you prepare for the Math and English Placement Tests

About the Virginia Placement Test (VPT)

The VPT is a computerized placement test composed of 2 separate assessments-English and Math.

Each test usually takes between 2 - 3 hours to complete; however, there is not an established time limit.

Taking both the English and Math assessments on the same day is NOT recommended.

Students are encouraged to complete each assessment on a separate day to avoid testing fatigue.

The VPT is used to place students into appropriate courses; therefore students should put their best efforts when completing the tests to demonstrate college readiness and to avoid being placed into courses that may not be needed. Students are highly encouraged to start the review process early to provide enough time to practice and to build confidence, especially in mathematics.

VPT English

The English test has 2 parts: a written essay and a multiple choice reading comprehension section.

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.

  • Written 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.
  • The essay will be scored based upon a combination of:
    • the essay's paragraph and sentence organization and structure
    • quality of content
    • overall unity
    • coherence of ideas
    • thesis statement
    • topic sentences
    • spelling and grammar


  • Multiple choice reading comprehension component - Students will answer 40 multiple-choice questions on reading and writing fundamentals.

VPT Math

Math portion of the VPT is adaptive and will progess in difficulty as students answer questions correctly.

  • An electronic basic four function calculator is provided as a pop-up window to assist with the Math test.
  • Students who wish to test into Calculus are encouraged to practice with a four function calculator instead of a graphing calculator.
  • Personal calculators of any kind cannot be used.
Preparing for the VPT

Review ALL of the Following VPT Links to Prepare for the Placement Test:

Resources to Review English:

Resources to Review Math:

Resources for Dealing with Test Anxiety:



TCC Resources:

Exemptions for taking the VPT-Students NOT required to be tested
The following students are NOT required to take the Virginia 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 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 minimum score of 18 or higher on both the English and Reading tests OR
    • SAT minimum score of 500 or higher on both the Critical Reading and Writing Sections.

    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.