All students entering a program of study which requires math or English courses must meet placement requirements for these courses. Placement may be determined by high school transcripts and GPA, SAT and/or ACT scores, and GED scores; all of which are valid for five years. Additionally, students who are enrolled at another higher education institution or four-year college may submit their college transcripts for placement determination. Students who do not satisfy the placement requirements based upon these multiple measures must take the Virginia Placement Test (VPT).
Students must submit their applications for admission to New River 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. Placement test scores are valid for five years.
Exemptions for Placement Testing
New students are exempt from taking the placement tests if they have received appropriate scores within the past five years on one or a combination of the following assessments. (The scores shown are the minimum needed for exemption.)
Hight School GPA*
3.0 or above and completion of an Algebra Intensive Course above Algebra II**
(Evidence-Based Reading and Writing)
(Subject Area Tests English and Reading)
(Subject Area Test Math)
*High school GPA may only be used as a placement for students who received or will receive an Advanced Studies or Standard Diploma.
Students with a high school GPA of 2.7-2.9, SAT/ACT scores below the scores noted above, or a GED math score of 155-164 may also be exempt based upon their selected program of study. Please see an advisor for further evaluation.
High school transcripts and GPA exemptions do not apply to high school dual enrolled students.
**Algebra Intensive Courses above Algebra II include Trigonometry, Advanced Algebra and Trig, Math Analysis, Algebra III, Pre-Calculus, and Calculus.
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.
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. Students should compose an essay using more than 300 words and multiple paragraphs.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.The multiple choice component includes 40 questions on reading and writing fundamentals.
- The English test has two parts: a written essay component and a multiple choice component.
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.
- The math test may include a variety of question types such as multiple choice, free response, true/false, etc.
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 Academic Assistance.
VPT English Prep Course
- NRCC’s VPT English MOOC (massive open online course) will help you prepare for the English portion of the placement test. You’ll find modules with drills on writing, analyzing, reading comprehension, vocabulary and grammar, and using sources. More Information about the FREE VPT English MOOC can be found here: http://www.nr.edu/students/vpteng.php .
VPT Free Math Prep Course
- NRCC offers a free online prep course for the VPT – Math to help you prepare to do as well as you can on this test. The better you do on it, the less math you will have to take! More information about it, and how to sign up and use the course can be found here: Conquering the VPT in Math .
- The VPT MathSite provides sample math problems and links to online resources that correspond to each sub-unit of Units 0-3 of the VPT-Math. The website is: http://vpt-math.vccs.edu/ .
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 also download a printable set of practice questions for the VPT Mathematics Test (PDF) here .
Details about the individual units can be found on the math department webpage.
Taking the Virginia Placement Test at New River
Placement tests are given at our testing centers. Placement tests are not timed but generally will take between 2 and 3 hours. Please NOTE: You must start a placement test at least 3 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 NRCC online application process). There is no fee for placement testing.
Hours for Placement Testing:
Counseling Center, Rooker Hall, Dublin
Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Call (540) 674-3609
Mall Site (New River Valley Mall, Christiansburg)
Monday – Thursday 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Friday – 8:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Saturday – 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. (During Fall and Spring semesters only)
Call (540) 674-3610 or 1-866-GO2-NRCC ext. 3610.
*Note: Please call ahead and check as normal testing hours may change when classes are not in regular session.
Placement Testing Policies
- You may not have any personal belongings with you while you are testing. No outside resources, paper, books or electronic devices will be allowed in the testing rooms.
- 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 an academic advisor for further discussion.
- 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.