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Placement Testing FAQs

Have questions about the Placement Testing procedure here at RCC? We may have answered your question to someone else — check out the frequently asked questions below. If you’re still stumped, give the Counseling Services team call or e-mail.

What is a placement test?
A placement test in reading/writing and one in math is required before beginning classes. The Virginia Placement Test (VPT) has two components, English and Mathematics. The VPT will assess your ability in math, reading, and writing. The VPT is a comprehensive, computer-adaptive test designed to help place students into appropriate courses needed to ensure student success.


Who must take these tests?
The tests are required of all new students who plan to:

  • seek a degree or certificate,
  • receive financial aid,
  • take dual credit courses while in high school,
  • enter the first semester of courses that have mathematics or English as a pre-requisite (this may include transfer students from other colleges or universities who do not have documented credit in either college level mathematics or English. A college counselor will talk to you about your college transcripts.)

What if I have been to another college or university?
If you have been to another college or university and completed a BA or BS degree you are exempt from placement testing. If you have been to another college or university and have completed college level math and/or English courses with a grade of C or above, you may be exempt from testing. You must provide your college transcripts (unofficial copy) or test information (SAT or ACT) as documentation for a waiver of the placement test requirement.

What if I have taken the SAT or ACT?
If you have taken the SAT or ACT and received the minimum score or higher as shown in the table below, you are exempt from taking the VPT Placement Test. Documentation is required; you must have official scores from ACT or SAT submitted directly to the RCC Registrar in the Admissions and Records Office at either the Glenns or Warsaw Campus.

Test Minimum Score Math Minimum Score English
ACT 22 21 (English Test & Writing Test)
SAT 520 500 (critical reading and writing sections)

How will placement testing help me?
The college placement tests will help you to identify your skill levels in English and math. This information will assist you in the selection of courses in which you are likely to succeed.

How can I prepare for this test?

What should I bring?
Bring a pencil or pen and any four-function, scientific calculator, except as specified below:

  • pocket organizers
  • graphing calculators
  • handheld or laptop computers
  • electronic writing pads or pen-input devices
  • models with a QWERTY (typewriter) keypad (although calculators with letters on the keys are permitted as long as the keys are not arranged in QWERTY format)
  • models with built-in capability to simplify algebraic expressions, multiply polynomials, or factor polynomials (often called Computer Algebra Systems), for example, CFX-9970G, TI-89, and TI-92

How long does the test take?
The test is not timed. On the average, each test takes approximately 1½ to 2 hours (but it may take a little longer). The VPT-English contains both an essay and multiple choice questions; the essay is worth 60% of the VPT-English placement test. The VPT-Math test consists of questions with answers in multiple choice format.

You are allowed and encouraged to take a break in-between tests to ensure that you do your best work. You may also choose to take the test on two different days: one day for English, one day for math.


How will placement testing help me?The college placement tests will help you to identify your skill levels in English and math. This information will assist you in the selection of courses in which you are likely to succeed.

How can I prepare for this test?

What should I bring?
Bring a pencil or pen and any four-function, scientific calculator, EXCEPT as specified below:

  • pocket organizers
  • graphing calculators
  • handheld or laptop computers
  • electronic writing pads or pen-input devices
  • models with a QWERTY (typewriter) keypad (although calculators with letters on the keys are permitted as long as the keys are not arranged in QWERTY format)
  • models with built-in capability to simplify algebraic expressions, multiply polynomials, or factor polynomials (often called Computer Algebra Systems), for example, CFX-9970G, TI-89, and TI-92

How long does the test take?
The test is not timed. On the average, each test takes approximately 1½ to 2 hours (but it may take a little longer). The VPT-English contains both an essay and multiple choice questions; the essay is worth 60% of the VPT-English placement test. The VPT-Math test consists of questions with answers in multiple choice format.

You are allowed and encouraged to take a break in-between tests to ensure that you do your best work. You may also choose to take the test on two different days: one day for English, one day for math.

Do I have to make an appointment?
Yes, students may contact the student development office to schedule an appointment for testing. Call 855-557-5308 to make an appointment. King George students call 540-775-0087.

What does it cost?
There is a $5 fee for taking the placement test.

How long does it take to find out how I did on the test?
Both parts of the VPT are computerized tests and the results are instant. Upon completion of the tests you will be given a score report showing your placement and recommended math and English courses. Students should keep a copy of the score report for their records. After taking the placement test, students will meet with a counselor to discuss the results and course placement.


How long are my test results valid?
The Virginia Community College System policy states that the VPT results are valid for two years from the date of the test.

I took the VPT and placed into a developmental math or English course, but I did not enroll in a developmental class. Can I retake the VPT?
The Virginia Community College System policy states that students who took the VPT but did not enroll in a developmental class are allowed to take one retest within 12 months.


I’ve taken the math or English portion of the COMPASS test before but didn’t enroll in a math or English class. Do I have to re-test and take the VPT?
If you took the math and/or English portion of the COMPASS placement test in Spring 2010 or later, your score is valid and you do not need to re-test. See a counselor for course placement.

If you took the math and/or English portion of the COMPASS placement test before Spring 2010, you must re-test and take the VPT.

I’ve taken the math and/or English portion of the COMPASS test for Dual-enrollment classes at my high school. Do I have to re-test and take the VPT?
If you took a college math or English class while you were a dual enrolled high school student you do not need to take the VPT.

If you did not take a college level math or English class while you were a dual enrolled high school student you must take the VPT.


I did not graduate from high school and don’t have a GED. What placement tests do I have to take?
You must take all three parts of COMPASS test to determine your ability to benefit from college work. Based on your scores, you may also need to take the VPT. Due to the length of the tests, it is strongly recommended that you take the VPT on a different day. Please be aware that students without a high school diploma or GED are not eligible to receive financial aid. For more information, see the Financial Aid portion of the website.


Retest Policy:
A re-test may be given one time and one time only, if –

  • There were mitigating circumstances that prevented the student from appropriately completing the test (this circumstance must be discussed with the college counselor).
  • Students who have attempted a developmental math or English course are ineligible for a retest. Exceptions will be made on a case-by-case basis in accordance with college policies. Contact the dean of student development for additional information.

NOTE: Students who test and do not enroll within two years must retest unless there is documentation that the student has attended another college or university.

 


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