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Placement Testing

Placement Testing

NOVA administers tests to assess an individual’s college readiness and placement in certain courses. Such tests are intended to assist students in selecting courses and designing an academic program in which they will most likely be successful. These tests are administered through the Testing Center at each campus. Students are encouraged to take placement tests in English and mathematics before enrolling in classes.

Prior to testing, students must have submitted an Application for Admission to the College.

Students with scores on any required placement test that are below the specified minimums must complete prescribed developmental studies or English as a Second Language (ESL) course(s). The course(s) required will be determined by the student’s scores. These requirements apply to all campuses and ELI, unless specifically waived by the responsible academic dean.

The following students must take an English placement test, unless they are enrolling in one of the courses listed under “Placement Test Exemptions”:

  • students who have a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of less than 2.00 after the completion of 9 semester hours at NOVA;
  • students who are transferring to NOVA with a cumulative GPA of less than 2.00 (regardless of the number of hours completed);
  • students who plan to enroll in dual enrollment classes; and
  • students who entered NOVA in the Fall 2002 semester or later, regardless of the GPA, prior to registering for the 16th credit, unless they present a standardized test score that exempts them as outlined in the following section.

A math placement test is required to enroll in college-level math classes, unless the student meets exemptions as outlined in the following section.

Placement Test Exemptions

English Placement Test

Students who have taken a standardized test within the past two years and present test scores as follows may enroll directly into ENG 111 without testing:

  • a minimum of 560 (combined score) on the Reading/Writing portions of the SAT exam,
  • a minimum combined score of 18 on both the English and Reading tests of the ACT, or
  • a 95 or higher on the TOEFL iBT.

In addition, the following students may be eligible for credit for ENG 111 and may not need to take the placement test:

  • students who have a previous transfer-oriented associate degree or higher from a regionally accredited U.S. institution;
  • students with a satisfactory score on AP, IB, Cambridge Advanced Level, or CLEP exams.

Many courses require placement into ENG 111 as a prerequisite.

The following courses are exempt from the English placement test requirement:

ADJ  100
ART 121, 122, 131, 132, 153, 154, 221, 222, 223, 231, 232, 235, 236, 237, 241, 242, 243, 244, 253, 254, 258, 271, 272, 277, 299
CIV 171, 172
MUS 101, 102, 131, 132, 136, 138, 141, 142, 145, 148, 149, 155, 159, 163, 164, 165, 175, 185, 198, 199, 231, 232, 236, 237, 238, 241, 242, 245, 248, 249, 255, 259, 265, 275, 285
PED all courses except 116 and 220
SDV 100, 101, 107, 109 (other SDV courses are not exempt)

Math Placement Test

A student who provides official evidence of a minimum mathematics score of 550 on the SAT or a minimum score of 22 on the ACT taken within the last two years may register for MTH 115, MTH 126, MTH 150, MTH 151, MTH 152, MTH 157, or MTH 181 without taking the math placement test.

Duration of Test Score Validity and Test Retakes

English test scores are valid for two years after the date of the test. Students who take the English placement test and who do not enroll in developmental English are allowed to take one retest within 12 months. Students who attempt a developmental English course will be ineligible for a retest. Exceptions to this retest policy may be made on a case-by-case basis in accordance with established College procedures.

English as a Second Language (ESL) scores are valid for 12 months; tests may be repeated after six months for students who score below Level 2, and after 12 months for those who score Level 2 or higher.

Math test scores are valid for two years after the date of the test. Students who take the placement test and who do not enroll in developmental math are allowed to take one retest within 12 months. Students who attempt developmental mathematics will be ineligible for a retest. Academic deans may grant exceptions to this policy on a case-by-case basis.

Dual Enrollment Students

In order to be admitted to dual enrollment classes, all students must demonstrate college readiness by meeting the following placement or scoring criteria:

Admission Criteria for Transfer Courses
Reading ENG 111 81 42 50 500 18 N/A
Writing/English ENG 111 76 43 50 500 18 N/A
Mathematics MTE 1 25 33 52 520 22 Algebra I - pass
Admission Criteria for Non-Transfer-Oriented Courses
Reading ENF 1 62 35 50 500 18 N/A
Writing/English ENF 1 32 35 50 500 18 N/A
Mathematics MTE 1 25 33 52 520 22 Algebra I - pass

Exemptions to all testing requirements are stated previously under “Placement Text Exemptions.”

Transient Students

It is our practice here at NOVA to make special efforts to serve the needs of “transient” or “visiting” students during the Summer. On our college website, we have included information on documentation requirements for entry-level college courses and documentation for courses with college-level prerequisites. You will also find information helpful information on how to register for classes and pay tuition. We’re here to support all of your academic needs and goals. Visit: Visiting & Transient Students

VCSS Testing Policy

Students who intend to enroll in courses at one VCCS institution may take the Virginia Placement Test at other VCCS institutions at no cost to the student. In addition, the home institution shall accept the placement test scores from other VCCS institutions.

Testing Centers

A government-issued photo identification, such as a driver’s license, is required at the Testing Center to take the tests. Students will not be permitted to take backpacks, coats, or other personal effects into the Testing Center.

For information about testing or testing accommodations, contact a campus Testing Center or Student Services Center.

Extended Learning Institute students may use any of the NOVA campus Testing Centers. Some placement testing for ELI students may be arranged to be administered outside the Northern Virginia region. Contact ELI registration at elireg@nvcc.edu or call 703-323-3368 for more information.