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Placement Tests

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If you are a new student at NOVA, you will need to take the English and math placement tests before you begin classes. The results of these tests will help you and NOVA determine the courses you will take. Tests are given at all six campus Testing Centers.

VPT for English

Virginia Placement Test (VPT) for English

VPT English is an adaptive, computerized, untimed test. Please be aware that this test may take up to three hours to complete. We recommend that students not take VPT Math and VPT English on the same day.

  • VPT English is comprised of two sections -- a written essay and 40 multiple choice questions. The multiple choice portion contains questions on a variety of topics including, but not limited to, reading comprehension, grammar, vocabulary and research skills.

Reviewing for VPT English

  • The importance of reviewing material that you previously studied cannot be over emphasized.
  • The placement test is not an admissions test or an aptitude test.
  • The test measures how well you demonstrate skills. Your score indicates the courses you are prepared to take.
  • Not reviewing before taking the placement test could possibly place you in a course that is lower than your actual skill level, costing you time and money.
  • Starting your review process early will give you enough time to practice so that you can feel confident doing your best on the placement test.
  • Review for VPT English [PDF]
  • Supplemental Review Material
  • Accessing the Online Free VPT English Practice Test [PDF]

Who needs to take VPT English?

  • All first-time-to-college students ages 17-24 who enroll in Fall 2014 or later.
  • 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.
  • All incoming students whose primary language is not English should take the ACCUPLACER ESL test.

Who is exempt?

Retest Policy

  • One retest is allowed within 12 months of the initial attempt on the English Virginia Placement Test.
  • If you retake the VPT English, your official placement will be determined by the highest essay and multiple choice scores from both of your tests. This may be higher than what is shown on the score sheet from your retest, so it is critical that you meet with your counselor or advisor before registering for English classes.
  • Once you enroll in an English course (including developmental), you may not retest.
  • Test scores are valid for two years.

Accommodations

If you need academic accommodations for a placement test at NOVA, visit our Disabilities Services website and follow the instructions for requesting accommodations prior to taking your placement test. Please note, it may take up to three weeks or longer to respond to some accommodation requests during peak registration times.

VPT for Math

Virginia Placement Test (VPT) for Math

VPT Math is an adaptive, computerized, untimed test.

  • VPT Math has two to 11 sections; the number of sections will depend on your math skills. All of the questions on the test are multiple choice.
  • The only calculator you may use is the one within the test program. No personal calculators are allowed.

Reviewing for VPT Math

  • The importance of reviewing material that you previously studied cannot be over emphasized. The VPT Math site provides supplemental study materials for the Math Placement Test.
  • The placement test is not an admissions test or an aptitude test.
  • The test measures how well you demonstrate skills. Your score indicates the courses you are prepared to take.
  • Not reviewing before taking the placement test could possibly place you in a course that is lower than your actual skill level, delaying your math sequence by one or more semesters, costing you time and money.
  • Starting your review process early will give you time to practice, so you will hopefully feel more confident in doing your best on the placement test.
  • Start your review by completing the VPT Practice Questions and Answers, which covers Developmental Math Units 0 through 9.
  • The VPT Math may also test your pre-calculus knowledge if you demonstrate sufficient skills on Units 0 through 9. This portion of the test will determine if you have the necessary math skills to enroll in calculus courses such as MTH 271 or MTH 173.
  • Supplemental Review Material
  • Accessing the Free Online VPT Math Practice Test [PDF]

Who needs to take VPT Math?

  • All first-time-to-college students ages 17-24 who enroll in Fall 2014 or later.
  • Anyone who wishes to take a math course.

NOTE: Some other courses and programs such as science, nursing and computer science also require a qualifying score on the math placement test.

Who is exempt?

Please see the College Catalog for current exemption policies.

Retest Policy

  • One retest is allowed within 12 months of the initial attempt on the Math Virginia Placement Test.
  • Once you enroll in a Math course (including developmental), you may not retest.
  • Test scores are valid for two years.

Accommodations

If you need academic accommodations for a placement test at NOVA, visit our Disabilities Services website and follow the instructions for requesting accommodations prior to taking your placement test. Please note, it may take up to three weeks or longer to respond to some accommodation requests during peak registration times.

ESL Placement Test

English as a Second Language (ESL) Placement Test

ACCUPLACER is the primary tool for placement testing for ESL.

  • Part 1: The ACCUPLACER LOEP (Levels of English Proficiency) is a computer test. It is divided into three sections: Reading Skills, Sentence Meaning and Language Usage. The test consists of 60 multiple-choice questions and is untimed.
  • Part 2: If your score on Part 1 is over 300, you will hand write a one-hour timed essay. You will have a choice of two topics. Your essay will be graded by a faculty member and your results will be available in 2 to 5 business days.
  • You may take the Math Placement Test if you score into level 3 or higher.
  • Test scores are good for one year.
  • Due to privacy laws, no test results are given by telephone.
  • You must answer each question before you can go on to the next one. Once you have moved on to the next question, you cannot go back and change your answers. However, the computer will ask you to verify each answer before moving on to the next question.

Reviewing for the ESL Placement Test

Who needs to take the ESL Placement Test?

  • All incoming students whose primary language is not English. Students whose primary language is English should take VPT English.
  • Students who are transferring to NOVA with a cumulative GPA of less than 2.00 (regardless of the number of hours completed) whose primary language is not English.

NOTE: Dual Enrollment students must take VPT English.

Retest Policy

  • You may retest in six months if you do not score into level 2 or higher. During this time it is recommended that you take an intensive English course through our American Cultural Language Institute (ACLI) or through adult education in your area.
  • If you score into level 2 or higher, but choose not to enroll in the recommended classes, you may retest in one year.
  • Once you enroll in ESL classes, you cannot retest unless it has been one year from the last day of the class.

Accommodations

If you need academic accommodations for a placement test at NOVA, visit our Disabilities Services website and follow the instructions for requesting accommodations prior to taking your placement test. Please note, it may take up to three weeks or longer to respond to some accommodation requests during peak registration times.

Please Note

  • Students must have completed a NOVA college application for the credit program prior to taking placement tests.
  • You must bring a current Photo ID and know your NOVA Student ID number to take a placement test.
    • Examples: Driver’s license, military ID, passport, personal identification card from DMV, NOVACard Photo ID or Permanent Resident Card (Green Card).
    • Use NOVAConnect to find your Student ID number and bring this number with you to the Testing Center.
  • VPT English and VPT Math are untimed. If you need academic accommodations for a placement test at NOVA, visit our Disabilities Services website and follow the instructions for requesting accommodations prior to taking your placement test. Please note, it may take up to three weeks or longer to respond to some accommodation requests during peak registration times.
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