Placement Tests

Most U.S. students will not need to take a placement test at NOVA. Instead, they should visit the Direct Enrollment and Self-Placement site to learn more about new placement measures and to fill out an Advising Survey. This survey will help determine which college-level Math and English courses they should start with.

What is the ESL Placement Assessment?

NOVA uses the ESL Accuplacer. This assessment has the following parts and should take less than two hours to complete:

  1. Reading Skills: read and comprehend explicitly stated information as well as infer information not directly stated in a passage.
  2. Sentence Meaning: read and comprehend words and phrases in one- or two-sentence contexts by using context clues.
  3. Language Use: identify and apply English grammar, usage, and punctuation to a range of English sentence structures on a variety of topics.
  4. Essay Writing (dependent upon computerized score): write a response to an open question

Who needs to take the ESL Placement Assessment?

  1. Students who did not complete high school in the United States, whose primary language is not English, and who do not have TOEFL/IELTS/ACT/SAT/Duolingo test scores.
  2. International students (F/M/J) whose primary language is not English and who do not have TOEFL iBT, IELTS, or Duolingo-Academic test scores from 2018 or later. International students should work with their International Student Advisor.
    1. TOEFL iBT score of below 19 in each of the four sections: Writing, Reading, Listening, and Speaking.
    2. IELTS-Academic score below 6.5 in each of the four sections: Writing, Reading, Listening, and Speaking.
    3. Duolingo test score below 80.
  3. Students who completed high school in the United States, for whom English is not a primary language should contact the ESL department (ESL@nvcc.edu) to speak with an ESL advisor about placement options.

How do I take the ESL Placement Assessment?

  • First, complete the online NOVA application. Then visit the Testing Center on campus to take the ESL placement assessment. Appointments are recommended but not required. Find locations and hours for the Testing Centers here: NOVA Testing Centers.
  • It is important to take the placement assessment at a time you can do your best because you cannot immediately take it again.
  • You can email the Testing Center with questions about how to take the ESL placement assessment here: NOVATesting@nvcc.edu

How do I get my results for the ESL Placement Assessment?

  • You will receive your assessment result by email.
  • The results expire after one year.
  • Contact the ESL Department for questions about your placement and class registration information or any other follow-up questions.
  • Each ESL class will have a diagnostic (pre-test) on the first day of class. Your placement may need to be adjusted based on the results.

How can I prepare for the ESL Placement Assessment?

You may use any online resources to review or check out the links below.

Updates have been made to the prerequisites for BIO 141, Human Anatomy and Physiology I. To enroll in BIO 141, students must demonstrate mastery in chemistry, cell biology, and inheritance. Achieve this requirement through one of three options:

  • Option 1: BIO 101 Completion
    Complete BIO 101, General Biology I, with a grade of C or higher. This recommended option is transferable and fulfills the science with lab requirement.

  • Option 2: NAS 2, Foundations of Life Sciences
    Complete NAS 2 with a passing grade. This choice is suitable for students not planning to transfer to a 4-year institution or those not needing BIO 101 as a course requirement.

  • Option 3: NAS 2 (BIO 141) Placement Exam
    Take the NAS 2 (BIO 141) Placement Exam at a NOVA Testing Center, aiming for a 75% or higher grade. This option, allowing a maximum of two attempts per semester, is ideal for students with prior biology and chemistry knowledge.

Enrollment and Preparation:
To enroll in the NAS 2 self-paced course in Canvas, click here. Review course objectives to assess your understanding of the material, utilizing course materials for exam preparation. When ready, schedule an appointment with a NOVA Testing Center to take the exam.

Ensuring you start at the right level of language learning is crucial for building a solid foundation and progressing toward proficiency. NOVA offers remote placement tests for various languages, including Spanish, French, Russian, German, Japanese, Chinese, and Arabic.

  • Spanish, French, Russian, German, Japanese & Chinese Placement Tests:
    These adaptive, timed tests in CANVAS consist of multiple sections. Contact NOVAtesting@nvcc.edu to request your placement tests. You must pass each section with an acceptable score to progress to the next.

  • Russian Placement Test:
    This timed Canvas test includes four language tasks and may take up to 2 hours. Request the Russian Placement Test through NOVAtesting@nvcc.edu.

  • Arabic Placement Test:
    The Arabic Placement Test is currently offered in person at Campus Testing Centers. It's a paper-based test that may take one to two hours, depending on your level.

Testing Center Locations:
For in-person tests and other services, visit the NOVA Testing Centers.

Language Waiver for Native Speakers:
Waiver of the foreign language requirement: Students who are proficient in a foreign language not offered by NOVA or through examination may request a waiver. Proficiency is generally indicated if the student has at least the equivalent of a high school diploma from an institution where the primary language is other than English. Credits waived are those normally required course credits for the program which are administratively exempted. Credits waived require election of additional general education credit courses to compensate for the credits waived to meet degree requirements. This waiver is accomplished through the student sending a copy of the foreign transcript along with an email request for a waiver to the College Records Office using the AsktheCRO@nvcc.edu email address. 

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).
    • Log in to the myNOVA site to find your Student ID number (EmplID)

Requesting Placement Results

If you need a copy of your placement results, please contact NOVAtesting@nvcc.edu

VPT Tests

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

VPT English comprises two sections - a written essay and reading passages with 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.

Who needs to take VPT English?

Students who have not completed high school or a GED must take either the VPT for English or the English Placement for Multilingual Learners for students whose primary language is not English. Only some students in certain populations, such as students using VA or TA benefits or dual enrollment students without other placement measures, are required to take VPT English. The VPT English Placement Test must be taken on campus at one of NOVA's Testing Centers.

Reviewing for VPT English

The practice test below is to help students prepare for taking the VPT English Placement Test.

VPT Math is an adaptive, computerized, untimed test, although 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.

  • The VPT Math contains questions like free response, matching, multiple choice, true/false, etc.
  • The only calculator you may use is the one within the test program. No personal calculators nor the Windows calculator are allowed. Scrap paper will be provided.

Who needs to take VPT Math?

Students who have not completed high school or a GED must take the VPT MathOnly some students in certain populations, such as those using VA or TA benefits or dual enrollment students without other placement measures, must take the VPT Math. The VPT Math Placement Test must be taken on campus at one of NOVA's Testing Centers.

Reviewing for VPT Math

The practice tests below help students prepare for the VPT Math Placement Test.

Special Populations:

Specific groups, like military students using VA or TA benefits or dual enrollment students without other placement measures, may have unique requirements. Advisors can guide you on whether VPT testing is necessary.

For Military Students Using VA or TA Benefits:

School Certifying Official Last Name Range Phone Email Location
Terri Payne A - F 571.732.2030 tpayne@nvcc.edu Pender 3
Daina Hannibal G - L 804.464.8157 dhhannibal@nvcc.edu Pender 3
Angela Sawyer M - R 804.601.8258 asawyer@nvcc.edu Pender 3
All SCOs S - Z militaryservices@nvcc.edu

For Dual Enrollment Students:

Dual Enrollment students who do not meet Dual Enrollment Admission & Placement Criteria, please contact dualenrollment@nvcc.edu.

Other Tests

NOVA instructors may request in-person or remote Zoom proctoring of Faculty Referred Tests for those students who have missed an exam in class, students who have a NOVA Memorandum of Accommodations (MOA), or NOVA Online students (instructor permission required).

Faculty may submit a proctoring request using this online form (NVCC credentials required).

Submission of any and all tests must now be made 48 business hours ahead of time.  Additionally, start and end dates will not be allowed on weekends.  Any attempts to submit exams outside of these parameters will result in an error, prompting the faculty member to choose new test dates.

The SDV ABLE Exam is currently being given remotely to eligible NOVA students. Students should request the exam by emailing NOVAtesting@nvcc.edu.

  • The SDV ABLE Exam is a 90-minute timed test in CANVAS and includes 50 questions.
  • The test requires the Respondus Lockdown Browser.
  • The test can only be taken one time.

Note: The SDV ABLE exam is not compatible with Chromebooks.