Placement Tests

Testing Center

Located in room M607 in the Main Building, the Testing Center offers students placement testing, makeup testing and testing for online courses. Click here for hours.

Virginia Placement Test

Click Taking the Virginia Placement Test (VPT) to view a short video about the VPT. The Virginia Community College System (VCCS), including Piedmont Virginia Community College (PVCC) administers the VPT, to ensure that incoming students are prepared for college-level coursework in English and mathematics. 

The VPT evaluates readiness for college-level English and math courses. It is not an admission test. The VPT ensures that students are placed into the right course(s) for their program of study.

The VPT for English and the VPT for Math are computerized, not paper and pencil. Both tests are untimed, yet students should allow two hours to complete each test. At the end of the VPT, students will receive a printout which lists the course(s) they may take, not a passing score.

Students may retake the VPT for English, VPT for Math, or both once in a 12-month period; however students may not retake the VPT once enrolled in a corresponding developmental course.

VPT for English

The VPT for English consists of 40 multiple-choice questions and an essay portion, which is more heavily weighted. The student will be given two prompts, and the student must write an essay in response to one of the two prompts. Although this question is not a prompt on the actual test, the student might see something similar to “What do you consider the most important event of the last ten years, and why?”

A well-written essay consists of more than one paragraph and typically includes an introduction, body, and conclusion. Students may provide examples, tell a story, or use other means to support their main point. Computerized help tools such as spell check and auto correct will not be available when writing the essay. Students should proofread their essays for spelling, punctuation, and grammar.

After completing the writing section, students will encounter 40 multiple choice questions that range from reading comprehension, to choosing the best word for a sentence, to what a legitimate source would be for writing a paper.

Students are encouraged to take a practice test prior to taking the VPT for English. If students need additional help prior to taking the test, tutoring is available at no cost in the Writing Center, Room M617 in the Main Building. Tutors are available on a first-come, first-served basis or by appointment. For more information or to make an appointment, call the Writing Center (434) 961-5499. 

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VPT for Math

The VPT for Math covers nine math essentials, or topical areas.  It is a computerized test, and no personal calculators are allowed—but on-screen calculators are provided as appropriate during the test.  

The VPT for Math consists of a series of math questions, but the degree of difficulty varies throughout the assessment. The first 30 questions assess college-level math skills, and they progress in difficulty as you answer each one correctly. Once you reach your optimal math ability, the test will end, and the appropriate college level math course will be determined.

Math requirements vary by program of study. For example, students seeking an Associate of Science (AS) degree in business administration must demonstrate proficiency in MTT 1-9 and complete two required college-level math courses; whereas students pursuing an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree in nursing must demonstrate proficiency in MTT 1-5 but are not required to complete additional math courses. Consult Admissions & Advising, Room M144 in the Main Building or (434) 961-6551, for specific requirements.

Students are encouraged to take a practice test and use a computer-based tutorial (available in the First Quadrant Math Center) or to meet with a tutor as needed. For more information, call the First Quadrant Math Center (434) 961-5284.

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VPT Test-Taking Tips

VPT for Math Checklist

  • Take an online practice test.
  • If needed, use computer-based tutorial in the First Quadrant Math Center, Room M253 in the Main Building.
  • If desired, meet with a math tutor to review previously learned material, not new concepts.
  • Take the placement test in the Testing Center, Room M607 in the Main Building.

VPT for English Checklist

  • Take an online practice test.
  • Click to complete online VPT for English preparation course. For assistance, contact the Writing Center, Room 617 in the Main Building.
  • If desired, meet with a writing tutor.
  • Take the placement test in the Testing Center, Room M607 in the Main Building.

Online Practice Test
Click to complete an online practice test.

  1. Select Student Self-Registration.
  2. Under institution, choose VCCS Practice Test Institution.
  3. Under site, select VCCS Practice Test.
  4. In the password field, enter Virginiapt.
  5. Complete the required fields (denoted by a red asterisk) and click submit.
  6. Select a practice test to complete.
  7. Once registered on the VPT practice site, users will receive a user ID and password.

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Frequently Asked Questions: 

Do I need a photo ID to take the VPT?

Yes, you must present a photo ID to the Testing Center prior to taking the VPT.

How much does it cost to take the VPT?

There is no fee to take the VPT.


How long are my placement test scores valid?

Math and English placement results are good for two years from the date taken.

If English is not my native language, do I take the VPT for English?

No, non-native speakers take the ESL Compass test, not the VPT for English.


Am I exempt from taking the VPT for English, VPT for Math, or both?

Students who have completed college-level English, college-level math, or have taken the ACT/SAT may be exempt. Contact Admissions & Advising for assistance.


What can I do to prepare for the English placement test?
  • The first part of the test requires you to write an essay. Once you choose between the two given topics, take some time to plan your essay. Scratch paper is available for brainstorming, freewriting, or outlining.
  • Think in terms of a traditional five paragraph essay, with an introduction stating the main idea, three supporting paragraphs, and a conclusion restating the main idea.
  • It is very important for you to take time to carefully proofread your essay as it is 60 percent of your overall score.
  • The second part of the test is 40 multiple choice questions about passages that you will read. Please take your time!
  • For additional online resources to review for the VPT English, go to Online Resources for the VPT English Placement Test.
How much should I study for the VPT?

You should brush up on previously learned material but do not attempt to learn new material.


Can I Use a Calculator for the Math VPT?
  • An electronic basic four function calculator is provided as a pop-up window to assist with the Math test.
  • Students who wish to test into Calculus are encouraged to practice with a four function calculator instead of a graphing calculator.
  • Personal calculators of any kind cannot be used.
If I am not pleased with my placement results, may I retake the VPT?

Yes, you may retake the VPT once in a 12-month period, but you may not retake it once you start a corresponding developmental course.


Can I take a makeup test for a PVCC class?

Your instructors will tell you if they allow makeup tests. You can only take a makeup test in PVCC’s Testing Center by special arrangement with your instructor.

Where do I take tests for PVCC online courses?

When you take an online course, you will be required to take some of your tests in a proctored or supervised setting in PVCC’s Testing Center, or at another site if special arrangements are made.

If you are enrolled in a course through PVCC and want to take your tests at another testing site, read the instructions and fill out the forms here.

Can I take a PVCC test at another location?

If you are enrolled in a course through PVCC and want to take your tests at another testing site, read the instructions and fill out the forms here.

Can I take other schools’ tests in the PVCC Testing Center?

If you are enrolled in a distance learning class through another college or university and you would like to take your tests at the PVCC Testing Center, you will need to make arrangements with your school and with PVCC. You can come into the Testing Center to make arrangements or read the instructions and fill out the form here. There is a $25.00 proctoring fee for each test for schools that are not part of the Virginia Community College System. Some schools pay this fee and others require the student to do so. You may wish to check your school's policy before paying the fees to PVCC.