Placement testing

TCC will use multiple measures to determine a student's readiness for college-level English and math courses

You are exempt from the placement tests if you:

  • submitted a transcript to an academic advisor showing completion of college-level English and/or mathematics courses with a grade of C or higher from an accredited institution where English is the official language, provided they meet the prerequisites for the respective courses in their chosen program of study
  • have satisfactory Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, College Level Advancement Placement (CLEP), Defense Activity for Educational Support Program (DANTES) or Excelsior College scores for English and/or mathematics as determined by the college. Learn more
  • are taking classes for personal enrichment and not enrolled in an English, math or history class, provided they meet the prerequisites for the respective courses
  • successfully completed developmental courses at a VCCS institution (previously taken developmental courses will be valid for five (5) years after term taken)

Note: Students enrolling in Career Studies Certificate programs may be waived from placement testing, unless a course in the program requires a reading, writing, or math prerequisite.

You may be required to take the Virginia Placement test or ESL-specific test, as appropriate if you:

  • are not exempt by the above criteria
  • are a new student planning to earn an associate degree or certificate
  • are a new student planning to take English or math, or courses that require English or math
  • plan to be a dual-enrollment student

Virginia Placement Test scores are valid for five (5) years after the date of the test.

Multiple measures for placement

  • any student who has successfully completed developmental courses at a non-VCCS institution will have their coursework evaluated for placement
  • a student may submit a high school/home school transcript or an approved standardized test score for placement evaluation
  • high school GPA (HSGPA) and math coursework, which are valid for five (5) years after the date of high school graduation
  • approved SAT, ACT and/or GED* test scores

SAT and ACT test scores are valid for five (5) years after the date of the test. GED scores are valid for five (5) years going forward, starting March 2014. Any GED scores prior to March 2014, are not applicable. 

English Placement
English Placement Measures HSGPA or Score Range Placement
High School GPA (HSGPA) 3.0 or higher
2.7 - 2.9
ENG 111
ENF3/ENG 111
SAT-ERW (Evidence-Based Reading and Writing) 480 or above
460 - 470 range
ENG 111
ENF3/ENG 111
SAT – Critical Reading (Verbal) and Writing (Pre-March 2016) 500 or above
(on both sections)
ENG 111
ACT-Subject Area Tests: English and Reading 18 or above
(on each test)

15 - 17 range
(on each test)
ENG 111

ENF3/ENG 111
GED-English (RLA-Reasoning through Language Arts) 165 or above ENG 111

Math Placement
Math Placement Measures HSGPA or Score Range Placement
HSGPA and Algebra II and
One Algebra Intensive Course*
3.0 or higher MTE 1 – 9 Satisfied
HSGPA and Algebra II 3.0 or higher MTE 1 – 5 Satisfied
HSGPA and Algebra I 3.0 or higher MTE 1 – 3 Satisfied
SAT – Math 530 or above MTE 1 – 9 Satisfied
510 – 520 range MTE 1 – 5 Satisfied
SAT – Math
(Pre-March 2016)
520 or above MTE 1 – 9 Satisfied
ACT – Subject Area Test: Math 22 or above MTE 1 – 9 Satisfied
19 – 21 range MTE 1 – 5 Satisfied
GED – Math 165 or above MTE 1 – 5 Satisfied
155 - 164 MTE 1 – 3 Satisfied

*Algebra Intensive Courses above Algebra II: Trigonometry, Math Analysis, Pre-Calculus, Calculus, Algebra III

NOTE: Students may complete the VPT Calculus Test for placement into Pre-Calculus II, Calculus, and 200-level Statistics.

Students have the option to take the Virginia Placement Test in order to improve their placement standing after other measures are considered.

Preparing for the placement tests

Whether or not you have studied English and mathematics recently, you will want to prepare in order to do your best. Not reviewing before taking the placement tests could possibly place you in a course that is lower than your actual skill level, costing you time and money.

Here are some resources to help.

Placement test refresher workshops

These free, 2-hour workshops are open to the public. Get the schedule here.

Online Resources

English and writing



Practice Tests (English & Math) 

Taking the placement tests

Placement tests are free, and you can take them on any TCC campus (hours and locations below). Bring a photo ID and your Student ID number.

Do not bring

  • electronic devices (including phones and calculators)
  • purses, backpacks or other bags
  • food and drink
  • children

Lockers may be available outside the testing centers so you can secure your belongings.

Each test generally takes between 3 and 4 hours, therefore students are encouraged to take English and math tests at separate times. You may not begin a test 3 hours or less before the testing center closes. Testing center hours and locations are listed below.

What's on the tests?

The English test has a 40-question multiple choice reading comprehension section and a written essay. The essay is more heavily weighted in the total English score. The essay will be a response to one of two writing prompts.

The essay will be scored on a combination of quality of content, paragraph and sentence organization and structure, coherence of ideas, thesis statement, topic sentences, spelling and grammar.

The mathematics test, which includes algebra basics, will progress in difficulty. An electronic four-function calculator will be provided in a pop-up window to assist you. Personal calculators or any other devices used for calculations are prohibited.

If you need an accommodation because you have an identified disability, contact the Office of Educational Accessibility.

After you've taken the placement tests

When you meet with an academic advisor or attend orientation, you may be able to enroll in college-level English and math courses immediately, or you may be required to take one or more developmental education courses, depending on your chosen program of study.

Students who take the placement tests but do not enroll in a developmental math or English course are allowed to take 1 retest within 12 months. Students who attempt developmental course work are ineligible for a retest.

About developmental education

The results of your placement tests may indicate you need additional development in English and/or mathematics. Tuition is charged for these courses, but the credits won't count toward your degree or certificate.

Preparing for college English

Three English Fundamentals (ENF) courses provide a progression of skill development in reading and writing to prepare you for college-level work. Your English placement score may require you to take all or some of the English Fundamentals courses.

Learn more about ENF courses

Preparing for college mathematics

Six Math Essentials (MTE) courses provide a progression of skill development to prepare you for college-level algebra. Your math placement score may require you to take all or some of the Math Essentials courses. On some campuses, the courses are available in a computer-based, self-paced format.

Learn more about MTE courses

Testing Centers

Hours of operation:

Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth: 
Mon. - Thu.: 8:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Fri. 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sat. 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Virginia Beach:
Mon. & Tue 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Wed. - Fri. 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.;  
Sat. 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. 

Extended Saturday Hours (Virginia Beach):
October 7 & 14, December 2 & 9: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Revised hours effective Monday, October 23 (Virginia Beach):
Monday, Tuesday & Thursday: 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Wednesday & Friday: 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Saturday: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Chesapeake Campus

George B. Pass Building, Room 211

1428 Cedar Road, Chesapeake, VA 23322


Phone: 757-822-5131

Norfolk Campus

Roper Center, Room 4102

340 Granby Street, Norfolk, VA 2351


Phone: 757-822-1310

Portsmouth Campus

Building A, Room A153

120 Campus Drive, Portsmouth, VA 23701


Phone: 757-822-2194

Virginia Beach Campus

Bayside Building, Room B209

1700 College Crescent, Virginia Beach, VA 23453


Phone: 757-822-7390

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