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Placement Testing Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of placement testing?
Placement tests are used to determine whether a student may benefit from developmental coursework prior to enrolling in college-level classes. Placement tests in English (writing and reading) and mathematics are generally required for all entering students seeking admission to degree and certificate programs, as well as some career studies certificate programs.

Developmental courses help students obtain the skills needed for successful performance in college-level courses. Some students need to review English or math, while other students may be taking a particular math course, for example, Algebra, for the first time.

The College administers the Virginia Placement Tests for both English and mathematics placement.

Can I use SAT or ACT scores for placement purposes?
You may submit SAT or ACT scores obtained within the past two years for placement purposes. 

Mathematics:  A student who provides official evidence of a minimum score of 520 on the mathematics section of the SAT or 550 on the 2016 SAT, or a minimum score of 22 on the mathematics section of the ACT, taken within the last two years, may be exempt from taking the VCCS mathematics placement test based on the mathematics requirements in the student’s academic plan.

English:  A student who provides official evidence of a minimum score of 500 on both the critical reading and writing sections of the SAT or 560 (combined score) on the 2016 SAT, or a minimum score of 18 on both the English Test and Reading Test of the ACT, taken within the last two years, is exempt from taking the VCCS English placement test.

Do I need placement tests if I have attended another college?
Students transferring from an accredited college with a grade of “D” or better in college-level English or mathematics courses are exempt from placement testing. Students with a bachelor’s degree are not required to take the placement tests, but we recommend you take the VPT math placement test to assess your current skill level before registering for a college-level math class.

What is the placement test like?
The placement tests are taken at a computer. You must bring and show your JTCC EMPLID number to the test proctor in the test center. The test is not timed, but most people finish in approximately 3 to 4 hours. You are not allowed to use your own calculator. Calculators are provided on the Virginia Mathematics Placement Test. Certain accommodations may be made for students with documented disabilities. Visit Disabilities Support Services for more information. 

How do I arrange for placement testing?
Placement tests may be taken without an appointment on a walk-in basis. Please carefully check the Placement Testing Schedules page and determine which day and time best suits your schedule.

How can I prepare for my placement tests?  
We strongly recommend practicing before taking the placement tests.  Here are some good ways to review:

What’s the best way to contact the Placement Testing Center for more information?
The Testing Centers' test proctors spend most of their time providing tests to students and will usually be unable to respond immediately to telephone message. They are often able to process requests more quickly that are received via e-mail at

If you have questions about your placement test results, please contact the Advising Center.


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