Course placement

VCU determines your entry-level math, chemistry and foreign language courses based on your academic background. You’ll discuss placement with your academic advisor during your orientation advising session.

Math placement test

The math placement test determines the highest-level math course you can initially register for. First-year students are required to complete the test online before registering for an orientation session. Transfer students are strongly urged to complete the test online before attending orientation. If you don’t have a test score or AP/IB/dual enrollment recorded on your VCU transcript, you will not be able to register for a math course during orientation.

You can take the online math placement test only once. If you start the online test and are unable to complete it, you can take a different proctored online test on campus.

Take the test without any help. Receiving a score that doesn’t accurately reflect your math level could place you in a course where your success would be limited.

You’ll receive your test score and class placement immediately after completion.

Chemistry placement

The chemistry placement test is an online test used to place students into an appropriate general chemistry course based on their background knowledge. All students, current or incoming, planning on registering for General Chemistry I (CHEM 101) are required to take the test. This includes first-year and transfer students who have taken AP Chemistry. The Chemistry Placement Test is a prerequisite for CHEM 101.

Those earning a passing score on the test will be eligible to register for CHEM 101. Those not earning a passing score have two options: 

1) enroll in CHEM 100 – Introductory Chemistry and earn a B or better, or

2) complete the ALEKS online unit. (Information about ALEKS can be found here.) After successfully completing one of these options students are eligible to register for CHEM 101.

Foreign language placement

All majors in the College of Humanities and Sciences and the Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs require language at least through the elementary (102) level.  This language requirement can be waived based on language taken in high school.  If you have taken and passed three years or more of the same language in high school or you took a foreign language Dual Enrollment, write this information down and bring it to orientation.

The following majors in the College of Humanities and Sciences and the Wilder School Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs require language through the intermediate (202) or advanced (300) level:

  • English*
  • Foreign Language (French, Spanish, or German)
  • History
  • Homeland Security
  • International Studies
  • Political Science

If you have one of these majors, you should take the foreign language placement exam, even if you have or think you have AP or IB credit in a foreign language. The foreign language placement exam is offered in the following languages: French, Spanish, German, Latin, Russian, Chinese, and Italian.  You can take the exam during Day 1 of orientation.

*English majors can meet major requirements by taking additional literature and culture classes at the 200 level instead of foreign language.  However, if an English major would like to meet the major requirement with language, it is best to start in the first semester of your first year.

AP, IB or dual enrollment credit

If you took AP or IB classes and you attend orientation before your scores are available, your advisor will ask for an estimate of your scores. If your estimate is incorrect, your classes will be adjusted once scores are available. Generally, VCU requires scores of 3 or higher to receive AP credit, and a score of 4 to 6 to receive IB credit.

You can also earn credit through dual enrollment. If VCU does not have the final transcripts from the community college by the time you attend orientation, you’ll need to inform your academic advisor about the classes you completed and the grades you earned.

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