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.
All students majoring in science, engineering and most pre-health programs are required to complete general chemistry (CHEM 101 and CHEZ 101). Your chemistry placement is determined by your SAT math score (if submitted), high school GPA and previous chemistry background. MATH 151 (or higher) is a co-requisite course for CHEM 101, and a grade of C or better in MATH 151 (or higher) is a pre-requisite for CHEM 102. Students who do not satisfy the MATH requirement are encouraged to take CHEM 100.
You must bring your final high school chemistry grade with you to New Student Orientation. VCU will have access to your SAT math score and high school GPA during your advising appointment at NSO.
You may also take the ALEKS chemistry assessment in order to place into CHEM 101 and CHEZ 101. This option is recommended if you place into CHEM 100. Results from previous semesters show that students who complete ALEKS are more likely to successfully complete 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:
- Foreign Language (French, Spanish, or German)
- 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.