Guided Self-Placement

Guided Self-Placement

In order for students to be eligible for priority registration, there are three requirements:

  1. Guided Self-Placement
  2. Orientation
  3. Preliminary educational plan

A new California Law, Assembly Bill 705, enables all students to have the right to take transfer level English, ESL and most Math classes right away, which reduces the time and money you’ll spend to achieve your goals. With this in mind, we would like to provide you with course information so that you can make the best choices for your academic needs.

English and Math Guided Self-Placement

It is recommended that students complete the guided self-placement process to help determine which math and English classes might be more appropriate. Follow these four easy steps:

  1. Review the English and Math Course sequence in the schedule of classes.
  2. Navigate the Guided Self-Placement.
  3. Print your results to take to orientation.

Disability and Educational Support Program (DESP) for students: if you have a verifiable disability, you may request accommodations for assessment. Contact the DESP Office at (408) 741-2010 or TTY / DESP (408) 741-2658.

ESL (English As A Second Language) Placement Test

ESL Placement Testing Process for Spring 2021

During Fall 2020, ESL students will be required to have access to a computer with a reliable internet signal and a camera in order to attend classes, complete assignments, and take the placement test. If you don’t own a computer and can’t afford one, some loaner computers may be available – please email before the semester begins.

Process to Take ESL Classes at West Valley

  1. Apply online to West Valley College. Follow the five steps. Within 48 hours, you will receive a student ID number from CCC Apply that begins with G0XXXXXXX. If you do not receive your ID number, email askwvcFREEWEST_VALLEY
  2. Send an email to ellen.goldmanFREEWEST_VALLEY with the following information:
    • Your full name
    • Personal email
    • Phone number
    • Student ID number
  3. Attend an online orientation to the ESL program and placement test.
  4. Complete the actual ESL online placement test the following day. The test requires using a computer with internet and a camera. Attendance at the ESL orientation is required before taking the test.

Frequently Asked Questions

ESL may not be repeated. Please attend the class you were placed into and review the course content with your instructor before challenging.

ESL Students: Log into My Portal > My Web Services > Student Records > Test Scores.


A prerequisite is a course or skill which is required before you can enroll in a particular course. West Valley College has prerequisites that must be met before taking certain classes. For example, CHEM 1A with a grade of C or better is required before you can take CHEM 1B. Please review the course sequence for your chosen major to determine if there are prerequisites required.

Reading, English, and ESL Course Sequence

Learn more about what your placement means and which additional courses may be required toward a degree or transfer. See a Progression Flow Chart.

Methods to Clear Prerequisites

Math Prerequisites

Math prerequisites can be met by different criteria depending on each student's history. See below to find where you fit in.

You may submit your college transcripts using one of the methods described.

Students with a score of 3 or higher on the Calculus AB or BC counts as college credit.

If your AP scores have not arrived, you must take the guided self-placement.

English Prerequisites

English prerequisites can be met by different criteria depending on each student's history. See below to find where you fit in.

West Valley College does not accept high school transcripts as proof of English prerequisites.

Students who have completed English classes at another college should submit their transcripts for review as described.

Bring AP test results to the Counseling Office to clear prerequisites.


If you believe you meet the prerequisite for a course but do now have the required course, you have the right to challenge the prerequisite.

Challenge Forms

  1. Complete the form from Counseling and sign.
  2. Attach the following documents:
  • Written statement explaining why you feel the prerequisite does not apply to you.
  • Documentation or evidence that you have the required skills (transcript, letter of recommendation from a WVC faculty, etc.)
  • Submit the completed form
  • In person to the Counseling office.
  • Via email. Please scan and email the your form and transcript to WV Assessment. In the subject line of the email, be sure to include your name, WVC ID number and if it is a Challenge or Prerequisite form.

Challenge Form Instructions

If you have completed the prerequisite at another institution, do not use this form. Please scan and email the your form and transcript to WV Assessment. In the subject line of the email, be sure to include your name, WVC ID number and if it is a Challenge or Prerequisite form.

  1. Fill in all required fields
  2. Include documentation.
  3. Documentation may include any of the following:
  4. Screenshot of all relevant transcripts - Review Committee will not have access to your West Valley records.
  5. Recommendation letter from instructor
  6. Valid file types includepdf, jpg, png, and tiff
  7. Complete the Personal Statement explaining why you believe your challenge should be approved
  8. Your request will be evaluated by a challenge review committee and a written response will be available within five (5) instructional days. Response will be emailed to the address you provide
  9. Decisions by the Challenge Review Committee are final
  10. Upon approval of the challenge, you will be eligible to enroll in the class requested IF SPACE IS AVAILABLE.
  11. If no space is available at the time the challenge is approved, the challenge will be resolved prior to the beginning of registration for the next term. If the challenge is upheld, you shall be permitted to enroll if space is available when you register for the subsequent term.(Title 5, Section 55201)
  13. Some of the grounds for challenge REQUIRE that you support your challenge with documentation. Failure to attach this information will result in a disapproved challenge. You may also be requested to provide specific information to the challenge review committee. See below for additional information about supporting documentation.
  14. Criterion #5: Some courses are limited to students who must (1) try out or audition in order to be accepted into the course (ex: athletics or performance courses); (2) meet specific criteria, such as Honors.

Math Challenges

Students who are challenging a math prerequisite under option #4 must provide DOCUMENTATION indicating that they have acquired the prerequisite math skills for the course in which they are attempting to enroll. This documentation might include transcripts, copies of old exams, homework, etc., or a statement from a previous instructor attesting to the student's math skills. A written statement by the student or the current instructor will not be considered sufficient evidence alone to approve the challenge.

Philosophy Challenges

Possible consequences for challenging the prerequisite for Philosophy 3 or 17:

  1. IGETC requires the English 1A prerequisite. This means a CSU or UC can refuse to accept the class for transfer if you don't have the prerequisite. If you are not interested in transfer, or you are planning to attend a school other than CSU or UC, or you are not following the IGETC pattern, the lack of English 1A may not be an issue.
  2. Philosophy 3 and 17 presuppose that you already have the skills taught in English 1A. They assume that you can write an argumentative essay or research paper in Standard English. If you do not have these skills or if you cannot read and write fluently in English, you are not likely to succeed in Philosophy 3 or 17.

This challenge process is based on Title 5 regulations pertaining to prerequisites, co-requisites, and other limitations on enrollment. A copy of these regulations is located in the Office of Instruction and is available upon request. The regulations themselves are not sufficient to meet the requirement for supporting documentation. To support your challenge, where required, the following kinds of documentation are examples of what may be submitted. Additional information may be requested by the challenge review committee.

  • Copy of pertinent section(s) of the college catalog
  • Copy of pertinent section(s) of the schedule of classes
  • Copy of the course outline (available from the appropriate division office or the Office of Instruction)
  • Copy of the course syllabus (available from the appropriate division office or the Office of Instruction)
  • Copy of high school and/or college transcript
  • Documentation of work or other related experience
  • Doctor's statement
  • Personal written statement

In some cases it is advised to have the form preapproved by meeting with the Department Chair.
If this is the case, then documentation may not be required. Please mention that you have already met with the department chair in your personal statement.


Some classes have co-requisites, meaning that you are expected to be taking the required class at the same time. This causes a problem when a student has already taken the class, and should obviously not be required to repeat it. The solution is to go to the counseling office with your transcripts and say you need a "blue card." Once you have the blue card, bring it to the Admissions Office to register.

Note: When registering in this manner, it is advised that you do not adjust your schedule using MyWebServices, or the system will drop you. Any adds or drops should be made in the Admissions Office.


PSYC 2: Experimental Psychophysiology has prerequisite: PSYC 001 and corequisite: Math 010

  • If a student has taken Statistics (Math 010) at West Valley or another college, they would need a blue card to register.

Frequently Asked Questions


What steps should I follow for English and Math class placement?

Make sure you applied to the college and have a West Valley College ID number. You may apply now to receive your ID number.

Follow the steps outlined in the Guided Self-Placement tool on the English and Math Placement tab.

Who is exempt from taking Assessment Tests?

  • A student who has an Associate degree or higher from a regionally accredited US college or university.
  • Anyone who presents a transcript to the Assessment Office indicating successful completion (C or better) of an equivalent course(s) at another accredited college or university.
  • ESL courses are only accepted if taken at Mission College.


Can I send my mom to clear my prerequisite?

If you send a representative to conduct business for you, they must present a signed letter stating that they have permission to conduct business on your behalf.

How long does it take to clear a prerequisite?

Once your request is submitted, it will normally be processed within 2 business days. If you come in person, it is normally handled on the same day.

What if my class is at Mission College?

If taking a class at Mission College, the prerequisite must be cleared through the Mission College Counseling office.

I'm still having trouble with prerequisites. Where can I get help?

For questions involving prerequisites call the Assessment Office at (408) 741-2035 or the Counseling Office at (408) 741-2009. You can also email the Assessment Office at testingFREEWEST_VALLEY

Last Updated 10/20/20