Virginia State Standards of Learning

Virginia State SOL Practice Tests - Frequently Asked Questions

Which tests are included on this site?

Do you have any other SOL practice tests, such as History or English?

The standards have changed! Will this site adapt?

I hear that a much more rigorous set of simulated questions have been added to the site. How do I select them?

Weren't new questions released in 2014? Are those on the site?

The new questions are mixed together with the old questions. Can I just get the new ones?

I would like a paper version of these tests. Is there an easy way to print all of the questions?

Can you give me permission to use the SOL questions and graphics found on this site?

When are new questions added to this site?

When are 'real' 2nd grade test items going to be added?

Why aren't there explanations written for every question?

Can I use this site, even if I'm not in Virginia?

Can I link to this site?

Can you tell me specific information about the Standards of Learning tests, such as when my child will be tested, whether or not they can use calculators or what my child's test score is?

I completed a test but forgot to print out my results. Can the information be recovered?

I completed a test and e-mailed the results to myself or to my teacher, but the email didn't arrive. Can it be sent again?

I've lost my recovery code! Can you find it for me?

What if my parents call? Can you give my recovery code to them?

My recovery code's 'valid through' date has past and my results have been erased! Can you recover them for me?

What if my parents call? Can you recover erased results for them?

I'm a teacher and I'd like to see the questions my students answered incorrectly. Is there a way to do that?

I'm a teacher and I assign practice tests for homework or extra credit grades. I suspect that a student has altered their results. Is there a way I can tell?

What do the question source codes 'vadoe' and 'hen' mean?

It's SOL time and I'm trying to use this site. Why is it so slow? It wasn't this slow earlier in the year.

I am trying to use the site but it isn't working. The site is very slow. It's early May and during the regular school day. What's going on?

I am trying to use the site but it isn't working. It keeps telling me that it needs cookies. What are they and how do I get them?

I am trying to use the site but it isn't working. I can't select any of the tests and there is an 'error on page' message. What can I do?

I am trying to use the site but it isn't working. Pages don't completely load, graphics are missing, the site is slow and sometimes I can't connect at all. What can I do?

I am trying to use the site but it isn't working. I have read all of the other troubleshooting tips, but they either don't describe the problem I am having or didn't solve the problem. What can I do?

I have a question that isn't answered here. What should I do?

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Which tests are included on this site?

The questions on this site come from the following released tests:

  Grade 3 Math [2000 - 2005, 2007 - 2010, 2013]
  Grade 3 Science [2000 - 2010]
  Grade 4 Math [2007 - 2010, 2013]
  Grade 5 Math [2000 - 2005, 2007 - 2010, 2013]
  Grade 5 Science [2000 - 2011]
  Grade 5 Technology [2000 - 2002]
  Grade 6 Math [2006 - 2010, 2013]
  Grade 7 Math [2006 - 2008, 2010, 2013]
  Grade 8 Math [2000 - 2004, 2007 - 2010, 2013]
  Grade 8 Science [2000 - 2005, 2009]
  Grade 8 Technology [2000 - 2002]
  Biology [2001 - 2008]
  Chemistry [2000 - 2005, 2007 - 2009]
  Earth Science [2000 - 2005, 2007]
  Algebra I [2000 - 2010, 2013]
  Algebra II [2000 - 2004, 2007 - 2010, 2013]
  Geometry [2000 - 2010, 2013]

There are no plans to expand this site to include other subjects.

The standards have changed! Will this site adapt?

Over time, yes. Remember, the questions on this site come from the materials released by the Virginia Department of Education. New questions will be added once they become available.

The existing database of questions has been realigned to better match today's standards. The site uses the religned standards by default. If you are more of a traditionalist, the historic strands can be used by selecting 'Use Original Strands' whilst proceeding down the 'Select Additional Options' path.

I hear that a much more rigorous set of simulated questions have been added to the site. How do I select them?

Due to a lack of officially released materials pertaining to the newly revised SOLs, simulated questions developed by the Chesterfield, Colonial Heights, Hanover, and Henrico County School Districts have been incorporated into the question bank. By default, only questions released by the Virginia Department of Education are automatically incorporated into a practice test. If you would like to use the more rigorous question, you must specifically request them. This is how to do it:

1) On the index page, select one or more tests (Math 6, Math 7, Math 8, Algebra I, Algebra II or Geometry) that has simulated questions available.

2) Select the number of questions that you would like.

3) Press the 'Select Additional Options' button.

4) The page you are brought to, 'Question Sources and Strand Alignment Selections,' contains a list of available question banks. By default, all available question banks are selected. If you would like to receive just the simulated questions, be sure to deselect the 'Official VADOE Released Questions.'

5) Continue through the remaining options pages until the practice test begins.

Weren't new questions released in 2014? Are those on the site?

Yes. The State Department of Education released questions representative of the content and skills of the SOL tests as they currently stand in 2014. These questions have been added to this site. Note, though, that the released questions do not encompass science. It is hoped that science questions will be released in 2015.

The new questions are mixed together with the old questions. Can I just get the new ones?

Yes. By default, questions are picked from the database without regard to when they were released. Since there is a distinct change in difficulty between questions released prior to 2013 to those released afterwards, restricting the questions by year can be helpful. This is how to do it:

1) Select one or more tests from the main index page.

2) Select the number of questions that you would like.

3) Press the 'Select Additional Options' button.

4) The page you are brought to, 'Question Sources and Strand Alignment Selections,' contains a list of available question banks. By default, all available question banks are selected. If you would like to receive just officially released questions, be sure that 'Official VADOE Released Questions' is the only one checked.

5) The next page you are brought to, 'Test Year Selections,' is where you can select questions by year. Select the years that you would like to draw questions from and continue through the remaining options screens.

Once the question pool has been sufficiently stocked with 'increased skill level' questions, the default behavior will be changed to exclude the easier questions.

Do you have any other SOL practice tests, such as History or English?

No. The only SOL practice tests that we have are the ones listed on the index page. Jefferson Lab is a basic physics research facility. History and English are subjects which are out of our range of expertise.

You may wish to check the released tests available from the Virginia Department of Education for the subjects that we do not cover.

I would like a paper version of these tests. Is there an easy way to print all of the questions?

The best way to do this is to download the original released tests in PDF format from the Virginia Department of Education.

Depending on how you intend to use the paper copies or how many copies you intend to make, you may need to get permission from the Virginia Department of Education.

Can you give me permission to use the SOL questions and graphics found on this site?

No. All of the SOL questions and SOL question graphics are owned by the Virginia Department of Education. Jefferson Lab is not affiliated with the Virginia Department of Education in any way and we cannot give you permission to use their materials. You must obtain permission directly from the Virginia Department of Education.

When are new questions added to this site?

New questions are added as soon as new tests are released by the Virginia Department of Education and we receive permission to use the test questions on this site. New tests have been released as early as November and as late as April.

Questions were last added to this site in April of 2014.

When are 'real' 2nd grade test items going to be added?

Perhaps never. Since 2nd grade materials have never been released, all 2nd grade materials on this site are reclassified 3rd grade questions. This will continue until the Virginia Department of Education releases 2nd grade materials.

Why aren't there explanations written for every question?

Writing explanations takes a fair amount of effort and, unfortunately, there is exactly one person working on this project. Since there are many other things that need to be done during the course of the day, time that can be devoted to writing explanations is somewhat limited. Statistics are kept on which questions are most frequently answered incorrectly and that information is used to determine which questions are the most in need of an explanation.

Can I use this site, even if I'm not in Virginia?

Of course! Math and Science in Virginia is pretty much the same as math and science everywhere else. If you can reach this site, you can use this site.

Can I link to this site?

Of course! Use this address if you want to link directly to the SOL Practice Test site:

http://education.jlab.org/solquiz/

Can you tell me specific information about the Standards of Learning tests, such as when my child will be tested, whether or not they can use calculators or what my child's test score is?

No. Jefferson Lab provides this site as a public service and is not affiliated with the Virginia Department of Education. You should contact the Virginia Department of Education, your child's school or your child's teacher if you have specific questions regarding the Standards of Learning tests.

I completed a test but forgot to print out my results. Can the information be recovered?

Yes. At least, for a little while. Once a test is completed, you will see a yellow box near the top of the results page. This box contains a recovery code and the date the recovery code is valid through. Write the code down. Screen capture it. Photograph it with your phone. Incorporate it into a jaunty tune that you can remember. Do whatever it takes. The recovery code is the key to recovering your results. If you don't have it, you're out of luck.

To recover an old test, click the blue 'View One of My Old Tests' button at the bottom of the Main Menu Page. That will bring you to a form where you can enter your code and recover your results.

Keep in mind that we won't keep your results forever. They will be purged from our system after its expiration date.

I completed a test and e-mailed the results to myself or to my teacher, but the email didn't arrive. Can it be sent again?

Yes. At least, for a time. You can use the recovery code that you were given at the completion of the test to recover the results. They can be e-mailed from that screen just like 'normal' results can.

This answer gives more details on how to recover your results.

I've lost my recovery code! Can you find it for me?

No. Recording and keeping track of your recovery code is your responsibility. If you've lost it, you've lost it. There's nothing we can do about it.

What if my parents call? Can you give my recovery code to them?

Nope. Your recovery code isn't any more obtainable if your parents ask for it.

My recovery code's 'valid through' date has past and my results have been erased! Can you recover them for me?

No. Our system automatically purges old data on a nightly basis. Once it's deleted, it's gone.

The best way to keep your test results long-term is to e-mail a copy of them to your email account. That way, you'll have them until -you- delete them.

What if my parents call? Can you recover erased results for them?

Sadly, no. Deleted data doesn't reappear because your parents ask for it.

I'm a teacher and I'd like to see the questions my students answered incorrectly. Is there a way to do that?

Yes! You'll need the recovery code for the test in question. Once you have it, go to the Main Menu Page and click on the blue 'View One of My Old Tests' button at the bottom of the page. Enter the recovery code into the form and you'll have access to the student's results page. Click on one of the links in the 'Review?' column and you'll see what the question was and what the student answered.

I'm a teacher and I assign practice tests for homework or extra credit grades. I suspect that a student has altered their results. Is there a way I can tell?

Yes! Go to the Main Menu Page and click on the blue 'View One of My Old Tests' button at the bottom of the page. Enter the recovery code into the form and compare the printout with what's in our database. If they differ, the student is trying to pull a fast one.

What if the printout doesn't have a recovery code? Then the student edited it out and is trying to pull a fast one.

Remember that we only store results data for a short time. If you wait too long to confirm your suspicions, the information could have been erased from our system.

What do the question source codes 'vadoe' and 'hen' mean?

Due to a lack of officially released materials pertaining to the newly revised SOLs, simulated questions developed by the Chesterfield, Colonial Heights, Hanover, and Henrico County School Districts have been incorporated into the question bank. The code 'vadoe' indicates that officially released Virginia Department of Education questions were used in the practice. The code 'hen' indicates that the simulated questions were used. Depending on the options selected, questions can be pulled from more than one source.

Read this FAQ entry to learn how to access the simulated questions.

It's SOL time and I'm trying to use this site. Why is it so slow? It wasn't this slow earlier in the year.

This site receives a spike in traffic as SOL test time nears. In the past, this increased traffic has overwhelmed our server, causing it to slow to a crawl. Since 2008, we have run this site from a pool of servers during the peak testing months. If traffic begins to overwhelm the servers in the pool, more can be added. This should (hopefully!) solve any bottlenecks on our end.

Keep in mind that some school districts direct all of their internet traffic through a central point. If your school is in such a district, it is possible that, while our server(s) may have spare capacity, your district's server could become overloaded. There is nothing that we can do about this kind of situation.

I am trying to use the site but it isn't working. The site is very slow. It's early May and during the regular school day. What's going on?

If it is early May and during the regular school day, you aren't the only person who decided to use this site. Unfortunately, our resources are not infinite. It is highly likely that there are too many people using our site at one time, causing our server to slow to a crawl. It is also possible that there are too many people attempting to use your school's network at one time. In any event, the only short term solution to this problem is to wait for traffic to die down. While this isn't the optimum solution for classes that are trying to use the site during the school day, it may be comforting to know that the site can usually be used during the evening and early morning hours without a slow down.

I am trying to use the site but it isn't working. It keeps telling me that it needs cookies. What are they and how do I get them?

A cookie is a small file that web browsers use to store information sent to it by web sites. Our site uses cookies to keep track of your test information. If you do not accept cookies, the site will not function.

How to tell your browser to accept cookies varies from browser to browser. Usually, the cookie settings can be found within the browser's general preferences settings or from within the browser's security settings.

If you are viewing our site from with another site, such as Blackboard, it is possible that your browser's security settings won't allow our site to set its cookie. The easiest way around this problem is to go to our site directly. Clicking on the link below should open our site in a new browser window:

http://education.jlab.org/solquiz/

I am trying to use the site but it isn't working. I can't select any of the tests and there is an 'error on page' message. What can I do?

This problem seems to pop up when people try to use our site from within another site, such as Blackboard. The easiest way around this problem is to go to our site directly. Clicking on the link below should open our site in a new browser window:

http://education.jlab.org/solquiz/

I am trying to use the site but it isn't working. Pages don't completely load, graphics are missing, the site is slow and sometimes I can't connect at all. What can I do?

This problem has popped up in the past with people who were using a Linksys wireless router. Faulty firmware within the router caused the router to send bad information to our server (invalid Maximum Segment Size values were being sent, to be specific). Jefferson Lab's firewall, by default, interprets this behavior as an attack and blocks further traffic from the offending machine, resulting in pages not loading, missing graphics, etc... Updating the wireless router's firmware solves this problem. Updated firmware should be available from the manufacturer's website.

You can troubleshoot this problem by plugging your computer directly into your cable modem. If you can then connect to our site, the router is at fault.

I am trying to use the site but it isn't working. I have read all of the other troubleshooting tips, but they either don't describe the problem I am having or didn't solve the problem. What can I do?

Send a message to Steve Gagnon. Be as detailed and as specific as possible. What are the symptoms of the problem? What browser are you using (Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer, etc...)? Which version of the browser are you using? What operating system are you using (Mac OS X, Windows XP, Windows Vista, etc...)? The more information that you can provide, the more likely it is that we will be able to solve the problem.

I have a question that isn't answered here. What should I do?

You can send a message to Steve Gagnon. Be as detailed as possible. Just writing "It isn't working." isn't helpful.

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