The SOL Test

The SOL is Virginia's statewide, standardized educational assessment test required of students in 3rd, 5th, and 8th grades. Read on to understand the methods and rationale behind the test, as well as tips for how to prepare for it.

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Virginia's Standard of Learning tests were developed to measure student progress in attaining the skills required for each grade level. While the SOL tests are an effective educational tool, many students fear them because they don't understand the benefits associated with assessment testing. Properly understood and utilized, the SOL can be also very useful for teachers and parents in tracking how individual students are doing.

What is the SOL Exam?

The SOL tests students in English, mathematics, sciences, history, and computer technology. The English, mathematics, science, and history tests are given to students in 3rd, 5th, and 8th grades. The computer technology section is only administered to fifth and eighth graders. These tests measure a student's knowledge and critical thinking skills. Some questions are designed to evaluate educational standards that are factual and others evaluate how a student applies that knowledge. These tests are not timed, so students can think carefully about each question. Additionally, rulers, calculators, and all other tools needed to complete questions are provided for students. These tests are designed to measure knowledge, not to trick the students, which is important for students and parents to realize.

How Are Results Interpreted?

Along with other considerations, SOL results are used to help determine if a child passes a course or gets promoted to the next grade. On a scale of 600 points a student must obtain a score of 400 or more points to pass each test. If a student fails all SOL tests in grades three, five or eight, their school is required to provide the child additional instruction. Students now must also pass a specific number of SOL tests in order to receive standard or advanced studies diplomas. School boards may adopt more strict policies regarding student performance on the SOL tests. To find out about specific requirements of your child's school district, contact the school or the district office.

Preparing Your Child for the SOL Test

Create a study routine and schedule. This will help your child study and complete their homework on time, while teaching time management skills. You will also be able to watch your child's progress through the school year and catch any problems they are having with individual homework assignments. Once the study schedule is in place, it's important that you be available to answer your child's questions.


If regular study sessions are not helping your child improve, you may want to look into professional tutoring. A tutoring will help your child acquire the skills that trouble them most. A good tutoring program will administer an assessment test before your child starts their tutoring lessons. These tutoring centers then create personalized lesson plans from the results of the test. A tutor will give your child individual attention and work with their particular learning style.

Finding the right tutor for your child and schedule can be difficult. When looking for someone to help prepare your child for the SOL tests, make sure the tutor is state-certified. These tutors are up-to-date on state standards that will be included on the tests. If scheduling or transportation is a factor, consider an online tutoring center. Online programs are just as effective as conventional centers and often are more convenient. Student can accesses their lesson online right from home, eliminating the drive to and from a learning center in town.

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