Students Use Jefferson Lab Website to Prep For Annual Tests

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This screen capture image shows a question from the fifth grade science practice test.

Use of Math, Science Practice Tests for Virginia Standards of Learning Exams Will Peak in May

Thousands of Virginia students are expected to flock to Jefferson Lab's Science Education website in the coming weeks – just as they have done each spring for the past several years – as they prepare for the Virginia Standards of Learning examinations.

Jefferson Lab’s website hosts the Virginia Standards of Learning (SOL) Science and Math Practice Tests. Categories include the Math tests for grades 2 - 8, Algebra I, Algebra II, and Geometry, and the Science tests for grades 3, 5 and 8, Biology, Chemistry, and Earth Science. The SOL practice tests include SOL questions and answers provided by the Virginia Department of Education – from as recent as spring 2015, and going back to 2000.

"The most frequently accessed pages on the website include the Virginia Standards of Learning Science and Math Practice Tests and our ‘It’s Elemental’ and 'Who Wants to Win $1 Million?' (no money is involved) math and science quizzes," says Steve Gagnon, Jefferson Lab’s science education webmaster.

"The SOL practice tests are a great resource for students, teachers, parents, or anyone interested in the information," Gagnon adds.

The website is set up so a person can request 5, 10, 20, or 40 random multiple-choice questions from a single category. Or if desired, the site allows teachers and students to bring up non-random sets of questions. If a teacher wants a class to review a series of specific subcategories, the teacher can have the students go to the website's SOL index page and make an assigned series of selections from the "options" offered. Then all of the students will go through the same set of questions.

"This feature is very useful for classroom settings," Gagnon notes.

The interactive design of the website lets users select and submit their answer. They are immediately told if their response is right or wrong. Whether a correct or incorrect response is given, the answer page repeats the question and provides the correct answer, and for some test categories an explanation of how the correct answer was achieved.

"Use of this review tool climbs significantly as preparation for the annual testing period gets underway," Gagnon says. "Use usually peaks in May. Last year’s peak occurred on May 16 with 5,336,866 page views. The month of May saw a total of 103,543,318 page views on our website."

While a significant number of students from across Virginia use these review tools to prepare for SOL tests, teachers and students from a number of other states also use these web-based resources to review for annual academic tests.

Visit the Jefferson Lab Education webpage for these and other games and activities ( ). To access the SOL practice tests or any of the other math and science games and quizzes, click on the Games & Puzzles icon.


Contact: Deb Magaldi, Jefferson Lab Communications Office, 757-269-5102,


Jefferson Science Associates, LLC, manages and operates the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility, or Jefferson Lab, for the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science. JSA is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Southeastern Universities Research Association, Inc. (SURA).

DOE’s Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit