State Council of Higher Education for Virginia

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SOL/PSAT and Standardized Tests

Virginia Standards of Learning (SOL)

You have probably heard about the SOL (The Virginia Standards of Learning). These standards are very important to you as a student in the state of Virginia. The Virginia Standards of Learning are skills that every Virginia student is expected to learn. Learning these standards can make a difference in how well prepared you are to apply to college.

In 8th grade, the SOL tests how much you have learned in the following subjects:

  • English
  • Math
  • Science
  • History and social science (including geography, economics, and civics)
  • Computer technology

If you want more information about what you will be expected to know in each grade level of high school, go to the Virginia Department of Education's (VDOE) SOL website.

What are the PSATs?

The PSAT is a test that can help you prepare for the SAT. The SAT is a test that many students take in order to apply to college. Some high school students take another test, the ACT, to use to apply to college, but taking the PSAT can help you prepare for taking standardized tests in general and will definitely help you prepare for the SAT. The PSAT/NMSQT stands for Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test and National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.

Here are some things you should know about the PSAT/NMSQT:

  • It is considered a practice run for students who plan to take the SAT, which is the test many colleges require for admission.
  • You can take the PSAT as early as 9th grade, so it is never too early to start practicing for the SAT.
  • The scores tend to improve with every year a student stays in school. The more practice you have in taking standardized tests, the better you will do.
  • It is used to select students who apply for the National Merit Scholarship. It is also used to choose students for the National Assistance Scholarship Program for Outstanding Black Students.
  • If you like, you can also have your scores reported to colleges interested in students scoring in your range. You will receive many pamphlets, catalogs, and brochures telling you about those schools.

For more information and test dates, visit The College Board for PSAT/NMSQT and SAT and ACT.


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