There’s a lot going on for students in Ontario when they enter secondary school, or high school. Grade 9s will be navigating a whole new school and coping with being the youngest again after years of being the senior students in their elementary or middle school. There’s new friends and social circles to navigate, decisions to make about course pathways, the scariness of being in a vast new building, and all the social drama that comes with being a teen. Many students will also be balancing their secondary years with a part time job, or even helping out more with family responsibilities.

Students are also adapting to a new type of coursework, and the reality of being granted credits in order to earn an Ontario Secondary School Diploma, or OSSD. These classes take place on a rotary schedule, where you mix with new groups in every class. It’s not abnormal to find it hard to cope with the more challenging demands of secondary school courses, which contrast deeply with our elementary school classes. You may find yourself longing for the days with recess, nutrition breaks, and movie lunches with your grade 8 class! Sometimes the change can be overwhelming.

Student practice literacy test
Are you ready to take the OSSLT? Source: Unsplash.

On the bright side, high school is also a time for self-discovery and growth as we transition toward maturity and adulthood. We meet new people, enjoy the thrill of new relationships and connections with others. There are social events, dances, proms, clubs, sports, and so many other cool things that simply don’t happen in elementary school.

Our teenage years are tumultuous, and if we do find ourselves shifting from feeling stressed to super excited in a single day or hour, it’s actually completely normal!

Make sure you know all about the OSSLT so you can be ready when it’s your turn to take the test.

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What About Exams and Tests?

As most students know, secondary school is also a time where many students take big assessments and exams. Unlike elementary school, high school students will take midterms and exams during a semester of school, which assess your knowledge and understanding of the curriculum content in a subject area. During exam times, you will not have to attend school and will have time to focus on studying until the next semester of classes starts. 

Another important assessment Ontarians will have to take in high school is the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test, or the OSSLT.  

The OSSLT is a literacy assessment that all Ontario secondary students must take to earn their high school diploma. The purpose of the OSSLT is to measure whether or not students are meeting the minimum standard for literacy across all subjects up to the end of grade 9. 

If taking a literacy test sounds familiar to you, it is likely because you have already done it twice in elementary school during EQAO time. EQAO, which stands for the Education Quality and Accountability Office, is a test that operates similarly to the OSSLT. Ontario elementary students typically take it in grade 3 and grade 6, and the purpose of the tests is to see if you have acquired all the numeracy and literacy skills you should have up to that point in your schooling.

literacy test practice online library
OSSLT is a major literacy assessment for Ontarians. Source: Unsplash.

If you did take grade 3 EQAO and grade 6 EQAO, you will likely remember days of testing using pen and paper, or possibly an electronic device, where you answered lots of math problems and reading questions. You may have found the test incredibly challenging or even easy - that would depend on you as a learner at that moment. You probably also remember quiet classrooms, Ziploc bags with pencils and math tools, and possibly even access to many math manipulatives you could use to solve problems. Your teacher likely took down some bulletin boards and posters that may have aided you on the test - they must follow certain guidelines to administer the test.

The OSSLT is the high school version of the EQAO, and focuses only on literacy skills. Why? Literacy skills are life skills, and are constantly taught to you in the Ontario curriculum. We need to know how to read, write, and analyze media and texts to be successful in academics and in the working world. The EQAO also wants to ensure you are learning the skills you need to be successful and competitive, and that your teachers are doing the work of teaching those skills  to you.

The test is extremely important - if you do not pass the test, you will have to take it again until you do. Your high school will also offer preparation courses for the OSSLT if you need help to succeed on the test. If you find that tests like the EQAO stressed you out or find reading and writing tasks challenging, you will definitely want to prepare.

Understanding what to expect on the OSSLT is the most important steps you can do to prepare for it. Read our guide for more information.

Should I Take a Practice Literacy Test?

Taking a practice literacy test is always a good idea when you are taking the OSSLT, just as you did with the EQAO. Here are a couple reasons you should take a practice literacy test for the OSSLT.

Preview the Content of the Test

Previewing the content of the OSSLT can help you write a better test as you will go into it with familiarity. There are strategies you can use to take any exam or test, and the OSSLT is no exception. In fact, knowing exactly what kind of questions you will encounter will help you feel more confident and prepared about taking it. 

The OSSLT is computer based, though in many years it was taken with pen and paper. The test takes place over two sessions, and contains a total of 33 multiple select questions (multiple choice, drag and drop, checklist, text selection) and two open response questions. Each session takes approximately an hour, in one sitting. You won’t be sure of which test questions you will get, as they are selected at random from preset options. The questions will fall under the following categories

-Real Life Narrative

-Information Paragraph

-News Report

-Dialogue

-Written Multiple Select

-Opinion Essay

But don’t just take our word for it - find a practice test so you will understand the structure exactly and what will be on it. When you are already familiar with the test, you will be more confident and ready to be successful.

If you are nervous about taking the OSSLT you are not alone. Find out the best strategies for taking and passing the OSSLT with flying colours.

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$35
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5 (11 reviews)
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$20
/h
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Shagun
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$18
/h
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1st lesson is free!
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Get Practice Planning and Writing Your Responses

Taking a practice literacy test will ensure you have an opportunity to practice actually writing your answers and see exactly how they measure up. Some of the questions you will answer will require a lot of writing, and this can be hard when you are doing it for the first time. Moreover, you will be scored on the ways in which you articulate your answer, so you will want to be well versed in how to formulate a good response.

Getting a tutor for the OSSLT can really help you with OSSLT writing practice. Superprof is an amazing place to find a tutor for this purpose. An OSSLT tutor from Superprof can go through the entire test with you, helping to eliminate any nerves or test anxiety you may have. OSSLT tutors understand the test well, and will coach you through the best strategies to ensure you have enough time to focus on the areas that challenge you most. They can give you valuable feedback on how to improve, and help you practice the literacy skills you will need to write the test.

Superprof tutors can easily be found on the site, which contains hundreds of tutor profiles across the country you can compare in terms of location, skills, and rates. The site is super easy to navigate, and contains loads of great articles about how you can improve your learning in different subjects. Superprof tutors will often offer the first hour of services for free, so you can see if it will be a good fit. Coordinate it with your parents so they can also be there to offer their perspective and arrange a safe place to meet, or try a session online in the comfort of your own home.

A Superprof tutor can help you plan and write the OSSLT so you only have to take it once - check out the Superprof.ca today!

OSSLT Practice Booklet on computer
Practice for the literacy test online. Source: Pixabay.

Is there Literacy Test Practice Online?

So now that we know why it’s a good reason to do a practice test, where can you actually find them? Good news - there are actually plenty of practice tests to be found online.

The best place to start is the EQAO website, where you will find tons of helpful information like a breakdown of the test, times the test will be happening, and the guidelines and reasons for the test. There are also links to practice questions that will help you get started.

A quick Google search will also reveal plenty of other samples of the test from previous years. A good one to search for is one that contains exemplar answers to the writing section, so you can see what grade level and above answers look like, and compare them to your own to see if they measure up. 

As we mentioned before, having an OSSLT tutor from Superprof is a great way to save some time and energy to search for all of these resources. Parents of kids who are taking the OSSLT will appreciate the fact that a Superprof tutor can help their child with practicing the literacy test, hold them accountable for doing a practice literacy test, and support their child in formulating answers that will secure a passing mark.

What are the best resources you can use to prepare for the OSSLT this year? Find out what you can do to be ready for the literacy test.

Where Can I Get an OSSLT Practice Booklet?

You can find an OSSLT practice booklet on the internet, though bear in mind you might find yourself printing a ton of paper or going through a lot of sample questions on different sites.

A better way to use a practice booklet might be to head to your local Chapters, Indigo or Coles to find an actual workbook containing OSSLT questions and answers. These books will save you the work of printing, are easy to carry around, and contain plenty of exercises to prepare you for the big day. You can take it out when you have some spare time at lunch, are having breakfast at home, or at the library.

Get your OSSLT preparation kickstarted with our latest study tips.

Parents can use published OSSLT Practice Booklets to monitor their child’s work and progress in terms of preparation. Set small goals for your child: 2 pages a day, then work up to 5 pages a day, and check their book regularly to see that they are answering the questions. Reward them for a job well done, and engage them by asking them questions about what they find most challenging so you or their tutor can provide some extra help.

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Colleen

Colleen is a Toronto-based educator, mom and freelance writer who believes in lifelong learning and strong coffee.