Is the test hard?

It depends. The test reflects the standards set out in the Ontario curriculum based on where you're expected to be by the end of grade 9. Many people have the abilities in reading and writing to pass the test, but they may get tripped up by the wording of questions or stressed out by the exam setting. If you're worried about it, the best thing to do is to start practicing and preparing early and to talk to your English teacher about strategies to tackle the test.

What mark do I need to pass?

The test is scored out of 400. You need at least 300/400 to pass.

What if I don't pass?

You can write the OSSLT again in grade 11. If you don't pass again, then there's also a course that you can take that covers the same information.

How long should my written answers be?

You should aim to fill up the lines provided for each answer. Short answers will be about 4-6 lines each, the News Report will be about a page, and the Opinion Essay will be about 2 pages. There's no set word count that is required, but if you write too little you risk not including enough information.

What if my writing is really messy?

There is a specific code for "Illegible" responses which doesn't score you any points towards the 300 that you need to pass; HOWEVER, scorers will do everything they can to decipher your writing first. If your teachers are usually able to read your tests or handwritten work, you'll probably be fine. If you're worried about your handwriting, slow down and write a little slower.

Why do I write the OSSLT in grade 10?

You write the OSSLT in grade 10 so that you have time to improve your skills in case you don't succeed the first time.

I have an IEP. Do I get any accommodations for the OSSLT?

Often yes, depending on your IEP. Make sure you talk to your English teacher, your guidance counsellor, or the teachers in Resource before the OSSLT to set up any accommodations that you might need or might have the right to. You must arrange this yourself, so make sure you set it up early. DO NOT wait until the last minute! Check our IEP page for more details.

English isn't my first language. Do I have access to any accommodations?

Usually yes, depending on what kinds of accommodations you normally get for tests and exams (for example, you might be allowed extra time). Talk to your English teacher, your guidance councellor, or the teachers in Resource before the OSSLT to set up any accommodations you might need or might have the right to. Just like with IEPs, it's your responsibility to make sure that you have the accommodations you need. Take a look at our English Language Learner Resources page for more information.

When will I know if I passed or not?

You receive your results by the final report card of the year (scoring for the OSSLT happens in April).

More questions? Talk to any of the English teachers, or come to one of the OSSLT prep sessions that run After school starting in mid-February.