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Past Released Test Questions – OSSLT

EQAO – Past OSSLT Questions

  • Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) – OSSLT main page
  • Released OSSLT Materials  – examples of actual questions from previous test booklets:
  • “sample” OSSLT – not associated with any particular year
  • sample – question booklet 1
  • sample – answer booklet 1
  • sample – question booklet 2
  • sample – answer booklet 2
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  • 2018 – scoring rubrics and sample student responses
  • 2018 – student answer key ​​​​​
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  • 2017 – scoring rubric with sample student responses
  • 2017 – multiple choice student answer key
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  • 2016 – answer booklet
  • 2016 – scoring rubric with sample student responses
  • 2016 – multiple choice student answer key
  • 2015 – question booklet
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  • 2015 – scoring rubric with sample student responses
  • 2015 – multiple choice student answer key
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  • 2014 – scoring rubric with sample student responses
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The OSSLT: How to Prepare for the Ontario Literacy Test

Project-Based Learning , Remedial Learning , Secondary Literacy , Writing

The 2023-2024 school year is a challenging year for students preparing for the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test , also known as the OSSLT . Over the past few years, Ontario secondary students have faced many disruptions in learning. The Ontario government launched its Plan to Catch Up in July of 2022 to address the learning gaps caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. For secondary language teachers, these gaps serve as an obstacle as we continue with the return of standardized testing. This blog post shares practical and engaging strategies to help students prepare for the OSSLT .

The Ontario Literacy Test: Preparing for the OSSLT

Is your department or school board interested in licensing OSSLT Prep curriculum? Explore how you can provide these valuable resources to your students by clicking here .

What is the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT)?

The Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT) is a compulsory standardized test that all secondary students in Ontario must write. The test evaluates English language skills in the areas of reading and writing. These are skills that reflect the Ontario English curriculum for up to and including Grade 9.

Ontario students are required to pass the OSSLT in order to graduate from high school in Ontario; however, there are several supports in place for students who don’t pass. These supports can help them succeed in meeting the province’s literacy requirements.

Is the OSSLT only for Grade 10?

The OSSLT is typically administered to students in Grade 10 . This is because the OSSLT evaluates skills that are taught in the Ontario English curriculum from K-9. In 2022, several students in Grade 11 were also eligible to write the OSSLT exam. This was because of cancellations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The OSSLT can also be written by any student who has already completed the exam but was not successful in achieving a passing grade. Students have unlimited attempts at the OSSLT; however, if students are unsuccessful, there are other options available.

The Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test: How to Prepare

What can students do to prepare for the Ontario Literacy Test?

In theory, all students begin preparing for the OSSLT from the time they start school. This is because the OSSLT is designed to assess the skills taught in the Ontario English curriculum from kindergarten to Grade 9 .

In reality, not all students are equipped with the necessary skills to be successful. This is especially true for English Language Learners who have not been enrolled in Ontario schools for a portion of their lives. ELL students may require more experience with the Ontario curriculum in order to be successful on the OSSLT. Fortunately, your ELL students can access special accommodations. Click here to learn more about ELL participation in the OSSLT.

Oftentimes, native English-speaking students also benefit from extra preparation for the OSSLT . Teachers may begin to prepare for the OSSLT well before the exam date in Grade 10 – this preparation is especially vigorous in the 9th and 10th grades.  Through various reading and writing activities, teachers can “ teach to the test ” in order to help students prepare for the OSSLT.

Additionally, students can practice for the OSSLT independently or with a tutor. These practice tests include articles, multiple-choice questions, and written response prompts that resemble the mandated tasks for the OSSLT. Students are also encouraged to work on the practice exercises in the OSSLT section on the Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) website .

Preparing for the OSSLT: The Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test

How to prepare for the OSSLT

1. review the skills assessed on the ontario secondary school literacy test.

The OSSLT requires a set of prescribed skills for successful completion. Focussing on the following areas will help students prepare for the OSSLT: 

  • Expressing and developing an opinion
  • Writing a series of paragraphs
  • Identifying main ideas and supporti ng points within a text
  • Using main ideas and supporting point s to support an opinion
  • Writing introductions and conclusions
  • Interpreting different types of narrative texts (ie. news reports, magazine stories, short fiction)
  • Interpreting informational texts (ie. opinion pieces, textbooks)
  • Summarizing ideas and information that are explicitly stated
  • Understanding ideas and information that are implicitly stated
  • Identifying bias, purpose, reliability, and audience

If you are an administrator or department head in an Ontario secondary school, you can consider arranging prep sessions during lunch hour or after school. Students can drop in and work on a streamlined curriculum that is designed to prepare them for the Ontario Literacy Test.

2. Prepare using OSSLT Practice Tests

Another great way to help students prepare for the OSSLT is to utilize OSSLT Practice Tests . These practice tests are designed to resemble the articles and reading questions that students will encounter on the   EQAO Ontario Literacy Test. Students will explore a Real-Life Narrative (RNL), two Information Paragraphs (IP), a News Report (NR), and a Dialogue (DI). Additionally, students will complete two Written Multiple-Select activities (WMM) and respond to an opinion essay prompt.

3. Teaching to the Test: Multiple-Choice Questions

The multiple-choice section of the OSSLT is geared towards assessing a number of literacy skills. The questions include everything from identifying the purpose of a text to evaluating the context of a word in order to select an appropriate synonym. There is no way of predicting multiple-choice questions. This means you can’t guarantee your students will be successful with this portion of the test.

Fortunately, there are a number of strategies that you can use to practice for the multiple-choice section of the OSSLT. The most straightforward strategy involves practicing with reading passages and multiple-choice questions that resemble the EQAO test. Students can practice multiple-choice questions using these news reports , information texts , and real-life narratives . These articles and multiple-select questions resemble those that students will encounter on the OSSLT.

Another strategy is to incorporate practice for the multiple-choice section into your everyday lessons. When you read a text together as a class, you can pause to ask questions similar to those on the OSSLT:

  • Request that students explain how they interpret new vocabulary so that they can model this process to their peers.
  • Ask students questions that prompt them to summarize the text .
  • Challenge students to make predictions or inferences about the text.
  • Move through the text paragraph-by-paragraph to identify the purpose of certain sentences or sections.
  • Encourage students to evaluate the text as a whole by suggesting a title for the selection.

How to prepare for the Ontario Literacy Test

3. Lesson Plans to Practice for the Ontario Literacy Test

There are a number of engaging lessons and project-based assessments that you can use to practice for the OSSLT. You can start with a mandated task and utilize backward design to work on the skills necessary for students to be successful on the OSSLT.

One major assessment in the OSSLT involves reading real-life narratives . This narrative unit includes everything you need to build foundational literacy skills for real-life narratives. Students can demonstrate these skills by completing the Community Interview Project , a project-based assessment inspired by the iconic Humans of New York . They can also apply these skills to post-secondary pathways by practicing writing cover letters .

Another major assessment on the Ontario Literacy Test involves writing an opinion essay . This essay must express an opinion and use different forms of evidence to support the main idea of each body paragraph. This main idea and supporting details mini-unit teaches students how to develop main ideas. Students can also apply this knowledge to peer-based learning activities like a Lincoln-Douglas Debate .  

This nonfiction writing bundle also builds the skills necessary to interpret an informational text. Students will learn to identify informational texts and differentiate them from other forms of writing. This will prepare them to write their own informational paragraphs.  

Finally, focussing on reading comprehension will also sharpen essential literacy skills for Ontario students. The more practice students have with different types of texts, the more prepared they will be to interpret these texts on the Ontario Literacy Test. This reading comprehension unit focuses on making inferences, making predictions, and summarizing several different forms of texts.

Teaching the Ontario Literacy Course (OLC):  Strategies, Resources, and Ideas for teaching OLC4O

What if you fail the OSSLT?

If a student fails the OSSLT, there are a few options. For one, students can attempt to write the Ontario Literacy Test again.  If the student has an IEP, they are also entitled to the accommodations listed on their file. Be sure to review this to ensure that accommodations are met for their second attempt.

Another option is to complete the Ontari o Secondary School Literacy Course , also known as the OSSLC or OLC.  This course assesses the same skills evaluated on the EQAO exam, meaning that if students pass the course, they meet the requirements to graduate high school .

The Ontario Literacy Course includes mandated tasks that are outlined in the Ontario Curriculum .  Students can complete assignments and activities that align with these mandated tasks in order to develop a literacy portfolio.  

Becoming successful on the OSSLT

In conclusion, preparing for the OSSLT is a journey that begins early in a student’s educational career and requires ongoing effort and support. By focusing on the key skills assessed, utilizing practice tests, and engaging in targeted learning activities, students can build the confidence and competence needed to succeed on the OSSLT. Remember – success on this test is not just about passing; it’s about demonstrating the literacy skills that are essential for future academic and career success. Encourage students to embrace the challenge, seek support when needed, and approach the OSSLT with a positive attitude.

If you are looking for more information to pass on to an administrator for school purchase orders, click here to learn more.

Reader Interactions

[…] paraphrasing and summarizing is essential for students writing standardized tests, including the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT), the AP Language and Composition Exam, and both the SAT and the […]

[…] the College Board SAT exam. This is because students can expect to see environmental topics on standardized tests. Given the importance of climate change in several career fields, students can also expect to study […]

[…] Your students may require an approach to interviewing that is more trauma-informed. This is especially true for students’ families who have endured collective hardships or systemic oppression. I find “Humans of my Community” to be a perfect alternative. This project-based learning idea uses the same interviewing skills listed above and incorporates news article writing – this is especially helpful if you are preparing for the OSSLT. […]

OSSLT Strategies, Tips and, Resources

If you're a teacher who is looking to quickly and easily find your students pain points so you can spend less time marking and more time with your students, take a look at our Google Drive Add-On . It will give you instant feedback about what is really happening with your students so you can make sure they get the support they need!

OSSLT Strategies

There are several different types of questions on the OSSLT. If you practice being able to identify which type of question you're looking at, you will have an easier time giving a full-mark answer.

Multiple Choice

There are two types of multiple choice questions on the OSSLT:

Direct questions are questions which can be answered by copying information directly from the text, like dates, names, ages, etc.

Indirect questions require you to figure something out. The OSSLT will often ask indirect questions like "What happened first?" or "Which word has the closest meaning?"

Written Answer

There are three main types of written questions on the OSSLT: Short Answer, News Report, and A Series of Paragraphs Expressing an Opinion

In Short Answer questions, you are asked to look at the reading material exclusively when answering a question. There are three subtypes of this question type: Short Writing, Close Reading, and Main Idea.

News Reports should follow established conventions from news media. In these questions, you should use the headline and photo provided to write a short news story.

In the Series of Paragraphs Expressing an Opinion , you will answer a question provided by EQAO in several paragraphs. This is the longest piece of writing on the OSSLT, so good planning is very important.


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  1. PDF Literacy Test Practice: Series of Paragraphs

    1 | P a g e K .M a c D o n a l d - E a s t w o o d C I *Materials adapted from Don't Panic - More Practice for the OSSLT by Corina MacLeod and Carla Douglas 2008 ...

  2. PDF Booklet 2 Sample Assessment Booklet QUESTIONS

    QUESTIONS Continue to follow along as your teacher reads the directions on the cover of Answer Booklet 2. Booklet 2 Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT) No work in this booklet will be scored. Follow along as your teacher reads the instructions. &KHFN WKH LGHQWL¿FDWLRQ QXPEHUV RI WKH Question DQG


    There are several resources available for OSSLT practice tests. You can start by visiting the official EQAO website, which provides free sample questions and past OSSLT booklets. Additionally, you can explore commercial test prep books, online platforms, or check if your school offers any resources for OSSLT preparation.

  4. OSSLT Practice Tests and More

    Our tests give you unlimited instant results on every question, so you can find out how you're doing immediately, or wait until the end of the test to mimic actual test conditions. Ontario Literacy is the web's largest collection of OSSLT practice tests and answers. Improve your skills with our self-grading practice tests and get personalized ...

  5. OSSLT Resources

    Ontario Literacy is Back! Practice Test 1 (2018-2019 OSSLT Answer Key) Earlier this year, Ontario Literacy received a letter from EQAO requesting we cease redistributing the publicly-released OSSLT booklets, so we took down our test library. While we are not able to host the content, the booklets are freely available from other sites:

  6. PDF Booklet 2: Answers and Exemplars Table of Contents Page

    Answering questions in this booklet will help you be successful on the OSSLT. Your teachers will lead you through these practice lessons in your classes. If you miss a practice session, the lessons can also be completed independently. When you have finished a task, compare your answer to the scoring guide and exemplars provided.

  7. OSSLT Practice Test (Test 1)

    An interactive multiple choice quiz based on the format of the 2018-2019 OSSLT released questions. Quiz yourself and improve your EQAO test scores! ... OSSLT Practice Tests. OSSLT Practice Tests. Test 1 ; 2017-2018 ; Ontario Literacy Practice Test 1. Writing a Series of Paragraphs Write a minimum of three paragraphs expressing an opinion on the ...

  8. Past Released Test Questions

    Released OSSLT Materials - examples of actual questions from previous test booklets: "sample" OSSLT - not associated with any particular year. sample - question booklet 1. sample - answer booklet 1. sample - question booklet 2. sample - answer booklet 2.

  9. PDF BOOKLET Sample Test Booklet 2012 Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test

    Read the selection below and answer the questions that follow it. 2 Sample Test Booklet: Session 1 Section A: Reading Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test Adapted from "Greasing the wheels of change" by Paola Loriggio, published in the Toronto Star, November 25, 2008. Reprinted with permission—Torstar Syndication Services.

  10. PDF 2021-2022 Literacy Test

    The Grade 10 Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT) is an assessment of your reading and writing skills (based on the Grade 9 curriculum expectations), and is a graduation requirement. This year, because of the large number of students who need to write - all Grade 10, 11 and 12 (non-graduating) students - KCI has determined that ...

  11. OSSLT Preparation Resources

    Northview Heights OSSLT handout 2015 . Tests to try. ... 2015: Actual Test. OSSLT Question 2015. OSSLT Answer 2015. OSSLT Scoring Guide 2015. OSSLT Multiple Choice Answer Key 2015 . 2015: Sample Test in New Format. OSSLT Practice Booklet 1. OSSLT Practice Booklet 1 Answers. OSSLT Practice Booklet 2 Question.

  12. EQAO Opinion Writing Tip Sheet

    The report must be written in the style of an OSSLT Opinion Essay: The instructions will ask for a minimum of three paragraphs. You should plan to write FIVE paragraphs: an introduction paragraph, three body paragraphs, and a concluding paragraph. The introduction paragraph explains your answer to the question. Pick ONE side.

  13. Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT)

    Successful completion of the literacy test is one of the requirements to earn an Ontario Secondary School Diploma. The administration of the OSSLT will take place from. Wednesday, November 1, 2023, at 7:00 a.m. ET, to Thursday, November 30, 2023, at 6:00 p.m. ET, with individual student results reported on or by the end of January 2024.

  14. PDF Released March 2019 OSSLT Item‐Specific Rubrics and Sample Student

    EQAO OSSLT April 2019 Scoring Guide for Reading Open Response Section IV Dialogue Question 6 Code 20 Annotation: The response indicates how Basira demonstrates that she is focused on life after high school (she is very interested in working For a radio station in the Future) and provides vague support from the

  15. The OSSLT: Preparing to Write the Ontario Literacy Test

    The 2023-2024 school year is a challenging year for students preparing for the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test, also known as the OSSLT. Over the past few years, Ontario secondary students have faced many disruptions in learning. The Ontario government launched its Plan to Catch Up in July of 2022 to address the learning gaps caused by ...

  16. PDF The Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT) Lesson One

    M Managing Multiple Choice Questions (5 Tips) • READ the question carefully and think of an answer BEFORE you see the choices.Read the choices to see if your answer is there. If so, your answer is probably correct. • REDUCE your options my removing choices that you know are incorrect. • When you have narrowed your choices, Go Back and Reread the reading selection, try each answer

  17. OSSLT Exemplars

    Sample Comparison Essay osslt_mock_test_answers.pdf: File Size: 3022 kb: File Type: pdf: Download File. osslt_mock_test_answers_2.pdf: File Size: 2966 kb: File Type: pdf: Download File. Powered by Create your own unique website with customizable templates.

  18. PDF Session B OSSLT Tips for Success-Reading Outline of OSSLT Literacy Test

    Seven M/C Questions: EXPLICIT, IMPLICIT, MAKING CONNECTIONS Practice #1: MUSTARD OIL VS.MALARIA Practice #2: NO TIME FOR FEAR Practice #3: A LABOUR OF LOVE SPARKS A CAREER Click on above links to view sample articles and M/C questions. The multiple choice will lead you to a Google Form - where your answers are automatically marked!

  19. OSSLT Strategies, Tips, and Resources

    Courses. For students who want a complete overview of all of the types of questions they might encounter on the OSSLT, our OSSLTips program gives students the confidence they need to do their best on the OSSLT. Offered as a series of videos or a full 6-session in-person intensive program which includes a complimentary custom assessment! As with all of our products, lessons are delivered by OCT ...

  20. OSSLT Prep

    7. Grade 7 & 8: Use the results as a pre-test to determine areas of needed instruction for students and to compare post results back to in order to track improvement data. Grade 9\10: Use the results to help tier students for OSSLT support. NOTE: This test is the same as the online OSSLT practice test.

  21. Osslt Opinion Essay Rubric Examples

    So here are some osslt opinion essay rubric examples: Short writing tasks - it features a form of informal, summary and opinion paragraph and appears four times. Long writing task - it's usually a news report and appears once. Multiple choice questions - you will have to answer eight questions. They are related to structuring content ...

  22. PDF 10 Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT)

    The operational component of the test comprises a total of 37 questions: 35 selected response questions (e.g., single selection, multiple selection, drag and drop, drop down menu, checklist) and two open response questions. Session A is designed to be completed in approximately 65 minutes, and Session B is designed to be completed approximately ...

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  25. OSSLT Strategies, Tips, and Resources

    There are three main types of written questions on the OSSLT: Short Answer, News Report, and A Series of Paragraphs Expressing an Opinion. In Short Answer questions, you are asked to look at the reading material exclusively when answering a question. There are three subtypes of this question type: Short Writing, Close Reading, and Main Idea.