The Grade 10 Literacy Test - Try not to stress about it!


Every student in Ontario has to pass the Grade 10 Literacy test in order to graduate from secondary school, but try not to stress. This is easier said than done, but there are things you can do to prepare for the test so you will be as prepared as possible.

You are probably wondering why you even have to write this test at all. It is because good literacy skills, particularly reading and writing, are necessary for you to achieve your potential in life. The Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT) has been developed by the Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) and is based on the expectations for reading and writing as set out by the Ontario curriculum policies and documents. It has been developed to ensure that all students who graduate from secondary school in Ontario meet the literacy requirements which are fundamental life skills. You have been preparing for this test for years in every subject and in every grade where there was reading and writing involved. This 2 1/2 hour test is just to make sure you are on track. Most students pass the test, but if you fail, then the teachers at your school will work with you to develop the skills you need to pass it the second time.

Here is what you can expect ... you will get two test booklets and one answer sheet. There are questions for reading skills and for writing skills. The test is given in 2 equal parts (75 minutes each) with a break in between.

The reading skills questions have multiple choice questions and open response questions (6 lines each) based on reading selections including an information paragraph, news report, dialogue and real-life narrative, and a graphical text (graphs, schedules or other visuals).

The writing skills questions also have multiple choice questions around grammar and structure, short writing tasks, and two longer writing tasks (one is a news report and the other is a series of paragraphs).

Here are a few tips to make writing this test a little easier:

  • get a good night's sleep the night before the test
  • eat a healthy breakfast the morning of the test
  • drink water to stay alert
  • bring sharp pencils and pens that work to the test
  • do practice tests ahead of time
  • read the instructions carefully before starting to answer any of the questions
  • try answering all questions; don't leave blanks
  • for multiple choice questions, after reading the question see if you know the answer BEFORE looking at the answer choices. If not, rule out the answers you know are wrong. If you still are not sure of the answer, re-read parts of the question carefully to find the best answer.
  • if you change your multiple choice answer, make sure you erase it completely and that the new answer is darker than the circle you erased
  • for the open response questions where written answers are required, again read the question slowly and carefully and be sure to give specific details and examples from the reading selections to back up your answer
  • for the short and long writing tasks, use specific details and examples
  • make sure your details and examples back up your opinion
  • write in paragraphs and pay attention to the number of paragraphs you are asked to write
  • use your booklet to jot down ideas and to write an outline that you can then follow to keep you on track
  • don't give up!

Here is a site from the people that design the test that includes a "Getting Ready Guide" which describes the test and gives tips and information how to write it. You will also find sample test questions.

If your parents want to know more about the test, they can check out this information.

Good luck!

Target Age