Part II: How to Prepare for the Test
A mentioned in part I of this post, the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT) assesses’s student’s reading and writing ability. Reading and writing are two skills that often require extensive practice in order to develop, this is specially the case for individuals whose first language is not English so the most practical tip to students and parents is to find sample of previous OSSLT booklets on the EQAO website and practice. However, practice for sake of practice might not yield success. A goal-oriented practice on the other hand is more likely to grant success. What do we mean by goal-oriented practice?
- Know What Lies Ahead: In total, each student will receive 4 booklets, two Question and two corresponding Answer Booklets. For each booklet, students receive 75 minutes (unless the student is granted double the time which is often the case for ESL students). For the Reading section, you can expect the following type of reading selections:
- Information Paragraph (225-250 words)
- News Report (225 to 250 words)
- Dialogue (225 to 250 words)
- Real Life Narrative (550-600 words)
- Graphic Text (less than 150 words).
In this section, you will have multiple choice and open response questions.
For the Writing section, you will have long writing tasks;
- News Report (one page)
- Series of paragraphs expression an opinion (two pages)
as well as two short writing tasks (six lines each) and multiple choice questions.
In a goal-oriented practice, you should be able to identify each type of question and have developed specific strategies to tackle the question during your practice time.
Keep in mind that 45% of the test will be writing and the remaining 55% will be reading activities.
- Manage Your Time: Time yourself as you practice. Set goals to gradually reduce the time it takes you to complete a booklet. In order to do so, identify the type of questions that are easier and less time consuming for you to complete. Increase your efficiency (you time and accuracy) of completing these questions each time you practice. This buys you time to tackle questions that are harder and take you more time to complete.
- Arrive Prepared: You can write in ink or pencil. If ink, it must be blue or black. If taking pen, sharpen them ahead of time and carry a clean eraser.
- Skip Reading the Test Instruction: Read this part every time you practice so by the time of the test, you know these instruction by heart. You should not spend any minute here.
- Do Not Leave any Question Unattempted: Do your best to answer all question and do not leave any question blank.
Come back for our part III of this series where we will review question-specific strategies and provide strategies in case you are not successful in the test. See you soon.
Resource: EQAO Website