Last-Minute Test Tips for the OSSLT

by Carla Douglas

Image by Mark Holloway (CC BY 2.0)

Taking the time to prepare for the OSSLT will give you confidence on test day. Here are some additional tips to help you give your best effort:

Before the test

  •  Review the test details one more time. What are the tasks? Be clear on how much reading and writing you’ll be required to do and how to best approach multiple choice questions.
  • Review test-day procedures at your school. Where does it take place? What room? What time? How much time is allowed to complete it?
  • Be well-rested on test day. You’ll be better able to focus.
  • Eat breakfast the day of the test. Avoid too much caffeine and sugar, which can make you feel jumpy or jittery.
  • Dress comfortably. Layers are a good idea in case the test site is too warm or cold.
  • If possible, get some exercise. Go for a walk or jog, or walk to school. Exercise is proven to help reduce stress.
  • Be prepared — have all the supplies with you that you’re allowed to bring into the test: pencils, erasers, pens, water bottle, and so on.
  • Arrive early. Leave yourself plenty of time. Arriving late or at the last minute can leave you feeling rushed and nervous. You may also miss any last-minute instructions.

During the test

  •  Manage your time and keep an eye on the clock. If you’re spending a lot of time struggling over a single question — especially if it’s multiple choice — move on. You can come back to it later. Do spend the time you need to work on the reading selections and long writing tasks.
  • Read the test and task instructions carefully. Be sure you know what you’re being asked to do.
  • Follow the test instructions carefully. You won’t get marks for work that’s off-task.
  • Begin with questions you know how to answer. This will boost your confidence.
  • Skip questions you don’t know how to answer. Circle the question number and go back to it later.
  • Try to answer all the questions, even if you have to guess. You won’t be deducted marks for incorrect answers.
  • Print or write as neatly as you can. Make it easy for the marker to read what you’ve written.
  • Use the space provided for rough notes to plan your writing tasks. This will save you time and help you focus. 
  • Underline or highlight key words and phrases as you read. This will save you time and improve your accuracy. 
  • Check your answer sheet for completeness, neatness, and accuracy in spelling, grammar and punctuation. 

Good luck!

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