Grammar, Spelling and Punctuation Test (GSPAT–120)

As of June 30, 2023, this test will no longer be available.

Note: Results from this test (GSPAT-120) are not transferable to new appointment processes.


The purpose of the Grammar, Spelling and Punctuation Test (GSPAT-120) is to assess an individual's ability to identify and correct grammar, spelling and punctuation errors in existing English text quickly and accurately at the level equivalent to the completion of two years of secondary school. It can be used to assist managers in making selection decisions, identifying training and development needs, and counseling for career transitions. The French version of the test is called Examen d'orthographe, de grammaire et de ponctuation (EOGEP-220).


The Grammar, Spelling and Punctuation Test consists of 75 multiple-choice questions divided into three sub-tests. The three sub-tests are:

  • Spelling – 30 questions
  • Grammar – 30 questions
  • Punctuation – 15 questions

The test takes about 45 minutes to write, including time for administration purposes. The minimum pass mark is 45/75. Managers can use a higher cut-off score depending on the ability level required for the position.

The Personnel Psychology Centre's 48-hour scoring service sends results to the test centre which in turn informs the candidates of their scores.

Language of assessment

The Grammar, Spelling and Punctuation (GSPAT) Test is a test of language proficiency. Consequently, the language in which a candidate is assessed should correspond to the linguistic requirements of the position. The following table illustrates this principle.

Tests of language proficiency
Linguistic requirements for the position Language of assessment
English essential English (GSPAT – 120)
French essential French (EOGEP – 220)
Bilingual Candidate’s first official language

Note: For bilingual positions, the candidate's second official language proficiency is assessed using the Second Language Evaluation tests.


The Personnel Psychology Centre of the Public Service Commission (PSC) generally scores tests within 48 hours of receiving them. The PSC sends the results to human resource officers, who inform the candidates of their scores.

Since this exam is for staffing purposes and is not a diagnostic instrument for career development purposes, the information available on  performance is limited to the overall rating on the candidate’s ability to identify and correct grammar, spelling and punctuation errors and the rating for each specific component of the competency being assessed. More detailed feedback cannot be provided.

Retest period

There is a 30 day waiting period before you can rewrite the test. You may not retake it until the retest period has elapsed. If you rewrite the test before the retest period has elapsed, your result will not be valid and a new retest period will be imposed from the most recent test date.

More information about the test for candidates

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