Written Communication Proficiency Test (351)

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

Note: Results from this test (WCPT-351) are not transferable to new appointment processes.


The purpose of the Written Communication Proficiency Test is to provide an efficient assessment of an individual's ability to communicate in writing and help managers make selection decisions. It can be used to assess officer-level employees, managers or leaders whose position requires them to write clear and concise letters, memos, reports or other documents. This test can also be administered through the Public Service Commission's On-line Test Facility (OLTF) platform.


The Written Communication Proficiency Test contains a number of short passages, each of which consists of approximately 10 sentences or sentence fragments. Errors have been introduced into some of the passages, and the order of the sentences or paragraphs may have been modified. Each passage is followed by several multiple-choice questions related to the passage. The questions involve, for example:

  • Identifying grammar errors
  • Determining the best word to insert into a blank
  • Choosing the best title for a passage
  • Ordering sentences
  • Choosing the best summary of a text

In total, there are 50 questions.

Candidates will be evaluated on the following features of writing:

  • Grammar, punctuation, vocabulary richness and precision
  • Appropriate level of language use
  • Avoidance of wordiness and redundancies
  • Knowledge of main points versus subordinate details
  • Order of sentences and paragraphs

The time limit for the Written Communication Proficiency Test is 1 hour and 40 minutes or approximately 2 hours including administrative time. Managers will set the cut-off score for a particular appointment process, taking into account the required level of writing ability.

Language of assessment

The Written Communication Proficiency Test is a test of language proficiency. Consequently, the language in which a candidate is assessed on a language test should correspond to the linguistic requirements of the position. The following table illustrates this principle.

Linguistic requirements for the position Language of assessment
English essential English
French essential French
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 offices, and these offices in turn 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 your performance is limited to the overall rating on the ability to communicate in writing. More detailed feedback cannot be provided.

Retest period

There is a 180-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 results 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

Information for the human resources advisor

There is a cost for using this tool. View the price list.

Page details

Date modified: