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JAMB French Syllabus

Ace your JAMB French exams. Don’t waste your time by reading without direction! Download this UTME Syllabus for French to study smart and excel.

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Writing French UTME Exams

The JAMB French exam has been designed to test your comprehension and communication skills in the French language. 

The exam consists of multiple-choice that cover grammar, vocabulary, reading, and listening comprehension. If you wish to study courses like International Relations, French, Linguistics and any course that requires a foreign language, then you may have to write French.

The best way to prepare for the exam is to become familiar with the JAMB syllabus and to study past questions with your colleagues.


The aim of the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) syllabus in French is to prepare the candidates for the Board’s examination. It is designed to test candidates’ general ability to:

(i). Assess written comprehension in French;

(ii). Apply the principles governing the structure and use of written French;

(iii). Identify how French sounds work in speech production;

(iv). Examine the culture of Francophone West Africa and France in relation (where possible) to the home country.

Detailed JAMB French Syllabus

1Written Comprehension in French
Topics of general and emergent interest e.g. love, life, death, politics, marriage, HIV/AIDS, communication, child trafficking, cultism, travel, corruption, money- laundering, etc.Candidates should be able to:
(i) deduce answers to questions on the content, intent and style of proposed texts,
(ii) apply reasoning skills.
2Principles Governing the Structure and Use of Written French
Identification of basic form classes:

(a) Nouns: simple/compound, Singular/plural, masculine/feminine.

(b) Pronouns: personal, impersonal, demonstrative, possessive and relative.

(c) Verbs: reflexive and non-reflexive, their moods and tenses.

(d) Adjectives: qualifying, possessive, interrogative, demonstrative, indefinite (e.g. nul), numeral (e.g. dix), and ordinal (e.g. dixième.)

(e) Adverbs: – common forms
(i) with-ment (e.g. lentement)
(ii) with préposition + noun (e.g. par avion, à cheval, en voiture, par bateau.) – special forms (e.g. bien, vite, mal, mieux, le mieux, pire, le pis, ne…que.)
– types
– manner (e.g. debout, facilement.)
– purpose (e.g. pour + Infinitive, afin de + infinitive.)
– cause and consequence (e.g. pour infinitive perfect, à cause de + noun.)
– concession (e.g. malgré +noun.)
– place (e.g. y, en, ici, là, là-haut, partout.)
– time (e.g. hier, aujourd’hui, avant-hier, après, demain, la veille, le matin, dans un mois.)

(f) Prépositions:
– simple (e.g. à, de, avec, avant, sur, dans.)
– compound (e.g. à côté de, au milieu de.)

(g) Conjunctions:
– of co-ordination (e.g. mais, ou, et, donc, car, cependant, ne…ni.) -of subordination (e.g. afin que, quoique, à condition que, pour que, parce que.)

(h) Articles:
– definite, indefinite and partitive.

ii. Assessment of vocabulary span: (words in contemporary contexts – meaning, use, opposites, Synonyms)

iii. Importance of word order in:
(a) affirmative sentences
(b) interrogative sentences
(c) imperative sentences
(d) passive voice formation

iv. Identification and application of basic processes in language structure, e.g.
(a) conjugation – in all tenses except l’imparfait du subjonctif, le passé composé du subjonctif, et…le plus-que-parfait du subjonctif.

(b) négation (e.g. ne…pas, ne…plus, ne…rien, nul ne, ne…, ne…personne, personne…ne, aucun…ne, rien ne…etc.)

(c) agreement (e.g. les beaux-arts, il les a vues les photos.)

(d) pluralisation (e.g. as in cheval/chevaux, beau/beaux.)

(e) derivation: -from adj, to adv – e.g. lentement, -from adj. to adj. e.g. un – premier, -from adj. to noun – e.g. bon-bonté, riche-richesse etc -from one degree of comparison to another (using plus…que, moins…que, aussi….que e.g. plus grand que.) NB –special forms- (e.g. bon, meilleur, le meilleur, la meilleure, mauvais, pire, le pire.)

v. Use of French in set expressions such as in proverbs, idioms and conventional structures as provided for in common speech acts:
(a) proverbs (e.g. tel père, tel fils, petit à petit l’oiseau fait son nid.)

(b) idioms (e.g. avoir une faim de loup, crier sur le toit, mourir de peur.)

(c) conventional stretches (e.g. enchanté, c’est dommage, c’est formidable, stationnement interdit, etc.)

(d) speech acts (e.g. proposer, conseiller, regretter, admirer, espérer, interroger, reprocher, s’accorder, etc.)
Candidates should be able to:
i. identify what constitutes the basic structures of written French,
ii. use the principles governing the structure of written French to determine acceptability, e.g. to transform one form; one class into another,
iii. apply the structure to convey diverse messages.
iv. apply communicative skills
3Workings of French sounds via
sound discrimination (e.g. tout/tu), (fais/fée.)

letter-sound correspondence (e.g. ai-/e/, eau/o/.)

syllabification (e.g. con/tente/ment.)

liaison (e.g. trois animaux, des enfants.)

sense groups in reading e.g. J’ai mal à la tête. J’ai mal/pas à la tête / mais au dos/. Comment vas-tu, Carol?// Comment vas- tu demain?

faux amis(e.g.librairie/library, rester/to rest, blesser/to bless.)

identification of sounds to determine similarity (e.g. maison/saison, dents/du,fond/ fond.)
Candidates should be able to:
(i) discriminate between French sounds,
(ii) deduce meanings out of sound combinations,
(iii) use the above to enhance effective communication,
(iv) assess sound groupings in terms of how they are affected by such features as syllabification, liaison, e-caduc; pause, intonation, etc.
4Culture and Civilization
Characteristics (aspects, similarities and differences) of the educational system, socio-economic life, political organization and cultural life of Francophone Africa and France, with reference (where possible) to home country i.e. Nigeria.Candidates should be able to:
i. identify the specific features of the culture of Francophone Africa and France greetings, dressing, food, leisure, marriage, festival, art, profession etc.
ii. compare these features with those of home country ( where possible),
iii. apply reasoning skills.

Recommended French Textbooks for JAMB

  1. Written Language: 
  • Ajiboye, T. (2014) Companion to French Grammar (4thEdition): Ibadan: Cleavoketa books
  • Ajiboye, T. (2012) Nouvel Horizon, Book 4, New Revised Edition, Ibadan: Bounty Press.
  • Byrne and Churchill (1980) A Comprehensive French Grammar.   
  • Hatier (1980) Le Nouveau Bescherelle: L’Art de Conjuguer, Ibadan: Spectrum Book Ltd.
  • Maice, G et Merlo, G., (1998), Grammaire progressive du français ( Niveau intermédiaire), Paris: Clé international.
  • Mazauric,. C, et Sirejols, E. (2006) On y va! Book 3,Ibadan: Spectrum Books Ltd.
  • Ojo, S. A.(2000) A Comprehensive Revision Handbook of French Grammar, Ibadan: Agora Publishing Company.
  • Any other relevant materials on French Grammar.

    2. Oral
  • Ajiboye, T. (2010) An Introduction to Practice in Oral French, Ibadan: Bounty Press.
  • Leon, M. (1978) Initiation a ̀€ la Prononciation du Franc ́§mais Standard.
  • Any other materials that emphasize oral practice.


3. Culture of Francophone Countries

  • Girod R and Grand-Clement, F. (1979) Comment vivent les Français, Paris: Hachette
  • Mbuko, L. (2000) French Essays on Culture and Civilization for Schools and Colleges, Ibadan: Bounty Press.
  • Any other relevant materials, e.g. French newspapers, magazines, journals, and documents on Francophone life.

  • Any good French/English or French dictionary.

Frequently Asked Questions About JAMB French Exam

How is the JAMB French Score Calculated?

Asides The Use of English, each question in the remaining 3 subjects is graded 2.5 marks. Hence, the three subjects carry 300 marks. For example: If you get 28 questions right in your French exam, the calculation will be 28 x 2.5 = 70% (in percentage).

What is the allocated time for JAMB?

The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) exam is a two-hour exam. You are expected to complete all 4 subjects within the stipulated time

How to study for French in JAMB exam?

Practice! Practice and more practice!!!. Study past questions daily. Go through the syllabus and read every single topic under it.

How do i study French for JAMB?

to prepare for JAMB French, study the recommended syllabus provided by JAMB, review textbooks and study past questions. You can equally attend tutorials if necessary so you can interact and learn from others.

What's the pass mark for JAMB French?

There is no official pass mark, but scores above 50 are considered good. However, ensure to score as high as you can. The higher you score, the better your chances of admission for your choice course and institution.

What are some common mistakes candidates make in JAMB, and how can they avoid them?

Common mistakes people make at JAMB include inadequate time management, zero knowledge of how to operate a computer and not studying their past questions or even reading the syllabus. Most candidates just read their school notes forgetting that JAMB Is not organized by their school. You can avoid these mistakes by studying the syllabus as well as past questions, improving your time management skills, and seeking clarification on unclear concepts.

How many questions are in JAMB French?

You will be tasked to answer 40 questions.

Do I need to attend a JAMB tutorial to pass?

Not at all. You can read and ace your exams yourself. All you need to do is to have a consistent reading habit.

However, tutorials can also help you prepare better, connect with your peers, and gauge your confidence levels. 


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