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JAMB Literature-in-English Syllabus

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

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Writing JAMB Literature-in-English Exam

The syllabus covers all you are expected to see in your examinations, including physical and human geography, the environment, economic activities, settlement, and more.

Having the syllabus will equally inform you of what you’re expected to know from each of the topics.

Geography is a must if you are hoping to study courses like Geography, Metallurgical Science, Aeronautics and other environmental science-related courses

The recommended texts for the exam are also outlined below


The aim of the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) 2024 syllabus in Literature in English is to prepare the candidates for the Board’s examination. It is designed to test their achievement of the course objectives, which are to:

  1. Stimulate and sustain their interest in Literature in English;
  2. Create an awareness of the general principles of Literature and functions of language;
  3. Appreciate literary works of all genres and across all cultures;
  4. Apply the knowledge of Literature in English to the analysis of social, political and economic events in the society.

Detailed JAMB Literature-in-English Syllabus


i. Tragedy
ii. Comedy
iii. Tragicomedy
iv. Melodrama
v. Farce
vi. Opera etc.

Dramatic Techniques

i. Characterization
ii. Dialogue
iii. Flashback
iv. Mime
v. Costume
vi. Music/Dance
vii. Décor/scenery
viii. Acts/Scenes
ix. Soliloquy/aside
x. Figures of Speech etc

Interpretation of the Prescribed Texts

i. Theme
ii. Plot
iii. Socio-political context
iv. Setting
Candidates should be able to:
i. identify the various types of drama;
ii. analyze the contents of the various types of drama;
iii. compare and contrast the features of different dramatic types;
iv. demonstrate adequate knowledge of dramatic techniques used in each prescribed text;
v. differentiate between styles of selected playwrights;
vi. determine the theme of any prescribed text;
vii. identify the plot of the play;
viii. apply the lessons of the play to everyday living
ix. identify the spatial and temporal setting of the play.

i. Fiction
– Novel
– Novella/Novelette
– Short story
ii. Non-fiction
– Biography
– Autobiography
– Memoir
iii. Faction: a combination of fact and fiction

Narrative Techniques/Devices:

i. Point of view
– Omniscient/Third Person
– First Person
ii. Characterisation
– Round, flat, foil, hero, antihero, etc
iii. Language

Textual Analysis

i. Theme
ii. Plot
iii. Setting (Temporal/Spatial)
iv. Socio-political context
Candidates should be able to:
i. differentiate between types of prose;
ii. identify the category that each prescribed text belongs to;
iii. analyze the components of each type of prose;
iv. identify the narrative techniques used in each of the prescribed texts;
v. determine an author’s narrative style;
vi. distinguish between one type of character from another;
vii. determine the thematic preoccupation of the author of the prescribed text;
viii. indicate the plot of the novel; identify the temporal and spatial setting of the novel.
ix. identify the temporal and spatial setting of the novel
x. relate the prescribed text to real-life situations.

i. Sonnet
ii. Ode
iii. Lyrics
iv. Elegy
v. Ballad
vi. Panegyric
vii. Epic
viii. Blank Verse, etc.

Poetic devices

i. Structure
ii. Imagery
iii. Sound(Rhyme/Rhythm, repetition, pun, onomatopoeia, etc.)
iv. Diction
v. Persona


i. Thematic preoccupation
ii. Socio-political relevance
iii. Style.
Candidates should be able to:
i. identify different types of poetry;
ii. compare and contrast the features of different poetic types:
iii. determine the devices used by various poets;
iv. show how poetic devices are used for aesthetic effect in each poem;
v. deduce the poet’s preoccupation from the poem;
vi. appraise poetry as an art with moral values;
vii. apply the lessons from the poem to real-life situations
Literary terms: foreshadowing, suspense, theater, monologue, dialogue, soliloquy, symbolism, protagonist, antagonist, figures of speech, satire, stream of consciousness, etc., in addition to those listed above under the different genres.

Literary principles

i. Direct imitation in play;
ii. Versification in drama and poetry;
iii. Narration of people’s experiences;
iv. Achievement of aesthetic value, etc.

Relationship between literary terms and principles.
Candidates should be able to:
i. identify literary terms in drama, prose, and poetry;
ii. identify the general principles of Literature;
iii. differentiate between literary terms and principles;
iv. use literary terms appropriately.
Unseen passages/extracts from Drama, Prose, and Poetry.Candidates should be able to:
i. determine literary devices used in a given passage/extract;
ii. provide a meaningful interpretation of the given passage/extract;
iii. relate the extract to true life experiences

Recommended Literature-in-English Textbook for JAMB



  • Wole Soyinka: Lion and the Jewel


  • John Osborne: Look Back in Anger



  • Buchi Emecheta: Second Class Citizen
  • Alex Agyei Agyiri: Unexpected Joy at Dawn


  • Emile Bronte: Wuthering Heights



  • Leopold Sedar Senghor: Black Woman
  • Niyi Osundare: The Leader and the Led
  • Agostinho Neto: The Grieved Lands
  • Oumar Farouk Sesay: The Song of the Women of the lands
  • Lade Wosornu: Raider of the Treasure Trove
  • Onu Chibuike: A Government Driver on his Retirement


  • John Donne: The Good Morrow
  • Maya Angelou: Caged Birds
  • T. S. Eliot: The Journey of the Magi
  • D. H. Lawrence:  Bats


  1. Gbemisola, A. (2005) Naked Soles, Ibadan: Kraft
  2. Hayward, J. (ed.) (1968) The Penguin Book of English Verse, London Penguin
  3. Johnson, R. et al (eds.) (1996) New Poetry from Africa, Ibadan: UP Plc
  4. Kermode, F. et al (1964) Oxford Anthology of English Literature, Vol. II, London: OUP
  5. Nwoga D. (ed.) (1967) West African Verse, London: Longman
  6. Senanu, K. E. and Vincent, T. (eds.) (1993) A Selection of African Poetry, Lagos: Longman
  7. Soyinka, W. (ed.) (1987) Poems of Black Africa, Ibadan: Heinemann


  1. Abrams, M. H. (1981) A Glossary of Literary Terms, (4th Edition) New York, Holt Rinehalt and Winston
  2. Emeaba, O. E. (1982) A Dictionary of Literature, Aba: Inteks Press
  3. Murphy, M. J. (1972) Understanding Unseen, An Introduction to English Poetry and English Novel for Overseas Students, George Allen and Unwin Ltd.

Frequently Asked Questions About JAMB Literature-in-English Exam

How is the JAMB Literature-in-English 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 Literature-in-English 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 Literature-in-English 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 Literature-in-English for JAMB?

to prepare for JAMB Literature-in-English, 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 Literature-in-English?

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 Literature-in-English?

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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