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NECO English Language Syllabus

Are you writing English Language in your NECO O’level exams? Download the recommended English Language syllabus to excel in your exams.

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About NECO English Language Syllabus

The NECO English Language exam syllabus is designed to test how well you understand the language in various forms. From reading and comprehension to summarizing, vocabulary, to listening and comprehension.

The examiners’ main goal is to see how much you’ve grasped from your secondary school English teachings. They want to see if you can:

  • Use correct English in your writing and speaking.
  • shape your writing to different audiences and situations effectively.
  • Organize your ideas in well-structured paragraphs, nail those sentence structures and add some spice with variety.
  • Play by the rules of grammar.
  • Spell and punctuate like a spelling bee champion.
  • Understand both written and spoken English with ease.
  • Catch implied meanings, tones, and attitudes like a detective.
  • Speak with a pronunciation that others can understand.
  • Recognize the sounds and letters that makeup English.

Marking Guide & Sections

PAPER 1: Get ready for some multiple-choice questions. Paper 1 carries 40 marks.

PAPER 2: You’ve got to answer an essay, comprehension and summary passages. The comprehension passage consists of at least three hundred and fifty (350) words and you have to answer all questions on it.

You’ll see five essay topics waiting for you, you have to pick one topic and write on it. The summary passage consists of one prose passage of about five hundred (500) words and is designed to test your ability to summarize a specific aspect or portion of a passage.

 This paper is worth  100 marks, so make every word count!

PAPER 3: You will be tested on oral questions.  You’ve got sixty multiple-choice items waiting for you, and you have to answer them all in just 45 minutes. It’s fast-paced, but every correct answer gets you closer to those 30 marks.

The NECO English Language Syllabus

1Lexis1.a Building and Building Construction
1.b Agriculture
1.c Fishing
1.d Stock exchange
1.e Health
1.f Environment
1.g Culture, Institutions and Ceremonies
1.h Law and Order;
1.i Motor Vehicles and Travelling;
1.j Government and Administration;
1.k Sports;
1.l Religion;
1.m Science and Technology;
1.n Animal husbandry;
1.o Advertising;
1.p Human Internal Body system and function
ii. Idioms
iii. Structured Element
IV. Figurative Usage
2Structure(i)The patterns of changes in word-forms which indicate number, tense,
degree, etc;
(ii)The patterns in which different categories of words regularly combine to
form groups and these groups in turn combine to form sentences;
(iii)The use of structural words e.g. conjunctions, determiners, prepositions,
 SECTION A: (50 marks)
 ESSAY WRITING(i) letter;
(ii) speech;
(iii) narration;
(iv) description;
(v) argument/debate;
(vi) report;
(viii) exposition;
(ix) creative writing.
 SECTION B: (20 marks)
 COMPREHENSIONThe questions will test candidates’ ability to
(i) find appropriate equivalents for selected words or phrases;
(ii) understand the factual content;
(iii) make inferences from the content of the passage;
(iv) understand the use of English expressions that reveal/reflect
(v) identify and label basic grammatical structures, words, phrases or
clauses and explain their functions as they appear in the context;
(vi) identify and explain basic literary terms and expressions;
(vii) recast phrases or sentences into grammatical alternatives.
 SECTION C:(30 marks)
 SUMMARYCandidates will be required to spend 40 minutes on this section. The section
will consist of one prose passage of about five hundred (500) words and will
test candidates’ ability to

(i) extract relevant information;
(ii) summarize the points demanded in clear concise English, avoiding
repetition and redundancy;
(iii) present a summary of specific aspects or portions of the passage.

The passage will be selected from a wide variety of suitable sources,
including excerpts from narratives, dialogues and expositions of social,
cultural, economic and political issues in any part of the world.
 PAPER 3: (30 marks)
 ORAL ENGLISHThis will be made up of sixty multiple choice objective questions on:

Consonants, consonant clusters, vowels, diphthongs, stress and intonation
patterns, dialogues and narratives.

Section 1: Test of word final voiced-voiceless consonants in isolated words
mainly, but other features such as consonant clusters may also be tested.
Section 2: Test of vowel quality in isolated words.
Section 3: Test of vowel quality and consonant contrasts in isolated words.
Section 4: One of three options below will be used in different years:
(i) Test of vowel and/or consonant contrasts in sentence contexts;
(ii) Test of vowel and consonant contrasts in isolated words- to be selected
from a list of at least four-word contrasts;
(iii) test of vowel and consonant contrasts through rhymes.
Section 5: Test of rhymes
Section 6: Test of comprehension of emphatic stress
Section 7: Test of understanding of the content of longer dialogues and
narratives .

Recommended NECO English Language Textbooks

  1. Attah, M. O. (2013). Practice in Spoken English for Intermediate and Advanced Learners, Maiduguri: University of Maiduguri Press.
  2. Bamgbose, A. (2002). English Lexis and Structure for Senior Secondary Schools and colleges (Revised Edition), Ibadan: Heinemann
  3. Banjo, A. et al (2004). New Oxford Secondary English Course Book Six for Senior Secondary Schools, Ibadan: UP Plc.
  4. Caesar, O. J. (2003). Essential Oral English for Schools and Colleges, Lagos: Tonad Publishers Limited
  5. Daniel Jones (2011). Cambridge English Pronouncing Dictionary, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
  6. Egbe, D. I (1996). Mastering English Usage and Communication Skills, Lagos: Tisons
  7. Elugbe, B. (2000). Oral English for Schools and Colleges, Ibadan: Heinemann

Frequently Asked Questions About the NECO English Language Exams

What topics does the NECO English Language exam cover?

The English Language exam covers a wide range of topics, including reading comprehension, writing skills, grammar, vocabulary, and listening comprehension.

How should I prepare for the reading comprehension section of the NECO English exam?

You can prepare for the reading comprehension by practising with sample comprehension passages written in modern English, and improve your spoken English to be able to understand the use of some English expression and  some basic grammatical structures

What should I do if I don't understand a question during the exam?

 Don’t panic, you’ve got options! If you come across a question that’s giving you trouble, take a deep breath and read it over carefully. Sometimes, just taking a moment to digest the question can make all the difference. If you’re still stuck, don’t hesitate to raise your hand and ask the invigilator for clarification. They’re there to help you, so don’t be shy about speaking up. Remember, it’s better to ask for help than to struggle in silence.

What should I expect in the essay writing section of the exam?

 In the essay writing section, you’ll be given a choice of topics to write about. Make sure to read the instructions carefully and plan your essay before you start writing. Focus on organizing your ideas logically, using appropriate language, and supporting your arguments with examples or evidence.

How can I improve my writing speed for the essay section of the exam?

Writing speed comes with practice, so make sure you are regularly practicing writing essays within the time constraints of the exam. Focus on developing a clear and concise writing style that allows you to convey your ideas efficiently. And don’t forget to leave some time at the end for proofreading and editing.

How can I improve my problem-solving skills for the exam?

 Improving your problem-solving skills is all about practice, practice, practice! Start by solving a variety of physics problems from past papers, textbooks, and online resources. Pay attention to the steps involved in solving each problem and try to understand the underlying concepts behind them. Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself with more difficult problems as you become more confident.

How can I expand my vocabulary for the exam?

Make it a habit to learn new words every day and try to use them in your writing and conversation. Reading extensively can also help you encounter new words in context, which makes them easier to remember.

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