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WAEC Chemistry Syllabus

Ace your WAEC Chemistry exam with this recommended WAEC Syllabus

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Writing Chemistry in WAEC Exams

Will you be writing Chemistry in the upcoming WAEC examinations? Then you should read this.

This article contains the approved syllabus for the West African Examination Council examinations. It shows a list of compulsory topics you will be required to answer in your exams as well as the recommended textbooks, the marking guide, and answers to a list of questions you may be curious to know about the exams.

Share this with your friends and use it in your daily studies for guaranteed success.

Marking Guide

There shall be three papers – Papers 1, 2, and 3 all of which must be taken. 

Papers 1 and 2 shall be taken in one sitting.

Paper 1: 

Will consist of fifty multiple-choice objective questions drawn from Section A of the syllabus (i.e. the portion of the syllabus which is common to all candidates).

Candidates will be required to answer all the questions within 1 hour for 50 marks.

Paper 2:  

It will be a 2-hour essay paper covering the entire syllabus and carrying 100 marks. The paper will be in two sections; Sections A and B.

•Section A

Will consist of ten short structured questions drawn from the common portion of the syllabus. (i.e. Section A of the syllabus).

Candidates will be required to answer all the questions for 25 marks.

•Section B

Will consist of two questions from the common portion of the syllabus (i.e. Section A of the syllabus) and two other questions from the section of the syllabus which is peculiar to the country of the candidate (i.e. either Section B or C of the syllabus).  

Candidates will be required to answer any three of the questions. Each question shall carry 25 marks.

Paper 3

This shall be a 2-hour practical test for school candidates or 1 1-hour 30-minute alternative to a practical work test for private candidates.

Each version of the paper shall contain three compulsory questions and carry 50 marks.  

The questions shall be on the following aspects of the syllabus:

One question on quantitative analysis;

One question on qualitative analysis;

The third question shall test candidates’ familiarity with the practical activities suggested in their teaching syllabuses.

CHEMISTRY Syllabus for WAEC Exams

INTRODUCTION TO CHEMISTRYi. Measurement of physical quantities.

ii. Scientific measurements and their importance in chemistry.

iii. Scientific Methods
STRUCTURE OF AN ATOMi. Gross features of the atom

ii. Atomic number/proton number, number of neutrons, isotopes, atomic mass, mass number

iii. Relative atomic mass (Ar) and relative molecular mass (Mr) based on the Carbon-12 scale

iv. Characteristics and nature of matter.

v. Particulate nature of matter: physical and chemical changes

vi. Electron Configuration

vii. Orbitals

viii. Rules and principles for filling in electrons

ii. Separation techniques

iii. Criteria for purity
PERIODIC CHEMISTRYi. Periodicity of the elements.

ii. Different categories of elements in the periodic table.

iii. Periodic law
a) Trends on the periodic table
b) Periodic gradation of the elements in the third period (Na – Ar)
c) Reactions between acids and metals, their oxides and trioxocarbonates (IV)
d) Periodic gradation of elements in group seven, the halogens: F, Cl, Br and I
e) Elements of the first transition series 21Sc – 30Zn
CHEMICAL BONDSi. Interatomic bonding

ii. Formation of ionic bonds and compounds.

iii. Properties of ionic compounds.

iv. The naming of ionic compounds.

v. Formation of covalent bonds and compounds.

vi. Properties of covalent compounds.

vii. Coordinate (dative) covalent bonding

viii. Shapes of molecular compounds.

ix. Metallic Bonding

x. Factors influencing its formation.

xi. Properties of metals.

xii. Intermolecular bonding

xiii. Intermolecular forces in covalent compounds

xiv. Hydrogen bonding

xv. van der Waals forces

xvi. Comparison of all bond types
STOICHEMISTRY & CHEMICAL REACTIONSi. Symbols, formulae and equations.

ii. Chemical symbols.

iii. Empirical and molecular formulae

iv. Chemical equations and IUPAC names of chemical compounds

v. Laws of chemical combination

vi. Amount of substance

vii. Mole ratios

viii. Solutions

ix. Concentration terms

x. Standard solutions.

xi. Preparation of solutions from liquid solutes by the method of dilution
STATES OF MATTERi. Kinetic theory of matter.

ii. Changes of state of matter.

iii. Diffusion

iv. Gases
a) Characteristics and nature of gases
b) The gas laws
c) Laboratory preparation and properties of some gases.

v. Liquids

vi. Vapour and gases.

vii. Solids
a) Characteristics and nature
b) Types and structures
c) Properties of solids.

viii. Structures, properties and uses of diamond and graphite.

ix. Determination of melting points of covalent solids.
ENERGY & ENERGY CHANGESi. Energy and enthalpy

ii. Description, definition and illustrations of energy changes and their effects
ACIDS, BASES & SALTSi. Definitions of acids and bases.

ii. Physical and chemical properties of acids and bases.

iii. Acids, bases and salts as electrolytes.

iv. Classification of acids and bases.

v. Concept of pH

vi. Salts
a) Laboratory and industrial preparation of salts
b) Uses
c) Hydrolysis of salt.

vii. Deliquescent, efflorescent and hygroscopic compound.

viii. Acid-Base indicators

ix. Acid-Base titration

ii. Practical application of solubility
a) Factors affecting rates
b) Theories of reaction rates
c) Analysis and interpretation of graphs

ii. Equilibrium:
a) General Principle
b) Le Chatelier’s principle
REDOX REACTIONSi. Oxidation and reduction process.

ii. Oxidizing and reducing agents.

iii. Redox equations

iv. Electrochemical cells
a) Standard electrode potential
b) Drawing of cell diagram and writing cell notation
c) E.M.F. of cells;
d) Application of Electrochemical cells.

v. Electrolysis
a) Electrolytic cells
b) Principles of electrolysis
c) Factors influencing discharge of species;
d) Faraday’s laws
e) Practical application
f) Corrosion of metals

ii. Functional group

iii. Separation and purification of organic compounds.

iv. Petroleum/crude oil

v. Determination of empirical and molecular formulae and molecular structures of organic compounds.

vi. General properties of organic compounds:
a) Homologous series
b) Isomerism.

vii. Alkanes
a) Sources, properties
b) Uses.

viii. Alkenes
a) Sources and properties
b) Uses
c) Laboratory detection.

ix. Alkynes
a) Sources, characteristic properties and uses
b) Chemical reactions.

x. Benzene
a) Structure and physical properties;
b) Chemical properties

xi. Alkanols
a) Sources, nomenclature and structure;
b) Classification
c) Physical properties
d) Chemical properties
e) Laboratory test
f) Uses.

xii. Alkanoic acids
a) Sources, nomenclature and structure;
b) Physical properties
c) Chemical properties
d) Laboratory test
e) Uses

xiii. Alkanoates as derivatives of alkanoic acids:
a) Sources, nomenclature, preparation and structure;
b) Physical properties
c) Chemical properties
d) Uses

ii. Pollution: air, water and soil pollution

iii. Biotechnology
a) Sources and properties
b) Uses of protein

ii. Amino acids

iii. Fats/oils
a) Sources and properties;
b) The general structure of fats/oils
c) Preparation of soap
d) Uses of fats/oils.

iv. Carbohydrates
a) Sources and nomenclature;
b) Properties
c) Carbohydrates as examples of polymers;
d) Uses

v. Synthetic polymers:
a) Properties;
b) Uses of polymers
GENERAL SKILLS & PRINCIPLESCandidates will be expected to be familiar with the following skills and principles:

i. Measurement of mass and volume;
ii. Preparation and dilution of standard solutions;
iii. Filtration, recrystallisation and melting point determination;
iv. Measurement of heats of neutralization and solutions;
v. Determination of pH value of various solutions by colorimetry;
vi. Determination of rates of reaction from concentration versus time curves;
vii. Determination of equilibrium constants for a simple system.
The use of standard solutions of acids and alkalis and the indicators; methyl orange, methyl red and phenolphthalein to determine the following:

i. The concentrations of acid and alkaline solutions;
ii. The molar masses of acids and bases and water of crystallization.
iii. The solubility of acids and bases;
iv. The percentage purity of acids and bases;
v. Analysis of Na2CO3/NaHCO3 mixture by double indicator methods (Ghanaians only).
vi. Stoichiometry of reactions.

2. Redox Titrations
Titrations of the following systems to solve analytical problems:
Acidic MnO4– with Fe2+;
Acidic MnO4– with C2O42-;
I2 in KI versus S2O32-.
No formal scheme of analysis is required.

i. Characteristic tests of the following cations with dilute NaOH(aq) and NH3(aq); NH4; Ca2+; Pb2+; Cu2+; Fe2+; Fe3+; Al3+; and Zn2+.
ii. Confirmatory tests for the above cations.
iii. The characteristic reaction of dilute HCl on solids or aqueous solutions and conc. H2SO4 on solid samples of the following: Cl– ; SO32- ; CO32- ; NO3– and SO42-.
iv. Confirmatory tests for the above anions
v. Comparative study of the halogens; displacement reactions.
vi. Characteristic tests for the following gases: H2; NH3; CO2; HCl and SO2.
vii. Characteristic test tube reactions of the functional groups in the following simple organic compounds: Alkenes; alkanols; alkanoic acids, sugars (using Fehling’s and Benedict’s solutions only); starch (iodine test only) and proteins (using the Ninhydrin test, Xanthoporteic test, Biuret test and Millon’s test only).


Recommended WAEC Chemistry Textbooks

1. New School Chemistry for Senior Secondary Schools, Ababio, O. Y. (2009), (Fourth edition), Onitsha: Africana FIRST Publishers Limited.

2. Senior Secondary Chemistry, Bajah, S.T.; Teibo, B. O., Onwu, G.; and Obikwere, A. Book 1 (1999), Books 2 and 3 (2000). Lagos: Longman.

3. Understanding Chemistry for Schools and Colleges, Ojokuku, G. O. (2012, Revised Edition), Zaria: Press-On Chemresources.

4. Essential: Chemistry for Senior Secondary Schools, (2008), 2nd Edition, I. A. Odesina, Lagos: Tonad Publishers Limited.

5. Countdown to WASSCE/SSCE, NECO, JME Chemistry, Uche, I. O.; Adenuga, I. J. and Iwuagwu, S. L. (2003). Ibadan: Evans.

Frequently Asked Questions About WAEC Chemistry Exam

A full list of the recommended textbooks can be seen above. In addition to that, you should also add your syllabus and past questions booklet to it.


Are there any practical experiments included in the WAEC Chemistry exam, and how should students prepare for them?

Yes, there will be a practical exam. A full list of all the topics for the practical can also be seen above. Study it daily before the exam.


What is the lowest score I should aim for in the WAEC Chemistry exam?


The lowest score you should aim for is 50% which will give you a C6, anything less than that could affect your chances of getting admission since Chemistry is a core science course.

Are there any specific tips or strategies for answering questions in the WAEC Chemistry exam effectively?

Read and understand each question carefully before you answer. If you are not so sure of their answer, skip it and move to the next one. Do this till you are done then start from the beginning to cross-check 

Are there any past questions or sample papers available for practice, and how beneficial are they in preparing for the exam?

The WAEC Chemistry past questions are available in a lot of markets and bookstores around you. You must get one as practicing with one helps you become more familiar with the exam format.

How can students effectively manage their time during the WAEC Chemistry exam to ensure they complete all sections within the allotted time?

As a general rule, you should spend no more than 3 minutes on each question. However, it’s important to keep an eye on the clock and make sure you’re spending an appropriate amount of time on each question. You don’t want to rush through and make careless mistakes!

How can I prepare for the WAEC Chemistry exam?

Practice, practice, practice. Study the syllabus, recommended textbooks, notes, and past questions together. You can also ask your teacher or tutor questions on topics you don’t understand


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