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WAEC Commerce Syllabus

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Writing Commerce in WAEC Exams

This syllabus is a must-read if Commerce is one of the nine subjects you’ll be writing in your WAEC exams.

The syllabus shows you the topics you will be asked to answer in the exam hall but also gives you a little glimpse of how your exam is expected to look. In this article, you will also be given a list of textbooks recommended by WAEC to read and understand the topics better.

When we say studying the syllabus will save you from wandering off track and will help you prepare better for your exams, we know exactly what we mean by that.

Marking Guide

There will be two papers, Paper I and Paper 2, both of which is to be taken at one sitting.

PAPER I: Will consist of fifty multiple choice questions to be answered in 50 minutes for 50 marks.

PAPER II: Will consist of eight essay-type questions out of which candidates will be required to answer any five within 2 hours for 100 marks.

Commerce Syllabus for WAEC Exams

1INTRODUCTIONi. Definition of Commerce and E – Commerce
ii. History/Background of Commerce
iii. Scope of Commerce and E Commerce
iv. Functions of Commerce and E Commerce
2OCCUPATIONi. Meaning of Occupation
ii. Types;- Industrial, Commercial, Service Occupation
iii. Factors that determine types of occupation / employment
Career Opportunities
ii. Factors – land, labour, capital and entrepreneurship
iii. Types:- Primary, Secondary and Tertiary production
iv. Division of labour/specialization
– meaning
– types
– advantages and disadvantages,
– limitation
v. Inter-relationship between production and exchange
4BUSINESS UNITSi. Meaning and objectives of business
ii. Forms of business units
— Sole proprietorship,
— Partnership,
— Co-operative Societies,
— Credit Union and Thrift Societies,
— Public enterprises,
— Companies –
iii.Types, Formation, characteristics, comparison, advantages and disadvantages
iv. Sources of capital of each forms of business
v. Meaning and purpose of
– Amalgamations,
– Mergers and acquisitions
– Trust,
– Holding companies and Subsidiaries
– Consortium and Cartel
vi.Dissolution/Liquidation of Companies/Partnership.
5TRADE ASSOCIATIONSAims and functions of
i. Trade Association
ii. Chamber of Commerce, Employers Association
iii. Consumer Association/Consumerism
6BUSINESS CAPITAL AND PROFITSi. Meaning and types – Authorized/Registered/Normal capital, called- up, paid-up capital, capital owned, liquid/circulating capital
ii. Credit – Meaning, Sources, Instrument and Functions
iii. Calculation of working capital, the Importance of working capital
iv. Profits – Meaning, types and calculation of profit
v. Turnover – Meaning, calculations and factors affecting turnover.

Purpose and branches of trade –

Home Trade and Foreign Trade – Meaning &


i. Retail trade: Functions of retailer
– Factors to consider in starting a retail business
– Reasons for success/failure of retail business.
ii. Small scale and large scale retailing – Types of Retail Outlets,
– Unit shops, Stalls, Hawkers, Kiosks, Mobile shops, Supermarket, Chain Stores, Department Stores, Shopping malls, Hypermarkets and Mail Order business
The main characteristics of each.
– Advantages and disadvantages.
– Modern trends in retailing – branding, self service, Vouchers. Vending machines, credit cards.
iii. Wholesale trade – Functions of Wholesalers Types of Wholesalers. Factors. Merchant and agent Wholesalers
iv. Factor making for elimination and survival of middlemen
v. Channel of Distribution: Meaning, Types.
Factors for choice of Channel
 (b) FOREIGN TRADEi. Meaning –

Types: Import, export and entreport

ii Basic concept in International trade – terms of trade, balance of trade, balance of payment – favourable, unfavourable, visible and invisible items, bilateral and multilateral agreements and counter trade
iv. Advantages and Disadvantages
v. Barriers to Foreign trade –
vi. Tariffs – Meaning
Reason for tariffs,
vii. Functions of port and Airports Authorities, Customs and Excise Authority and Shipping, Clearing and forwarding Agents. Exports promotion Council.
8PURCHASE AND SALE OF GOODS IN HOME AND FOREIGN TRADEi. Procedure and documents used in business – Order, Indent, Consular Invoice, Ordinary Invoice, Credit/Debit notes, Proforma Invoice, Letter of hypothecation, documentary credit, certificate of origin, certificate of inspection, insurance certificate.
ii. Price Quotation – Trade discount, Cash discount, Quantity discount, COD, CWO, CIF, FOB, E & OE, Ex-works, LOCO, FAS, FOR and Franco
iii. Terms of Payment: Cash/Spot Payment, Purchase and deferred payment.
iv. Means of payment – Legal tender – (bank notes and coins), cheques, standing order, bank draft, stamps, postal-orders, money orders, bills of exchange and promissory Note, mail transfer, traveller’s cheques, telegraphic transfer. Epayment


i. Meaning

ii. Evolution/History

iii. Forms

iv. Qualities and functions.

I’m. Types of Banks – Central Bank, Commercial Banks and other specialized banks e.g. Development Bank, Mortgage Bank, Building Society, Micro finance institutions, – their features and Functions.
Bureau-de-change (Meaning and Functions)

ii. E. Banking – Meaning,
forms – ATM, Money transfer –
E Payment – online transfer

iii. Types of Accounts: Current, Savings and Fixed Deposit Account – Their main features

i. Meaning and basic principles – utmost good faith, insurable interest,
indemnity and subrogation, Contribution and proximate cause
ii. Types of Insurance

a. life Insurance

– Whole life Assurance

– Endowment

b. Non life Insurance

– Motor vehicle

– Fire

– Fidelity

– Burglary/Robbery/Theft

– Accidents

– Consequential Loss

– Marine

c. Types of Risk

E. STOCK EXCHANGE (first tier)

i. Insurable Risk e.g. fundamental risks

– Pure risk

– Particular risk

ii. Uninsurable risk

– speculative risk

d. Importance of Insurance to business and individual.
e. Procedure for taking an Insurance Policy.

f. Underwriting – meaning

g. Re-insurance – Meaning and purpose

i. Meaning

ii. Functions

iii. Methods of raising funds by companies – offer for sale, offer for subscription, rights issue, private placement, issue by tender

Second tier Security market

i. meaning and functions

ii. Advantages to Companies/Public

iii. Requirement for listing

i. Meaning and functions,

ii. Importance

iii. Transactions on the stock exchange

iv. Speculators – Meaning and Types

v. Types of Security – Shares, Stock, Bond gilt edge, debentures/Convertible loans
i. Meaning

ii. Types of tradable commodities

iii. Requirements for trading – Grading,
Standardizing, Warehousing, Clearing system

iv. Method of Trading – open outcry and electronic mechanisms
v. Benefit of Commodity exchange

(i) Meaning
(ii) Importance
(iii) Choice of transport
(iv) Forms
(a) Land
(b) Water
(c) Air
(d) Pipeline
(v) Advantages and disadvantage of each form
(vi) Documents – Waybills, Consignment note, tickets and manifest




(i) Meaning
(ii) Advantages and disadvantages

(i) Meaning
(ii) Types – Oral. Written, Visual, Non-verbal, Non-visual, Traditional,
(iii) Advantages and Disadvantages
(iv) Importance and services of Post Office
(v) Courier Agencies and other communication agencies – Telephone system, satellite services, internet- E-mail
(vi) Computer Appreciation
– meaning,
– component parts,
– advantages and disadvantages.

(i) Meaning
(ii) Importance
(iii) Functions
(iv) Types
(v) Advantages
11ADVERTISING(i) Meaning
(ii) Roles, advantages and disadvantages

(iii) Types – informative, persuasive,
Competitive, mass/specific
(iv) Methods – direct and indirect
(v) Media- meaning, choice and types


B. Marketing Concept

C. Customer Services

D. Sales Promotion
(i) Meaning

(ii) Importance

(iii) Functions
(iv) Differences between market and marketing, market and marketing research.

The Marketing mix 4ps

(i) Meaning
(ii) Components
– Products,
– price,
– place and
– promotion

(ii) Importance

Types – Pre and after sales services
(i) Meaning
(ii) Methods
Trade fairs, exhibitions, gifts, demonstration Personal Selling
Meaning Importance

Areas of law that relate to Business

Consumer Protection
i) Contract

– Meaning –

– Elements of a valid contract

– Discharge of a contract

(ii) Agency

– Meaning
– Creation
– Duties and responsibilities of principals and agents
– Termination
(iii) Sales of goods Act
(iv) Hire Purchase Act
(v) Rights and Obligations of employer and Employee
(vi) Government regulation of Business – patents,

copyright. Trade mark
(vii) Registration of Business
– Meaning and uses

(i) Meaning

(ii) Need for protection

(iii) Means of protection
(iv) Consumerism Meaning
Means, Instrument of protection

Government Legislation – food and drugs Act standard organization Act – Price Control Act – Factory, Shops and Offices Act – Product qualit
14Government policies relating to business
A. Commercialsation

B. Privatisation

C. Deregulation
(i) Meaning and Reasons
(ii) Advantages and disadvantages
(iii) Comparison/differences
i. Meaning

ii. Objectives of business

iii. Meaning of Business Management

iv. Functions

v. Business Resources

– Man, Money, Materials Opportunities/Goodwill

vi. Structure of Business organizational setup Organisational chart, Departments, Functions of each, Authority, Delegation of Authority
– Responsibility Span of Control Meanings
vii. Business and its environment Economical

– Political Competition Technological etc

viii. Social responsibility of Business to the Society

ix. Importance of Inter and Intra departmental communications



i. History

ii. . Membership

iii. . Objectives

iv. Achievements

v. Problems/Obstacles

Recommended WAEC Commerce Textbooks


  1. Senior Secondary Commerce, Book One, two, and three by M. O. Odedokun, P. C. Udokogu and C. O. N. Oguji.
  2. Basic Marketing- McCarthy Jerome, E. William Perreault Jr.
  3. Marketing – G. B. Giles ( The M & E handbook services)
  4. Consumer Behaviour – Prof. Achumba ( University of Lagos)

Frequently Asked Questions About WAEC Commerce Exam

What are the essential topics or chapters I should focus on for the Commerce exam?

All topics above are important so you should read them. This is why the syllabus was released early enough so you know what to read and what not to.

Are there any specific tips or strategies for answering multiple-choice questions in the Commerce exam?

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

What are some common mistakes students make in the Commerce exam, and how can I avoid them?

Common mistakes most candidates make while taking the WAEC exams include: rushing the exam, failing to read and understand the instructions given and most importantly not cross-checking their work. 

You can avoid these by managing your time , reading each question thoroughly, following instructions, and reviewing your answers before submitting.

The syllabus and recommended texts above are materials that will help you prepare better for your exams. Go through them.

How is the WAEC Commerce exam score calculated?

The WAEC Commerce exam score is calculated based on the total number of questions answered correctly. For the objective section which is paper one, each question carries one mark and you have 50 questions to amswer, and for the theory section which is part 2, you will have to answer 5 questions for a total of 100 marks.

How long does it take WAEC to release results?

WAEC results take 60-90 days after the completion of the overall exam.

How should I approach studying for the Commerce exam to ensure good grades?

Start by understanding the exam syllabus. Focus on key topics and concepts, and create a study schedule to cover all areas effectively. Practice solving past papers and sample questions to familiarize yourself with the exam format.


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