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WAEC Economics Syllabus

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Writing Economics in WAEC Exams

This WAEC Economics syllabus has been designed to guide you through the world of economics. It is like a blueprint, giving you the details of the key topics you are expected to come across in the exam.

This article outlines what you must study and provides the recommended texts and frequently asked questions about the WAEC Economics exam.

Economics is an important subject for all those planning to study Accounting, Economics, Banking and Finance and other social science courses in the university.  By studying the syllabus and practising your past questions regularly, you can assured that you will be better prepared for your exams and pass easily.

Marking Guide

There will be two papers – Paper 1 and Paper 2; both of which will be done in one sitting.

  • Paper 1: will consist of fifty multiple-choice questions to be taken in 1 hour for  50 marks.
  • Paper 2: will consist of eight essay-type questions in two sections: Sections A and B.

Candidates must answer four questions in all, choosing one question from Section A and any three questions from Section B.
The paper shall last 2 hours for 80 marks.

Economics Syllabus for WAEC Exams

1DEFINITION AND SCOPE OF ECONOMICSScarcity and Choice, Scale of Preference, Opportunity Cost, Production Possibility Curve. Economic activities – Production, Distribution and Consumption.
Classification of economic activities – Primary, Secondary and Tertiary and their relative contributions in terms of output/income, employment, savings, investment and foreign exchange.
2FACTORS OF PRODUCTIONLand, labour, capital and entrepreneurship- meaning, characteristics and importance.
3TYPES AND BASIC FEATURES OF ECONOMIC SYSTEMS(a) Types – capitalism, socialism and mixed economy.

(b) Basic features of each

(c) Advantages and disadvantages of each

(d) Economic problems of society and the approaches for solving them under each of the systems.
4BASIC TOOLS OF ECONOMIC ANALYSISTables, graphs and charts. Some basic statistical measures and representations – arithmetic mean, median, mode and their simple applications.
5DEMANDConcept of demand and law of demand, the demand schedules and curve, reasons for exceptional demand curves, types of demand (derived, composite, joint and competitive); factors determining demand for goods and services – price of the commodity, prices of other commodities, income, tastes, price expectation, etc.
Distinction between a shift of and movement along a demand curve; concept of elasticity of demand. Types of elasticity of demand and their measurement – price, income and cross elasticities of demand: importance of the concept of elasticity of demand to consumers, producers and government.
6SUPPLYConcept of supply and law of supply, supply schedules and curve, types of Supply – composite, complementary and competitive. Factors determining supply – input prices, technology, prices of other commodities, climatic factors, etc. Distinction between the shift of and movement along the supply curve. Concept and measurement of elasticity of supply and its importance to producers and government
7THEORY OF CONSUMER BEHAVIOURThe utility concepts- total utility, average utility, marginal utility and the calculation of utility schedules. The law of diminishing marginal utility, relationship between total utility, average utility and marginal utility. The concept of equilibrium of a consumer. Determination of consumer equilibrium. The effects of changes in price on consumer equilibrium. The relationship between marginal utility and the demand curve.
8THEORY OF PRICE DETERMINATIONThe Concept of the market; interaction between demand and supply. Price determination under free and regulated markets. Equilibrium price and quantity in product and factor markets. The effects of changes in supply and demand on equilibrium prices and quantities. Introduction to algebraic determination of equilibrium price and quantity. Price controls: maximum and minimum price regulations- meaning and their effects; rationing, black market (parallel market)
9THEORY OF PRODUCTIONProduction: division of labour and specialization: Scale of production (Internal and External economies), concept of total, average and marginal productivity and law of variable proportions.
10THEORY OF COST AND REVENUE(i) Cost concepts: total cost, average cost, marginal cost, variable cost, fixed cost; short run and long run costs.

(ii) Distinction between economist’s and accountant’s view of cost (opportunity cost and money cost).

(iii) Revenue concepts: total, average and marginal revenue; Marginal revenue Produc
11MARKET STRUCTURESConcept of a market, characteristics of various market structures, determination of price and output under different structures – perfect competition and imperfect competition (monopoly and monopolistic competition). Review of cost and revenue concepts. Price discrimination.
12BUSINESS ORGANIZATIONSTypes and basic features of business enterprises – Sole Proprietorship; Partnership, Joint- Stock companies (Private and Public), Co-operatives; Statutory Corporation, Joint ventures. Sources of funds. General and basic problems of business enterprises. Privatization and Commercialization as solutions to problems of public enterprises. Indigenization and nationalization policies.
13DISTRIBUTIVE TRADEProcess of distribution, role of producers, role of wholesalers, retailers and
co-operatives: the role of government agencies in product distribution and the problems of distribution and their solutions.
14POPULATION AND LABOUR MARKET(a) Population – determination and implication of size and growth of population, Rural – urban migration, Malthusian theory of population Geographical, age, sex and occupational distribution. Importance and problems of census. Population and economic development (under – population, optimum population and over- population).

(b) Labour Market

(i) Concept of labour force and human capital, efficiency and mobility of labour, factors affecting the size of the labour force, particularly the population characteristics (age, sex, occupation, education, etc.)

(ii) supply of and demand for labour: wage determination. Concept of unemployment and underemployment, Trade Unions, Employers’ association and Government policies on labour and wages.
15AGRICULTUREStructure (e.g. food crops, export crops, livestock, fisheries): systems of agriculture
(peasant, commercial, co-operative and state farming); importance of agriculture to the national economy: marketing of agricultural products (commodity boards). Agricultural policies (minimum agricultural prices) problems of agriculture and remedies.
16INDUSTRIALIZATIONMeaning and types of industry. Definition of industrial concepts: plant, firm, industry and industrial estates. Location of industry, localization, role of industrialization in economic development. Strategies of industrialization.
Problems of industrialization.The link between agricultural and industrial development.
17NATIONAL INCOMEMeaning of major national income concepts e.g. Gross Domestic Product, Gross National Product. Net National Product, etc. Different ways of measuring national income and their problems. Uses and limitations of national income data; trends and structure of national income.
18MONEY AND INFLATION(a) Money – definition and historical development-barter and its problems, types, characteristics functions. Supply of and demand for money, value of money and the price level.
(b) Inflation: meaning types, causes, effects and control.
19FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONSTypes (traditional, Central Bank, Commercial Bank, Development Bank, Merchant Bank, and Insurance Companies, Building Societies) : development and functions of financial institutions. Money and capital markets; meaning, types and functions
20PUBLIC FINANCEFiscal policy and objectives of public finance: Sources of government revenue. Taxation -types(direct and indirect),objectives, merits, demerits and incidence; Principles/canons of taxation; Rates of taxation(proportional, progressive and regressive) direct and indirect taxation: incidence and effects of taxes, composition/ structure of public expenditure (recurrent and capital expenditure): effects of
public expenditure. Government budget and the national debt.
21ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND PLANNINGMeaning of economic development, distinction between economic growth and development, characteristics and problems of developing countries, elements of development planning (objectives of planning, and problems of planning). Types of plans (short term, medium term, perspective or long term, rolling plan etc.).
22INTERNATIONAL TRADE AND BALANCE OF PAYMENTS(a) International Trade: differences between domestic and international trade, the basis of international trade, absolute and comparative cost advantage, terms of trade (definition and measurement) commercial policy (objectives) and instruments – tariffs (types) and direct control. Trend and structure of West African countries’ external trade.

(b) Balance of Payments: role of money in international transactions, meaning and components of balance of payments, balance of payments disequilibrium, balance of payments adjustments (exchange rate policy exchange control, monetary and fiscal policies) and financing (the use of reserves and international borrowing).
23ECONOMIC INTEGRATIONEconomic Integration (objectives, levels of and features). Development and problems of economic integration in West Africa- ECOWAS
– Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)
– Economic Commission for Africa (ECA)
– International Monetary Fund (IMF)
– International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD)
– African Development Bank (AfDB)
– United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) etc. relevance of such organizations to West African Countries.
25MAJOR NATURAL RESOURCESDevelopment of major natural resources (petroleum, gold, diamond, timber, groundnut etc) effects on West African economies (positive and negative).

Recommended WAEC Economics Textbooks

  1. Aderinto, A.A et al (1996) Economics: Exam Focus, Ibadan: University Press Plc.
  2. Black, J. (1997) Oxford Dictionary of Economics,Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  3. Brownson-oton Richard (2010) What is Micro-Economics? Niky Printing and Publishing coy.
  4. Brownson-oton Richard (2010) What is Macro-Economics? Niky Printing and Publishing coy.
  5. Eyiyere, D.O. (1980) Economics Made Easy, Benin City, Quality Publishers Ltd.
  6. Fajana, F et al (1999) Countdown to SSCE/JME Economics, Ibadan: Evans.
  7. Falodun, A.B. et al (1997) Round-up Economics, Lagos: Longman.
  8. Kountsoyiannis, A. (1979) Modern MicroEconomics, London: Macmillan.
  9. Lawal, O.A. (1985) Success in Economics, London: John Muray.
  10. Lipsey, R.G. (1997) An Introduction to Positive Economics, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  11. Samuelson, P and Nordhaus, W. (1989) Economics, Singapore: McGraw-Hill.
  12. Udu E and Agu G.A. (2005) New System Economics: a Senior Secondary Course, Ibadan: Africana FIRST Publishers Ltd.
  13. Wannacott and Wannacott (1979) Economics, New York: McGraw-Hill.

Frequently Asked Questions About WAEC Economics Exam

What is the most important thing to remember when taking the Economics exam?

The most important thing is for you to read and understand each question before you start writing your answer.

Is there any particular section of the exam that I should focus on more than others?

The theory section usually carries more marks than the other section, so make sure you give yourself enough time to answer all the questions in this section.

Do I need to memorize a lot of information for the exam?

Instead of reading to memorize,  reading to understand. That way you can be able to explain things in your own words and the official marking your scripts will know that you truly understand the subject.

What if I run out of time during the exam?

If you’re running out of time, don’t panic! Try to finish as many questions as possible and make sure your answers are as complete as possible

What happens if I don't understand a question?

If you’re unsure about a question, skip it and move on to other questions you understand and can answer. Then come back to those you don’t understand and think about it some more. Don’t spend too much time on a question that is confusing you. It’s better to focus on questions that you are more confident about.

Can I use a calculator during the exam?

Yes, you will be allowed to use a calculator.


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