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WAEC English Language Syllabus

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Writing English Language in WAEC Exams

English Language is one of the four important subjects of the WAEC examinations and without a pass in it, you cannot gain admission in any university in Nigeria.

This exam will test your writing skills, your ability to use correct English and punctuate properly.

You will also be asked questions based on a comprehension passage where you may be asked the grammatical functions of some words.

You must study both your syllabus and past questions because you will learn a lot about the exams.

Marking Guide

There will be three papers –  

Papers 1, 2 and 3, all of which must be taken. Papers 1 and 2 will be a composite paper to be taken at one sitting.

PAPER 1 (For candidates in The Gambia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Liberia only): Will consist of eighty multiple choice questions; forty lexical and forty structural questions. Each question will have four options lettered A to D and should be answered within 1 hour for 40 marks.

PAPER 2  (For all candidates): Will consist of five essay topics and a passage each to test candidates’ comprehension and summary skills. Candidates will be expected to write an essay on one of the topics and answer all the questions on the comprehension and summary passages. The paper will last 2 hours and carry 100 marks

PAPER 3: Will consist of sixty multiple-choice items on the Test of Orals for candidates in Nigeria and Liberia and the Listening Comprehension Test for candidates in the Gambia and Sierra Leone. All the questions should be answered in 45 minutes for 30 marks.

English Language Syllabus for WAEC Exams

 PAPER 1: (For candidates in The Gambia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Liberia only)

This is an objective/multiple choice paper comprising eighty questions: forty lexical and forty structural questions. Each question will have four options lettered A to D.
ALEXISI.. (a) Building and Building Construction;
(b) Agriculture;
(c) Fishing;
(d) Stock exchange;
(e) Health;
(f) Environment;
(g) Culture, Institutions and Ceremonies;
(h) Law and Order;
(i) Motor Vehicles and Travelling;
(j) Government and Administration;
(k) Sports;
(l) Religion;
(m) Science and Technology;
(n) Animal husbandry;
(o) Advertising;
(p) Human Internal Body system and function.

II. Idioms, i.e. idiomatic expressions and collocations (e.g. ‘hook, line and sinker’, ‘every Tom, Dick and Harry” etc.) the total meaning of which cannot be arrived at simply by consideration of the dictionary meanings of the words in the structures in which they appear.

III. Structural elements of English e.g. sequence of tenses, matching of pronouns with their antecedents, correct use of prepositions etc.

IV. Figurative Usage
BSTRUCTUREStructure here includes:

(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, etc.
 PAPER 2: (For all candidates)

The paper will be divided into three sections: Sections A, B and C. Candidates will be required to spend 2 hours on this paper.
AESSAY WRITINGThe topics will demand the following kinds of writing:

(i) letter;
(ii) speech;
(iii) narration;
(iv) description;
(v) argument/debate;
(vi) report;
(vii) article;
(viii) exposition;
(ix) creative writing.

Marks will be awarded for:
(i) Content: relevance of ideas to the topic;
(ii) Organization: formal features (where applicable), good paragraphing, appropriate emphasis and arrangement of ideas;
(iii) Expression: effective control of vocabulary and sentence structure;
(iv) Mechanical Accuracy: correct grammar, punctuation, spelling etc.

The minimum length will be 450 words.
BCOMPREHENSIONThe 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 sentiments/emotions/attitudes;
(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.

The passage will be chosen from a wide variety of sources all of which should be suitable for this level of examination in terms of theme and interest. The passage will be written in modern English that should be within the experience of candidates. The comprehension test will include at least four questions based on (ii) above.
CSUMMARYCandidates 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: Oral English
ATEST OF ORALSThe test will also be of the multiple-choice objective type consisting of sixty questions on a wide range of areas or aspects of Orals as contained in the syllabus.
The test will cover the following areas:

1. Vowels – pure vowels and diphthongs;
2. Consonants and clusters;
3. Rhymes;
4. Word stress/Syllable Structure;
5. Emphatic Stress/Intonation Patterns;
6. Phonetic Symbols

Recommended WAEC 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
  8. Grant, N. J. H, Nnamonu, S. Jowitt, D. (1998). Senior English Project 3, (New Edition) Harlow: Longman
  9. Idowu, O. O, Sogbesan, T. S, Adofo, A. K. Burgess, D. F and Burgess, L. J. (1998). Round-up English: A Complete Guide, Lagos: Longman
  10. Idris, U. (2001). Oral English at Your Fingertips for Schools and Colleges, Lagos, M. Youngbrain Publishers
  11. Igiligi, E. C. and Ogenyi, S. O. (2010) Grammar and Composition in the G.S.M. Age, Enugu: Joe Hills Production Services
  12. Jauro, L. B. (2013). Oral English for Schools and Colleges: A teaching and Learning Approach, Yola: Paraclete Publishers.
  13. Nnamonu, S. and Jowitt, D. (1989). Common Errors in English, Lagos: Longman
  14. Obinna, M. F. (2001). University Matriculation Use of English,(Fourth Edition) Port Harcourt: Sunray Books Limited
  15. Ogunsanwo, O. Duruaku, A. B.C, Ezechukwu, J and Nwachukwu, U. I (2005). Countdown English Language, (Revised Edition), Ibadan: Evans
  16. Olatoye, S. (2006). The Silent Teacher, Ado-Ekiti: Segun and Sons Enterprises
  17. Oluikpe, B. O. A, Nnaemeka, B. A, Obah, T. Y, Otagburuagu, E. J. Onuigbo, S. and Ogbonna, E. A. (1998). Intensive English for Senior Secondary School 3, Onitsha: Africana – FIRST Publisher.
  18. Tomori, S. H. O (2000). Objective Tests for School Certificate English: Practice in Lexis, Structure and Idiom (Reprinted Edition), Ibadan: Heinemann
  19. Ukwuegbu, C, Okoro, O., Idris, A. U., Okebukola, F. O. and Owokade, C. O. (2002). Catch-up English for SSCE/UME, Ibadan: Heinemann

Frequently Asked Questions About WAEC English Language Exam

How many questions will I answer in the WAEC English Language?

The WAEC English exam is divided into 3 papers. Papers 1 and 3 will be multiple choice questions and you will be given a total of 140 questions; 80 questions in paper 1 and 60 in paper 3

In paper 2, you will be given a list of topics to write on and a comprehension passage to answer.

What should I do on the day of the exam to perform well?

Stay calm and pay attention to the instructions. Do not panic whenever you see a question you don’t know. When you get confused about a question, raise your hand and ask the invigilator for clarifications.

How can I create a study schedule to cover all the syllabus topics?

Draw up a reading timetable for all the subjects you will be taking in the WAEC exams.

Does WAEC punish candidates for examination malpractice?

Yes, if any candidate is caught cheating in the exam he or she will be punished for examination malpractice. Leading to cancellation or withholding of the result.

What is the required grade to get admitted into any University?

You must have at least credits in your five (5) core subjects to gain admission into any university including Mathematics and English Language.

How can a candidate collect his/her certificate?

School candidates are to collect their certificate from the school where they write the exam.

Private candidates are to obtain their certificates from WAEC directly.

Are there any specific topics that are heavily tested in the exam?

All the topics in the syllabus above are important and you will be tested on them.



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