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WAEC Geography Syllabus

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Writing Geography in WAEC Exams

The WAEC Geography syllabus is a hidden gem many students ignore. You shouldn’t. It will guide and inform you of the topics you should focus more on.

The exam is divided into three main parts:

Physical Geography which will test your knowledge of the weather and climate situations, global vegetation patterns, etc
Human Geography where you will be asked questions on population distribution, various settlement patterns and different economic activities that shape societies, and,
Regional Geography; where e you will be tested on your knowledge of different continents; their culture, landscapes, resources, etc

You must study this syllabus and practice past questions often if you want toexcel in your exams. You can also organize study groups with your friends and brainstorm ideas. Some people learn better that way.

Marking Guide

There will be three papers, Papers 1, 2 and 3 all of which must be taken. Papers 1 and 2 will be taken at one sitting.

PAPER 1: will consist of fifty objective questions to be taken in 1 hour for 50 marks. The questions will be drawn from topics in the syllabus that are common to all the member countries. Candidates will be required to attempt all the questions.

PAPER 2: will contain nine essay-type questions out of which candidates will be required to answer four in 2 hours for 80 marks.

It will be made up of two sections; Sections A and B for candidates in Nigeria. Candidates in Nigeria will be required to attempt four questions in all, choosing two questions from each of Sections A and B.

Section A: Economic and Human Geography 

This will consist of three essay-type questions on Economic and Human Geography. Candidates in Nigeria will be required to attempt any two of them.

Section B: Regional Geography of Candidate’s Home Country

There will be a set of three essay-type questions on Regional Geography in Nigeria, Candidates in Nigeria will be required to answer two of the questions.

PAPER 3: Elements of Practical and Physical Geography

Will consist of eight essay-type questions out of which candidates are to answer four in 1 hour 50 minutes for 70 marks. Question 1, on map reading and interpretation, will be compulsory for all candidates and will carry 25 marks while the other questions will carry 15 marks each. 

Candidates are advised not to spend more than 35 minutes on Question 1. Candidates will be expected to bring graduated rulers (both metric and imperial), a complete mathematical set, a piece of string, and a simple non-programmable calculator for use during the writing of the paper.

Geography Syllabus for WAEC Exams

 WAEC SYLLABUS FOR GEOGRAPHY
SNTOPICSOBJECTIVES
 THEME
1ELEMENTS OF PRACTICAL AND PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY
Map work











*Principles of elementary surveying




**Geographic Information System (GIS)




Statistical maps and diagrams



Elements of Physical Geography




*Hydrosphere










(i) Rocks

(ii) Tectonic processes









(iii) Denudational processes



(iv) Weather and climate





(v) Climate
(a) Elements



(b) Classification



** (c ) Climate change


*(vi) Vegetation





*(vii)Soil





(vii)The environment

(a) Environmental resources


(b) Environmental problems/ hazards

(c) Environmental conservation
Maps: meaning, types and uses.
Map reading and interpretation based on contoured survey maps of parts of West Africa: scale, measurement of distances, direction and bearing, map reduction and enlargement, identification of physical features such as spurs, valleys, etc. and cultural features such as city walls, settlements, communication routes, etc.; measurement of gradients, drawing of cross profiles, inter-visibility, description and explanation of drainage characteristics and pattern; patterns of communication, settlement and land use.

Definitions of terms, instruments, chain and prismatic compass, plotting of traverse, avoiding obstacles in the field.


GIS: Basic concepts, components (hardware, software, data, procedures and experts); sources of data (land surveying, remote sensing, map digitizing, map scanning, field investigation and tabular data etc); uses (defence, agriculture, urban development, mapping, surveying, transportation, census etc), problems (power, personnel, capital etc).

Graphical representation of statistical data: Bar graphs, Line graphs, flow charts, dot maps, proportional circles, density maps, isopleth maps.

The earth as a planet in relation to the sun, latitude and distance, longitude and time, earth’s rotation and revolution and their effects, structure of the earth (internal and external).

Ocean basins, salinity, ocean current ( causes, types and their effects on the temperature of adjacent coastlands), lakes, rivers, lagoons, water as an environmental resource.


Types, characteristics, formation and uses.

Vulcanicity, earthquake, landforms: Mountains, plains, karsts and coastal landforms (formation, characteristics and importance).


Agencies modifying landforms such as weathering, mass movement, running water, underground water, wind and waves


Simple weather study based on local observation, description of the Stevenson’s screen and uses of basic weather instruments e.g. rain gauge, thermometer, barometer, wind vane etc.


Rainfall, sunshine, air pressure, wind, humidity, temperature and cloud. Factors affecting climatic elements e.g. altitude, latitude, ocean currents, land and sea breezes, continentality, aspect. Interpretation of climatic charts and data.

Major types of climate (Hot climate – Equatorial, Tropical Continental, Desert; Temperate climate – warm and cool). Classification of climate based on Greek and Koppen.

Meaning, causes, effects and remedies.


Major types (Tropical Rainforest, cool/warm temperate woodland, Tropical Grassland); characteristics, distribution, factors affecting their distribution, plant communities.
Vegetation as an environmental resource. Conservation of vegetation resources.

Definition, local types and characteristics. Factors and processes of soil formation, soil profile, importance to man and the effects of human activities on soil. Soil erosion and conservation.



Meaning, classification ( renewable and non renewable) types ( vegetation, water, mineral, atmospheric, etc ) and the importance of each.

Types (soil erosion, drought, desert encroachment, flooding and pollution), causes, effects and prevention of each.

Meaning, importance, methods, problems and solutions.
 ECONOMIC AND HUMAN GEOGRAPHY

(i) World Population


(ii) Settlement





(iii) Transportation







(iv) Industry




(v) Trade


(vi) Tourism
Factors and patterns of growth, distribution and movement, growth rate problems.

Types (rural and urban); patterns and factors affecting location; growth and size; functions of rural and urban settlements; interaction patterns( urban-rural, rural-urban, urban-urban, rural-rural); migration.

Modes (roads, railways, water, air, pipeline, cables, ropeways etc.) Transportation and economic development (movement of people and commodities, national and international trade, diffusion of ideas and technology, national integration); problems of transportation and their solutions.

Classification (primary, secondary and tertiary); types (heavy and light industry); factors of industrial location; contributions to development; problems/solutions.

Meaning, types (national and international), reasons for trade, importance.

Meaning, centres, reasons (leisure, recreation, education etc ); importance, problems and solutions.
 REGIONAL GEOGRAPHY OF NIGERIA

(a) Nigeria on broad outline

(b) Physical setting


(c) Population


(d) Resources










(e) Agriculture

(f) Transportation


(g) Communication

(h) Industry



(i) Trade



(j) Tourism



(k) Issues on development and environmental concerns



(l) ECOWAS



(m) Geo-political issues
Location, position, size, distance and political divisions. Relief, drainage, climate, vegetation

Size, distribution, structure, population quality, population movement, population data ( sources and problems/solutions)

Mineral (petroleum, gas, coal, tin/columbite, iron ore, limestone)- distribution, methods of extraction, problems and solutions)

Power (Petroleum, gas, coal HEP, solar energy) Water (rivers, lakes, dams, sea, underground water)
Vegetation (trees, food and cash crops; timber,etc)- forest, savanna, biosphere.

Types of agricultural practices, food and cash crops, importance, problems and solutions.


Mode, advantages and disadvantages, problems and solutions, influence of transportation on human activities.

Communication networks, advantages and disadvantages, importance, problems and solutions.

Definition, types, major industrial zones, factors of location, importance, problems and solutions.

Meaning, types (national and international), stock exchange, capital market, forex, major commercial areas, importance of commercial activities.

Meaning, centres, reasons for tourism, importance, problems and solutions.

Issues of Development and Environmental Conservation: Rural and regional development, resource management and conservation, environmental pollution e.g. air, water, soil, noise; waste disposal, etc.

Meaning, member countries, purposes/mandate, advantages/benefits, disadvantages, problems and solutions.


Geo-political issues-Land reclamation.
 REGIONAL GEOGRAPHY OF GHANA

(a) Ghana on broad outline

(b) Physical setting


(c) Population

(d) Settlement



(e) Primary economic activities

(i) Agriculture




(ii) Fishing









(iii) Lumbering




(iv) Mining



(f) Manufacturing



(g) Trade and commerce


(h) Tourism


(i) Energy and power





(i) Issues on development and environmental concerns
Location, position, size, distance and political divisions.

Physical environment (geology, relief, drainage, climate, vegetation and soils).

Size, growth, distribution and density, age/sex structure: fertility, morbidity and mortality, migration.
Origin, types (rural and urban), characteristics, hierarchy, land use, urbanization processes, problems and solutions.



Subsistence (intensive and extensive) commercial (vegetable, livestock, dairying, commercial grain), plantation, problems and solutions.


Inland and ocean (in-shore/off shore), methods, types of fish, storage and marketing, importance, problems and solutions.

Sources of timber, methods of exploitation, types of species

(for internal use and for export), problems and solutions, conservation.


Types, distribution of minerals, methods of extraction, importance, problems and solutions.


Types of manufacturing industries, distribution, factors influencing location of industries, problems of industrialization.

Services, transport and communication, recreation and tourism, administration.

Meaning, centres, reasons for tourism, importance, problems and solutions.

Water (Akosombo and Kpong Hydro-electric Power projects
– benefits and side effects), fuel wood and charcoal, petroleum and natural gas (Saltpond), solar, wave and wind energies (Donkokrom and Kokrobite), Biogas e.g. cow dung.


Issues of Development and Environmental Conservation: Rural and regional development, resource management and conservation, environmental pollution e.g. air, water, soil, noise; waste disposal etc.
 REGIONAL GEOGRAPHY OF SIERRA LEONE

(a) Sierra Leone on broad outline
(b) Primary economic activities (i)Agriculture



(ii) Fishing



(iii) Lumbering











(iv) Mining


(c) Manufacturing




(d) Transport and communication


(e ) Trade



(f) Population


(g) Tourism
Size and location, physical environment, people and settlements.



Meaning of agriculture, Subsistence (intensive and extensive) commercial (vegetable, livestock, dairying, commercial grain production), plantation, problems and solutions.


Meaning of fishing, Inland and ocean (in-shore/off shore), methods, types of fish, storage and marketing, importance, problems and solutions.

Meaning of lumbering, Sources of timber, methods of exploitation, types of species (for internal use and for export), problems and solutions, conservation.

Types, distribution of minerals, methods of extraction, problems and solutions.
Location of industry, types of industries, problems of manufacturing industry, Energy and Power, water, fuelwood and charcoal, biogas (e.g. cow-dung), hydro-electric power projects e.g. Dodo, Guma, Bumbuna.

Road, rail, water, air, the roles of transport and communication to economic development,( internal and external trade, diffusion of ideas and technology), problems of transport and communication, solutions.

Major commodities of trade (agricultural, manufactured goods, minerals, etc.), patterns of trade (internal and external), problems of trade.

Size, growth, distribution and migration.


Meaning, development of tourism, problems of tourism & solutions, socio-economic effects of tourism. Main tourism areas, factors responsible for its development, economic importance.
 REGIONAL GEOGRAPHY OF LIBERIA

(a) Liberia on broad outline

(b) Physical setting

(c) Population


(d) Resources


(e) Agriculture



(f) Transportation



(g) Communication

(h) Industry








(i) Trade


(j) Tourism


(k) Fishing



(l) Mining
Location, position, size, distance and political divisions. Relief, drainage, climate, vegetation and soil.
Size, distribution, structure, population quality, population movement, population data ( sources, problems & solutions)

Mineral, power, water and vegetation resources, importance of resources to development.

Types of agricultural practices, food and cash crops, importance, problems and solutions.


Mode, advantages and disadvantages, problems and solutions, influence of transportation on human activities.

Communication networks, advantages and disadvantages, importance, problems & solutions.

Definition, types, major industrial zones, factors of location, importance, problems and solutions, importance.

Meaning, types ( national and international), forex, major

commercial areas, importance of commercial activities.

Meaning, centres, reasons for tourism, importance, problems and solutions.

Meaning of fishing, Inland and ocean (in-shore/off shore), methods, types of fish, storage and marketing, importance, problems and solutions.

Types, distribution of minerals, methods of extraction, problems and solutions.
 REGIONAL GEOGRAPHY OF SENEGAMBIA

(a) Senegambia on broad outline

(b) Physical setting


(c) Population


(d) Resources


(e) Agriculture


(f) Transportation


(g) Communication


(h) Industry


(i) Mining


(j) Fishing


(k) Issues on development and environmental concerns




(l) Trade


(m) Tourism
Location, position, size, distance and political divisions.


Relief, drainage, climate, vegetation and soil.


Size, distribution, structure, population quality, population movement, population data ( sources, problems &solutions)

Mineral, power, water and vegetation resources, importance of resources to development.

Types of agricultural practices, food and cash crops, importance, problems and solutions.

Mode, advantages and disadvantages, influence of transportation on human activities, problems and solutions.

Communication networks, advantages and disadvantages, importance, problems and solutions.

Definition, types, major industrial zones, factors of location, importance, problems and solutions.
Types, distribution, methods of extraction, problems and solutions

Meaning of fishing, Inland and ocean (in-shore/off shore), methods, types of fish, storage and marketing, problems and solutions.

Issues of Development and Environmental Conservation: Rural and regional development, resource management and conservation, environmental pollution e.g. air, water, soil, noise, waste disposal etc.


Meaning, types (national and international), forex, major commercial areas, importance of commercial activities, problems and solutions.

Meaning, centres, reasons for tourism, importance, problems and solutions
 REGIONAL GEOGRAPHY OF AFRICA

(a) Africa on broad outline



(b) Selected topics
(i) Irrigation agriculture

(ii) Plantation agriculture

(iii) Oil production

(iv) Lumbering



(v) Gold Mining

(vi) Copper mining


(vii) Population

(viii) ECOWAS
Location, size, position, political divisions and associated islands, physical features and their economic importance (relief, drainage, climate and vegetation), distribution of minerals.

Irrigation agriculture in the Nile Basin and the Niger Basin. Plantation agriculture in West and East Africa.
Oil production in Nigeria, Ghana and Libya.

Lumbering in Equatorial Africa (with particular reference to Cote d’Ivoire and Zaire).
Gold mining in South Africa. Copper mining in Zambia and Zaire
Population distribution in West Africa.

Meaning, member countries, purposes/mandate, advantages/benefits, disadvantages, problems and solutions.



Fieldwork on any one of the following topics should be based on local geography of candidate’s home country. (This
aspect of the syllabus should be examined by schools as part of the continuous assessment and should account for 25% of the total mark allotted to continuous assessment).

(i) Land use (rural or urban):
rural – crop farming (e.g. rice, cocoa, etc. ) urban crop farming
mining (e.g. coal, tin, petroleum etc.), fishing. urban – commercial activities, ports, factories, recreational etc.
(ii) Market survey – rural or urban.
(iii) Traffic flow – rural or urban.
(iv) Patterns of journey to work – rural or urban.
(v) Rate of erosion in the locality, etc.
 FIELD WORKFieldwork on any one of the following topics should be based on local geography of candidate’s home country. (This
aspect of the syllabus should be examined by schools as part of the continuous assessment and should account for 25% of the total mark allotted to continuous assessment).

(i) Land use (rural or urban):
rural – crop farming (e.g. rice, cocoa, etc. ) urban crop farming
mining (e.g. coal, tin, petroleum etc.), fishing. urban – commercial activities, ports, factories, recreational etc.
(ii) Market survey – rural or urban.
(iii) Traffic flow – rural or urban.
(iv) Patterns of journey to work – rural or urban.
(v) Rate of erosion in the locality, etc.

Recommended WAEC Geography Textbooks

  1. R. B. BUNNETT & P.O. OKUNROTIFA General Geography in Diagram for West Africa.
  2. B. O. AKINDELE & G. C. LEONG Certificate Physical and Human Geography (West African Edition).
  3. STRAHLER, A. N. Introduction to Physical Geography.
  4. MONKHOUSE, F. J. Principles of Physical Geography.
  5. UDO, REUBEN K. Comprehensive Geography of Tropical Africa.
  6. UDO, REUBEN K. Geographical Regions of Nigeria.
  7. N. P. ILOEJE A new Geography of Nigeria (New Edition).
  8. M. A. ABEGUNDE et al Senior Secondary Geography Series
  9. OBOLI, H.O.N. An outline Geography of West Africa.
  10. PRITCHARD, J. M. Africa
  11. DUZE & AFOLABI OJO Macmillan Senior School Atlas.
  12. PHILIPS World Atlas.
  13. CLARY AUDREY N. Longman Dictionary of Geography (Human and Physical).
  14. MOORE, W. E. A Penguin Dictionary of geography
  15. N. P. ILOEJE, P.C. ONOKALA & F.O. ODEMERHO Basic Geography Course for Senior Secondary Schools Books 1-3.
  16. MACMILLAN Macmillan Senior School Atlas for Liberia Schools.
  17. Guiness, P. & Nagle, G. IGCSE Geography

Frequently Asked Questions About WAEC Geography Exam

What topics should I focus on the most for the WAEC Geography exam?

Focus on all topics listed in the syllabus. They all have the same level of importance.

How should I prepare for the essay section of the exam?

Study your past questions to understand exam style and expectation. Pay attention to how the essay questions are being answered and practice yourself without looking at the answers.

Are there specific map skills I need to know for the exam?

Familiarize yourself with map drawing and labeling as you may be asked to draw a few maps and identify specific locations or landmarks.

How can I improve my score in the objective section of the exam?

Continuous practice is the key. Practice solving objective questions from your past questions to familiarize yourself with the question format.

Will there be any practical activity or fieldwork required for the exam?

No. There will be no fieldwork or practical exam.

What should I do if I encounter difficult questions during the exam?

Stay calm and focused. Start by answering the questions you already know and leave the ones you don’t know the answer to till you are done with the entire exam.

What are the best study materials and resources for preparing for the WAEC Geography exam?

The syllabus and textbooks recommended above, and past questions booklet are the best materials to use for your study.

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