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NEW THINGS ABOUT WAEC SYLLABUS ON ENGLISH LANGUAGE (1)

This examination sets out to test the different basic skills of communicating in English using the mediums of speech and writing. The examination will test the receptive and productive abilities of candidates.

These abilities will be demonstrated in the following forms: reading, comprehension, summary, vocabulary, lexis and structure, listening comprehension and recognition of different aspects of spoken English.

Aims and objectives

The objective of the syllabus is to measure the extent to which the aims of the teaching syllabuses of member countries have been realized in candidates’ secondary school career. The examination sets out to examine candidates’ ability to

(i) use correct English;

(ii) write about incidents in English that are appropriate to specified audiences and situations;

(iii) organize material in paragraphs that are chronologically, spatially and logically coherent;

(iv) control sentence structures accurately;

(v) exhibit variety in the use of sentence patterns;

(vi) comply with the rules of grammar;

(vii) spell and punctuate correctly;

(viii) comprehend written and spoken English;

(ix) recognize implied meaning, tones and attitudes;

(x) use an acceptable pronunciation that can be comprehended by others;

(xi) recognize the physical characteristics of English sounds and the letters that represent them.

(xii) pick out and summarize relevant information from set passages

Scheme of Examination

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: Will consist of eighty multiple choice questions, all of which should be answered within 1 hour for 40 marks.

PAPER 2: 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 Test of Orals for candidates in Nigeria and Liberia, and Listening Comprehension Test for candidates in the Gambia and Sierra Leone. All the questions should be answered in 45 minutes for 30 marks.

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Detailed Syllabus

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.

1. Lexis

In addition to items testing knowledge of the vocabulary of everyday usage (i.e home, social relationships, and common core school subjects) questions will be set to test candidates’ ability in the use of the general vocabulary associated with the following fields of human activity:

  1. (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.
  2. 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

The term ‘general’ vocabulary refers to those words and usage of words normally associated with the fields of human activity in A1 above which are generally known, used and understood by most educated people who, while not engaged in that field of activity may have occasion to read, speak or write about it.

Thus, for example, in the vocabulary of transportation by road, one would expect knowledge of terms such as ‘pedestrian bridge’ and ‘traffic signs’ which most educated people understand, but not ‘berm’ or ‘camber’ which are specialized.

All items will be phrased in such a way as to test the use and understanding of the required lexis, rather than dictionary definitions and explanations.

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In practice, the test of lexis will be so designed as to explore, not merely the extent of the candidates’ vocabulary but more importantly their ability to respond to sense relations in the use of lexical items e.g. synonyms, antonyms and homonyms.

In the test of figurative language, candidates will be expected to recognize when an expression is used figuratively and not only when it is used literally.

2. Structure

Structure 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 1: (For candidates in Ghana only)
This is a multiple choice objective paper comprising eighty questions which will be made up of two parts: Parts A and B.

Part A will consist of thirty lexical and twenty structured questions, while Part B will have thirty objective questions on literature. Each question will have four options lettered A to D.

1. Lexis

In addition to items testing knowledge of the vocabulary of everyday usage (i.e. home, social relationships, common core school subjects) questions will be set to test the candidates’ ability in the use of the general vocabulary associated with the following fields of human activity:

(a) Building;(b) Plumbing;(c) Fishing;(d) Finance – commerce, banking, stock exchange, insurance;(e) Photography;(f) Mineral exploration;(g) Common manufacturing industries;(h) Printing, publishing, the press and libraries;(i) Sea, road, rail and air transport;(j)

Government and politics;(k) Sports and entertainment;(l) Religion;(m) Science and Technology;(n) Power production – hydro, thermal, solar;(o) Education;(p) Communication;(q) Military;(r) Journalism and Advertising.

The term ‘general vocabulary’ refers to those words and usage of words normally associated with the relevant field of human activity in (i) above which are generally known, used and understood by most educated people, who, while not engaged in that field of activity, may have occasion to read, speak or write about it.

Thus, for example, in the vocabulary of transportation by sea, one would expect knowledge of terms such as “bridge” and “deck”, which most educated people understand but not “halyard”, “dodge”, “davit” or “thrust block”, which are specialized.

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1. 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 the consideration of the dictionary meanings of words in the structures in which they appear.

ii. Structural elements of English e.g. sequence of tenses, concord and the use of correct prepositions, matching of pronouns with their antecedents, etc. iv. Figurative Usage

All items will be phrased in such a way as to test the use and understanding of the required lexis, rather than dictionary definitions and explanations.

In practice, the test of lexis will be designed to explore, not merely the extent of the candidates’ vocabulary but more importantly their ability to respond to sense relations in the use of lexical items e.g. synonyms, antonyms and homonyms.

In the test of figurative language, candidates will be expected to recognize when an expression is used figuratively and not only when it is used.

2. Structure

Structure 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.

3. Literature

The objective questions on Literature will be as follows: 10 questions on Drama 10 questions on Prose 10 questions on Poetry

NOTE: For Prose and Drama the candidate is to study one prescribed text each.

PAPER 2: (For all candidates)

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