WEST AFRICAN SENIOR SCHOOL CERTIFICATE EXAMINATION- ENGLISH LANGUAGE SYLLABUS ( Nigeria Only)
THE SCOPE OF THE SYLLABUS
This examination sets out to test the different basic skills of communication 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 English speech.
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
(iii) organize materials in paragraphs that are chronologically, spatially and logically coherent;
(iv) control sentence structures accurately;
(v) exhibit variety in the choice of sentence patterns;
(vi) comply with the rules of grammar, spelling and punctuation;
(vii) comprehend written and spoken English;
(viii) recognize implied meaning, tones and attitudes;
(ix) use an acceptable pronunciation that can be comprehended by others;
(x) isolate and summarize relevant information from set passages.
Candidates will be required to take three papers. Total marks for the three papers will be 220 marks for The Gambia and Sierra Leone and 200 for Nigeria.
PAPER 1: 2½ hours – Essay Writing, Comprehension and Summary – 120 marks
PAPER 2: 1 hour – Multiple Choice questions (Lexis and Structure) – 50 marks
PAPER 3: 45 minutes – Test of Orals – 30 marks (for Nigeria only).
WEST AFRICAN SENIOR SCHOOL CERTIFICATE EXAMINATION- ENGLISH LANGUAGE-DETAILED SYLLABUS
PAPER 1: This paper will be divided into three sections (A, B and C).
SECTION A: ESSAY WRITING (50 marks)
Candidates will be required to spend 50 minutes on this section. There will be five questions in all and candidates will be required to answer only one question.
The questions will test candidates‟ ability to communicate in writing. The topics will demand the following kinds of writing:
(ix) creative writing.
Credit will be given for
(i) Content: relevance of ideas to the topic and its specified audience and purpose;
(ii) Organization: formal features (where applicable), good paragraphing, appropriate emphasis and arrangement of ideas;
(iii) Expression: control of vocabulary and sentence structure;
(iv) Mechanical Accuracy: grammar, punctuation and spelling.
The minimum length expected will be 450 words.
SECTION B: COMPREHENSION (40 marks)
Candidates will be required to spend 50 minutes on this section. The section will consist of two passages each of about three hundred (300) words. Candidates will be required to answer questions on the two passages.
The questions will test the candidate‟s ability to
(i) find appropriate equivalents for selected words and phrases;
(ii) understand the factual content;
(iii) make inferences from the content of the passages;
(iv) respond to uses of English expressions to 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 passages will be chosen from a wide variety of sources all of which will be suitable for this level of examination in terms of theme and interest. The passages will be written in modern English that will be within the experience of candidates. The comprehension test will include a total of three questions based on (vi) above in any one paper.
SECTION C: SUMMARY (30 marks)
Candidates will be required to spend 50 minutes on this section. The section will consist of one prose passage of about five hundred (500) words and will test the candidate‟s ability to
(i) extract relevant information;
(ii) summarize the points demanded in clear, concise English;
(iii) present a summary of specific aspects or portions of the passage;
(iv) avoid repetition, redundancy and extraneous material.
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 2: This is an objective/multiple choice paper comprising 100 questions: 40 lexical and 60 structural items. Each question/item will have four options lettered A to D.
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 candidate‟s ability in the use of the more general vocabulary associated with the following fields of human activity:
I. (a) Building;
(d) Finance – commerce, banking, stock exchange, insurance;
(f) Mineral exploitation;
(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;
(m) Science and Technology;
(n) Power production – hydro, thermal, solar;
(p) Transport and Communication;
(r) Journalism and Advertising.
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 noun referents, use of correct prepositions.
IV. Figurative usage
By “more general” vocabulary is meant those words and usages of words normally associated with the field of human activity in question 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.
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 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 testing of figurative language, candidates will be expected to recognize when an expression is used figuratively rather than literally.
Structure here is used to include:
(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, articles, determiners, prepositions, etc.
PAPER 3 ORAL ENGLISH (30 marks)
This paper will test candidates‟ knowledge of Oral English.
ALTERNATIVE C: TEST OF ORALS (For School and Private Candidates in Nigeria)A
Test of Orals format is a multiple-choice paper of 60 items testing a wide range of areas or aspects of Orals as contained in the syllabus.
The Test of Orals will cover the following areas:
(1) Vowels – pure vowels and diphthongs;
(2) Consonants (including clusters);
(4) Word Stress/Syllable Structure;
(5) Emphatic Stress/Intonation Patterns;
(6) Phonetic Symbols.
The items to be tested in the specified areas are in accordance with the following blueprint:
SECTION/AREA/FEATURE/NO. OF ITEMS
1.Test of Vowels-15 (10 pure vowels, 5 diphthongs)
2.Test of Consonants-15
3.Test of Rhymes-5
4.Test of Stress (4 – Syllable word)-5
5.Test of Stress (2/3 – Syllable word)-5
6.Test of Emphatic Stress/Intonation-5
7.Patterns in Sentences-10 (5 vocalic and 5 consonantal)
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