WAEC Syllabus for English 2024

WAEC Syllabus for English

Studying for the English Language exam? The WAEC Syllabus for English 2024 is your go-to study tool. It’s packed with goals, notes, and the format for the exam.

Think of it as your roadmap to exam success. Without it, preparing for the exam is like farming without tools – not very effective.

Why is the syllabus important? It gives you a clear idea of what to study. It outlines key concepts you need to focus on. Don’t skip it!

This post not only provides the English Language syllabus but also recommends textbooks approved by the West African Examination Council (WAEC).

Got questions or thoughts? Drop them in the comments section – I’d love to hear from you!

About WAEC English Language 2024

The WAEC English Language exam aims to evaluate your fundamental communication skills in both speech and writing. It assesses your ability to understand and express ideas effectively.

You’ll be tested on various aspects, including reading, comprehension, summarization, vocabulary, language structure, listening comprehension, and recognizing different aspects of spoken English.

The exam focuses on both your ability to receive and produce information, providing a comprehensive evaluation of your language skills.

Aims and Objectives of the Syllabus

This syllabus has specific goals in mind, aiming to assess how well students have grasped the teaching syllabuses of their respective countries throughout their secondary school education.

Examination Objectives:

  1. Use of Correct English: Evaluate candidates’ proficiency in using proper English.
  2. Effective Writing: Assess the ability to write about incidents in English suitable for specific audiences and situations.
  3. Organized Composition: Measure the skill to organize material in paragraphs that are coherent chronologically, spatially, and logically.
  4. Sentence Structure: Test the accuracy in controlling sentence structures.
  5. Variety in Sentences: Evaluate the ability to exhibit variety in the use of sentence patterns.
  6. Grammar Rules: Assess adherence to the rules of grammar.
  7. Spelling and Punctuation: Check for correctness in spelling and punctuation.
  8. Comprehension Skills: Evaluate the comprehension of both written and spoken English.
  9. Recognizing Implied Meaning: Assess the ability to recognize implied meanings, tones, and attitudes.
  10. Pronunciation: Test the use of acceptable pronunciation that others can understand.
  11. Phonetics: Evaluate the recognition of the physical characteristics of English sounds and the corresponding letters.
  12. Summarization: Assess the capability to pick out and summarize relevant information from given passages.

Examination Structure

The examination consists of three papers, and candidates are required to take all three. Papers 1 and 2 are composite papers to be completed in a single sitting.

Paper 1: Multiple-Choice Questions

  • Format: Eighty multiple-choice questions.
  • Time Allotted: Candidates must answer all questions within 1 hour.
  • Scoring: The paper is worth 40 marks.

This paper aims to assess candidates’ understanding across various aspects, using a multiple-choice format for a quick evaluation.

Paper 2: Essay Writing, Comprehension, and Summary


  • Five essay topics.
  • Each essay topic accompanied by a passage to assess comprehension and summary skills.


  • Choose one essay topic to write an essay.
  • Answer all questions related to comprehension and summary passages.

Duration and Score:

  • The paper is scheduled for a duration of 2 hours.
  • The paper is worth a total of 100 marks.

In this paper, candidates will showcase their essay writing abilities by selecting one topic from five options.

Additionally, their comprehension and summary skills will be evaluated through questions related to passages provided.

The total time allocated for this paper is 2 hours, and the paper holds a weightage of 100 marks.

Paper 3: Test of Orals (Nigeria and Liberia) / Listening Comprehension Test (Gambia and Sierra Leone)


  • Sixty multiple-choice items.
  • Test of Orals for candidates in Nigeria and Liberia.
  • Listening Comprehension Test for candidates in the Gambia and Sierra Leone.

Time Allotted and Scoring:

  • Candidates should answer all questions within 45 minutes.
  • The paper is worth 30 marks.

Paper 3 is designed to evaluate different language aspects based on the location of the candidates. For those in Nigeria and Liberia, it focuses on the Test of Orals, while candidates in the Gambia and Sierra Leone undergo the Listening Comprehension Test.

The examination duration for this paper is 45 minutes, and it contributes 30 marks to the overall assessment.

WAEC Syllabus for English 2024

Paper 1: Objective/Multiple Choice (For candidates in The Gambia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Liberia only)

This paper consists of eighty questions, divided into forty lexical (vocabulary) and forty structural (grammar) questions. Each question will present four options labeled from A to D.

Lexis (Vocabulary):

Questions cover everyday vocabulary related to home, social relationships, and common school subjects.

Test candidates’ ability to use general vocabulary associated with various human activities, including:

Building and Building Construction

  • Agriculture
  • Fishing
  • Stock Exchange
  • Health
  • Environment
  • Culture, Institutions, and Ceremonies
  • Law and Order
  • Motor Vehicles and Traveling
  • Government and Administration
  • Sports
  • Religion
  • Science and Technology
  • Animal Husbandry
  • Advertising
  • Human Internal Body System and Function

Idioms (e.g., ‘hook, line, and sinker,’ ‘every Tom, Dick and Harry,’ etc.)

Emphasis on understanding usage in specific contexts rather than dictionary definitions.

Structural Elements: Focus on aspects like sequence of tenses, matching pronouns with antecedents, correct use of prepositions, etc.

Figurative Usage: Evaluation of candidates’ ability to recognize figurative language and distinguish it from literal usage. Testing sense relations, including synonyms, antonyms, and homonyms.

The term ‘general’ vocabulary pertains to words commonly used and understood by educated individuals, even if they are not directly involved in a specific field of activity. The goal is to assess not just the extent of vocabulary but also the ability to use words contextually.

For instance, in the field of road transportation, candidates should recognize terms like ‘pedestrian bridge’ and ‘traffic signs’ but may not be expected to know specialized terms like ‘berm’ or ‘camber.’

The lexis test is designed to explore the ability to respond to sense relations in the use of words, while the figurative language test evaluates candidates’ proficiency in recognizing expressions used figuratively.

Structure in English Language

When we talk about structure in English language, we’re referring to:

Patterns of Changes:

  • Indicating number, tense, degree, and other modifications in word forms.

Word Combination Patterns:

  • How different categories of words consistently come together to form groups.
  • These groups, in turn, combine to create sentences.

Use of Structural Words:

  • Involves the appropriate use of words like conjunctions, determiners, prepositions, etc.

In essence, understanding structure means grasping the rules governing how words transform, how they group together to build meaningful units, and the correct usage of structural words that contribute to the coherence of sentences. It’s about recognizing the patterns that make language clear, effective, and grammatically correct.

Paper 2: Essay Writing (For all candidates)

This paper is structured into three sections: A, B, and C, and candidates are expected to allocate 2 hours to complete it.

Section A: Essay Writing (50 marks)

Candidates will dedicate 50 minutes to this section. There will be five questions, and each candidate is required to answer only one question.

The questions aim to assess candidates’ ability to communicate effectively in writing, covering a variety of writing styles such as:

  • Letter
  • Speech
  • Narration
  • Description
  • Argument/Debate
  • Report
  • Article
  • Exposition
  • Creative Writing

Assessment Criteria: Marks will be awarded based on the following criteria:


  • Relevance of ideas to the topic.


  • Formal features (where applicable)
  • Good paragraphing
  • Appropriate emphasis and arrangement of ideas.


  • Effective control of vocabulary and sentence structure.

Mechanical Accuracy:

  • Correct grammar, punctuation, spelling, etc.

Minimum Length:

  • Candidates are expected to write a minimum of 450 words.

This section not only evaluates the depth of understanding of the topic but also emphasizes the ability to structure thoughts coherently, express ideas effectively, and adhere to the conventions of written English.

Section B: Comprehension (20 marks)

Candidates should allocate 30 minutes to this section, which includes one passage of at least three hundred and fifty (350) words. All questions related to the passage must be answered.

The questions aim to evaluate candidates’ ability to:

  • Find appropriate equivalents for selected words or phrases.
  • Understand the factual content of the passage.
  • Make inferences from the content.
  • Comprehend English expressions reflecting sentiments, emotions, and attitudes.
  • Identify and label basic grammatical structures, words, phrases, or clauses, explaining their functions in context.
  • Identify and explain basic literary terms and expressions.
  • Recast phrases or sentences into grammatical alternatives.

The chosen passage will be diverse in its sources, suitable for this level of examination in terms of theme and interest. It will be presented in modern English, within the experience of the candidates. The comprehension test will consist of at least four questions based on the points mentioned above.

Section C: Summary (30 marks)

Candidates are required to dedicate 40 minutes to this section, involving one prose passage of about five hundred (500) words.

The questions in this section will assess candidates’ ability to:

  • Extract relevant information from the passage.
  • Summarize points in clear, concise English, avoiding repetition and redundancy.
  • Present a summary of specific aspects or portions of the passage.

The chosen passage will be selected from various suitable sources, including excerpts from narratives, dialogues, and expositions covering social, cultural, economic, and political issues globally.

Paper 3: Oral English (30 marks)

This paper assesses candidates’ knowledge of Oral English, with two alternatives:

Listening Comprehension Test (For candidates in Ghana, The Gambia, and Sierra Leone):

This section consists of sixty multiple-choice objective questions covering:

  • Consonants, consonant clusters, vowels, diphthongs, stress, and intonation patterns in dialogues and narratives.

Sections breakdown:

Word-Final Voiced-Voiceless Consonants: Isolated words focused on word-final voiced-voiceless consonants, with possible inclusion of consonant clusters.

Vowel Quality Test: Evaluation of vowel quality in isolated words.

Vowel Quality and Consonant Contrasts: Assessment of vowel quality and consonant contrasts in isolated words.

Optional Section (Selected from the Following):

  • Test of vowel and/or consonant contrasts in sentence contexts.
  • Test of vowel and consonant contrasts in isolated words (chosen from a list of at least four-word contrasts).
  • Test of vowel and consonant contrasts through rhymes.

Rhyme Test: Evaluation of rhyming patterns.

Comprehension of Emphatic Stress: Assessment of understanding emphatic stress.

Understanding of Longer Dialogues and Narratives: Test of comprehending the content of extended dialogues and narratives.

Note: CD players will be used for the administration of the Listening Comprehension Test.

Oral English: Test of Orals (For candidates in Nigeria and Liberia)

This test, presented in a multiple-choice objective format, comprises sixty questions covering various aspects of Orals as outlined in the syllabus. The areas covered in this test include:

Vowels: Pure vowels and diphthongs.

Consonants and Clusters: Examination of consonants and their combinations.

Rhymes: Evaluation of rhyming patterns.

Word Stress/Syllable Structure: Assessment of word stress and syllable structure.

Emphatic Stress/Intonation Patterns: Analysis of emphatic stress and patterns of intonation.

Phonetic Symbols: Understanding and interpretation of phonetic symbols.

This test aims to comprehensively assess candidates’ proficiency in various aspects of oral English, covering the pronunciation of vowels and consonants, rhyming, stress patterns, and the use of phonetic symbols.

Also Read: 2024 WAEC English Questions And Answers Expo

WAEC English Language 2024 Recommended 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.


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