For those who have just finished secondary school, it is only natural they want to further their education by getting into universities, Colleges Of Education or polytechnics.

At that juncture when a student is in SS3 and wishes to go onward, exams are his/her primary concern, of the exams, the English exams is the most worrisome as you won’t go anywhere without passing it.

The English language is the official language of the country so it stands to reason it is a compulsory subject in most national exams. Students scrape every piece of knowledge from their textbooks and notebooks to prepare for the English exams.

The requirements for applying for admission into a tertiary institution is that you have to have a minimum of C5 or C6's in at least 5 subjects in your O’level result, including maths and English.

You will present it along with your JAMB result. JAMB is only eligible for a year, so every time you need to re-apply to a university you will have to re-sit for JAMB.

JAMB is the sole matriculation exam in Nigeria and it is designed to test your knowledge on the subjects you are writing, and it’s used as a standard to determine if a student will be admitted or not, but you can beat the odds if by being well prepared. A cut-off mark of 180 for universities and 160 for polytechnics is used.

So the points from your JAMB result will determine your fate. To ensure that you have a more favourable one, make time to prepare for your English exams before it is too late.

JAMB English has four sections, they are the passage section, lexis section, structure section and oral form section. All four of them form part of the JAMB English exams.

We will be looking at the lexis section in this write-up, and while we are at it, we have thrown in a few tips on JAMB English exam preparation.

Students who prepared for the English exams ahead of time often come out happy.
Students who prepared for their JAMB English exams ahead of time often come out elated. Source:

What Is Lexis?

Lexis is simply all the words in a language, in all its forms, tenses, and variations. So the lexicons of the word drink, are drunk, drunkard, drinking, drinker, drinks, drunkards. . . you get the gist.

According to the Oxford learner’s dictionary lexis means “all the words and phrases of a particular language” That is an acute description.

Lexis is often confused with grammar, some might even say they are used interchangeably at times. Studying all the forms of a word and knowing when and where to use them is a bit of a grammar thing, but a bit of a lexis thing too, that’s how they are related.

Even the word lexis itself has several forms, there is lexicon, lexicology, lexiconic, lexical, lexically, lexicalize, lexicality, lexicographer, lexicography, lexicographically, etc.

Responding To JAMB Lexis Section

The lexis section makes up a considerable number of the questions asked in JAMB English.

You should expect to answer questions on grammatical functions and patterns, and you should be able to tell mood, tense, concord, aspect, number, degree (which consists of positive, comparative and superlative) and also question tags.

Expect to be asked questions from all these categories of English grammar, the JAMB lexis section will contain them and they will be used to test your knowledge of the English language and lexicons.

When answering JAMB English questions you will come across some fill in the blank questions, select the correct word/words in the sentence type of questions, and probably some questions asking you to identify a certain type of word, is it a noun, a verb, adjective or what?

Tick the right answer from your computer screen. If you are not familiar with the JAMB Computer-Based-Test (CBT) software or you are not adept at using computers, then for your English exam preparation we recommend you download the Computer-Based-Test software.

Or visit any of the numerous websites offering free CBT tests to familiarize yourself with the exams before going to your exam center.

Search for affordable English lessons on Superprof NG.

Lexis And Structure Sample Questions

In Questions, 26 to 34 choose the option nearest in meaning to the underlined.

26. The story has to be taken with a grain of salt. This means that

A. you need some salt to listen to the story.

B.there is no salt in the story.

C.the story is questionable

D. the story is true

E .you have too much salt in the story.

27. It is usually hard to change the course of action when one crosses the Rubicon. The underlined expression, as

used in this sentence, means to

A. pass through a place called Rubicon

B .cross a river called Rubicon

C .cross a bridge called Rubicon

D .pass a special test

E. be irrevocably committed.

Learnt to start practicing with JAMB past questions.
Learnt to start practicing with JAMB past questions. Source:

28. The saleman tried to pull the wool over my eyes. This implies that the salesman tried to

A. force me to buy his goods

B .offer me cotton wool

C .make me buy his wool

D .dupe me

E .cover my eyes with wool.

In Questions 35 to 70 choose the expression or word which best completes each sentence.

35. After the initial confusion, the Manager’s suggestion

brought.... to the depressed investors.

A. a glitter of hope. B. a glimmer of hope.

C. a sparkle of hope D. a raise of hope E. a shower of hope.


36. The farmer has brought the insecticide because he was

bent on … the insects in his farm.

A. exterminating B. estimating C. extenuating

D. extinguishing E. exemplifying.


37. The young lady decided to…

A. do away with the many advices given by her relatives

B .reject all the advices given by her relatives

C .reject all the advice given by her relations

D .take to all the advices given by her relations

E .eject all the advices given by her relatives.

(JAMB Use of English 1986)

How To Prepare For JAMB English Exams

Read Past JAMB English Q&A

Past question and answers give you an insight into the examination you are about to embark on, you will see how the questions are set and become acquainted with the JAMB English exams, but most importantly, you get to read the answers to JAMB questions that can potentially appear in the exam, because most of the questions are repeated from previous years.

If you are lucky, some of the questions and answers you read will reappear when you are writing JAMB.

Hence, find past Q&A's and read them, the sample questions from above were gotten from past questions from previous JAMB exams. You can download past Q&A from various Nigerian education websites. Or buy one at a local bookshop or library near you.

Download The JAMB CBT Software

If you don’t know how to use the JAMB software, you will end up asking the supervisors too many questions, which will invariably eat up most of your time, and JAMB IS A TIME SENSITIVE EXAM.

Once it’s time, the computer just logs you out, without warning. To avoid unnecessary delays and that kind of scenario, download the CBT Software and practice with it, it helps tremendously with letting students prepare for the JAMB English exams.

The more you practice with it the more adept you become at using the software and the more time you will save in the exam hall. Now, you have a chance to finish on time.

If for any reason you can’t download the CBT software because of the lack of space on your computer system or because of something else, you can always take the test online, it’s free.

Attend Extra Lessons

School administrators realize their students are a bit distraught when they are about to write their final year exams, which includes JAMB, WAEC, and NECO, so most schools in this situation organize extra lessons for the exam candidates.

Don’t miss out on these lessons, because it’s not like you are taking all the subjects all over again after school is supposed to have closed, only the most important subjects are covered, English, maths and occasionally some of the sciences.

Extra school lessons help you learn faster, you will be revising old lesson topics and be engaged with some light classwork. During the lesson period, the teachers often help out even more by revisiting topics you didn’t understand during normal school hours.

On Superprof, you could find reputable English teachers online.

You have the chance to revisit old class notes during extra lessons.
You have the chance to revisit old class notes during extra lessons. Source:

The lessons give you more practice time with your friends, the class environment helps you to focus, if you were studying alone it may prove difficult.

Start practicing your oral forms with these tips for the JAMB English exams, and learn more about fiction and nonfiction texts.

Get Your Revision Materials

Your exam timetable, your English textbooks, and other reading materials for the JAMB English exams should be ready weeks before the exam.

This exam may only take two hours, but it decides if a person is going to be admitted or not into a university. English exam preparations need to be done as early as possible, from the time of the JAMB registration to the actual exams, you will have months to prepare before then.

Set up your revision timetable, get your reading materials, practice with the CBT software, start attending lessons, and probably hire an English tutor, these will be of big help to you for your English exam preparations.

Read up on how to pass the JAMB English passage section.

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Hafiz is a freelance writer who has an appetite for creativity and smart tech. He also dabbles in poetry.