It's easy to trivialize the English Language in SSCE given that it's our everyday language in school, as well as Nigeria's lingua franca.

Despite this, many SSCE candidates still end up with underwhelming results in their English Language exams due to their rather nonchalant attitude towards learning and practising adequately.

This begs the question, "How can I pass the English Language in my SSCE and is it something difficult?" Not quite! As complicated and multifaceted as the English Language appears to be, its examination is the easiest in which you can attain an "A", provided you apply the best study routines.

Speaking of study routines, you'll find the best way to go about it in this study guide for the English Language in SSCE such as WAEC, NECO, and GCE.

You'll also learn how to brush up on the core elements of the English Language in your exams, some of which are your diction, comprehension, and calligraphic skills.

Continue reading to find out!

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Typical Workload for English Language Candidates in WAEC

SSCE WAEC English Language Examination
Create time daily to study for your WAEC English Language Examination. Photo Credit: Unsplash

As deliberated earlier, the English Language is multifaceted, thus the exam is typically divided into three papers. Paper 1 will is laced with multiple-choice questions amounting to 80 or 100, depending on the exam year.

WAEC changes the number of questions regularly; therefore, there's no exact number of questions to expect. Either way, all questions will amount to 40 marks.

Paper 1 will test a candidate's ability to,

  • Read and understand factual content
  • Respond to uses of English expressions in reflecting and revealing attitudes, emotions, as well as sentiments
  • Find an apt substitute for set phrases and words
  • Deduce and make inferences from the passages in the question papers

If the above requirements are anything to go by, you have to bring yourself up to speed on lexical and structural items, as well as your understanding of the vocabulary of everyday usage.

You can attain these with consistent practice and the use of the recommended resources for the English Language, many of which we'll deliberate on later in this article.

When it comes to Paper 2 of WAEC English, this is where your knowledge is put to the real test as you'll be tasked with writing an essay, article, letter, or report. Thankfully, they're optional, thus requiring you to write only one of them.

However, ensure to pick the one you'll be able to put into words excellently. Don't let the topic deceive you into writing what you're not adept at; focus more on the relevance of ideas and writing style to the topic and its target goal and audience.

In addition, ensure your writing, regardless of the type you pick from the options, has the following:

  • Mechanical accuracy in regards to grammar, spelling, and punctuation
  • Good paragraphing, sufficient arrangement of ideas, and other organisational features
  • Articulate expression and control of vocabulary
  • Intelligible sentence structure

To attain this level of mastery in preparation for your English Language SSCE, read different types of write-ups, as well as passages in your textbooks, and pay attention to their diction, tone, and structure.

Lastly, Paper 3, which denotes your final sitting for the day, focuses on oral English. It is a tricky yet easy one if you prepare enough. There are three alternatives for this paper, the third of which is for Nigerian candidates only. The other two are for private and school candidates in Gambia and Sierra Leone.

Given this, we'll be focusing on what's obtainable in Alternate C, which is the option for Nigerian candidates. Here, you'll have to answer 60 questions, each of which tests your knowledge in a wide range of areas in English Language orals.

Some of the questions you'll come across are based on:

  • Consonants
  • Vowels, including diphthongs and pure vowels
  • Intonation patterns and emphatic stress
  • Rhymes
  • Phonetic symbols
  • Syllable structure

As discussed earlier, you'll need consistent practice and the right study resources to imbibe what is required in your syllabus and pass well enough. You'll find some helpful ones in this article.

Exam Boards Assessing English Language at SSCE Level

Senior secondary school exams
Your WAEC English Language Examination is a compulsory subject that must be passed at the senior secondary level of education. Image Credit: Unsplash

There are various exam bodies responsible for assessing SS3 students for their Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE).

The West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) is usually the default for most secondary schools, but there are also NECO and NABTEB for students to sort after in their education.

WASSCE is usually targeted at school candidates, that is SS3 students. And the examination body WAEC has provision for another exam termed the General Certificate of Education (GCE).

This one is targeted at external candidates who are pursuing an SSCE certificate outside the confines of a secondary school setting.

Likewise, National Examinations Council (NECO) is an alternative for WAEC, and they also have GCE for external candidates. On the subject of how they set their English Language exam questions, there are a lot of similarities to that of WAEC.

Therefore, there's barely anything that needs changing in your study practices and resources.

Lastly, National Business and Technical Examinations Board (NABTEB) is another exam body that assesses students in the English Language. While it's mainly for technical high school students, your command of the Queen's language will be put to test greatly.

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Study Resources for the English Language in SSCE.

Whether you're sitting for the English Language in WASSCE, NECO, or NABTEB, you need to use relevant resources to prepare ahead, in addition to the ones stipulated in your syllabus.

Speaking of study resources to use, conventional secondary school textbooks such as Essential English and Modern English would suffice. With the plethora of passages that abound therein, these books will help you brush up on your diction and comprehension skills.

It's also important to beef up your vocabulary by randomly picking up a word or two from the dictionary daily. This will come in handy when you're faced with the synonyms and antonyms sections of paper 1 in your English Language Exam.

Thankfully, you can simplify this practice by using a dictionary app on your smartphone.

Most importantly, the best way to grasp the full structure of your English Language exam and practice accordingly is to go through the past questions from previous years in Nigeria.

WAEC and other exam boards have a penchant for repeating questions from previous years, therefore you'll most likely come across some of the questions you studied again.

Alternatively, you can head over to Myschool Nigeria and use their Past Questions & Answers section to tackle questions from previous years in a CBT style. If your overall score improves after consistent practice, it means you're making progress and should keep up with it.

Best Practices for Using Resources Adapted to SSCE/WAEC English Language Exam

Admittedly, it can be sometimes difficult to grasp what you're studying, especially if you consider the fact it's based on unseen texts. However, with the right study practices, you can make still make the most of your prep time.

You might want to start by reading your textbooks thoroughly. Yes! By 'thoroughly', we mean the length and breadth of your stipulated English textbook. By so doing, it'll become quite easy for you to grasp the ideas communicated in any past questions you inquire into later.

Another important thing to consider is the various styles of texts, from journals to articles, letters, and essays. Inquire into different books to take note of their linguistic properties.

If you want to become a member of the A-Club, note that consistency is key. At no point in time should you veer off your study plans in favour of something irrelevant? Have a study timetable and ensure to stick to it.

Most importantly, when going through past questions from previous years, learn from them to imbibe the concepts and ideas, as well as how to tackle the various English topics set therein.

While memorizing might work for some people, note that it's not a healthy practice and shouldn't be your priority.

Lastly, if you're having difficulties with concentration while studying, you'll find apps such as Focus To-Do helpful.

Focus To-Do uses an old timing technique known as Pomodoro to help keep you focused. With it, your study time will be broken into four 30-minutes intervals, each of which ends with a 5-minute break except the last one with a long break of 30 minutes.

Use this technique regularly and it'll eventually grow on you.

One-on-One Help for SSCE Candidates in Their English Language Exams

WASSCE
You can prepare for your English exam or any other subjects by hiring the services of a private tutor.  Image Credit: Unsplash

While some students would depend on 'expo', which is a common practice amongst Nigerian SS3 students, to pass their exams, you are advised to steer clear of it as it's not good for your education in the long run and you can be implicated when caught in this act.

If you're serious about getting an A in your English Language exam and will need a helping hand to make things easier, why don't you consider the services of a private tutor?

An English Language tutor will bring you up to speed on everything in your English Language syllabus and also let you in on the best practices for seeing your exams through. Thankfully, you can find one easily on Superprof.

Superprof connects SS3 students/exam candidates with tutors in any subject, and you can get them to teach in the comfort of your home or online.

Services on the platform are relatively affordable, and starting from at least ₦500 per hour, depending on your tutor, you can begin learning directly from a professional. Even more, you may get the first hour of your lesson for free.

 

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Damilola

A seasoned writer with sublime experience in various niches, Damilola is creative in his craft. He's a permanent/guest writer on websites in the heath & fitness, business, tech, pets, and entertainment industries. As a freelance writer with years' experience, he harnesses his expertise well, breaking down information in the simplest terms for common readers.