If you majored in Arts in secondary school, you'd agree that Literature in English is an integral part of any student's education in that department.

In addition to the many perks that come with studying this prestigious subject, it compels you to be a wordsmith and helps you deduce texts from a different angle.

Before you go bouncing off the walls thinking you can tackle your exam questions like a piece of cake in one fell swoop, it's worth knowing that SSCE/WAEC English Literature is a whole different ball game.

Questions are set in an unprecedented manner — if it's your first time – and the dynamism infused in the prose, drama, and poetry questions will put you to a real test.

But don't fret if your SSCE/WAEC English Literature examination is imminent. The guide in this article will help you scale through as you'll learn the exam question pattern, the right resources to study with, and how to get extra help outside of your stipulated syllabus.

Read on below to find out!

Here's a guide to your English Language and Literature exams!

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Typical Workload for English Literature Candidates in their SSCE

WAEC English Literature
The more time you spend practising your English literature before your WAEC, the better your chances of a successful result. Image Credit: Unsplash

The workload for English Literature candidates in SSCE has pretty much remained the same over the last few years, with a few bells and whistles constantly added to spice things up a little and push candidates to their strengths.

Be that as it may, one of the things to expect are loads of African and Non-African literary works, many of which come in a scattershot manner, especially in the objectives section of the exam.

Speaking of sections, you'll be tasked with three papers, two of which are composite and will be taken in one sitting.

Paper 1 is your typical multi-choice objective test, and it has 50 questions distributed as follows:

  • Twenty questions based on the general understanding of English Literature
  • Five questions on an unseen poem
  • Five questions on a short prose passage
  • Twenty context questions based on the stipulated Shakespearean literary art

While these 50 questions are laced with four options each, it's however important to discern the concept from each before attempting it.

Conversely, Paper 2 in SSCE English Literature is theoretical and usually divided into two sections. Section A will explore African prose while Section B will touch down on Non-African prose.

This is why you should never trivialise the prescribed novels in your syllabus as they are the key to seeing these sections through.

Two essay questions will be set from each of the stipulated novels in your syllabus. Read them thoroughly and, if possible, over again. Thankfully, WAEC has a knack for assigning epic, repeat-worthy novels, so this shouldn't be a problem. Richard's Wright Native Son is a notable example.

Once you've taken Paper 1&2 in one sitting, the rest boils down to Paper 3, which is the paper that explores the drama and poetry components of your Literature in English syllabus. This one is also divided into sections, albeit four this time. They are as follows:

  • Section A: African Drama
  • Section B: Non-African Drama
  • Section C: African Poetry
  • Section D: Non-African Poetry

Each of the above sections will carry two questions from each of the stipulated poetry and drama texts in your syllabus.

When it's all said and done, adequate practice is the key to scaling through any of the questions you're faced with in your exam. Ensure to inquire into the prescribed prose, drama, and poetry publications in your syllabus to imbibe as much as possible before your exam kicks off.

Exam Boards Assessing Literature in English at SSCE Level

When it comes to the boards assessing and setting the questions for you at Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE) level, there are different types of them in Nigeria, with the West African Examination Council (WAEC) being the most popular one.

The other two are National Examinations Council (NECO) and National Business and Technical Examinations Board (NABTEB).

This begs the question, is there any difference in the English Literature questions set by these exam boards? Not quite!

Each board follows the Nigerian secondary school curriculum as a blueprint to set their questions, with the only noticeable difference coming in how they structure their questions.

Their exam syllabuses are similar, so you would barely need to increase your workload if you're considering writing for literature in English under two different exam boards.

Like the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE), other exam types also have provisions for the General Certificate Examination (GCE), which is another type of SSCE targeted at external candidates. GCE doesn't restrict you within the confines of a school setting.

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Revision Materials for SSCE Literature in English

SSCE WAEC English Literature Examination
Use your spare time wisely by getting acquainted with all the literary terms in your English Literature subject in preparations for your WAEC. Image Credit: Unsplash

Other than the recommendations in your Literature in English syllabus, you can beef up your practice by using extra resources and PDFs, most of which you can download for free on the internet to pass your English exam.

On the subject of extra resources, the first comes in form of a section of a website with which you can interact. You can get this by heading to Myschool Nigeria to use their Past Questions & Answer Page. The page is CBT-styled and intuitive to help students practice.

In addition, you can walk into any bookstore around you and pick a Past Questions & Answers book for your English language exams.  It helps students get insights into questions from previous years and ultimately get answers to each from the book's last pages.

Lastly, you can harness concentrated books such as Exam Focus or a WASSCE English Literature PDF to streamline your study and get an intelligible breakdown of the poetry, drama, and prose prescribed in your syllabus.

How to Effectively Study Literature in English

Ss3 students learning English Literature online
You can prepare for your WAEC English literature exams by hiring the services of a private tutor. Image Credit: Unsplash

It's one thing to get the precise books and study resources for your WASSCE; it's another to effectively use them to assimilate as much information as possible. The following tips will help you practice in that regard:

  • Start studying for your SSCE early if you want to pass your exam. Don't wait till your exam comes knocking before picking up your books to practice
  • Once you read a poem, inquire into past questions based on it to get an idea of what to expect. This trick will also help you understand the poems better.
  • Get acquainted with as many literary terms as you can, from synecdoche to alliteration, hyperbole, simile, etc. You'll get a list and definition of each of them from the textbook Exam Focus. You can also download a good Literature PDF
  • Download and use Pomodoro to stay focused when studying. It's a good timing technique that breaks your study/work hours into four intervals, each with a 5-minute break. You can get this if you download the Focus To-Do app on your smartphone.
  • Lastly, ensure to study in quiet environments devoid of distractions. If this isn't feasible during the day, study late into the night for good results.

How to Get Help with Your SSCE English Literature Exam from a Private Tutor

If you're having difficulties assimilating anything from your study resources, don't despair as it isn't your fault. Some of us need one-on-one lessons with a private tutor to be able to grasp anything we're taught.

Speaking of one-on-one lessons, you can register under an English Literature expert/tutor on Superprof. Superprof connects Nigerian students with competent tutors in their field to help them excel in their education and exams.

If you'd fair better with this approach, head over to Superprof and get in contact with one of the Literature tutors. You can get tutors to come to teach you at home or take classes with them online.

The online option is the most sorted after as it's more convenient for a tutor and their student.

With just your laptop/mobile phone and a stable internet connection, you'll be up and running in no time. In addition, the online lesson will be held via social apps such as Skype, Zoom, or WhatsApp. You can download any of these on your mobile device.

Regardless of the learning option you pick, the first hour of your lessons is usually free, after which subsequent ones will come at a fee starting from as low as ₦500 per hour, subjective to your tutor's charges.

These revision resources will help you in your SSCE/WAE.

Career Prospects in English Literature

As an Arts student, if your penchant for Literature is beyond the confines of a classroom setting, then it's only wise to take it a step further. This you can do by brushing up on your oratory and calligraphic skills, which are an integral part of becoming a seasoned writer.

A career in Literature will open up the doors to many opportunities, one of which is pitch deck writing which sees you using the art of words to compel prospects to invest in a business.

You can even write and publish your work of poetry via platforms such as Amazon Kindle. The possibilities are endless!

 

 

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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.