After publishing my article on how to prepare and pass WAEC examination, some persons requested that I should post an article that explains how to answer WAEC questions perfectly. Well, first and foremost, it is pertinent to note that there is no ultimate way to answer any WAEC question. It largely depends on the particular subject you are writing. Take for instance, the way to answer WAEC English questions is slightly different from the way you can answer WAEC Mathematics questions.
Consequently, in this article, what I will be sharing with you are the general rules and tips you need to answer WAEC questions. Trust me, if you are taking the impending WAEC examination, this article will be of great help to you. I therefore enjoin you to keep reading carefully and make sure you grasp everything contained in this work.
Before we continue, it is also important that you know what WAEC examination looks like and the way WAEC questions are structured. So below are some few things you need to know about WAEC examination.
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What you should know about WAEC examination
As you may know, WAEC stands for the West African Examination Council. It is an examination body that started in 1952, with the aim of fostering education in Africa particularly. Currently, WAEC examination is written in five different African countries, namely:
- Sierra Leone;
Like every other examination bodies, WAEC has a particular structure for asking questions. First, you must note that all WAEC examination is hand written (Including practicals). Usually, 60 compulsory objective questions will be asked, and candidates will have the option to answer 3 out of 6 optional essay questions. For science courses like Biology, Chemistry etc, a separate date is usually fixed for their practicals.
In WAEC practicals, candidates are usually asked to identify, describe or label some items and put it down in their answers script. Again, candidates can be asked to practically work with some items to produce a particular result.
Top 10 (Ten) Rules for Answering WAEC Questions
Below are the tips for answers WAEC questions:
1. Always answer easy questions first: This trick does not only work for WAEC. It works for almost every examination. Answering easy questions first is something that will not only help you answer questions correctly, it will help you to save more time. When answering WAEC questions, there is no doubt that you are going to meet questions that require more time, and sometimes you may not even know the answers.
In that case what you have to do is to quickly skip the question and move to the one you know better. This will go a long way to help you pass your WAEC examination.
Obviously, there is a time limit in every examination. In the case of WAEC, it is usually 2hour, 30minutes. Now, if you do not manage your time properly, you might end up not answering even the questions you know. So! Whenever you meet a question that is not familiar, just skip it to the next question. It will help you a lot.
2. Do not write in the magin line: This is a warning that is usually stated in WAEC answer booklet, to ensure that candidates stay away from margins, but many candidates ignore this. The truth is that, aside from reading and preparing to pass your WAEC examination, you also have to pay attention to instructions.
The reason is because, while some WAEC officials may take it lightly when they see such errors, some will not. A teacher in my secondary school, who also work for WAEC stated it openly to me that, if he sees the script of any WAEC candidate that does no follow simple instructions, he is going to fail that candidate.
The truth is that, you might be lucky if your script falls in the hands of a good WAEC official. However, it is advisable to always avoid margin lines if you really want to pass WAEC examination.
3. Read questions carefully: You might think that your reading skill is perfect but it is not, especially in times when you are in tension. Reading carefully is another tentative secret to answer WAEC questions correctly. This is so because, sometimes, you can make little mistakes that can cause you to totally fail your exams. I am saying this because I had the same problem during my WAEC examination.
In my own case, the question was: “Discuss three systems of government that has not been practiced in Nigeria before”.
While I was reading that particular question, I didn’t see the “NOT”, so I kept on answering mention and discussing those systems of government that has been practiced in Nigeria.
I didn’t actually notice the error until I finished the examination. When I eventually found out that I made a mistake, I began to cry because that was one of the questions I knew how to answer very well.
So you see; it is very important to carefully read your questions before answering them. I am sure you don’t want this same thing to happen to you. Just make sure you read every question, at least, twice before answering.
4. Answer objective questions first: This is not something that everybody supports, but i actually support it and that is why i am stating it here. Even though essay questions usually have more marks, it is very important that you answer objectives first. The reason is because, sometimes, the answers of those essay questions are already in the objective part.
Consequently, by answering objective questions, you will have more ideas on what you are expected to do in some essay questions.
Trust me; this is a trick many students don’t know. The truth is that, some WAEC objective questions are repeated in essay form. That is exactly why you need to answer objectives first.
Meanwhile, while you are doing that, try to answer objective questions as fast as you can because, if you waste too much time on objectives, there will be nothing left for essay questions.
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5. Use Capital letters when required: You might think it is actually useless, but it is not. Some WAEC officials take it very seriously. So, wherever you are required to write in capital letters don’t hesitate to do so. Just like I have stated before, WAEC does not only assess your ability to answer questions correctly. They also want to know whether you can keep to instructions.
Don’t fall for that little trick. Make sure you write your name and subject in capital letters. It may not be important to anyone marking you script, but it will keep you on a safer side.
6. Shade your answers, don’t tick: Don’t make the mistake of ticking the answers to your objective questions because you are putting yourself in great danger. Recently, WAEC started using a machine to mark objective questions. This is actually a welcome development for the examination body because it will make results to be processed on time.
Nonetheless, candidates that fail to tick or fail to shade their answers properly are at risk because the machine will not notice it.
So, to keep yourself in a safer side, make sure you shade your objective answers very well. It is advisable to use HD pencils because they work better in this kind of situation. Even WAEC recommends this type of pencil too. Doing this will also help you in the impending WAEC examination.
7. Avoid unnecessary cancellations: Students must also understand that WAEC Examination isn’t just a test of the things you know but a test of your accuracy and how you are able to rectify your mistakes. Consequently, you must try your best to avoid mistakes. This will show that you are meticulous when reading before attempting the questions.
Another reason why you must avoid mistakes is because, making too many mistakes may wrongly prove the fact that you copied in the examination or that you were engaged in gross examination malpractice that didn’t go well. This will make it hard for the person making your examination script to even believe you know what you are doing.
So, try as much as possible to avoid mistakes. Even if you make a mistake and you think it is very bad, demand for another examination paper (if you have time).
8. Make sure you provide your exam details: Failure to provide your personal exam information like your name, seat number, examination number etc is a serious one and can make any candidate to fail that particular examination and that is why you must take note of this even before you start the exam.
Once the time for the exam is up, you may not have the opportunity to put down those details and the external supervisor may not allow for that too. So you want to make sure you provide all the information needed before you start. Go through the pages of your answer sheet and make sure you fill the forms correctly and in capital letters. Also make sure you enter the date too. This will help to show the date the examination was written and it will help you to avoid any unnecessary problem that may occur in the future.
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9. Do not Give in to Exam Anxiety: Above all, it is important for you to understand that WAEC examination anxiety is a physiological response associated with your fight-or-flight response.
Reading properly and resetting the nervous system are the best ways to deal with it. Take four breaths in, then let out eight breaths out. Breathing out twice as long as in helps reset the nervous system and provide a sense of calm, even for just two or three cycles. Trust me, this works like magic so you want to make sure you try it out before starting your examination.
10. Avoid Exam Malpractice: Exam malpractice must be avoided in order to uphold academic integrity and guarantee an impartial evaluation procedure. Behaving dishonestly damages the reputation of educational institutions in addition to impeding personal development. Though in Nigeria people tend to normalize it. There is no doubt that you can totally jeopardize your success in the impending WAEC examination just by engaging in examination malpractice and getting caught.
You should prioritise careful planning, time management, and asking for help when necessary in order to follow ethical standards. Adopting an honest stance promotes a healthy learning atmosphere and builds trust between teachers and students. Choosing integrity above shortcuts is still one of the greatest ways to take exams when pursuing knowledge.
Now that you know the 8 rules for answering WAEC questions, I will share with you some tricks that will go a long way to help you answer your questions perfectly. Note that the things shared here are not known by everyone. So I advise that you share this article with every WAEC candidate you know.
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How to Approach WAEC Questions
Believe it or not, WAEC questions can be very tricky sometimes. And as you may, know WAEC has a marking scheme which must be followed in answering WAEC questions (if you want to get your full marks).
Take for instance, if WAEC says that you should “LIST and EXPLAIN“, it means that there is a mark for listing and there is a mark for explaining. So you have to take cognizance of these little tricks. As we continue I will share with you some of the ways to tackle WAEC questions when you see them.
LIST and EXPLAIN: If a WAEC question says that you should list and explain, don’t make the mistake of only explaining. There is definitely a mark for listing and another mark for explaining. When you are listing, make sure that the list is numbered. Again, if you are explaining, make sure you fill, at least, 4 – 5 lines.
Take for example:
WAEC Question: List and explain 5 causes of corruption in Nigeria.
You: The causes of corruption in Nigeria are:
3. Lack of patriotism
4. Lack of political awareness
5. Tribalism and Favoritism
After listing the causes of corruption like the one above, you can then proceed to explaining them. To get your full mark, it is important that you explain each of them in details.
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MENTION: This is a one of the institutions that get many WAEC candidates confuse. In most cases candidates will start discussing and explaining irrelevant things that can even reduce their marks. That is not the right way to tackle questions that requires you to mention.
To MENTION means to discuss briefly. You don’t need to start telling stories that does not concern you. Take for example, if WAEC question says, “MENTION the causes of corruption in Nigeria“, you don’t need to list again.
Just go ahead to mentio and give little details about the causes of corruption in Nigeria.
DESCRIBE: This is usually asked in WAEC CRS, IRS or science practical questions. If you are asked a question that requires you to describe, kindly write down everything you know about the question in an orderly manner.
However, if this kind of question is asked in CRS or IRS WAEC examination, make sure you tell the story in the question. Take for example, if the question says:
“Describe the event that led to the death of John the Baptist”
Here, you are required to tell the story about what exactly led to the death of John the Baptist. Please don’t tell the whole life story of John the Baptist. Just restrict yourself to that part that concerns his death.
HIGHLIGHT: If you are asked to HIGHLIGHT in WAEC examination, it means that you should briefly examine. Don’t tell stories! Just go straight to what you were asked to highlight and hit the nail on the head.
DEFINE: Most times many WAEC candidates DESCRIBE instead of DEFINE when they are asked to define. Well, they are not the same. When you are asked to define, it means that you should explain precisely. It can also mean to determine with precision.
In short, just make sure to explain what you are asked to define very precisely and make sure that all the relevant keywords are mentioned in your definition. It is worthwhile to note that a definition is not supposed to be too long. So, try to be as short as you can.
In conclusion, it is worthwhile to know that the more you write in any examination, the more you will expose your ignorance. I therefore enjoin you to always limit yourself to the questions asked. Don’t be too overzealous. If you are asked to explain something, just do what you are asked and move to the next question. By so doing, you will be able to save more time and get your full marks. Hope this article was helpful? I believe you now know everything you need to answer your WAEC questions perfectly.
Edeh Samuel Chukwuemeka, ACMC, is a lawyer and a certified mediator/conciliator in Nigeria. He is also a developer with knowledge in various programming languages. Samuel is determined to leverage his skills in technology, SEO, and legal practice to revolutionize the legal profession worldwide by creating web and mobile applications that simplify legal research. Sam is also passionate about educating and providing valuable information to people.