This is what you need to know about how the folks at WAEC set their WASSCE questions every year.
I’m about to reveal to you some WASSCE industry secrets that you may never have heard before. And they will shock you!
Especially if you’re one of those Senior High School students or WASSCE candidates who are so suspicious of WAEC that they hold on to the unhelpful notion that the people at the West African Examination Council are just out there to get them.
Because that is not true.
The folks at WAEC are simply performing their duty. A very sacred duty: preparing future leaders who will be knowledgeable and skillful enough, and with a high sense of integrity to contribute their quota to the nation-building effort.
Therefore WAEC WASSCE questions are generally meant to test each candidate’s level of knowledge, their skill set and their level of intellectual and moral integrity.
To test you effectively, your WAEC examiners need to ask questions that will not only assess your ability to memorize textbook facts and reproduce them – as a robot would do.
The WASSCE questions should also find out if you have adequately understood what you learnt. And more importantly, your WAEC examiners would want to know if you can apply your knowledge to deal with everyday real life issues.
Therefore, this is the duty that guides examiners at WAEC. This is what informs the kind of questions they come up with. And this is what you need to bear in mind as you study diligently for your upcoming WASSCE.
It is now going to be easy for you to use, to your advantage, the secrets about how WAEC set their WASSCE questions.
The secrets behind how WAEC set their WASSCE questions
Use this knowledge about how WAEC examiners set their WASSCE questions to strategize for your success in all your WASSCE papers.
Disclosure: The points I am about to make here are not obtained from any WAEC source – authorized or otherwise. They are simply deduced from my two-decade-long practice of successfully preparing candidates with varying levels of talent and potential for the WAEC/WASSCE examination.
We can now move on.
1. Direct textbook questions have become too predictable.
Popular, predictable questions tend to promote rote learning. Their repeated use tends to produce lazy students, and sometimes teachers, who are only good at the mechanical reproduction of facts without even knowing what they mean.
So your next WASSCE question will be asked in what appears to be a completely strange manner but will ask for the same facts that you studied in the same syllabus.
Take these two Christian Religious Studies or Bible Knowledge questions, for example.
- Describe the contest on Mount Carmel.
- What religious tensions came up during the reign of King Ahab?
You see? Obviously, if you’re a CRS or BK student, you will be familiar with the story of Prophet Elijah and the prophets of Baal during the time of King Ahab.
So both questions are asking for basically the same thing!
While question number one above is so predictable and is commonly taught by most tutors, question number two is not that obvious.
This is why you need to cultivate the skill to know that there are lots of ways WAEC can set questions to test for just one particular knowledge or skill.
2. WASSCE questions now test the candidate’s in-depth study of topics.
If it is one of those WASSCE Literature-in-English questions on Amma Darko’s novel, Faceless, for example, your WAEC examiners are very interested in knowing whether you really studied the full text into detail.
So, instead of asking you the obvious, Discuss the role of the Adade family (or Kabria), they will ask the unpredictable, Comment on the role of Creamy in the novel.
And here too, both questions demand almost the same answer.
Let’s look at this example from Richard Wright’s novel, Native Son as well.
Discuss the theme of fear in Native Son.
The above question has become too predictable. There are lots of resources, both online and offline, devoted to the theme of fear and others in Native Son. So a student may decide to avoid reading the full text and just read these for the examination.
To make you do what the Literature-in-English syllabus expects you to do – study the full text diligently – WAEC will go out of their way to ask you instead:
Why did Bigger Thomas kill Bessie?
In fact, it is the theme of fear that you’re being asked to write about, through the back door, so to speak!
3. More and more WASSCE questions are becoming applied questions.
Have you really understood what you have studied and memorized? Can you identify its applicability in new or strange, real-life situations?
The folks at WAEC seem to be getting more interested in these questions. This is what I have found out from my years of studying, at close range, their WASSCE questions.
Gone are the days of rote learning. And for me, that’s heartwarming to know.
Just take a look at these two likely WASSCE Economics questions.
- What effect will an increase in the demand for beef have on the price of hides? Illustrate your answer with a diagram.
- With a diagram, explain the concept of joint supply. How does the demand for jointly supplied goods influence the determination of prices?
While question number two above looks more like the theory type of question, the first one is likely to be asked to test your understanding of that theory.
4. Every part of the syllabus matters in the examination.
WAEC examiners appear to have realized that there is too much focus on some so-called senior class topics to the detriment of their “form one” counterparts.
To let both teachers and students know that all topics in the syllabus are important, WAEC will spring some surprises here and there as it pleases.
So in your WASSCE Government question paper, for example, you will be shocked (which should, in fact, not be the case) to see on full parade your “form one questions” which you had ignored during your studies.
Form one: Outline five differences between a nation and a state.
Senior level: Distinguish between unicameralism and bicameralism.
Mind you, I’m not saying that the so-called senior level questions are being ignored by WAEC. No. What I’m telling you is that you need to treat all parts of the subject syllabus with equal seriousness.
Surely, you do not want to suffer any heartbreaking disappointment.
I’ve seen it too often to warn you with all there is in me.
5. What you studied is always there.
Unless you did not study or prepare well enough.
This last secret behind WAEC WASSCE questions should be a source of encouragement and hope for any serious candidate.
WAEC will never set questions which are based on topics outside your subject syllabus. So all you should be doing right now is to take into consideration all I have been telling you so far as you prepare for your WASSCE.
Then there is a very good chance that you will do well. I wish you success in your WASSCE.