Top 6 Comprehension Past Questions and Answers (PDF)

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I’ve got some really cool comprehension past questions and answers I know you would love to have.

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You must know that the answers I’ve given you are not sacrosanct. In fact, there are many other ways to putting the same answers.

You must however bear it in mind that it is only your words and expressions which may change. The points being made in each answer cannot change.

Enough of the introduction talk. Let’s have your WASSCE Comprehension past questions and their recommended answers.

Read the following passages carefully and answer the questions on them.

Passage 1.

Among the Akan communities of Ghana, when you sneeze, people you have never met, complete strangers, say ‘Life to you” – Nkwa. The superstition is that the soul escapes from the body when one sneezes. To say, ‘Life to you’ is an earnest wish for the soul to be restored.

Examples abound to show that although we live in a technologically advanced age, superstition is as widespread now as it has ever been. Consider the following instances of superstition. Some people consult soothsayers or fetish priests before any undertaking. An athlete, although he has trained intensively, credits his victory to a mere article of clothing. A particular T-shirt first worn on the day of triumph, becomes a charm thereafter. Such a piece of cloth is never to be washed for fear that some of the magical powers of the charm might be washed away. A student uses a certain pen for an examination and passes well. Thereafter, he views the pen as a ‘luck’ object.

A superstitious mind believes that certain objects, places and animals bring luck. Some people will embark on enterprises only on certain dates and under the influence of superstition will act against their better judgment, instincts or consciences. The case of the chain letter, which is a letter that is sent to several persons with the request that each sends copies to many others aptly illustrates this. The one who passes on such a letter is promised good luck, whereas the one who breaks the chain is supposed to experience ill-luck.

Is superstition really harmful? Some people might dismiss this question or deny the dangers associated with superstition. Nonetheless, it can lead to unpleasant consequences. Take for instance, the case of Mma Kema who lived in a village where she bought and sold chicken. Her enterprise was lucrative. Believing that she could have her profit multiplied, she once took all her money to a fetish priest who it was believed had spirits which could do virtually anything for anybody. The priest put her money into a big envelope and asked her to leave it beside a black pot in his shrine.

Mma Kema was asked to come back for her money after seven days. Very early on the appointed day, she enthusiastically hurried to the shrine, oblivious of the morning dew on the grasses along the path. The priest handed a bag to her and instructed her to bury it in her shop for three days. She did exactly as she had been ordered. The three days looked like a century. When she finally opened the envelope she saw plain papers in it. In a frenzy, she rushed to the shrine to complain about her discovery only to find out that the priest had disappeared.

  1. Give two instances of superstition from the second paragraph of the passage.
  2. What is the writer’s attitude towards those who believed that objects can bring luck?
  3. What does the story of Mma Kema illustrate about superstition?
  4. How would you describe the character of the fetish priest?
  5. What was Mma Kema’s state of mind during her second visit to the shrine?
  6. …….. although he has trained intensively…..

i) What is the grammatical name for this expression as it is used in the passage?

ii) What is its function in the sentence?

  • as a ‘luck’ object.

Why is the word luck enclosed in inverted commas?

h) For each of the following words underlined in the passage, give another word or phrase which means the same and can replace it in the passage:

 i     restored

  1. triumph
  2. enterprises
  3. harmful
  4. lucrative
  5. oblivious

RECOMMENDED ANSWERS

a) i) Some people consult soothsayers or fetish priests before embarking on any project.

ii) Athletes believe that their T-shirts can possess certain magical powers which will help them to perform well.

b) He pities them.

c) Superstition can be counter-productive

d) He is a swindler( or a trickster)

e) She had very great expectations.

f) i) Adverbial clause of concession

  ii) It is modifying the verb, “credits”

  1. It is to show that “luck” is not a completely suitable word or idea to be associated with an ordinary pen.

h )

  1. restored – regained/returned
  2. triumph – victory
  3. enterprises – undertakings/projects/ventures
  4. harmful – dangerous/counter – productive
  5. lucrative – profitable
  6. oblivious – unmindful

Passage 2

The holiday was super, whichever way you look at it. The traffic in Accra Central was extremely heavy. All types of vehicle, many of which should have been in the fitting shop, were on the road, loaded with passengers and all sorts of items- biscuits, mattresses, bicycles, dresses, shoes and many more.

It was good opportunity for the business-minded to sell all manner of goods. There was corned beef from no known country of origin. Biscuits and cakes baked from sugar and expired flour were everywhere. There were also many dresses made from fabrics suitable for only cold climates. Those who could not buy new clothes bought from the second-hand clothing market, euphemistically called ‘bend-down boutique’. Of course, they could not try them on in the open, so their necks provided the ‘tape measure’. I was to learn later, to my utter surprise, that if the waist of a pair of trousers or a skirt could go around one’s neck it would fit one’s waist perfectly! Trust the folks for finding ingenious and practical solutions to their problems.

A sorry sight was that of animals. Livestock were dragged mercilessly, their bleating and struggle ignored by their masters. Dizziness was felt by those animals that had to hang on to the carriages on top of vehicles, fighting for space with goods. Their owners, definitely, did not care whether they were afraid of height. Chickens and ducks also became dizzy from being held face down. Sometimes, they had to sweat the journey out from black polythene bags with their heads popping out through little holes so that they could have a gasp of fresh air. No wonder some zealous Christians believe that Christmas has lost its piety and religious flavour.

The struggle to get in and out of the city centre was fierce. Taxi drivers had a field day; their word was law. One had to charter the taxi, what they called ‘dropping’, or get stuck. However, some passengers broke the ‘law’. The price? They had to make their journeys on foot. The other way out was to set off early, about 3.00 a.m. By so doing, one could easily catch a bus or taxi and be charged the usual fare.

The bars also did serious business as revelers ate and drank various kinds of liquor with careless abandon, amidst the blaring of music from big, black loud-speakers. After the holiday, some of them suffered from hangover and indigestion while others hardly had anything to eat. The annual churchgoers were dressed to kill in their best-brand new or second-hand-as they performed the ritual of attending the last church service of the year. As usual, some churches made a windfall as collection was fatter than normal.

  1. According to the writer, why was the traffic heavy?
  2. …….Christians believe that Christmas has lot its piety and religious flavour.

According to the writer, what has brought about this belief?

  • Mention two unpleasant consequences of eating and drinking during the holidays.
  • ……some passengers broke the law. What law did they break?
  • What is the overall attitude of the writer to the society?
  • ……who could not buy new clothes……

i) What is the grammatical name for this construction as used in the passage?

ii) What is its function in the sentence?

  • Taxi drivers had a field day

What figure of speech is this expression?

  • For each of the following words underlined in the passage, give another word or phrase which means the same and can replace it in the passage:

i) opportunity ii) ingenious iii) sorry

iv) ignored v) definitely vi) ritual

RECOMMENDED ANSWERS

  1. Because it was a holiday and this attracted lots of people and vehicles .
  2. This is because people are more preoccupied with material pleasures than with spiritual pursuits.
  3. (i) indigestion (ii) hunger
  4. The  “law’ that passengers had only two options : charter a taxi or get stuck
  5. He feels indifferent but somewhat critical of society
  6. i) Adjectival clause

       ii) It is qualifying the pronoun, “those”

  • metaphor
  • i) opportunity – chance

ii) ingenious – clever

iii) sorry – pitiful

iv) ignored – unrecognized

v) definitely – certainly/clearly

vi) ritual –ceremony/tradition/practice

Subject Matter of the Poem, The Leader and the Led

24 Likely Grammatical Name Past Questions and Answers

Passage 3

Parents are the most important models for growing children; in fact the first influences on them. First, the parents usually are the earliest human contact the child has in the world around him. They are the most enduring models because of their being present longer than other social agents. In the eyes of the child, parents are by far the most powerful people. They influence the child through nurturing him and providing his needs. In a word, his survival almost solely depends on them. Undoubtedly then, the child looks up to these prime models for the development of his character. Perhaps this explains some of the traditional sayings which suggest that the child takes after the parents.

Take the expression, “a chip off the old block”, for instance, which is often used to confirm the close similarity between the behaviour of the child and his parents’. It stands to reason that the child naturally picks up his traits, whether good or bad, from his parents. Although the child’s parents are his earliest and most important models, he is exposed to many other potent influences: siblings, television, school, celebrities and so on. The walls of boys’ rooms, for example, are often covered with the pictures of their idols. But do children emulate the behaviour of everyone? It is known that they do not imitate all the people they know in equal degrees. It is therefore important to understand the variables that determine the extent to which the child takes up the attributes and behaviour displayed by his models.

Studies have shown that this is not a simple case of imitation. One strong determinant is identification with the object of admiration. For instance, if a young girl wishes to be like her father, it is because she loves him. Secondly, she believes that she can do both the great and admirable things her father does. On the other hand, the father could have been selected because of his care and generosity in nurturing her.

  1. Give two reasons for the influence which parents have on their children.
  2. How does the child demonstrate the influence which his model has on him?
  3. How do children see their models?
  4. Mention two factors which influence a child to take up aspects of his model’s behaviour.
  5. Although the child’s parents are his earliest and most important models….

i) What is the grammatical name for this expression as used in the passage?

ii) What is its grammatical function?

  • ……. a chip off the old block……

What does this expression mean?

  • List two “other social agents” which, according to the passage, which influence the child.
  • For each of the following words, give another word or phrase which means the same and can replace it in the passage:

i) survival ii) prime iii) confirm

iv) potent v) idols vi) attributes

 RECOMMENDED ANSWERS

  1. i)  Parents are mostly the earliest human beings the child comes into contact with.

           ii) Parents have much longer contact with children than other agents of socialization do.

         b) His behaviour tends to be similar to that of his model.

         c) They see them as objects of power greatness and admiration.

         d) i) The child must identify with or love his model

           ii) The child must believe that he is capable of imitating his model

         e )i) Adverbial clause of concession

            ii) It is modifying the verb phrase, “is exposed”.

         f) The child has close similarity to the parent.

         g) i) siblings ii) television (others are: school, celebrities)

         h)i) survival – life

         ii) prime – all-important

         iii) confirm- emphasize/prove/underline

         iv) potent –powerful/strong

         v) idols –role models

         vi) attributes – characteristics/features

Passage 4

Last Sunday, I happened to be a visitor at one of the big churches in the city. I was outside because I had arrived late, which is normal occurrence in this part of the world, and there was a big bar across the entrance to the auditorium. While outside, I witnessed an incident which I found moving. One of the members of the congregation who could not sit through the service was a toddler. He was a rather special child about three years old. He was just learning to walk.

That day he was having the time of his life, running up and down the large church premises. The church was by a busy main road and every time he headed towards the gates he was in danger of being crushed by a passing vehicle. Running alongside the little boy and keeping pace with him was his father. All this while, the father was never impatient nor did he shout at the boy to sit still.

This reminded me of another father I came across many years ago. His baby boy, Francis, was born with cleft lip which caused a large split in his face. The defect could be repaired but not until he was older. The parents were counseled and they took the baby home. But their troubles were just beginning. They lived in a house with several other tenants. The other tenants decided to make life unpleasant for the couple. Their persistent teasing and nasty comments nearly drove them away from the house. The rumour went round that the mother had given birth to a baby with a ‘half face’. People would gather round the house just to laugh at the child and his parents. Some would call the mother names as she passed by. Things became so unbearable that something had to be done.

“I decided to put him in my taxi and work with him so that his mother would be spared all that trouble”, the father said to me, as he recounted this sad story. The child occupied space in the car, which could have been taken up by a paying passenger. This certainly affected his daily earnings. Many fathers of children with clefts feel too embarrassed to allow them out of the house. Not this man. He would drive round the city with Francis in the front seat. This must have put off many passengers, scared by the face of little Francis.

Today, Francis is a healthy eighth-year-old. After the repair of the cleft, he has become his father’s pride and joy.

  1. What incident did the writer find moving?
  2. State the quality did the two fathers have in common.
  3. What is the writer’s attitude to the two fathers?
  4. Exactly what picture does the writer paint of Francis’s neighbours?
  5. State two ways in which Francis caused financial loss to the father.
  6. ……… I came across many years ago.

i) What is the grammatical name for this construction as used in the passage?

ii) What is its function in the sentence?

  • …..he was having the time of his life………

i) What literary device is used in this expression?

ii) What is the meaning of this expression?

  • For each of the following words find another word or phrase which means the same as the word and can replace it in the passage:

i) stormy     ii) defect iii) persistent    iv) recounted v) embarrassed

 RECOMMENDED ANSWERS

a) It was the spectacle of a patient and loving father assisting a disadvantaged and vulnerable child to have fun.

b) They both had love and patience for their disadvantaged children.

c)  He admires their courage and patience towards their children in their difficult moments.

d) He presents them as cruel, unfeeling neighbours.

e) i) His disfigured face scared potential passengers away from boarding the taxi.

  ii) He occupied one seat which could have fetched money from one more passenger.

  1. i) Adjectival clause (or zero relative clause) Note that “whom “ ( the relative pronoun which should have introduced the clause ) has been omitted.

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  ii) It is qualifying the noun, “father”

g i) alliteration

  ii) He was having great fun.

h i) stormy – difficult

  ii) defect – abnormality

  iii) persistent – continuous/unrelenting

  iv) recounted –narrated/told

  v) embarrassed- shy/ashamed

Passage 5

Life is truly a network of interconnected and interdependent organisms. Humans are very much a part of this web. For evidence, you need not look further than your body. Quietly at work in your digestive tract, an army of friendly bacteria help you to stay healthy by destroying harmful invaders and by producing essential vitamins. In return, you, the host, provide the bacteria with food and a supportive environment.

In the insect world, ants are a model of co-operation, industry and order, often working together to drag home objects much larger than themselves. Some ants will even assist injured or exhausted members of the colony back to their nest.

A similar alliance occurs in the animal kingdom, especially among animals such as cattle, deer and sheep. Part of their multi-chambered stomach hosts a veritable ecosystem of bacteria, fungi and protozoa. These microbes break down the carbohydrate in their food into various nutrients. Such close cooperation among dissimilar organisms is fundamental to the development of every living system. It is called mutualism, because both organisms benefit from each other.

An interesting example of mutualism occurs among certain birds. These birds live dangerously. The screech owl, for instance, literally brings a live snake into its nest. The snake is called the blind snake. Instead of harming the nestlings, the snake eats ants, flies and other insects and their larvae. The young owls raised with a blind snake in the family grow faster and are much more likely to survive than those raised without the company of this living vacuum cleaner.

Another bird, called the water dikkop, does not team up with a mere snake. It builds its nest next to that of a crocodile – a reptile that preys on birds. However, instead of becoming a meal for the crocodile, the bird serves as sentry. Should danger approach either its nest or the crocodile’s nest, the bird would emit warning cries. If the crocodile is away, these cries will bring the reptile charging back to defend the nests.

  1. For each of the following words underlined in the passage, find another word or phrase which means the same and can replace it in the passage:

i) friendly ii) essential iii)exhausted

iv) alliance v) dissimilar vi) charging

  • What two benefits do humans derive from bacteria?
  • What is the writer’s attitude to ants?
  • According to the passage, what do bacteria gain from the human host?
  • In what way do the bird and the crocodile help each other?
  • What do you think the writer means when he says:

These birds live dangerously?

  • Should danger approach either its nest or the crocodile’s nest …….

i) What is the grammatical name for this expression?

ii) What is its grammatical function?

  • ………. this living vacuum cleaner

What literary device is used in this expression?

 RECOMMENDED ANSWERS

a) i) friendly – helpful

        ii) essential – important/necessary

        iii) exhausted – tired

        iv) alliance – co-operation

        v) dissimilar-unlike, different types of

        vi) charging – speeding /running

    b) i)  They destroy any harmful invader of the human body

        ii) They also supply the human body with essential vitamins,

    c) He admires their co-operative spirit.

    d) They get food and a supportive environment from the human host.

    e) The bird alerts the crocodile of any danger and the crocodile comes to defend them against the enemy.

    f) They live with snakes which can easily prey upon them and their eggs.

    g) i) Adverbial clause of condition

        ii) It is modifying the verb phrase, “would emit”

  • Metaphor (i.e. a snake is being compared to a “vacuum cleaner”)

Passage 6

The farmers and I made progress and fish culture continued to expand. For instance, in one village, a group of men built a half-acre reservoir that fed ponds. The simplicity of the project had great appeal. To get started, all you needed were water, which was free, and three dollars to buy the stocking fish after that you were set up in perpetuity.

Then the crisis came.

“Birds are eating my fish,” Chief Lunga told me one day. It was true. A trio of kingfishers was living in threes near Lunga’s pond and growing fat on the tilapia below. Lunga was not alone in this. More than half the fish farmers were telling tales of kingfishers swooping down and plunking fish from their ponds.

For an entire month, Lunga tried everything he could think of to kill the birds. He spread a hand-made net across the top of the pond banks to tangle up the birds’ feet, but all it caught was a large owl.

Next, he placed several home-made spring-released mouse traps around the pond. He used fish as bait but got no result. One morning he hid himself in the tall grass and waited with an ancient gun, but the birds did not appear.

Eventually, Lunga got an idea the simplicity of which baffled me. He made a scarecrow and put it next to the pond. It worked. For the next few days, the birds stayed away. But, then, a funny thing began to happen. One morning, while feeding his fish, Lunga noticed bird droppings on the scarecrows forehead and right cheek. After a few days, the droppings grew to cover the scarecrow’s face. The kingfishers were back! Too shrewd to be scared for long, they now were using the scarecrow’s head as a lunching pad from which to spot and kill fish.

“They are mocking me,” he said. “The chief of this village is being mocked by a bunch of birds. I can’t stand it any longer”. At this stage, I made a suggestion: “If the birds keep landing on the scarecrow’s head, why don’t you hide a trap in its hair?” he agreed. He parted the scarecrow’s hair and placed a mouse trap on its head, lightly covering it with straw.

After months of failing, Lunga with this device killed the three kingfishers in two days. The birds landed with typical irreverence on the scarecrow’s head only to die as the trap did its job.

  1. For each of the following words underlined in the passage, give another word or phrase which means the same and can replace it in the passage:

i) expand ii) baffled iii) scared

iv) mocked v) device vi) irreverence.

  • What reason does the writer give for saying that the project was easy to start?
  • What was the crisis that threatened the project?
  • They are mocking me.

What was Lunga’s mood at this stage?

  • Which of the chief’s efforts succeeded in solving this problem?
  • “Lunga was not alone in this”.

To what does this refer?

  • After months of failing……..

i) What is the grammatical name for this expression?

ii) What is its function in the sentence?

  • …………. you were set up in perpetuity

What literary device is used in the expression above?

 RECOMMENDED ANSWERS

a) i) expand –grow

         ii) baffled- confused/surprised

         iii) scared- frightened

         iv) mocked – laughed at/derided/ridiculed

         v) device – instrument/contraption/equipment

         vi) irreverence – contempt/disrespect

b) It was very simple and was not expensive to start

c) Birds invaded the fish farms and started eating the fish

e) A mouse trap hidden in the scarecrow’s hair killed the birds

f) It refers to the crisis of birds eating the fish in the ponds

g) i) Adverbial phrase of time

    ii) It is modifying the verb, “killed”

h) Hyperbole

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Ralph spends his day working as an online entrepreneur and e-learning strategist. As a digital publishing trainer/consultant, he has developed exceptional skills in SEO-content writing. He writes extensively on lifelong learning and personal development issues. Ralph is the CEO of RN Digital Media Ent - a digital publishing & content marketing services platform he founded in 2017.

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