Current WAEC Syllabus For English (+PDF)

Would you like to know the topics in the syllabus where all your WAEC English questions will come from?

In this library…

You will see and download your current WAEC syllabus for English theory, objective and test of oral examination this year.

ALSO SEE: WAEC Syllabus For All Other Subjects In SSCE and GCE

Take note.

There will be three papers – Papers 1, 2 and 3, all of which must be taken. Papers 1 and 2 will be a composite paper to be taken at one sitting. 

PAPER 1: Will consist of eighty multiple choice questions, all of which should be answered within 1 hour for 40 marks. 

PAPER 2: Will consist of five essay topics and a passage each to test candidates’ comprehension and summary skills. Candidates will be expected to write an essay on one of the topics and answer all the questions on the comprehension and summary passages. The paper will last 2 hours and carry 100 marks.

PAPER 3: Will consist of sixty multiple choice items on Test of Orals for candidates in Nigeria. All the questions should be answered in 45 minutes for 30 marks.

Now to the syllabus…

WAEC English syllabus

The PDF version of this WAEC syllabus for English is available for your free download at the bottom of this library.


This is an objective / multiple choice paper comprising eighty questions: forty lexical and forty structural questions. Each question will have four options lettered A to D. 


In addition to items testing knowledge of the vocabulary of everyday usage (i.e home, social relationships, and common core school subjects) questions will be set to test candidates’ ability in the use of the general vocabulary associated with the following fields of human activity: 

I. Register

  • (a) Building and Building Construction; 
  • (b) Agriculture; 
  • (c) Fishing; 
  • (d) Stock exchange; 
  • (e) Health; 
  • (f) Environment; 
  • (g) Culture, Institutions and Ceremonies; 
  • (h) Law and Order; 
  • (i) Motor Vehicles and Travelling; 
  • (j) Government and Administration; 
  • (k) Sports; 
  • (l) Religion; 
  • (m) Science and Technology; 
  • (n) Animal husbandry; 
  • (o) Advertising; 
  • (p) Human Internal Body system and function. 

II. Idioms

i.e. idiomatic expressions and collocations (e.g. ‘hook, line and sinker’, ‘every Tom, Dick and Harry” etc.) the total meaning of which cannot be arrived at simply by consideration of the dictionary meanings of the words in the structures in which they appear.

III. Structural elements of English 

E.g. sequence of tenses, matching of pronouns with their antecedents, correct use of prepositions etc. 

IV. Figurative Usage

The term ‘general’ vocabulary refers to those words and usage of words normally associated with the fields of human activity in A1 above which are generally known, used and understood by most educated people who, while not engaged in that field of activity may have occasion to read, speak or write about it.

Thus, for example, in the vocabulary  of transportation by road, one would expect knowledge of terms such as ‘pedestrian bridge’ and ‘traffic signs’ which most educated people understand, but not ‘berm’ or ‘camber’ which are specialized. 

All items will be phrased in such a way as to test the use and understanding of the required lexis, rather than dictionary definitions and explanations.

In practice, the test of lexis will be so designed as to explore, not merely the extent of the candidates’ vocabulary but more importantly their ability to respond to sense relations in the use of lexical items e.g. synonyms, antonyms and homonyms. 

In the test of figurative language, candidates will be expected to recognize when an expression is used figuratively and not only when it is used literally.


Structure here includes: 

  • (i) The patterns of changes in word-forms which indicate number, tense, degree, etc; 
  • (ii) The patterns in which different categories of words regularly combine to form groups and these groups in turn combine to form sentences; 
  • (iii) The use of structural words e.g. conjunctions, determiners, prepositions, etc.


The paper will be divided into three sections: Sections A, B and C. Candidates will be required to spend 2 hours on this paper. 


Candidates will be required to spend 50 minutes on this section. There will be five questions in all and candidates will be required to answer only one question. 

The questions will test candidates’ ability to communicate in writing. The topics will demand the following kinds of writing:

  • (i) letter; 
  • (ii) speech; 
  • (iii) narration; 
  • (iv) description; 
  • (v) argument / debate;
  • (vi) report; 
  • (vii) article; 
  • (viii) exposition; 
  • (ix) creative writing. 

Marks will be awarded for: 

  • (i) Content: relevance of ideas to the topic; 
  • (ii) Organization: formal features (where applicable), good paragraphing, appropriate emphasis and arrangement of ideas; 
  • (iii) Expression: effective control of vocabulary and sentence structure; 
  • (iv) Mechanical Accuracy: correct grammar, punctuation, spelling etc. 

The minimum length will be 450 words.


Candidates will be required to spend 30 minutes on this section. The section will consist of one passage of at least three hundred and fifty (350) words.

Candidates will be required to answer all the questions on the passage. The questions will test candidates’ ability to

  • (i) find appropriate equivalents for selected words or phrases; 
  • (ii) understand the factual content; 
  • (iii) make inferences from the content of the passage; 
  • (iv) understand the use of English expressions that reveal / reflect sentiments / emotions / attitudes; 
  • (v) identify and label basic grammatical structures, words, phrases or clauses and explain their functions as they appear in the context; 
  • (vi) identify and explain basic literary terms and expressions; 
  • (vii) recast phrases or sentences into grammatical alternatives. 

The passage will be chosen from a wide variety of sources all of which should be suitable for this level of examination in terms of theme and interest.

The passage will be written in modern English that should be within the experience of candidates. The comprehension test will include at least four questions based on (ii) above. 

SECTION C: SUMMARY (30 marks) 

Candidates will be required to spend 40 minutes on this section. The section will consist of one prose passage of about five hundred (500) words and will test candidates’ ability to 

  • (i) extract relevant information; 
  • (ii) summarize the points demanded in clear concise English, avoiding repetition and redundancy; 
  • (iii) present a summary of specific aspects or portions of the passage.

The passage will be selected from a wide variety of suitable sources, including excerpts from narratives, dialogues and expositions of social, cultural, economic and political issues in any part of the world. 

PAPER 3: ORAL ENGLISH (30 marks) 

This paper will test candidates’ knowledge of Oral English. There will be two alternatives for this paper but candidates in Nigeria will take a paper on test of oral.

The test will also be of the multiple-choice objective type consisting of sixty questions on a wide range of areas or aspects of Orals as contained in the syllabus. 

The test will cover the following areas:

  1. Vowels – pure vowels and diphthongs; 
  2. Consonants and clusters; 
  3. Rhymes; 
  4. Word stress/Syllable Structure; 
  5. Emphatic Stress/Intonation Patterns; 
  6. Phonetic Symbols.

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