Education

WAEC Past Questions: WAEC English Language Paper 1, Nov/Dec. 2008

WAEC Past Questions: WAEC English Language Paper 1, Nov/Dec. 2008
Question 1
Your pen friend abroad has written a letter asking you about the latest fashion and its effects on the youth in your country.  Write a reply.
observation

The candidate is required to write a letter to his pen friend abroad, discussing the latest fashion and its effects on the youth of his country.  Most of the candidates who wrote on this topic were at home with the first part of it.  They gave ample details of clothing, hairstyles and make-up, which the marking scheme accepted as matters relevant to “fashion”.However, many of the candidates did not give sufficient points for the second aspect of the question, i.e., the effect of the current fashion on the youth of the country.
Question 2
Since the introduction of video films into your country, there has been a rise in juvenile delinquency.  Write an article suitable for publication in a national newspaper on the need for Government to regulate the importation of these films.
OBSERVATION
This is a newspaper article in which the candidate is to discuss “the need for government to regulate the importation of video films.”  The question made it clear that there has been a rise in “juvenile delinquency” in the candidate’s country since the introduction of these films.  One vital aspect of the task is for the candidate to state clearly why the importation should be regulated.  Secondly, the candidate is expected to show that he understands the expression “juvenile delinquency’ and that the rise in this deviant behaviour stemmed from watching these films.Most of the candidates who wrote on this topic failed to handle these vital aspects satisfactorily.
Question 3
Write a letter to the Postmaster of your area expressing your dissatisfaction with the operations of the Post Office, and suggesting three ways of improving the services.
OBSERVATION
The candidate is required to write a letter to the Postmaster of his area expressing his dissatisfaction with the operations of the Post Office and suggesting three ways of improving the services.  The few candidates who wrote on this topic offered relevant points.
Question 4
You are a speaker in a debate on the motion: Democracy is the best system of government for Africa.  Write your speech for or against the motion.
OBSERVATION
This is a debate in which the candidate is to argue for or against the motion: “Democracy is the best system of government for Africa”.  Most of the compositions on this topic did not merit a high reward.  The writers simply reproduced what they considered to be the merits of Democracy but did not say what makes it the best system for Africa.
Question 5
Write a story to illustrate the saying: Too many cooks spoil the broth.
OBSERVATION
The candidate is required to write a story which illustrates the saying “Too many cooks spoil the broth”.  There were very few attempts on this subject.  A good majority did not illustrate the saying.

Question 6&7

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The passages were interesting and within the candidates’ ability to comprehend.  The questions which followed the passages were also specific and unambiguous.

OBSERVATION
However, many candidates still lifted mindlessly from the passages.Candidates should make a serious attempt to understand the questions before writing their answers.

Question 8 (SUMMARY)

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The passage offered a good test on summary.  Nonetheless, it was evident that many candidates still had problems with summary writing.  Many were still not able to separate the main ideas from supporting details while many others introduced preambles which marred their answers.

Candidates’ Weaknesses
 (i)         Section A:       The compositions lacked relevant content, especially for questions 2, 4, and 5 where the candidates failed to show a clear understanding of the topics.  The language of the compositions were marred by wrong grammar and weak vocabulary.            The only remedy for this weakness is a conscious study of the rudiments of the English Language.(ii)        Section B:       The comprehension answers were very brief, covering a few words or one or two lines of the answer booklets.  Even some of the candidates who wrote lengthy answers showed that they did not understand the questions.  As answers to the vocabulary tests (6h and 7g), they gave “synonyms” that had no relationship with the words.
                                                                                               (iii)       Section C:       This was the weakest area of the candidates’ performance.  Many of the candidates did not make any attempt to understand the questions.  Secondly, they relied on lifting portions of the passage verbatim.            Candidates must be taught that to summarize is not to reproduce the original passage but to state the information asked in a simple, brief and direct way.          

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