How to Pass Literature in WAEC & NECO 2024 + Sample

How to pass literature in WAEC

How do I pass literature in this forthcoming WAEC or NECO? I know you are here to get an answer to that question.

You might have heard of how hard or easy literature seems to be during WAEC or NECO. Maybe you have heard how people fail or perform poorly in that particular subject but then, you do not want to make the same mistakes that caused them to fail. If so, then you are in the right place.

Some believe that literature is all about telling stories. Once you can tell the stories very well, then you’re good to go. I bet you wouldn’t like to hear this: you have been deceived all these while.

Passing literature examinations is beyond being intelligent. It all boils down to being both smart and intelligent. But bet me, even if you’re not intelligent, you can always find your way out if only you are smart enough to do so. The smart ones will always win the game (I do not mean smartness in the negative way like examination malpractice. That is not smartness)

In this article, I will show you everything you need to know about literature in English examinations and how to pass it with good grades in WAEC, NECO, JAMB or GCE.

If you have written literature in an examination before, you will confirm that after writing everything you know such that you expect to score nothing less than an ‘A‘, you end up getting a narrow escape. In other words, you see yourself scoring D or F.

There are causes to such incident and that is the essence of this post.

SCHOOLISLE cares so much about students. That is why we have come up with this post to share simple tips on how to make good grades in literature.

In summary, this post tackles the following:

  1. How to answer literature questions
  2. How to pass literature in any examination including WAEC, NECO, JAMB or GCE.
  3. How to study and cover every aspect of literature
  4. Sample on how to begin a literature question.

Simple Tips to Help You Pass Literature in WAEC or NECO

These tips are designed to help you avoid common mistakes that could land you on a low grade or failure.

1. Do not read all the recommended Literature books

Don’t try to finish the whole books. Yes , do not do that. This is where most people get it wrong. I know you’re curious to know why I said this.

It is important to know what exactly each of the literature books is talking about. Yes, it is 100% important but it is not encouraging to read all of them. This is because, at the end of the day, you find out that you have wasted more time than you were meant to.

While you are advised to read 50% of the books, read the rest in summary books such as Exam Focus textbook. This particular book almost have more details than the book itself and it is more understandable.

Speaking out of experience, I have seen in my WAEC question paper, the same question I saw in an Exam Focus Textbook for Literature. That very year, WAEC recommended “Faceless” as one of the literature novels but I did not bother to read the book itself. I went straight the aforementioned literature summary book to read it up. After reading the whole summary, I saw some “practice questions” which I decided to attempt. Surprisingly, one of the questions I saw in the summary book came out during my literature examination.

Attempting to read the whole books amounts to a waste of time which you should have invested in reading other subjects. If you must read all the books, then you should start on time. Let’s say, in your SS 1 or SS 2.

2. Read at Least 2 Books Under Each Literature Genre

Literature has 3 genres which include: drama, prose also known as fictional stories and poetry. However, in the advanced level, there are more than 3 literature genres. (The ones that concern you at your level are 3 genres mentioned above)

Each genre has both African and non-African. For instance, you have African prose and non-African prose. You have African drama and non-African drama. Finally, you have African poetry and non-African poetry.

Here is the trick you have to use to make sure you meet up – Under each category, read at least one(1) book. Each genre has about 4 books which comprises of two African and two non-African works under each genre. This simply means that you would have to read one African drama and one non-African drama (using drama as a sample)

The reason I came up with the method above is that WAEC or NECO questions come from all the categories (African and non-African). For instance, you must see a question from African drama and a non-African drama and you have to answer just one question from each of those categories. So, using the method above helps you cover up in each of the categories.

If you have questions under this particular subheading, do well to drop a it in the comment section and I will explain better.

3. Do not depend on long writing

This subheading talks about the volume of your work. The truth is that writing and filling your whole answer sheet does not guarantee good grade. It guarantees about 10% of passing literature.

For you to get the full guarantee of passing, you have to bring so many factors together with your long answers.

First, you have to hit the point. Don’t start with story telling. Make a nice point just to impress the marker.

Just like it is said, “first impression matters”, same thing is applicable in literature examinations. Your first and last parts should make so much sense that your marker may assume that you made sense in every part of your work.

Some people make that mistake of leaving the particular question they have on their papers just to start re-telling stories of happened in the book. That is a very wrong approach and I bet you are one step closer to your low grade or failure.

Sample on How to Start Answering a literature Question

The sample below is according to using the book: The Lion and the Jewel


Why did Sidi refuse to marry Lakunle without the bride price in The Lion and the Jewel?

Answer and Explanation:

There were two reasons Sidi refused to marry Lakunle without the bride price in The Lion and the Jewel… (the platform requires you to pay to access the full resource).

Did you see how he started his answer and explanation? He did not start by telling us that Lakunle wanted to marry Sidi. He did not start by telling us where Lakunle came from. Instead, he went straight to the point to tell us reasons Sidi refused to marry Lakunle. That is how a literature answer should be.

4. Understand the question clearly

During my university days, I had a conversation with a friend concerning an examination we just concluded (I don’t do that because it makes me restless. I tried it that particular day). My friend was worried and was almost crying because he did not write well.

According to him, he said he was just writing anything that came into his brain without clearly understanding the question. Guess what, just before the exam ended, he discovered he had written rubbish – an answer different from the question. He had to re-read the question and it was then he clearly understood what he was asked to do.

From all he explained, I believed he did not take time to read that particular question. In other words, he did not pay attention.

In fact, let me narrate my own experience. In an examination, we were instructed to answer three questions out of five. Now, I have answered two and left with 3 questions to pick one from.

No.1 question was actually the longest (because it came with a story) and cheapest question but I did not pay attention because I felt that since it had a long story, then it must be very hard. But guess what, after the simulation in that particular question, it only came up with one line question “mention the methods of dispute resolution“.

I attempted to answer the question but then, time was up. I was restless and regretted why I did not see it at first.

Do you now see the importance of understanding your questions? To understand each question in an examination, you have to calm your nerves and read it with all focus. Once you understand your question, then tackle it strictly the way you are instructed.

5. Keep your work clean

Most people are ignorant of this; clean work and beautiful handwriting carry their own mark. Most people believe in what you have written only.

The neatness of your work convinces the marker that you did not copy from any source.

Okay! You may not have a beautiful handwriting but try not cancel your work. If you must cancel, just draw a single line across the area you want to cancel. Then proceed with your work.

6. Follow instructions

Each examination, including literature in English carries its own peculiar instructions. Literature is to art students what chemistry, biology and physics are to science students.

It is not a regular examination meant for all students. It is meant for a particular set up of people (the art students). Therefore, it comes with special instructions.

Ensure to read instructions each time you’re given a question paper. Do not assume to know the instructions already.

7 Use Literature Syllabus

Syllabus show you the areas of concentration or scheme of work which you must read in order to pass literature. In other words, it contains WAEC or NECO approved topics which a geared towards guiding you through your studies.

The syllable is a guideline that helps you not to read other things which are not necessary. So, get the areas of concentration for literature and follow it.

Conclusion: How to Answer and Pass Literature Examination in WAEC or NECO

Literature exams are very easy to pass if only you follow the rules. The rules include studying for the examinations and keeping to all exam ethics.

Even if you do well in exam but you are caught cheating, then there is no point because you will definitely be punished.

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