If you’ve read the introductory piece to this guide, you’d come to agree to this:
This guide on how to pass the WASSCE / WAEC examination is not like 99% of others out there.
So, what’s the difference?
Well, it’s way better:
- It’s a 3000+ words pack of practical wisdom on how to pass the WASSCE.
- It comes with legal(badass) tips and tricks from people who actually aced the WASSCE / WAEC examination.
- It comes with practical tips that’ll guarantee below average students ace the WASSCE.
- It aims for every student who follows its instruction to achieve, at least, a B on every subject.
- It comes with loads of new stuff not included on other guides on how to ace the WASSCE.
Once again, I’m not exaggerating when I say you’re in the right place if you want to pass the WASSCE.
Take a deep breath. In fact, reward yourself with a cookie—you’ve done well.
Before the exam day…
To prepare to ace the WASSCE, there are some steps you need to take before the exam day.
The first step you need to take to pass the WASSCE / WAEC examinations is:
Have the strong desire to pass the WASSCE / WAEC examination
I want to ask you one simple question:
How bad do you want to pass the WASSCE?
Your answer to the question above would define how strong your desire is to pass the WASSCE.
If you tell me you want to pass the WASSCE as bad as you want to breathe.I’d know you have a strong desire to pass the WASSCE.
The truth is:
Most students fail the WASSCE because they never had a strong desire to pass it in the first place. They see the WASSCE as a panel that’s already judged them before their first trial appearance.
And if they had an option, they’d not appear in court.
These students loss the war before it’s even fought.
When you have a strong desire for success, your body would be programed or activated to chase it.
- Without desire, there is no spirit.
- Without desire, there is no hope.
- Without desire, there is no goal.
- Without desire, there is no fuel.
- Without desire, there is no flame.
Lit your fire of desire today.
Find the right motivation
Don’t confuse having a strong desire to pass the WAEC examination with being motivated to do so.
According to Word Web dictionary:
Desire is the psychological feature that arouses an organism to action toward a desired goal; the reason for the action; that which gives purpose and direction to behaviour.
So you may have a desire for something, but if you’re not motivated to go for it, you may never have it.
Your motivation to obey the instructions on this guide may be inspired by your desire to pass the WASSCE.
Have faith that you’ll pass the WASSCE / WAEC examination
According to Dobrin:
Faith is an expression of hope for something better. More than a wish, it is closer to a belief, but not quite. A belief is rooted in the mind. Faith is based in the heart.
We act in faith when there is no guarantee, no certainty. No one knows what kind of life an infant will have, yet people continue to have children. No one can know how life with our mates will turn out, yet we continue to have faith our relationships will last a lifetime.
Have faith in the possibility that you’ll pass the WAEC examinations in flying colours.
The effect of mixing desire and faith has a psychological benefit:
It improves your confidence to crush any paper on the WASSCE / WAEC examination.
Start preparing early
Don’t wait until when it’s 3 weeks to the start of the exam before you start intense reading. Start preparing for the WASSCE the moment you know you’d write the exam.
Develop a study plan
Anybody who wants to pass the WASSCE / WAEC examination needs a timetable.
Don’t plan to depend on anybody on the exam day
If you plan to depend on someone in the exam day, you may end up disappointed, frustrated and dejected.
Humans can’t be 100% trusted. Your best buddy who promised to help you on the exam day may disappoint you.
Your girlfriend/boyfriend/ teachers may be wary to help you on the exam day for one reason or the other.
Besides, you can get caught for cheating.
Learn and prepare to stand on your own. You are your best saviour or investment.
Discover your weaknesses and build on them
Contrary to popular believe:
There is no harm in trying to build on your weakness.
There is no harm in engaging in an activity where you can’t make much impact.
Some people argue that this would keep you from frustrating yourself and others.
I find this theory wrong because:
- It stops you from improving yourself.
- It stops you from working on your weakness and your weakness could lead to your downfall.
You’re weaknesses could be anything:
- Topics you don’t find pleasant
- Your poor (ineligible) hand writing capacity
- Your poor drawing capacity
Here’s an illustration:
You may not become an expert in solving problems on differentiation. Yet, the little you’ve struggled to learn could fetch you a few marks on the WASSCE.
A few marks can make you move from a B to an A.
How to discover your weak topics
One of the best ways to do this is to take practice tests. These tests should be centred on every topic for every subject you plan to write on the WASSCE.
Don’t neglect basics
I was a better writer when I was teaching. I was constantly going over the basics and constantly reminding myself, as I reminded my students, what made a good story, a good poem.—Gil Scott-Heron
Have you seen a footballer who can’t kick a ball? It doesn’t make sense right? After all, kicking a ball is one of the fundamentals of being a footballer.
There you have it:
Fundamentals / basics matter in everything we do.
Don’t go learning all the gas laws if you can’t covert from Kelvin to degree Celsius.
Most students skip the basics of various topics in a bid to reach their goal quicker or easier.
These students fail to revise introductory topics before the exam.
They assume that the basics to most topics are not that important.
But, they are usually hit with this sad truth on the exam day:
- Basics are important in having a solid base.
- If you have a solid base, you’d be able to fight the toughest questions.
Don’t neglect “easy” topics
Take any WASSCE past questions and you’d certainly see “easy” questions.
Some of these “easy questions” are awarded high marks. Yet, students still fail to answer these questions correctly.
It’s not because these students are dumb. But, they were too busy focusing on relatively harder topics at the expense of easy ones.
I’ve seen students who concentrated on covering topics they treated in SHS 2 to their final year. To them most topics treated in SHS 1 are easy and didn’t need much attention.
But, they were hit with the truth when questions from topics they treated in SHS 1 appeared in the WASSCE.
Don’t make that mistake.
Understand how you study best
Every individual learns differently.
It’s important you know how best you study.
A student who learns best at a quiet environment would certainly need to study in a library or quite room.
Know that you come first
I remember the words my high school proprietor would say:
You did not come to school with Kojo, Kwame or Christine, so forget them and focus on your exams.
I do not mean you should be selfish or anti-social.
But know this:
After high school, you and your friends are most likely to go separate ways. But, your WASSCE / WAEC results go with you wherever you go.
So whatever you do should be to your best interest.
If you fail the WASSCE / WAEC examination at the expense of helping others, you’re to blame.
Note: I’m not saying helping others is bad, but when the help you give them becomes a liability—cut it off. Remember, it’s your life.
Put the WASSCE / WAEC examination in perspective
Don’t act as if you don’t have anything at stake before the WASSCE / WAEC exams.
Think about how best you can optimise your chances of passing the WASSCE every day.
Note: Don’t do this in an obsessed manner. You may go crazy.
Know the exam location before the exam day
Some students have missed exam because they didn’t know the exact location of their exam.
It’s not right for you to start asking for directions to the exam venue on the exam day. Do all your investigations a day or days before the exam day.
Remove fear from your dictionary
When we experience fear, our adrenal glands release adrenaline into the blood stream. This causes a series of biological reactions in our body:
- It increases blood and oxygen flow to our muscles so we can run faster.
- It restricts blood flow to other areas such as our stomach.
- It dilates our pupils so we can better see things around us.
This is also known as the ‘fight or flight’ mode. In this state, our senses and reflexes become heightened.
It’s easy for us to escape real and physical danger.
But, these reactions are only helpful when we are facing real physiological danger. They do not help us when we are facing self-perceived dangers.
Self-perceived dangers don’t actually result in any physical harm. So, we only become held back by such responses when we don’t need them.
A WASSCE question paper should not make you fear—it can’t give you any physical harm.
Self-perceived fear of the WASSCE does you no good. It’d only make you to make wrong decisions before the WASSCE or in the examination hall.
Remove every trace of fear from your brain—it does you no good.
Rewire your mind for success.
Plan like a pro
Develop a strategy or plan for each subject before the WASSCE.
I’m not talking of negative strategies like:
- How sneak text books into the exam hall
- How to sneak mobile phones into the exam hall
- How to store answers in your calculator
- How to write answers in a your body without getting caught
I’m referring to positive strategies that worked for me, such as:
1). Knowing the types of topics you love the most
I’ve already advised you try your best to be friends with every topic.
But, some topics should reserve a special place in your heart. These are the topics you’re most likely to get correct.
My favourite topics for Elective Mathematics included :
I usually get questions on the topics above correct.
So, when they appeared on the actual paper. I wasted no time in choosing them.
I scored an A at last.
2). Having planned introductions for your essay:
This strategy has helped me to score great marks in the following areas:
- WASSCE English Language question paper
- IELTS Essay Writing
- SAT Reasoning Test Essay Writing
I didn’t like going through the hustle of trying to create an introduction opener. So, I had about 5 predefined introductions stored in my head.
I’d select anyone that best fits the essay I planned write or twist it to rhyme with it.
Understand the exam format for every subject you’re to write
This would enable you to make smart decisions before the WASSCE.
For each subject you’d be writing, try to find out:
- How long will the exam be?
- How many questions will you be expected to answer?
- How many questions do you need to answer pass?
- How many questions will you have to choose from?
- What can you expect the questions to be about?
- What you’re allowed to take into the exam?
- Will the exam be the same form as previous years?
- Which questions carry the most marks?
You wouldn’t waste time answering questions with little marks if you know which ones carry most marks.
Form strong alliances with bright students
- Mix up with the brightest of students
- Form study groups with them
- Learn from them
You’d become a better students associating with students better than you.
Leverage the power of examination centres (May / June WASSCE)
WAEC usually request for WASSCE exam centres to get some materials before the exam.
You can use this to anticipate the kind of questions that are likely to be asked(for practicals).
If WAEC requests your school to get the following items ready before the Biology practical:
You can definitely guess the type of questions that would be asked in the exam. So you’d know what topics to intensely cover.
Develop consistency in reading actively
This is the one of the hardest parts in your preparation to pass the WASSCE / WAEC examination.
It’s one thing to make a promise to read every day, or to obey your timetable.
However, it’s another thing to keep to this promise.
Distraction, procrastination, and laziness shouldn’t be in your arsenal.
They are just ingredients that’ll guarantee you fail the WASSCE / WAEC examination.
It’s good to cover every topic in the WASSCE / WAEC syllabus.
But, it’s also important you cover more than what is listed in your WASCE / WAEC Syllabus
WAEC is also known for bringing trial questions. These questions are usually from topics that are not on the WASSCE / WEAC syllabus.
Reading wide can place you in a position to answer a trial question and get it right. This could save you the hustle of answering a relatively harder question on the exam.
Take regular breaks
Study breaks are important for several reasons. There’s a limit to what your brain can handle in any one-study session. Trying to push past that without giving your body any time to recover will just leave you tired.
Know the content on the WASSCE / WAEC syllabus
There is a possibility your teacher or textbook may not cover every topic in the WASSCE / WAEC syllabus.
It’s left to you to know which topics need to be covered prior to the exam.
Develop consistency in practice—practice, practice, practice
Some students prefer to read than practice. But, this is a bad learning habit.
Science even shows that constant practice benefits students.
Get familiar with every topic you’re required to know
Don’t cast a dice on which topics to cover.
We all know WAEC recycles questions from it’s WASSCE past questions.
But, that doesn’t mean they can’t bring new questions from unpopular topics.
Recommended: WASSCE / WAEC syllabus
Take notes of important deductions, explanations, etc., during your study.
I mean both physical and mental exercise that will rejuvenate your body and mind. Here are some examples:
- Play chess regularly
- Jog regularly.
Watch your health
It’s a very bad thing to be inflicted by sickness before the exam.
So, watch your health before the examination day.
If you’ve been bitten by lots of mosquito lately, take some malaria medicine a week before the exam.
Otherwise, imagine the damage you’d face if your hit by malaria a day to the exam.
It’s important you spend your time reading, but don’t over work your brain.
I’ve seen students that spend the whole night reading, only to forget what they read the next day due to stress.
Cram for the exam if you have no better option
If you didn’t have time to prepare for the WASSCE in advance, you may need to learn as much as much as possible in a short period. Cramming may be your best option.
But, cramming is not an effective way to study, although it is better than not preparing at all.
Learn how to study effectively
Effective study requires time management, note taking, clear mind, pace, active reading, memorization and a few tricks.
Know that your teachers are important
For those writing the May / June WASSCE / WAEC examination, your class work makes up 30% of your score for each subject.
I believe you already know who is responsible for submitting your class scores—your teachers.
Most teachers just give their entire students marks above 20 for different reasons.
However, if your teacher doesn’t like you, he/she could give you a mark that will guarantee you stand a hard chance of scoring an A on the WASSCE / WAEC examination.
So if you are the type that always creates problems for your teachers—repent.
Also, if you treat your teachers nicely, they’d be motivated to teach you to the best of their ability.
You may not like your teachers, but just act as if you do. You may even need this skill to excel in the real world.
Your brain won’t be able to function at its best if you’re not eating properly. Getting enough nutrients will allow your body and brain to function optimally while you study for the WASSCE and on the exam day.
Make sure that you eat the right food at regular intervals.
It’s tempting to load up on caffeinated beverages when you’re studying for the WASSCE.
But, be careful. Caffeine will dehydrate you. Dehydration can cause fatigue, so drink plenty of water.
Caffeine can also give you a wicked case of the caffeine jitters.
Pray for success if you’re a believer
Atheists may not believe in prayer. However, I’m spiritual, so I’d say pray for God’s guidance prior and after the exam.
Besides, there are many psychological benefits of prayer. According to Wikipedia:
Many accept that prayer can aid in recovery due to psychological and physical benefits. It has also been suggested that if a person knows that he or she is being prayed for it can be uplifting and increase morale, thus aiding recovery. (See Subject-expectancy effect.) Many studies have suggested that prayer can reduce physical stress, regardless of the god or gods a person prays to, and this may be true for many reasons. According to a study by Centra State Hospital, “the psychological benefits of prayer may help reduce stress and anxiety, promote a more positive outlook, and strengthen the will to live.
On the exam day…
Here are the tips you need to follow on the exam day:
If you’ve attended class, taken notes, studied…
In fact, if you’ve obeyed all the tips in this piece, you can be confident that you’re ready to take the exam. Having this confidence and visualizing yourself passing the exam will help you be successful.
Check yourself properly before you enter the examination hall
I’ve seen students disqualified even though they unknowingly carried unwanted materials into the exam hall.
So, make sure you’re not with any unwanted material before you enter the exam hall.
Have the necessary materials…and in duplicate forms if necessary
Write everything you need on a piece of paper and make sure you have them at hand before the exam.
You should also make sure you have the duplicate copy of any necessary material you need.
Read carefully before you answer
Read your question paper actively and carefully. Don’t be in a hurry to assume you know what the question asks for.
Look out for these words or phrases:
- List and explain
I’ve seen students that “listed” when the question clearly requested for an explanation.
I’ve seen students from Ghana who answered questions meant for students writing in Nigeria.
If you make any of these mistakes, you may not be awarded the full mark…
…or you may not be awarded any mark.
So, be careful before you start answering your questions.
As Nigerians would say: “Shine your eyes well well”.
Fill your details and answers carefully
Don’t make mistakes in filling your answers or inputting your details to the answer sheet.
Use your calculator to perform a few tricks where necessary
However, you can also use them to solve some complex problems in no time.
This would save you the stress and time you may go through when solving it manually.
It will also help you to crosscheck your values in no time.
Some acceptable calculators on the WASSCE can solve quadratic equations, simultaneous equations, etc.
- Casio fx-83gt plus
- Casio Fx 991ES Plus
Arrive, at least, one hour before the start of the exam.
Know when to go the extra mile
Some questions may not directly ask you to provide diagrams. However, to get the full mark or extra points, you may need to provide a diagram.
This is most popular with questions that use the following keywords:
Utilize short-cuts where necessary
If you’re doing a chemistry practical on titration, and you are sure of the endpoint value in you first experiment.
Don’t waste your time carrying out another experiment….
…just add +2 or -2 to your endpoint value to get the subsequent values.
Ratios and proportion
For a physics experiment that requires you to determine the current I, where length (l) is 15cm, 40cm, 50cm, 60cm and 70 cm.
You can carefully perform the experiment for the first value(l=15cm), and use ratios and proportions to generate consequent values.
Note: You can intentionally introduce some errors in other not to attract suspicion from the marker.
Presentation is key
- Use good English.
- Draw nicely
- Arrange your work properly.
- Avoid a dirty work.
- Cancel neatly.
- Write eligibly.
- Underline sentences or words where needed
Obey the rules
Rules are meant to be obeyed. Failure to do so can get you punished.
You only have a certain amount of time to complete an exam, so pace yourself as you work. This will ensure that you get through every section of the exam.
Also, it’d save you enough time to review your work.
Have a watch.
You need to keep track of the time you spend in any question.
It’d help you pace yourself during the exam.
If you are restless, you may not know when you’d say 1+1 is 10.
Also if you’re so excited because you find the questions easy, you may make the wrong decision.
Review your work
Review your answers before you submit your exam. Look for any incomplete or missing answers, errors, etc.
Don’t create a scene
Don’t argue with the invigilator.
Don’t disturb other examiners.
Raise your hand when you want to speak to an invigilator.
Avoid any form of cheating
I know you want to pass the WASSCE, but it’s not right to do so by cheating. Here’re some reasons why:
Cheating is lying: It gives the examiner a false sense of what you know.
Cheating is stealing.
Cheating causes stress: You’d always be hiding and worried of being caught.
Cheating could cause you to fail: Your paper could be cancelled. Also, there are chances you’d copy the wrong answer since you probably don’t know much about the topic.
You’ve been given a brain with so much capabilities, you can use it to ace the WASSCE without cheating.
Besides, people have passed the WASSCE / WAEC examination without cheating, and you too can do the same.
If you’ve reached this far by reading every line above, clap for yourself. You’ve done well.
I hope you follow the instructions in this guide to the fullest.
I’d love to hear your success story or a thank you note in the comment section below.
Lastly, don’t be greedy—share this freely . Good luck!