I have received quite a number of requests from students on how to answer WAEC Literature questions. Though I love literature and can analyse texts and poems, I am always quick to point out that I am not a teacher of literature. I believe the question “how to answer WAEC literature examination questions” would be best answered by a qualified literature teacher who prepares students for WAEC examinations.
In my quest to have a literature teacher on board, I met Mr. Ismail Owoseni, a seasoned literature teacher and a member of this forum and discussed the possibility of doing a write-up on the topic. Luckily, he shares the same passion with me and offered to do a write-up on the topic “free of charge”. Please find below the article “How to answer WAEC Literature Examination Questions”. I hope you find it helpful.
I feel delighted and honoured for this great opportunity given to me to write on this topic.
To start with, candidates should know that there is no shortcut to success especially for students of literature. They should also know that Literature-in-English is all about reading, analyzing and writing. I strongly advise that they read the full texts prior to the examination day, not at the eve of the examination.
For every literature question, your answer must relate to the question and must be concise, meaningful, contain relevant information and ample references from the text. Candidates who do not make references from the text may not score well. Let us take a quick look at these questions.
1. Write a short note on these characters:
These are characters in “Lonely Days” by Bayo Adebowale and “Harvest of Corruption” by Frank Ogodo Ogbeche.
Literally, how do you know a character in a text? You know a character by the following:
1. what he or she says;
2. what people or other characters say about him or her; and
3. what he or she does in the text.
If for instance, you say “Yaremi is a good mother”, you need to show “how” and “why” she is a good mother. The question can only be answered from the text.
You should know that the examiner expects you to use each question to show as much as your knowledge about the text as you can so it is important to read and study each text extensively. Summaries are never enough. You must read and study the text in detail.
Equally important is the need to plan your answers. Spend about five minutes thinking of the points you need to answer each question. Make use of quotations from the text. These may be in form of short phrases picked from the text to support your points.
Ensure you end each answer with a conclusion which is a summary of all the points in your essay.