…mason college festac…grad day!,,,



Please take note of the instruction usually given by WAEC at the beginning of the essay section…



1. For each essay “content” has a maximum of 10 marks.

2. “Content” refers to relevance of ideas to the topic and its specific audience and purpose. It also refers to the appropriateness of the language and relevance to the central theme and its development. The adequacy of treatment of the subject is important and there must be some originality in approach. A reproduction of knowledge from another subject like Biology or Economics not original to the writer will lead to reduction of marks. Above all, any deliberate distortion of ideas will be penalized e.g. writing a letter to an editor instead of an article, will be punished. Engaging in an irrelevant topic to the question set will lead to being awarded zero marks. Where the composition appears to be totally irrelevant, the scripts will be referred to the Chief Examiner. Sometimes, many candidates hastily choose a topic they do not understand. Consequently, the topic is often misinterpreted, distorted or abandoned half way for lack of acceptable material e.g. a candidate who was asked to write on an incident but who wrote on an accident will lose marks for irrelevancy if the question has no relevance to an accident.

3.Following the rules of grammar and punctuation judiciously is not enough, a passage without errors of language can be considered badly phrased or difficult to follow based on form and content.

4.An unusual and unexpected approach will,however, not be rejected without careful consideration.


5.For each essay, “organization” has a maximum of 10 marks.

6.“Organization” refers to the correct use of formal features such as good paragraphing, proper use of emphasis and arrangement of ideas. Paragraphs are expected to be chronologically, spatially and logically coherent.

7.What examiners look for include a suitable opening, adequate development into paragraphs, links between paragraph, balance, unity, coherence, and a suitable conclusion. For example, in a letter, all features must be present. Absence of necessary feature or wrong use will be penalized. Paragraphs are expected to be effectively linked for a good score. The usual problem here is inadequate preparation. Many answers lack paragraph development, or logical slanting. Again, single-sentence paragraphs are usually common. At the extreme, some essays have one or two paragraphs.


8.For each essay, “expression” has a maximum of 20 marks.

9.Expression refers to vocabulary chosen, which should reflect the general audience, atmosphere or format of composition, e.g. vocabulary for an informal letter. Vocabulary must also be controlled and the sentences structured.

10.An example of the distinction being made about vocabulary is the language expectations for an article in a school magazine, which should be a story telling experience, or for expressing a personal opinion. On the other hand, the language in an article for publication is expected to be formal.

11.Sentences of informal letters can be long, while those for formal ones short. But incomplete sentences will be penalized. There is also room for emotional language in an informal letter. A judicious and imaginative use of figurative language is also allowed. Descriptive words to create a vivid picture of an incident are also allowed.

12.Examiners are not expected to be unduly influenced by mechanical errors in awarding marks for expressions but this is perhaps the greatest problem to students, many candidates suffer from a severely restricted vocabulary and inadequate exposure to idiomatic English. Many sentences are translations of the mother tongue, resulting in many un- English collocation. The real cause of the problem is the neglect of extensive reading.


13.For each essay, “mechanical accuracy” has a maximum of 10marks

14.Mechanical accuracy refers to grammar, punctuation and spelling (GPS) rules to be complied with. Errors discovered will be penalized by examiners, and 1/2 mark deducted for each, up to a maximum of 10marks.

15.Candidates are expected to use skillful and sophisticated ways of punctuations and should avoid being “caught” by examiners especially on errors indicated by WAEC in its yearly Chief Examiners’ Reports.


16.Examiners will mark on the principle of positive marking i.e. credit will be awarded for what is done right, and penalty will be given for errors and blemishes. Penalties are not in all cases numerical deductions, but the award of a mark lesser than would have been awarded if there were no blemishes.

17.Once the examiner determines the length of about 450 words, he or she will rule the point. No errors are to count for mechanical accuracy after this point but will be underlined if found and taken into account in giving the mark for “expression”.

18.When a composition is short or below its required length the maximum mark for M.A shall be proportionately reduced. This will be done before the examiner awards the overall mark for M.A. While there is no penalty against a long composition, generally, the length may count for either a reward or a penalty under CONTENT, ORGANIZATION and EXPRESSION.

19.If a candidate attempts more than one essay question, only the first one answered will be marked. No penalty shall be given for others.

20.If a candidate writes on a topic that is irrelevant to the question set, zero shall be awarded for content and organization, and not more than 8 marks out of 20 for expression. The mechanical accuracy bit of it will be treated as stated above



 1.Pidgin English is a simplified Language in English used between people not having a common language. It was used originally between the Chinese and Europeans. Pidgin English is used all over the world with variations to be found in different countries and between communities.

 2. Our aim is not to deride Pidgin English but to instruct you that you must not use Pidgin Language in school and that you must as students be determined not to allow pidgin to enslave you. The reason is that your frequent use of Pidgin will affect your usage of “regular English” – especially the consonants. e.g. the use of “DEM” for “THEM”. Let us define regular English here as the one stipulated by the WAEC or NECO and scheme of work which you must pass otherwise your academic progress in our society will be delayed.

 3. The WAEC scheme of work is based on what is usually called “Queen’s English”. It is the form of English that is acceptable to the educated and business class of England. It is not exactly the English spoken by the English “natives” who live in the interior or village communities in England. It is the English passed to us “officially” by English when Nigeria was its colony. It is slightly different from the Computer English of today definitely, severely modified by the Americans who regard themselves as cousins in the main to the English. It is possible that in future the WAEC scheme of work in English might be amended beyond mere acceptance of computer jargons. But as at today our effort as a school and your response as students should be close to the standards acceptable to our educational examination bodies.

 4. Nigerian students of today are confronted on one side by  local Pidgin, by American pidgin through films and by West Indian Pidgin through music. The average Nigerian child  today for all we know could be said to be a bundle of confusion in terms of English Language especially if not properly guided by his or her school.

 5. During the colonial period of Nigeria, Pidgin English was regarded by our English masters as a Language fit only for their boys quarters.

6. Even in America today the English spoken by many blacks is seen as “downtown” language. It is useful for entertainment on the T.V but less useful for doing business on the New York Stock Exchange. Some of you will be studying or working abroad in future. Definitely you will need to pay more attention to your use of regular English. The Harlem (Ajegunle of New York) English will not be useful to you in high income jobs. You must therefore seriously consider what you are being told today.

 Historically some events have contributed to the growth or  use of Pidgin language in Nigeria. These include:

7. The need to communicate with Europeans by those on the coastal parts of Nigeria when they came with The  Bible and later the Slave Trade.

8. The withdrawal or mass exodus of English colonial officers just before and after the independence of Nigeria.

9. The downturn in the Nigeria economy and the disappearance of the middle class with the attendant breakdown in social and family values.

10. The emergence of churches and the use of Pidgin English to evangelize people or worship God.

11. The music of Fela which had general acceptance all over the country and was not limited to his tribe or language stock.

12. The adoption of Pidgin English by university students who are the products of the new conditions in the Nigerian society.

Mrs. Tope Shotade  an old student of our school ( but now an English Language graduate and  ex-News Editor at the Lagos State Television Service) had this to say as part of the disadvantages of using Pidgin English indiscriminately:

 13. “In a changing world where English Language is becoming generally used by everyone and associated with good literary communication, even in third world countries like Nigeria, the use of Pidgin especially by students shows your economical and social status. Generally, educated people look down on pidgin speakers as being uneducated and people without comfortable upbringing. The pidgin language cannot be taken to prestigious organizations without it affecting the judgement of the people about you”.

 14. “In a phonological sense where  standard English consonants differ from that of  the indigenous language consonants “Them” becomes “Dem” “something” becomes “sometin” or” sontin”.

 15. “In the grammatical aspect, pidgin teaches you to say “ I dey  come” instead of “I’ll be back”. This has led to the use of phrases like “I am coming” which is commonly used in Nigeria to mean “i will be back” but is wrong grammatically.

 16. “Another aspect is that as human beings we often think faster than we write and it is not possible if you do not have perfect understanding of English to write it because the brain has to sort out your thoughts in the language that is clear to you for your own understanding. This goes to show that any language learnt affects the way you think. For example when you are deeply rooted in Pidgin English and you see a light bulb and want to  express the desire to switch it off the simplest way that comes to your mind is to “off” it. And this is expressed just as it is thought “I want to off the light”.  “I saw your letter” is another example.

 17. “Finally it does not allow for growth of English Language because  standard English language is of high quality and it is not possible to use substandard expressions continuously. Instead the usage of Pidgin English tends to diminish your effort at proper English language as you go on and finally corrupts your WAEC/NECO English entirely”.


18. Schools should wage continuous war on the slavery of students by pidgin English. Punitive measures attached to the use of Pidgin English should be raised to preventive levels.

 19. English Tutors too need to decide on which side of the fence they want to be. Students should,however, know that pidgin is not bad in itself. There are places and occasions  you cannot avoid using it. For instance, if you go to the local market Pidgin English will be more relevant.Or if you are on a net forum and there is need for group identities the use of pidgin from your country will most likely lubricate your engine of understanding and cohesion.

 20. However, in your school and probably in many homes and definitely in your external examinations Pidgin English is not proper or useful.

 21.Do not allow your mates to continue  enslaving you by making Pidgin English attractive to you. Sometimes you speak it on impulse because the others do it. At other times you do so because you don’t want to be left out. You want to be part of the ‘in crowd’ or “its happening group”. But it will get you nowhere as you grow up into a professional person and especially in sectors where you have to display the finer aspects of your upbringing. We therefore urge you to kill the longing in you to continuously use Pidgin English today…okay,at least till your WAEC/NECO/JAMB exams are over.



Mayan Miscalculation (1 year and still ticking)

From TopTenz

December 21, 2012: The End of The World!


A Brief History

On December 21, 2012, people across the globe waited for the end of the world!  Of course, we know the world did not end then, but why did so many people think it would?

Digging Deeper

Digging deeper, we find the roots of this “prophecy” in the Mayan calendar.

The Mayan civilization not only made impressive pyramids and other buildings, but also was observant of astronomical phenomena and based a long term calendar cycle on those observations.  In the cycle that was computed, the last date was December 21, 2012.  Many people since then have taken that to mean somehow the Mayans “knew” the world would end at that time, hence a 5000+ year calendar with what appears to be a definitive end.

The great Mayan civilization disintegrated sometime before the Spanish explorers found the ruins, perhaps just before the arrival of the Conquistadors.

Actually, December 21, 2012 is only the end of that cycle, and apparently the reason the Mayans did not plot another cycle is that it was so far in advance that there was no immediate need to do so.

Many other persons ignored the scientific evidence that this calendar held no doomsday prediction, and that modern astronomy indicated no pending disasters, and a wide and diverse collection of people across the globe came up with all sorts of unsupported ideas about how the world would end and justification for believing that.

Some of these die-hard conspiracy theorists postulated that rather than an abrupt end of the world, December 21, 2012 would instead be a milestone date when the beginning of the end would commence.  Related doomsday prophecies allegedly “confirmed” the Mayan “prophecy” and many people were too willing to follow the doomsayers and ignore the scientists.

In any case, the world did not end and no substantial disaster occurred to make us think doomsday was coming soon. Again, this did not stop many people from turning every little event that did occur as a “sign” or omen that the prophecy is true and is unfolding right before the unbelieving eyes of the skeptics!


Enhanced by Zemanta