It’s that time of the year again, when Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) candidates, school managements, teachers and parents are feverishly preparing to face the upcoming BECE.
The BECE is a standardized test conducted by the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) to assess the academic performance of Junior High School (JHS) students at the end of their basic education. It also serves as a basis for selection of students into Senior High Schools (SHS) to read various programmes. The BECE is therefore a very important examination that can potentially determine the professional fate of students.
Due to its very high importance, various stakeholders do not take chances at all with getting the very best assistance for the candidates. This is also the time when self-acclaimed examination ‘prophets’ and ‘seers’ get busy making predictions and counter predictions of likely examination questions.
School managements, teachers, parents, students and all who have an interest in the good performance of the candidates are willing to go to all possible extents to get likely questions from various sources and sometimes, if possible, even leaked questions popularly known in Ghana as ‘apor‘ with the aim of helping the candidates to pass and pass well. Unfortunately, some of these ventures have only succeeded in getting people in trouble. In 2015, for instance, there was widespread leakage of some of the BECE papers. As a result, a number of the papers had to be cancelled and all candidates were made to write them again after about 2 weeks. This situation is very unfortunate and at the end of day, it is the young candidates who suffer the most.
So, what is the best way by which students can effectively and efficiently prepare for the BECE exams without falling foul of the law? To put it in another way, ‘how can we ensure that our students prepare very well and pass the BECE exam excellently without using ‘apor‘ ?
It is common knowledge that one of the most effective time-tested ways of preparing for an exam is to practise questions; and not just any questions at all, but likely examination questions. So the million dollar question is ‘how does one get such likely questions?’
Over the years, all over the world, past questions have always been the most likely examination questions. The reason is simple. All, or at least, almost all exam questions are based on the examination syllabus, which in turn is based on the teaching syllabus. For that matter, no entirely ‘new’ question would ever be set. In other words, all questions will always be based within the same scope of content and cognitive coverage. So in effect, what happens in reality is that all future examination questions will most likely be past questions that have been rephrased or repackaged. As the good book even says, “… there’s nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1: 9b).
As a matter of fact, even in some cases, for certain subjects, the exam questions were an exact repetition of past questions – not even a letter was changed. A typical case in point is RME 2017, Paper 2, Question 1(a) and RME 2015 (2nd Sitting) Paper 2, Question 2(a), both of which reads ‘Outline five contributions of Caliph Abu Bakr to Islam‘.
It will therefore be in the interest of all stakeholders – parents, schools, teachers, etc – to ensure that the candidates have adequately practiced all the BECE past questions for all or most subjects. In this respect, it is recommended that the student is made to practise the questions only, i.e., without access to the answers at first. This will make the student think and exercise his/her intellectual faculty better, before referring later to the answers to crosscheck. For this reason, it is better to use past questions materials where the answers have been separated from the questions, ie, for both objective (paper 1) and essay (paper 2), such as the BECE Past Questions and Answers compilation by Word Publishers.
So the next time you want some ‘likely’ examination questions, you don’t need to look far. Just grab some past questions, practise all of them adequately, and you are set for good success in your exams.
We wish all BECE candidates the very best of God’s grace in this preparation period.
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