The West African Senior School Certificate Exams, WASSCE, is undoubtedly the most revered qualifying examinations by secondary school leavers.
Popularly called ‘WAEC’ after its administrators, the West African Examinations Council, thousands of SS3 students including their counterparts who failed in the previous year, join the bandwagon of West African students to battle for at least credit level passes in five subjects including Mathematics and English.
For them, the fear of WAEC is the beginning of wisdom. The reasons for this are not far-fetched. Last year, of the 1,672,224 candidates who sat for the May/June WASSCE in Nigeria, only 649,156 (38.81 per cent) obtained credit in five subjects, including English and Mathematics. Although the overall performance left much to be desired, it was still a 37.27 per cent increase over the 2011 results.
To improve on this trend, an educationist at Queens College Yaba, Mrs. Fashola advised students to sit down and read through their notes at least seven hours before examinations. Her words: “They should be disciplined enough to study at least six or seven hours a day, and forget about going to cinemas, partying and watching television. They should also attempt past questions.”
A lot of students are already taking their destiny in their hands. Preparing for the forthcoming examinations, Kelechi David said he has been reading through the night every night. He said that having written the examinations several times previously, he couldn’t make mathematics. Kelechi said: My major challenge is that I am confused about what direction to target my reading, I don’t know where to start.”
Another candidate, Jessica Mpamugo said she has been doing the normal routine of burning the midnight candle. She stressed that this is her second time of writing the examinations, adding that she sat for the October/November examinations but did not pass physics.
Chinenye Ezenwa said by the grace of God, she is trying her best to ensure that she passes with flying colours. “I have been studying harder than usual and going to extra lessons,” she said. “I believe I have studied about 75% of my subjects.” Nwaeze Chidera who attends a secondary school in Lagos also said that he is about 60% ready for the examinations.
Meanwhile, a whole new industry is engaged in the WAEC business. CDs and books containing past questions are now hot cakes, as lesson centres have emerged in every corner. Now, more than ever, students are desperate to make all their papers; The West African Examination Council (WAEC) has said it would soon stop the registration of external students by schools.