by Hassan Abdulbaqi


As mentioned in SUMMARY OF WHAT YOU SHOULD EXPECT IN YOUR ENGLISH SSCE the objective test is usually eighty and are set based on different topics in lexis and sructures, most especially. These topics are predictable but the exact questions are not. Read HOW EFFECTIVE IS TESTING WITH PAST QUESTIONS? This is why it behooves of every candidate to study the various topics under which the questions shall be set in the bid to score high marks in this test. The topics are:

  1. Nearly opposite in meaning: A word will be underlined in a full sentence and you shall be asked to choose the nearly opposite of the underlined word from four options (a-d) to fill an empty gap in that sentence. Questions like these are:


The road which used to be wide now appears ………. because of the new drainage (a) winding (b) limited (c) narrow (d)reduced


One expects books in a library to be well……. not jumbled (a) numbered (b) documented (c) arranged (d) listed


Here, you are to give the words that are nearly opposite to “wide” and “jumbled” from the available options. (c) is the answer to both questions for they are the opposite of the underlined words. This means that one of the most effective way to get everything right here is to know the meanings of the underlined words and those in the available options.


  1. Nearest in meaning: This is contained in the fourth section of the objective test. Unlike what we have in the nearly opposite in meaning questions, you shall be asked to choose a word from four available options that are most similar in meaning to the underlined word in the sentence. Past questions that have appeared in this section are:


This is one decision you cannot defend (a) justify (b) explain (c)support (d)express


Where did this document emanate from? (a) originate (b) emerge (c) appear (d) arise


“justify” and “originate” are the correct options for they are the nearest in meaning. Note the word nearest because there might be available options that have the same meaning but not the most similar as the question demands.


NOTE: You must also make sure you study the instructions carefully before answering the questions to prevent making the costly mistake of looking for the nearest in meaning where nearly opposite in meaning questions are asked and vice versa.


  1. Best Completes: You shall be asked to fill the gap in a sentence with the most appropriate word by choosing one out of the four available options. This is contained in the second and fifth sections of the objective tests. Questions based on collocation, concord and grammatical rules will be asked here. You can clearly see that in questions like these:


The members of the parliament tabled an ……………. to the constitution (a) adjustment (b) amendment (c) enactment (d) annulment


Your submission is ………. (a) neither here nor there (b) either here or there (c) either there nor here (d) neither there or here


“amendment” is the correct answer in the first question because it collocates with “constitution”. It is the exact word that should be used instead of “adjustment”. “Enactmenat” is simply to pass a law and “annulment” is to invalidate something officially and should take the preposition “of” not “to” as in the question.


“Neither here nor there” is correct in the second question because of the grammatical rule that “neither goes with nor” and “either goes with ‘or’.


A good knowledge of these rules, as mentioned earlier, put the candidate at ease.



  1. Most appropriate interpretation: Sentences shall be given and you shall be asked to choose the correct interpretations from four available options. Your knowledge of idioms and figurative expressions is needed to here to combat the questions.

“My school carried the day in the debate”, for instance, mean that your school won the debate, not that they had it being placed on their heads.

5. Most suitable word: A passage shall be given, usually at the end of the objective tests. Comprehension? No! There will be numbered gaps indicating missing words and you will be asked to choose available options which shall be given separately for the questions. The questions are usually based on the register of a particular profession, say trading, medicine, publishing etc. The most interesting part in this section is that you shall be given the gist of the answer right from the question! See:


The young doctor looked sprightly in his white coat. Displaying his…1….. very conspicuously on his neck, he walked through the ……2….. greeting each of the ……3…. Who greeted him in return.


A                                 B                                              C                                                               D

Chain                                 badge                                      stethoscope                                             watch

Aisle                                   office                                           room                                                      ward

Patients                            clients                                          invalids                                              customer


You can see that doctors display stethoscopes conspicuously on their necks, not chains, badges or watches. The hospital ward can be walked through. It cannot be an aisle (a passage between rows of seats in a church, theatre, train etc.) because he won’t go there in his coat and further sentences in the passage show he talked to a patient, that must be a hospital! Patients is the answer because those who patronize doctors are not clients, invalids or customers.

That gives you the hint: apart from knowing the registers, you must also concentrate and use your head!


All the questions used in this article for illustration are from 2016 WASSCE English Language 1 Objective Test. If you enjoyed this article, kindly share and read other related articles. Be informed that more articles are still being prepared to make you pass your exams with flying colours.

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