by Hassan Abdulbaqi

As written under SUMMARY OF WHAT YOU SHOULD EXPECT IN YOUR ENGLISH SSCE,Test of Orals is usually sixty questions. As discussed under the sections of other papers like Objective, Essay, Comprehension, Summary, the topics are always predictable but the exact questions are not.

These paper is usually divided into seven sections.

  1. Same vowel sounds: A word shall be given and one or two alphabets shall be underlined in the word. Then, you shall be asked to choose the sound of the underlined alphabet amidst four other available options. For example,

Chick (a) breath (b) pick (c) hike (d) heard

Option (b) is the answer because it is the only word in the options that has the /i/ sound.

  1. Same consonant sounds: This is similar to the first section except that the focus is on consonants, not vowels. For instance,

Swing (a) snag (b) bank (c) wine (d) sign

Option (b) is the answer because it is the only word that has the velar nasal consonant /ŋ/ which coincides with the underlined alphabets, fully transcribed as [swiŋ].


  1. Rhyme: This is similar to the first and second section, just that no word shall be underlined. You shall only be asked to choose the word that is similar to the given word in pronunciation. Example:

catch (a) leech (b) fish (c) batch (d) perch

(c) is the correct answer for ‘batch’ rhymes in pronunciation with ‘catch’, note that the correct transcription is what you shall put into consideration while choosing your answers, and not the spelling because English has a poor fit orthography (a poor spelling system) as shall be discussed in upcoming posts.

NOTE: For these three sections, the candidate must have the basics in transcription and phonics before they can be at ease that they will be able to write the examinations well.

  1. Main/Primary stress: A four syllable word shall be followed with four options with different stress placement and you shall be asked to choose the option with the correct stress.

Autocracy (a) AU-to-cra-cy (b) au-TO-cra-cy (c) au-to-CRA-cy (d) au-to-cra-CY


The word that has the correct stress here is option (b) au-TO-cra-cy


  1. Different stress pattern: A word of about two to three syllables will be given and you will be required to choose the word that has the different stress pattern from the available four options.
  • Dinner (b) current (c) divide (d) number

Option (d) divide is the answer here because it has a different stress.

  1. Emphatic stress: The word with the emphatic stress shall be written in capital letters and the available four options shall contain questions. You shall be asked to choose the option that prompted the emphatic stress on that word.

Stella likes reading NOVELS (a) Does Stella like reading magazines? (b) Does Esther like reading novels? (c)Does Stella dislike reading novels (d) Does Stella like buying novels?


“ (a) Does Stella like reading magazines?” is the correct answer here because it is the only question that must have prompted the question.

  1. Choose the word: Here, a sound will be followed by four options and you will be required to choose the word that the sound is capable of representing.

/i:/ (a) spill (b) seize (c) pretty (d) funny

  • Seize is the correct answer because it is the only word in the available options that had the vowel /i:/.

Test of Orals is certainly a walk in the park for candidates, it is a hard nut to crack for those who do not know. In subsequent posts, we shall give you adequate guide on transcription and stress placement which will, in turn, boost your confidence and make you ask for more!




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