10 Reasons Students fail LITERATURE IN ENGLISH: WAEC, NECO and GCE questions


In this article i will show you the 10 reasons why students fail  LITERATURE IN ENGLISH in WAEC, NECO and GCE questions.

Literature in English is one of the “must Do” subjects in  senior secondary school for art student. As simple as literature seems to be, yet so many student in Nigeria she failed the subjects in external exam.

10 Reasons Students fail LITERATURE IN ENGLISH: WAEC, NECO and GCE questions

What is Literature in English

Literature in English is not all about reading of books like drama prose and poetry. Literature in English is a science subject on it own because it studies the life pattern of people in the society,the norms,the custom and the tradition of people in various parts of the world.

It teaches various aspects of life by addressing issues which happens in our societies. It also exposes you to  historical event of the past relating it to the present.

Why students fail LITERATURE IN ENGLISH  WAEC, NECO and GCE questions

Lack of knowledge

Lack of knowledge is the major reason why students fail Literature in English maybe in WAEC, NECO or others examination.

It is obvious that not so many students who sit for literature in English exams are literary ART students. A commercial student can just add it to his/her subject combination without ever treating the subject which can lead to his or her failure in exam.

Others fail because not all the books accorded to them to read are actually read.

So instead of answering four questions, such a person end up answering two or three which results to decrease in marks.


Some students fail literature in English in exam because it was their first attempt. They might not have written any external exam before and being their first time, there is probability for them to be afraid and the fear in them might lead them not to answer most of the questions correctly.

Over confidence

A lot of students fail due to overconfident in themselves. They regard literature in English as an ordinary subject since it has to do with reading of novels and poetry.

They thereafter feel the fact that they know it all and end up being disappointed in themselves when they see question in exam Hall that they do not know anything about or understand.


Every student is expected to always be seen Reading either Novels or articles.

10 Reasons Students fail LITERATURE IN ENGLISH in WAEC

Read all your novels and poetry and cover every pages of the book. Read books of great men and women so that when asked a question you can make easy reference to any of the books you must have read when answering a question that is in line with the story.

Inability To Ask Questions

Most students fail because they failed to ask questions about what they don’t know. No knowledge is a waste.
Don’t keep what you don’t know to yourself. ASK QUESTIONS.

Skimming and scanning instead of STUDYING

Skimming and scanning art techniques which involves the use of rapid eye movement to read.

Skimming is Reading rapidly in order to get a general view of the material why scanning is Reading rapidly in order to find specific facts. Most students don’t study but rather skim and scan when reading.

As an art student, you need to study your literature in English. Note the themes,cast and crew and how their part affect the books, setting, background, dramatic techniques and thematic setting of every book, that is “drama and prose” take note of the poetic devices and how they are being used, the setting, the theme, the mood and tone of the poet of every poetry material you read. They are all essentials.

Lack of preparation

Most students failed to prepare well. They feel it’s just a common literature book so they could just enter the exam Hall and write down the whole story any how.

Also read: 12 Ways To Pass JAMB 2021 Examination

As a literature student study as many past questions as you can get and know them all.

In ability to interpret questions

Most students fail because they find it difficult to interpret literature questions. For example when asked to discuss the poetic  devices  used in a poem it simply means identify the devices such as repetition, personification, metaphor, mood, tone,etc, used in the poem and explain them.

Low knowledge of figure of speech

Your figure of speech such as metaphor, personification, parado,allusion, repetition,etc, which could also mean poetic devices are very important therefore you must take notes of them.
This are very important especially in answering your poetry questions. Most people fail to acknowledge this which makes leads them to failure.

10 Reasons Students fail LITERATURE IN ENGLISH: WAEC, NECO and GCE questions

In ability to know something by heart

To know something by heart means to have learnt and memorized something completely.A good student offering literature in English should at least know some poems offhand  or some lines of poem by heart so that when asked a question he or she would be able to quote some lines of poems.

This also attract fullmarks. Take for example, when asked to identify poetic devices used in VANITY by Birago Diop, you should be able to quote lines like;

If we tell  GENTLY GENTLY (Repetition)
Who will hear our voices without Laughter (Rhetorical question) which was also repeated (another repetition)

Pitiful Anger (OXYMORON),etc.
All these help alot in getting your full marks.

As people are failing Literature in English you can do yours at first attempt and pass, just believe in yourself.

10 Reasons Students fail LITERATURE IN ENGLISH: WAEC, NECO and GCE questions

Lastly, get a copy of the WAEC marking guide. It will show how questions are being Mark and the necessary points you must write. It will really help you.

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