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The aim of the National Business and Technical Examinations Board (NABTEB) English Language Syllabus for 2020 is to ensure that you are well prepared for the exam. You may also click here for how to Pass 2020 NABTEB once and for all without Expo.
- 1. The Aim of The NABTEB 2020 Syllabus
- 2. How The Examination Will Look
- 3. Paper I – Objective Test
- 4. NABTEB PAPER II
- 5. PAPER III ORAL ENGLISH (25 MARKS)
- 6. REMEDIAL ENGLISH GRAMMATICAL AND LEXICAL ITEMS
- 7. COMPREHENSION AND SUMMARY WRITING
- 8. ESSAY WRITING
- 9. REPORT WRITING
- 10. ORAL ENGLISH
The Aim of The NABTEB 2020 Syllabus
The English Language curriculum structurally has the following components, namely:
Grammar, Orals, Comprehension and Summary Writing, Correspondence, Essay and Report
Writing. The purpose of this course is to ensure that candidates:
a. Communicate effectively in written and spoken forms;
b. Construct simple and correct sentences;
c. Read with understanding;
d. Interpret and record technical knowledge and information in accordance with the
registers for the various trades;
e. Express themselves correctly and develop a range of thoughts and ideas on current
topical issues; and
f. Recognize implied meanings, tones, attitudes and use an acceptable pronunciation
that can be, comprehended by others.
How The Examination Will Look
Candidates are expected to take three papers: 001-1 and 001-2 are to be taken together. i.e.
Objective, Essay, Comprehension and Summary. Objective Test (1 hour) 75 marks, 001-2
Paper II: Essay Writing, Comprehension and Summary (1.45mins) 100 marks.
This brings the two papers to 2 hours 45 minutes. The objective test will be collected after 1 hour 001-
3 Paper III: – Orals 25 marks
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Paper I – Objective Test
Multiple choice, comprising questions relating to Lexis and structure.
There will be 100 multiple choice objective test items for a duration of 1 hour.
The objective test items will be based on 40 lexical items, 60 structural items
(a) Vocabulary, i.e. the use of general vocabulary associated with the following areas of
3. Animal Husbandry
5. Family Life
7. Stock Exchange
14. Culture and Ceremonies
15. Science and Technology
(iii) Auto Mechanics etc.
16. Travel and Tourism
17. Government Administration
18. Law and Social Order
19. Computer and Information Technology
(b) Idioms-expression with meaning that cannot be guessed from the meaning of the
(c) Figurative usage;
(d) Antonyms, Synonyms, Spellings, Affixes and Modifiers.
(a) The patterns of changes in word form, e.g. number, tense, degree;
(b) Rules and sentence structures.
NABTEB PAPER II
Section 1: Essay Writing, Comprehension and Summary.
Essay Writing (45 minutes: 40 marks).
In this section, candidates will be expected to answer one question from a choice of four topics
for a duration of 45 minutes. The minimum length expected will be between 350-400 words
unless otherwise stated. Credit will be given for clear and correct expression, accurate use of
words, orderly presentation of materials, correct punctuation and spelling. The objective of this
section is to test the candidates’ ability to communicate effectively in writing.
The kinds of writing demanded are:
8. Creative writing
Section 2: Comprehension (25 minutes: 20 marks)
This section consists of prose passage each of between 350-400 words long. The questions
drawn from these passages are expected to test the following:
(a) Direct questions from the passage.
(b) Mechanical devices (punctuation).
(c) Word class questions.
(d) Figure of speech, e.g. simile, metaphor etc.
(e) Contextual and substitutional questions – word meaning in context.
(f) Grammatical function questions in respect of phrases, clauses direct and indirect
Section 3: Summary: (35 minutes: 30 marks).
This section consists of one prose passage of about 400-500 words selected from a variety of
excerpts from narratives, dialogues, argumentative, descriptive and exposition on topical issues
relating to socio-economic or political issues around the world.
It will test the candidates’ ability to:- (a) summarize relevant points in clear context and concise
English and (b) avoid inclusion of extraneous materials, repetition and redundancy in their
PAPER III ORAL ENGLISH (25 MARKS)
This examination syllabus sets out to test the different basic skills of communication in English
using the medium of speech. The examination will cover the different components and forms of
receptive and productive communication, namely, Reading Comprehension, Listening
Comprehension and Speech Production in English.
There will be two alternatives for this paper. Alternative A for only school candidates and
Alternative B for school and private candidates.
There will be two parts to this paper.
PART I: LISTENING COMPREHENSION 45 minutes (25 marks)
There will be 50 items, 10 on Listening Comprehension and 40 on Recognition of consonants,
consonant clusters, vowels, stress and intonation. These will be tested by means of multiple-
choice items. The test will be in eight sections and at the beginning of each section, candidates
should read instructions on it.
SECTION 1: Distinguish between voiced/voiceless consonants in words.
SECTION 2: Distinguish between different vowel qualities.
SECTION 3: Distinguish between vowel quality and consonant contrasts in isolated words.
SECTION 4: One of three alternatives below will be used in different years:
(i) test of vowels and/or consonant contrasts in sentence contexts.
(ii) Test of vowels and consonants in isolated words (to be selected from a list
of at least four contrasts).
(iii) Test of vowels and consonant contrasts through rhymes.
SECTION 5: Test of rhyming.
SECTION 6: Test of Comprehension of emphatic stresses.
SECTION 7: Test of understanding of intonation through short dialogues.
SECTION 8: Test of understanding of the content of longer dialogues and narratives.
Tape recorders will be required for the administration of the Listening Comprehension Test.
PART II PRODUCTION TEST (Maximum of 15 minutes per candidate) (25 marks)
This will comprise:
A. READING TEST
(i) The candidate will read a passage which will be marked for
– consonants and vowels (5 marks);
– stress and phrasing (10 marks)
(ii) The candidate will read a set of five sentences for the test of intonation
Recommended: Nabteb syllabus for all subjects
B ORAL COMPOSITION
This is an oral composition lasting for about three minutes. The candidate will chose a
topic from a list of three in which he will be assessed for fluency and diction. (5 marks).
ALTERNATIVE B: TEST OF ORALS 50 MINUTES (50 MARKS)
(for school and private candidates)
Alternative B is a multiple-choice paper of 50 items testing the content of the syllabus as
outlined in the examination syllabus.
The 50 objective items will cover the recognition of the following:
1. Vowels – pure vowels and diphthongs.
2. Consonants (including clusters).
4. Word stress/Syllable structure
5. Emphatic stress/Intonation Patterns.
6. Phonetic Symbols.
GRAMMATICAL AND LEXICAL ITEMS
1. Parts of Speech Identify the different parts of speech and state the function in the sentence.
Definition, Identification and uses of:
1.1 Parts of speech: noun, pronoun, adverb, verb, adjective, conjunction, preposition and interjection
Trainees to identify the various parts of speech and use them in sentences.
2. Definite and Indefinite Articles Use the definite article “the” and indefinate article “a/an” correctly in sentences.
2.1 Definite article “the” (where and when) to use the definite article – “the” in a sentence
iv Before proper nouns in the plural e.g. the Joneses.
v. Before Superlatives e.g. I am the greatest man on earth.
2.2 Indefinite article “a/an” (when and where to use the indefinite article “a/an”) i. used with countable nouns in the singular form
Note situations in which nouns are not preceded by the definite article.
Note situation in which nouns are not preceded by the indefinite article
with a vowel e.g. (an egg, an apple) or before vowel sound e.g. (An honour)
3.1 Present, Past and Future e.g. I am great, (present)
3.2 Sentence Construction
Trainees must be able to identify the various tenses.
Trainees should be able to construct sentences using appropriate tenses.
4. Sentence Concord Construct sentence high-lighting the
4.1 Subject and Verb Agreement
Trainees should construct sentences and identify the subject and
agreement between subject and predicate
plural noun takes a plural verb e.g.
the dogs bark.
(1) Case of indefinite pronoun e.g. Everybody is invited.
(2) Proximity of subjects of unequal status linked by correlating conjunctions
e.g. Not only the teachers,
the boy is bad. (3) Collective
noun/uncountable noun etc.
4.3 Agreement of Pronoun with its antecedents in e.g.
verb respectively before written work.
5. Lexical and Structural Pattern
i. Identify and use punctuation marks in sentences
ii. Change direct
iii Identify phrases and clauses in different types of sentence patterns and show the relationship between subject and verb.
iv. Identify and supply synonyms for given
The various situations where they are used should be stressed.
Oral and written exercises on the conversion of direct to indirect speech and vice versa.
The change in verb tense should be extensively discussed
5.4 If I have coins I give to beggars. Phrases and Clauses: e.g.
Round and round
5.5 Subject Predicate
5.6 Antonyms and Synonyms
opposite in or nearly opposite in meaning e.g. good-bad, kind-hard hearted, amicable-hostile, temporarily-permanent, transitory- durable, discipline-indiscipline.
(b) Synonyms are words the same in meaning or nearly the same in meaning. Words of appropriate level such as imitation – mimic, busy-
Trainees should be able to list examples of the two types.
engaged, tasteless-inspired, dogmatic- rigid/obstinate energetic-active, timid-fearful, fear less-bold/brave.
6. Idiomatic Expressions and Figures of Speech i. Explain and use
idioms in sentences ii. Identify and explain
different types of figures of speech.
6.1 Idiomatic Expression
Examples of idioms should be given by trainees.
Trainees should be able to use given figures of speech in Oral/written forms.
They should also be able to identify them whenever they occur.
COMPREHENSION AND SUMMARY WRITING
1. Reading Skills
Trainees should be able to get the general ideas and the details in a passage.
Selected comprehension passages of about 300 words and suitable and appropriate complexity in which many words have been used to convey different shades of meaning.
Questions based on the passages should aid trainees to identify the theme or subject matter, list and explain new words and make sentences with the new words.
3.1 Selected passages of suitable level of complexity in which the following ideas can be identified.
– key words/expressions – topic sentence
3.2 Selected passages of suitable level of complexity in which linking words have been used to link the main points together logically and correctly.
These should be based on the following texts:
matchless shapes, tools
1. Correspondence Analyse and outline the format of different types of correspondence.
1.1 Types of correspondence A letters:
B Advertisements – Print/Electronic Media
C Letters on technical subjects such as report writing
1.2 Analysisoftypesof correspondence
i. Letter form
style to the situation.
suitable vocabulary viii. Accurate use of
punctuation marks to give the required effect.
Differences between the various types should be highlighted.
Correct format and examples of the different types should be delineated
2. Types of Letters Write different types of letter observing conventional forms of style, spelling
2.1 Lettersformat – the address
– the date
Basic differences in the letters’ format for various types of letters, informal, semi- informal and formal letters should be
3. Evaluation of Correspondence Identify phrases and expressions to avoid in letter-writing
3.1 Revision on writing correspondence of different types
3.2 Sample letters with errors such as vocabulary errors, unwanted phrases and expressions which should be corrected
3.4 Identify phrases and expression to be avoided
e.g. with much happiness, it’s the voice of your friend if so doxology… etc
3.5 Specimen letters to be criticized objectively
1. Paragraphing Expand sentences into paragraphs suitable for descriptive, narrative, exposition (etc) essay topics
1.1 Paragraph writing
– punctuation – spelling
1.5 Descriptive writing with simple objects or actions in a paragraph
1.6 Explainingaprocessin paragraph(s) e.g. the process of Garri making
1.7 GivingDirections/Directivesin paragraph(s) e.g.
The preliminary steps of developing paragraphs and outlines should be extensively taught before the actual writing of the essay topics.
2. Essay From Given Ideas Expand sentences into paragraphs on given ideas.
3. Essay From Given Topics
Outline and arrange ideas logically and accurately on an essay from given ideas
3.1 Outline of an Essay Introduction
sequential order – logical
Write out the essay topic suitable for each essay type.
Recommended: Nabteb syllabus for all subjects
1. Meaning of Report classify types of reports and their uses.
uses e.g. progress reports – recommendation reports – laboratoryreports
2. Collating Data for Report Writing
2.1 Simple on-the-spot observations 2.2 Usesofinterviewsand
information e.g. – gazettes
3. Presentation of Report Write reports using the correct mechanics style and proper report layout.
4. Interpretation of Report Analyse a given report or extracts from a report
4.1 Data Analysis through Diagram – pie chart
– bar chart
Recognize and produce all the significant sound contrasts in the consonant system of English.
Produce and recognize consonant clusters which may occur both initially and finally in a syllable
1.1 Single Consonants
They – day Ship – chip Fan – van Tuck – duck Card – guard
Play – pray
buzzes – buses sopping-sobbing written – ridden faces – phases prices – prizes
boat – both
breathe-breed wash – watch leaf – leave cup – cub
rains – range felt – felled sent – send nest – next
Trainees should pronounce different words with contrasting consonant sounds.
Recognize and produce all the
significant sound contrasts
in the vowel system of English
2.1 pure vowels 2.2 Diphthongs
Example of contrasts Seat – sit
Pack – park Word – ward Cheer – chair Cut – curt Bird – bed
Trainees should identify and pronounce vowels with significant sound contrast.
Contrast stressed and unstressed syllables in
(1) words which are not otherwise distinguished.
(2) single words
Stress the right words in sentences.
Make emphatic stress when necessary
3.1 word stress
re’bel “ con’vict “
“ im’port “
3.2 Sentence Stress
3.3 Emphatic Stress
Trainees should be aware of the possibility of shifting stress from one syllable to another in different derivations of the same word.
Trainees should know that English stress occurs at regular intervals in time.
realized partly as a change in pitch within the intonation pattern.
He borrowed ‘my newspaper. ( hers)
He ‘borrowed my newspaper. ( did not steal it).
He borrowed my ‘newspaper. ( my book).
‘He borrowed my newspaper. ( someone else)
) (i.e not ) (i.e. he ) (i.e not ) (i.e not
Distinguish between one different intonation patterns
) (command) )
) (incomplete) ) (question)
Trainees should note that:
may be combined in long sentences, e.g. when the train arrived the passengers were on the platform. ()
(2) any unstressed syllable(s)
following the last stressed syllable of the sentence are said on a low level pitch when the pattern falling but continue the rise if the pattern is rising.
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