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Mistakes That Could Make 2023 BECE Candidates Fail Core Subjects: New Chief Examiner’s Report

The Newest Chief Examiner’s Report released by WAEC has revealed the reasons why students failed the 2021 BECE. The report also outlined the weaknesses of candidates who failed and recommendations for students, teachers, and schools.

Students always fail the BECE and in some instances, very good students even fail to the surprise of schools, teachers, and parents.

Note that if you repeat the mistakes, or problems identified by the examiner in the various subjects, it will be difficult to pass the examination.


Some of the candidates seemed to have lost focus on the requirements of the essay questions. Even where relevant points were raised, they were left unexplained.

Again, there were others who displayed a lack of appropriate vocabulary items and this hindered their ability to express themselves clearly and meaningfully.

Grammatical/ syntactical errors marred the quality of the answers of almost all the candidates, thereby significantly diminishing their marks.

It seemed some of the candidates did not read the comprehension passage before proceeding to answer the questions on it, as their answers were completely unrelated to the given passage. There were others who simply copied portions of the passage and passed them off as answers without caring about whether they were appropriate responses to the questions.

Again, some candidates did not number their answers or used a form of numbering different from the one used in the question paper. This practice should be avoided as it makes candidates’ work difficult to mark.

In part C (Literature), many of the candidates displayed very little acquaintance with the set texts from The Cockcrow and obtained appallingly low marks. Questions on figures of speech posed great difficulty to most of the candidates. In addition, some candidates wrote wrong/ meaningless/ irrelevant answers while others wrote no answers at all.

Vocatives were omitted; some candidates did not take sides in debates.

Candidates wrote irrelevant answers for some of the essay questions.

Some candidates showed inadequate knowledge of the Literature texts.

Candidates spent a lot of time on the essays to the detriment of other sections.


(1) Candidates should pay more attention to the study of the grammar and structure of the English language.

(2) They should be helped to distinguish between the form/format of the various types of essays.

(3) They should read widely and also use the dictionary often to improve upon their stock of vocabulary and power of expression.

(4) They should be made to do a lot of exercises on essay writing.

(5) They should be encouraged to diligently read the texts in The Cockcrow.

(6) They should study literary devices in order that they would be able to identify them in texts.

(7) They should read the questions carefully for thorough understanding before proceeding to answer them.

(8) They should be helped to learn the techniques of answering the various types of questions on comprehension passages, especially the wh-questions.

(9)  Candidates should read not for pleasure only but to improve upon their usage of the language.

(10) Students should be given more lessons and explanations on every aspect of the syllabus.

(11) Candidates should also pay particular attention to the prescribed texts to be able to answer the questions set.

BECE Chief Examiner’s Report for Integrated Science


(1) Some candidates could not state the correct scientific units

(2) Could not use the appropriate scientific formulae and expressions

(3) Most candidates could not distinguish between experimental observation and conclusion

(4) Most candidates did not understand the formation of the eclipse as they were unable to explain the concept

(5) Inadequate knowledge of agricultural concepts

(6) Most candidates were unable to interpret practical questions especially observations and conclusion

(7) Most candidates could not distinguish between the terms, explain, what is, state Etc. This resulted in the misinterpretation of questions


(1) Teachers must take time to teach candidates the difference between the terms, explain, what is, state, etc., and their demand when used to construct question

(2) Teachers should take students through practical questions involving basic scientific terms and conventions

(3) Teachers should be encouraged to give students practical exercises and guide students to interpret, observe and draw correct conclusions

(4) Students should be given assignments involving appropriate formulae, calculations, scientific expressions, and basic standard units

(5) Teachers should try to cover the greater part of the syllabus with their students

(6) Students should be encouraged to read more story books to improve their expressions and also help them use words appropriately

(7) Candidates are advised to read through examination questions carefully and understand them before attempting to answer.

BECE Chief Examiner’s Report for Social Studies


(i) the negative effects of colonization on Ghana;

(ii) ways of improving the health needs of the youth;

(iii) the symbols of national unity;

(iv) measures to be taken to improve agricultural output in Ghana;

(v) various ways Ghanaians demonstrate their culture.


(i) ways in which education can cause change in the society;

(ii) ways to sustain unity in various ethnic groups in Ghana;

(iii) definition of political stability;

(iv) ways indisciplined behavior affect individuals in the society;

(v) the contribution of NGO’s to the development of Ghana;

(vi) ways of resolving conflicts in the society;

(vii) application of knowledge on scale to calculate actual distance;

(viii) benefits of relief features.


(i) Candidates and teachers should have detailed discussions with examples from their environments to improve candidates understanding of some topics such as calculating actual distance using knowledge on scales.

(ii) Teachers must assist candidates to know the contributions of NGO’s to Ghana’s development;

(iii) Candidates need more knowledge from teachers, on how education can cause change in societies;

(iv) Teachers must assist candidates to know the relief features in Ghana and their benefits.

BECE Chief Examiner’s Report for Mathematics


(a) applying laws of indices to simplify given expression;

(b) clearing fraction and solving of linear equation;

(c) solving word-problems;

(d) finding rule of a given mapping;

(e) simplifying fractions and converting to the nearest whole numbers.


(a) Teachers should use activities, Teaching and Learning Materials and involve students in teaching concepts and solving examples.

(b) Candidates should be encouraged and motivated by teachers and parents to practice what they have been taught.

(c) Candidates should be given enough exercises on their areas of weaknesses.

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