English Language BECE 1998

August 1998
45 minutes

Read the following passages carefully and answer the questions which follow

After the wine had been drunk Okwonkwo laid his difficulties before Nwakibie. I have come to you for help, he said. “Perhaps you can already guess what it is. I have cleared a farm but have no yams to sow. I know what it is to ask a man to trust another with his yams, especially these days when young men are afraid of hard work. I am not afraid of work.

The lizard that jumped from the high iroko tree to the ground said he would praise himself if no one else did. I began to fend for myself at an age when most people will suck at their mothers‟ breast. If you give me some yam seeds I shall not fail you.

Nwakibie cleared his throat. „It pleases me to see a determined young man like you these days when our youth have gone so soft. Many young men have come to me to ask for yams but I have refused because I knew they would just dump them in the earth and leave them to be choked by weeds. When I say no to them they think I am hard-hearted. But it is not so. Eneke the bird says that since men have learnt to shoot without missing, he has learnt to fly without perching. I have learnt to be stingy with my yams. But I can trust you. I know it as I look at you. As our fathers said, you can tell a ripe corn by its look. I shall give you four hundred yams. Go ahead and prepare your farm.‟

1. The full form of if no one else did will be, “if no one ……”

A. jumped
B. looked
C. was afraid
D. praised him

2. I began to fend for myself means the speaker …….

A. defended himself
B. protected his family
C. looked after himself
D. looked for yams

3. Being hard-hearted is to ………

A. be solid
B. have no kind feeling
C. be wild
D. refuse to smile

4. Nwakibie refused to give yams to some young men because they were …….

A. lazy
B. stingy
C. unable to shoot well
D. unable to trust him

5. According to the passage one can say that Okwonkwo is ……..

A. always praising himself
B. a determined hardworking young farmer
C. always sucking his mother’s breast
D. very stingy with yams


We were suddenly awakened at dawn by the screams of the tenants in the house. Daddy quickly jumped from his bed and made for the door. Not long after we heard him screaming. We ran to the hall, switched on the light and saw him lying flat on his back, holding his forehead.

In his haste to get to the hall door, he must have forgotten to switch on the light thus running straight and crashing his head against the pillar in the middle of the hall. When we examined his forehead, we saw a big lump and blood oozing from a deep cut near his eyebrow. Mother, a retired nursing sister, shouted instructions at me to get the first aid box, some ice cubes and Daddy‟s towel.

When the items were brought she then sat to work first on the cut. She put some ice-cubes in the towel and pressed them on the cut for about two minutes. She then wiped the blood gently. Afterwards, she put a little iodine on gauze, placed it on the cut and bandaged it. Then turning to the lump, she massaged it with some ice-cubes, which reduced the swelling. She then opened the door and we were confronted with a pathetic scene. Lying in the middle of the house was the body of one of the tenants. Trying to resist an attack by armed robbers, he had been butchered mercilessly and his body left in the middle of the house.

6. What made the writer wake up?

A. The noise made by his father
B. The shouting of people in the house
C. His father’s jumping out of bed
D. His father crashing into the pillar.

7. The father was holding his forehead because he

A. ran
B. lay on his back
C. did not put on the light
D. hit his head against the pillar

8. Which of the following statements, according to the passage, is not true?

A. Mother retired as a nursing sister
B. Mother used Daddy’s towel
C. Mother used iodine and ice-cubes
D. Mother applied warm water

9. How did the tenant die?

A. He was a pathetic scene
B. He was killed by armed robbers
C. He was merciless
D. He had resisted armed robbers

10. “Pathetic” in the passage means

A. sad
B. strange
C. mighty
D. merciless

Choose from the alternatives lettered A to D the one which is nearest in meaning to the underlined word in each sentence

11. We were advised to make our handwriting legible.

A. crooked
B. clear
C. straight
D. deep

12. Our supporters planned to jubilate after the match.

A. embrace the supporters
B. reward the players
C. rejoice
D. feast

13. Bullying has been banned in this school.

A. encouraged
B. forbidden
C. discussed
D. introduced

14. The penalty for stealing is dismissal from school.

A. trouble
B. cause
C. foul
D. punishment

15. The talking ceased as soon as the teacher appeared.

A. changed over
B. dragged on
C. stopped
D. increased

In each of the following sentences a group of words has been underlined. Choose from the alternatives lettered A to D the one that best explains the underlined words.

16. It will serve her right if she does not meet her friends at the airport. This means that …..

A. she will have what she likes.
B. it will be too much for her.
C. she will have what she deserves.
D. it will be her right to travel.

17. Mr. Mensah appears to be an honest worker, but he leads a double life. This means that he ………

A. comes to work early
B. works harder than everybody
C. leads a bad private life
D. has two different jobs.

18. My uncle visits me once in a blue moon. This means that he visits …………

A. at the end of the month
B. rarely
C. during the night
D. daily

19. Academically the Science Class is second to none in the school. This means that the class ………..

A. always takes the second position
B. does not do very well
C. is the best
D. is the second largest

20. If we had sent him to the hospital earlier he wouldn’t have died. This means that we ………..

A. sent him to the hospital.
B. didn’t send him to the hospital at all.
C. sent him to the hospital late.
D. were told to send him to the hospital.

From the list of words lettered A to D, choose the one that is most nearly opposite in meaning to the word underlined in each sentence

21. The prefect was punished for being dishonest.

A. rough
B. respect
C. sincere
D. tactful

22. Our teachers always advised us to be humble.

A. arrogant
B. gentle
C. hardworking
D. wicked

23. Our headmaster has purchased a lot of books for the library.

A. selected
B. collected
C. sold
D. lent

24. The meat I had was tough.

A. big
B. soft
C. slippery
D. rough

25. Vegetation is scanty in desert countries.

A. green
B. dry
C. little
D. dense

From the alternatives lettered A to D, choose the one which most suitably completes each sentence.

26. Anto should …………….his teeth before eating.

A. have cleaned
B. has cleaned
C. cleaned
D. cleans

27. Mr Tawiah regularly ………….late in the night.

A. eat
B. eats
C. eaten
D. eating

28. Can you make ………….Issaka in the crowd?

A. of
B. up
C. out
D. away

29. The earlier we ………..the work, the better.

A. have done
B. do
C. did
D. had done

30. You will pass this examination, …………?

A. don’t you
B. have you
C. may you
D. won’t you

31. He showed me the car …………knocked him down.

A. who
B. which
C. whom
D. what

32. The man is a good friend of …………

A. my
B. me
C. myself
D. mine

33. The national team is preparing ………….their next match.

A. with
B. by
C. on
D. for

34. Look carefully around for those books; they must be ……….in this room.

A. somehow
B. everywhere
C. somewhere
D. anywhere

35. Find out who is the ………….of the two boys.

A. most tall
B. taller
C. more tall
D. tallest

36. ……………boys are very happy with the toys.

A. they
B. those
C. this
D. that

37. Julie wants to visit a relative of …………….

A. hers
B. herself
C. themselves
D. ourselves

38. The visitors don’t know Krokrobite ………..?

A. is it
B. haven’t they
C. do they
D. isn’t it

39. Was it not your sister who ………..this hole yesterday?

A. has dug
B. have dug
C. dig
D. dug

40. I can’t hear her; I wish she …………louder.

A. was speaking
B. would speak
C. had spoken
D. might speak