English Language BECE 1999

August 1999
45 minutes


Read the following passages carefully and answer the questions which follow


The persistent sound of the big bell at that time of the day surprised everybody. What could the matter be? The pupils, bumping into each other, raced to the assembly hall. In less than a minute, Mr Amoh, the
headmaster, stood with a grim face before them. He raised his hand and everybody was quiet.

“Children,” he began. “The reason why I have summoned you here is to tell you that, at long last, we have
found the students who stole the school‟s microphones. Bring them here!” he commanded.

Necks craned to catch a glimpse of the thieves. There was Kofi Smith, the best footballer in the school. Eyes popped out. “Shiee!” exclaimed the students, completely surprised. Next was Akwesi Ameko. “What…!” blurted out someone from the back. “Is he not the Form Two Class Prefect?” As if that was not enough, Akwasi Osei appeared last, his withered leg dangling on a crutch. The students exploded into uncontrollable laughter. The Senior Prefect had to shout his head off before silence was restored. Everybody was at a loss as to what came over the trio to commit such a crime.

In a clear voice, the headmaster handed down the punishment – two weeks‟ suspension.

1. Why was everybody surprised when the bell rang?

A. the students bumped into each other
B. they ran to the assembly hall
C. the students saw the headmaster standing before them
D. they did not expect the bell to ring at that time

2. The students raced to the assembly hall because the

A. headmaster was annoyed
B. headmaster asked them to come
C. bell rang many times
D. bell rang at the normal time

3. There was laughter in the assembly hall because

A. Mr Amoh stood before them with a grim face
B. Kofi Smith the footballer was involved
C. Akwesi Ameko surprised them
D. Akwasi Osei the cripple was also involved

4. The expression at a loss means

A. dissatisfied
B. angry
C. confused
D. surprised

5. What did the headmaster do to the thieves? He

A. warned them not to repeat the offence
B. asked a teacher to cane them
C. sent them home to call their parents
D. asked them to stay away from school


Before Obu left the house that morning for the Christmas service, he tried on his brand new clothes together with a cap which was beautifully embroidered with yellow thread. He wore the cap at various angles, using a hand mirror to choose the most suitable.

During the service, Obu caught himself several times admiring his clothes. Whenever the congregation sat down, he switched his attention from the clothes to his shoes, nicknamed “stand by”, his first pair ever. He was not alone. Even the choristers who should have joined the procession preferred to sit with the rest of the congregation in order to show off their new clothes. The church itself was in a festive mood, beautifully decorated with palm fronds and flowers.

Obu’s only problem was that he could not wear his cap inside the church. Outside, the harmattan wind was dry and dusty, making one thirsty. One could not even smile without bleeding since one’s lips were so dry. Despite this, Obu preferred staying outside to being inside the church where he could not display his cap. Therefore, when the catechist was on his way to the pulpit for the sermon, Obu lied to the Warden that he wanted to relieve himself outside.

6. Obu was inattentive in church because of………….

A. the Christmas
B. the harmattan
C. his new dress
D. his embroidery

7. Obu’s shoes were special to him because they…………

A. were called “stand by”
B. were his first
C. made noise
D. looked very beautiful

8. According to the passage the choristers………..

A. disliked their robes
B. did not like singing
C. wanted to display their dresses
D. preferred sitting to standing

9. Obu went outside the church……….

A. since it was so warm inside
B. because he did not like the catechist
C. in order to relieve himself
D. so that he could wear his cap

10. He was not alone tells us that Obu was not the only one who was……..

A. in church that day
B. happy
C. wearing new clothes
D. celebrating

11. The word relieve in the passage means…….

A. lessen his suffering
B. show his new clothes
C. play happily
D. sing melodiously


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

12. The team’s performance made the coach very anxious.

A. hopeful
B. angry
C. jealous
D. worried

13. The Disciplinary Committee was asked to investigate the theft.

A. condemn
B. go into
C. determine
D. look for

14. The class teacher could not bear the noise.

A. tolerate
B. understand
C. take in
D. make out

15. Due to anger the pupil spoke to the teacher in an impolite way.

A. foolish
B. loud
C. brave
D. rude

16. Florence Nightingale was a renowned nurse.

A. strict
B. humble
C. brave
D. famous

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.

17. The news of the inspector’s visit kept the pupils on their toes. This means the pupils

A. stood up
B. ran away
C. were alert
D. were fatigued

18. During my preparation for the examination, I left no stone unturned. This means that I

A. found it difficult to study
B. studied thoroughly
C. was sure to pass
D. took all the stones away.

19. For the sake of peace Kofi gave in to his friend after their bitter quarrel. This means that Kofi

A. Kofi accepted defeat
B. Kofi avoided his friend
C. Kofi’s friend abandoned him
D. Kofi’s friend was defeated.

20. John was far ahead of our class but we soon caught up with him.
This means that

A. John was the tallest in the class
B. John kept himself away from the class
C. we soon found John in front of us.
D. we reached the same level with John

21. Kwadwo turned a deaf ear to his mother’s advice.
This means that Kwadwo

A. turned his deaf ear to his mother
B. refused to listen
C. stopped his ear
D. could not hear well.

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

22. She is hopeful of passing the English Language test.

A. mindful
B. afraid
C. careful
D. doubtful

23. The Headmaster condemned the Prefect’s behaviour.

A. reported
B. pardoned
C. confirmed
D. praised

24. Mary looked very attractive in her new dress.

A. comfortable
B. clumsy
C. happy
D. proud

25. The melodious song put the baby to sleep.

A. triumphant
B. old
C. strange
D. discordant

26. My father was indifferent to my brother’s suffering.

A. similar
B. concerned
C. stern
D. kind

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

27. We always look ………our parents for help.

A. about
B. up to
C. at
D. up for

28. Finish the work quickly and ………your exercise books.

A. hand up
B. hand out
C. hand down
D. hand over

29. You don‟t believe that, ………?

A. isn’t it
B. do you
C. won’t you
D. don’t you

30. Amina is a good girl, …………….?

A. isn’t it
B. doesn’t she
C. does she
D. isn’t she

31. Don’t pay him …………..he finishes the work.

A. since
B. until
C. as
D. yet

32. This is the boy …………book I took.

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

33. She ………when her father called her.

A. swept
B. is sweeping
C. has swept
D. was sweeping

34. After the fight, the two boxers congratulated ………….

A. one another
B. each other
C. one other
D. each another

35. Everybody said my father was the ………..hardworking man in the village.

A. very most
B. very more
C. most
D. more

36. The chief went to the durbar grounds …………horseback.

A. on
B. by
C. from
D. above

37. Nii isn’t in his office; he is………… near this place.

A. thereby
B. sometimes
C. somewhat
D. nowhere

38. Kweku discovered later that …………….has many advantages.

A. to be telling the truth
B. tell the truth
C. having told the truth
D. telling the truth

39. The Oseis are our neighbours; they ……..near us for twenty years now.

A. stay
B. were stayed
C. stayed
D. have stayed

40. He was sure he gave the pan to ………….else.
A. anyone
B. someone
C. somebody
D. everybody