NABTEB English Language Syllabus 2022 (PDF)

NABTEB English Language Syllabus And Hot Topics To Read For 2021 NABTEB: If you have been wondering how to get NABTEB Syllabus Online Plus hot topics you are to focus on in the English Language then Guide is for you.


The aim of the National Business and Technical Examinations Board (NABTEB) English Language Syllabus for 2021 is to ensure that you are well prepared for the exam.

The Aim of The NABTEB English 2021 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.

1. Lexis:

(a) Vocabulary, i.e. the use of general vocabulary associated with the following areas of
human activities:
1. Agriculture
2. Fisheries
3. Animal Husbandry
4. Religion
5. Family Life

6. Photography
7. Stock Exchange
8. Advertising
9. Sports
10. Entertainment
11. Insurance
12. Military
13. Health
14. Culture and Ceremonies

15. Science and Technology
(i) Building
(ii) Plumbing
(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
individual words;
(c) Figurative usage;
(d) Antonyms, Synonyms, Spellings, Affixes and Modifiers.

2. Structures:

(a) The patterns of changes in word form, e.g. number, tense, degree;
(b) Rules and sentence structures.


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:
1. Narrative
2. Description;
3. Argumentation/debate;
4. Exposition;
5. Letter;
6. Article;
7. Speech;
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


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.


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:


(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
(5 marks).


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).

(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).
3. Rhymes.
4. Word stress/Syllable structure
5. Emphatic stress/Intonation Patterns.
6. Phonetic Symbols.


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 interjection1.2  Construction of sentences with parts of Speech.1.3  Identification of parts of Speech in a sentence e.g. the boy is tall
The – article
boy – nounis – verb
tall – adjective
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
The definite article – “the” is used:With all nouns – countable and un- countable e.g. the boy/the rice/the unionWhen the noun is already known to us e.g. Bring the box on the table.Before oceans, seas, rivers, deserts, e.g. the Sahara Deserts, the Atlantic Oceaniv 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(a)  the form ”˜a’ is used before words beginning withconsonants e.g. (a boy), or before consonant
sound e.g. (a union)(b)  The form ”˜an’ is used before words beginning
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)When one is not being specific e.g. There is a boyin the gardenFor generalization e.g. anowl can see in the dark. Adog has four legs.Used in expressionreferring to one person or thing e.g. He is such a nice man. What a lovely day it has been.Denoting quantities e.g. a few books a lot of money.Indeed a little more.For expressions with“pair”/”per” e.g. we earn twenty Naira an hour. Those shoes are twenty Naira a pair.With people’s names (especially when thePerson is not known to the speaker e.g. Mr. Jones wants to see you.
There’s a Mr. Adams outside waiting to see you.
3. Tenses
Identify the various simple tenses in sentences
3.1 Present, Past and Future e.g. I am great, (present)
I was great (past)
I will be great (future)3.2 Sentence Construction
constructing simple sentences with the different tenses such that subject and verb agree e.g.
She wants some water.
I want some water.
They want some water.
You want some water
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 the4.1 Subject and Verb Agreement
A singular noun takes on a singular verb, e.g. the dog barks, while a
Trainees should construct sentences and identify the subject and
agreement between subject and predicateplural noun takes a plural verb e.g.the dogs bark.
4.2 Exceptions to the rule of concord(1) Case of indefinite pronoun e.g. Everybody is invited.(2) Proximity of subjects of unequal status linked by correlating conjunctionse.g. Not only the teachers,the boy is bad. (3) Collectivenoun/uncountable noun etc.4.3 Agreement of Pronoun with its antecedents in e.g.(a)  Number – Each man does the job his own way.(b)  Gender: The man has his duty,the woman has hers, andthe people theirs(c)  Person: 1st, 2nd & 3rdperson singular.
I sing very well. You sing very well. She sings very well.
verb respectively before written work.
5. Lexical and Structural Patterni. Identify and use punctuation marks in sentencesii. Change direct
speech to indirect speech and vice versaiii 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
5.1  Punctuation Marks and their uses e.g. comma, full stop, question mark, semi-colon, exclamation mark, quotation mark, parenthesis dash, etc.5.2  Direct and Indirect Speech e.g. Direct: “The first Europeans to come to West Africa were the Portuguese”. Indirect speech is concerned with reporting the words spoken by a speaker e.g. Indirect: He said that the first Europeans to come to West Africa were Portuguese.
Direct speech is concerned with the exact words of the speaker and as such we use quotation marks (“”) to mark off the exact words.
Direct: Lilian: “What do you want Ellen?
Indirect: Lilian asked Ellen what she
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
5.3 Sentence Pattern: Identification anduses e.g.
Simple Pattern
He ate his meat
She opened the windows.Compound Pattern:
He checked round but he could not see him
She is very beautiful and doing fine academically.Complex Pattern:
When I open the door I saw a little girl.5.4 If I have coins I give to beggars. Phrases and Clauses: e.g.
A pretty girl
The black bagRound and round
A phrase is a group of words without a finite verb which forms part of a sentence.
e.g. As a result of his hard work he became very rich.5.5 Subject Predicate
The subject in the sentence is a word/group of words representing what we speak about. The predicate is a word/group of words often marked off by the verb representing what we say about the subject.5.6 Antonyms and Synonyms
(a) Antonyms are words that are exactlyopposite 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 useidioms in sentences ii. Identify and explaindifferent types of figures of speech.6.1 Idiomatic Expression
Idiom is an expression with a meaning that cannot be guessed from the meaning of the individual words e.g. His mother passed away, (died)6.2  Use of Idioms in sentences. He kicked the bucket last week (died). He was beating about the bush evasive).
The ex-governor embarked on a white-elephant project (costly and unnecessary)6.3  Types of figures of speech e.g. metaphors, irony, personification, hyperbole, paradox, onomatopoeia, rhetorical question etc.6.4  Use of figures of speech in sentences.
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.


1. Reading Skills
Read to get details from a given passage and answer questions based on it
1.1  Carefully select comprehension passages of suitable complexity1.2  Selected passages of appropriate level1.3  Carefully designed questions relating to the idea and details in the passagesTrainees should be able to get the general ideas and the details in a passage.
2. Comprehension
Read and answer questions based on comprehension passages.
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. Summary
Pick out the main ideas in a given passage and link these ideas in a logical concise summary.
3.1 Selected passages of suitable level of complexity in which the following ideas can be identified.– key words/expressions – topic sentence
– title
– main points3.2 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:(a) dialogue
(b) narrative
(c) descriptive e.g.matchless shapes, toolsetc.(d)  explanation ofworkshop, practices andprocesses(e)  explanation of ideas ora sequence of ideas.
1. Correspondence Analyse and outline the format of different types of correspondence.1.1 Types of correspondence A letters:(i)  Conversational or friendly letters -informal letters(ii)  Social letters e.g.invitations and relies(iii)  Business andcommercial letter e.g. letter of enquiry, order, sales and acknowledgement(iv)  Government or official lettersB Advertisements – Print/Electronic MediaC Letters on technical subjects such as report writing1.2 Analysisoftypesof correspondencei. Letter form
ii. Choice or relevantand/interestingmaterials
iii. logical organization ofideas.
iv. Use of the appropriatestyle to the situation.
v. Correctness of structure vi. Use of suitableexpressions
vii. Use of accurate andsuitable vocabulary viii. Accurate use ofpunctuation 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, spelling2.1 Lettersformat – the address– the date
– the direction/recipient’saddress
– salutation
Basic differences in the letters’ format for various types of letters, informal, semi- informal and formal letters should be
abbreviations etc.– heading
– main body – closing2.2 Style
– Vocabulary– Abbreviations– Slangetc.
2.3 Letter Writing – The varioustypes
– Informal – letters to friends, parents, relatives etc
– Semi-formal – letters to a pen friend a senior colleague etc.
– Formal e.g. application for job, letters to the press, official letters etc.
3. Evaluation of Correspondence Identify phrases and expressions to avoid in letter-writing3.1 Revision on writing correspondence of different types3.2 Sample letters with errors such as vocabulary errors, unwanted phrases and expressions which should be corrected3.3 Letterwriting
e.g. letters requiring facts, directives protest and letters of appreciation.3.4 Identify phrases and expression to be avoidede.g. with much happiness, it’s the voice of your friend if so doxology… etc3.5 Specimen letters to be criticized objectively


1. Paragraphing Expand sentences into paragraphs suitable for descriptive, narrative, exposition (etc) essay topics1.1 Paragraph writing
1.2 Explanation of ideas clearly andeffectively
1.3 Expansion of a sentence into aparagraph
1.4 Mechanical skills in writing– punctuation – spelling
– paragraphing1.5 Descriptive writing with simple objects or actions in a paragraph1.6 Explainingaprocessin paragraph(s) e.g. the process of Garri making1.7 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.2.1  Complex sentences for an essay with a given idea2.2  Expansion of points in ideas in 2.1 to produce a good essay
3. Essay From Given TopicsOutline and arrange ideas logically and accurately on an essay from given ideas3.1 Outline of an Essay IntroductionMain bodyConclusion
3.2 Arrangementoftheoutlineinsequential order – logical
– chronological3.3  Styles of Writing – Formal- Informal3.4  Formal Essay Topics- narrative
– descriptive
– argumentative
– expository topics
Write out the essay topic suitable for each essay type.


1. Meaning of Report classify types of reports and their uses.1.1 MeaningofReport
1.2 Classification of types and theiruses e.g. progress reports – recommendation reports – laboratoryreports
– memorandum
2. Collating Data for Report Writing
Select relevant materials for report writing
2.1 Simple on-the-spot observations 2.2 Usesofinterviewsandquestionnaires
2.3 Use of library for collinginformation e.g. – gazettes
– symbols
3. Presentation of Report Write reports using the correct mechanics style and proper report layout.3.1  Write a report with simple, familiar and correct words.3.2  Styles of report presentation e.g. abbreviations- symbols
– hyphenation of compound words.3.3  Report Layout/Format – heading/title- table of content – introduction
– body
– conclusion- recommendations – appendix
– bibliography3.4  Oral presentation of reports
4. Interpretation of Report Analyse a given report or extracts from a report4.1 Data Analysis through Diagram – pie chart– bar chart
Interpretation and analysis of reports/extracts from a report


1. ConsonantsRecognize 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 syllable1.1 Single ConsonantsInitialThey – day Ship – chip Fan – van Tuck – duck Card – guardInitialPlay – pray
Sting – string Scheme – scream Crime – climb Flue – free
Three – treeMedialbuzzes – buses sopping-sobbing written – ridden faces – phases prices – prizesFinalboat – bothbreathe-breed wash – watch leaf – leave cup – cubrains – range felt – felled sent – send nest – next
ask – axe missed – mixedFinal
Trainees should pronounce different words with contrasting consonant sounds.
2. VowelsRecognize and produce all thesignificant sound contrastsin the vowel system of English2.1 pure vowels 2.2 DiphthongsExample of contrasts Seat – sit
Sit – set
Peck – packPack – park Word – ward Cheer – chair Cut – curt Bird – bed
Trainees should identify and pronounce vowels with significant sound contrast.
3. StressContrast stressed and unstressed syllables in(1) words which are not otherwise distinguished.(2) single wordsStress the right words in sentences.Make emphatic stress when necessary3.1 word stress
‘increase (noun) in ‘ crease (verb)‘import
‘ rebel
‘extract “ ex’tract “““re’bel “ con’vict ““ im’port “3.2 Sentence Stress
He went to the ‘town and ‘bought some ‘oranges Did you ‘ask him?
They ar’rived yesterday.
The man who ‘came.
I ‘fetched his ‘book3.3 Emphatic Stress
The falling pitch illustrated below is one of the common ways of intruing contract which is
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
4. IntonationDistinguish between one different intonation patterns4.1  Falling Patterns
They ar’rived today (‘Where did he go? (Come ‘here (4.2  Rising PatternsDid he ‘see the ‘Principal? ( (Yes/No question)When the strain ar’rived ( They ar’rived today () (statement)
) (wlt – question)) (command) )) (incomplete) ) (question)
Trainees should note that:
(1) the two patternsmay 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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