Computer Science

Below is this year’s WAEC syllabus for Computer Science. Note that this syllabus is for both internal and external candidates.

WAEC syllabus for Computer Science

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This examination syllabus is developed from the National Curriculum for Senior Secondary School Computer Studies. It highlights the scope of the course for Computer Studies examinations at this level. Its structuring revolves around a conceptual approach. The major thematic areas considered in the entire syllabus include:

  • Computer Fundamentals and Evolution
  • Computer hardware
  • Computer Software
  • Basic Computer Operations
  • Computer Applications
  • Managing Computer files
  • Developing Problem-solving skills
  • Information and Communication Technology
  • Computer ethics and human issues

Each thematic area forms a concept which is further divided into sub-concepts. This examination syllabus is not a substitute for the teaching syllabus. Therefore, it does not replace the curriculum.


The objectives of the syllabus are to test candidates’ understanding, knowledge and acquisition of

  • basic concepts of computer and its operations;
  • manipulative, computational and problem-solving skills;
  • application of software packages;
  • operation of computer-related simple devices;
  • online skills and their applications;
  • safe attitudes and good practices on effective use of computers;
  • potential for higher studies in Computer related areas.


There will be three papers, Papers 1, 2 and 3, all of which must be taken. Papers 1 and 2 shall be composite paper to be taken in one sitting.

Paper 1 will consist of 50 multiple-choice objective questions, all of which are to be answered in 1 hour for 25 marks.

Paper 2 will consist of five essay questions. Candidates will be required to answer any three in 1 hour for 30 marks.

Paper 3 will test the actual practical skills of school candidates and knowledge of practical work for private candidates. It will consist of three questions to be answered in 2 hours for 45 marks.



Computing Devices I (Pre-computing age- 19th century)

  • Features, components and uses of early computing devices:
    • Abacus;
    • Slide Rule ;
    • Napier’s bone;
    • Pascal’s calculator;
    • Leibnitz multiplier;
    • Jacquad loom;
    • Charles Babbage’s analytical engine;
    • Hollerith Census Machine;
    • Burrough’s Machine.
    • Contribution of each of the founders of these devices to modern computers.
  • The trend of development in computing devices from one to the other.

Computing Devices II (20th century to date)

Features, components and uses of:

  • UNIVAC 1
  • Desktop Personal Computers
  • Laptop and Notebook computers
  • Palmtop.

***Sizes and basic components should be considered in a comparative form.


  • Overview of Computing System – Definition of a Computer;
  • – Two main constituents of a Computer
    • Computer hardware;
    • Computer software
  • – Classification and examples of hardware and software.
  • – Functional parts of a computer

Characteristics of Computers

    • – Electronic in nature;
    • – Accuracy;
    • – Speed;
    • – Interactive etc.
  • Differences between hardware and software should be treated.
  • Data and Information – Definition and examples of data and information;
  • Differences between data and information.


  • Security and Ethics
  • Sources of security breaches:
  • Virus, worms and Trojan horses;
  • Poor implementation of the network;
  • Poor implementation or lack of ICT policies;
  • Carelessness- giving out personal and vital information on the net without careful screening.
  • Hackers, spammers etc.
  • The definition and effects of viruses and worms should be treated
  • The definition of hackers and spammers should be treated. Preventive measures
  • Use of antivirus software e.g. Norton, McAfee, Avast, etc
  • Use of firewall;
  • Exercising care in giving out vital and personal information
  • Encryption
  • Proper Network Implementation and policies
  • Using sites with web certificates
  • Exercising care in opening e-mail attachments

Legal Issues

  • -Copyright (software copyright)
  • -ownership right to
  • -text;
  • -images;
  • -audio;
  • -video
  • -Privacy of audio and video software
  • -Cyber crimes
  • -identify theft;
  • -Internet fraud
  • -Hacking
  • An explanation of firewall is required
  • The definition of encryption should be treated


Input devices

  • Definition and examples of input devices
  • The use of a keyboard, mouse, scanner, joystick, light pen, etc
  • Classification of keys on the keyboard into Function, Numeric, Alphabetic
  • -Cursor keys
  • -Features, function and operation of the mouse
  • -Differences in keyboard, mouse, light pen and scanner

Output Devices -Definition and examples

  • -Output devices: monitor, printer, speaker, plotter – Type, features and uses.
  • -Differences between input and output devices
  • -Similarities and differences in inkjet, laser and line printer
  • Examples and types of printers and monitors should be treated.
  • Central Processing Unit Components of C.P.U.: Arithmetic and logic unit, the control unit
  • The function of ALU and Control Unit Combination of the CPU and Memory Unit as a system unit should be mentioned.
  • Memory Unit Types of Memory Unit: Primary and Secondary Memory
  • -Components of Primary memory unit: ROM and RAM
  • Differences and uses of ROM and RAM
  • Examples of Secondary memory devices: are floppy disks, hard disks, compact disks (CD), flash disks, digital video disk (DVD)
  • Unit of storage in memory devices: bits, nibble, bytes, kilobytes, megabytes, gigabytes, terabytes
  • Interconversion of a unit of storage.
  • -Comparative study of auxiliary storage devices in respect of their size, speed and technology
  • Physical identification of RAM and ROM devices is required.
  • Simple calculations involving the conversion from one unit to another Size and shape variation of floppy, flask/USB and compact disks should be noted
  • Logic Circuits -Definition, types and uses of the standard logic gate: AND, NOT, OR
  • Symbols of AND, NOT, OR gates
  • -Construction of truth table for standard logic gates
  • -Differences between AND, NOT, OR gates
  • -NAND and NOR as alternative logic gates should be treated
  • Construction of Truth Table for NAND and NOR
  • Construction of a simple comparator with -XOR( Exclusive OR)
  • -NOR gate Logic equation for AND, NOT, OR gate should be treated.
  • Uses of logic gates are required.
  • The simple definition of a comparator is required.


  • System Software
  • Operating System
  • Definition and types of software
  • System software
  • Application software
  • (ii) System software and their examples
  • Operating System e.g., MS Windows
  • Translator e.g. Compiler
  • Tools/ Utility e.g. Anti-virus
  • Examples of Operating Systems
  • MS Windows
  • Linux
  • UNIX
  • MS-DOS etc
  • Examples of Translators
  • Assemblers
  • Compilers
  • Interpreters
  • (v) Examples of Utility
  • Programs
  • Editor
  • Anti-virus etc
  • Definition, types, examples and function of Operating System
  • Graphic User Interface(GUI)
  • GUI (MS Windows, Linux, etc)
  • Command line (MS-DOS, UNIX, etc)
  • Differences between system and application software is required
  • Operating systems of phones, iPad and other computerized devices should be treated. E.g., Android, Blackberry, etc.
  • Differences among the translators should be noted
  • Differences between GUI and Command line Operating Systems are required.
  • Application Software Definition and Types of application software
  • Common Application Packages and their examples
  • Word processing(MS Windows)
  • Spreadsheet(MS Excel)
  • Database(MS Access)
  • Graphics
  • Packages for spreadsheet purposes
  • Accounting software
  • Payroll program
  • Banking Software
  • Education management software
  • Statistical packages
  • Hospital management software Differences between the user application programs and application packages are required


  • Word Processing
  • Definition and examples of word processing and word processor
    • -MS Word
    • -Wordstar
    • -WordPerfect

Features of Word Processing programs in general.

  • Application areas of Word Processing programs
  • -Office
  • -Publishing
  • -Journalism
  • -Education, etc.

(iv) Features of MS Word

  • Steps in activating and exiting MS Word
  • Basic operations in MS Word
  • -Create
  • – Edit
  • – Save
  • -Retrieve
  • -Print
  • – Close

(vii) Further operations in MS Word

  • -move
  • -use of different types and sizes of fonts
  • -formatting
  • -justifying
  • -search/explore
  • -spell checking
  • -file merging, etc
  • A definition of each operational term is required.


(i) Definition and examples of a spreadsheet program

  • -VisiCALC
  • -MS Excel
  • -SuperCALC
  • -Autocad, etc

(ii) Feature of a spreadsheet program

(iii)Application areas of Spreadsheet programs:

  • -Accounting
  • -Statistical
  • calculation
  • -Student results, etc

(iv)Features of MS Excel Environment

  • -status bar
  • -menu bar
  • -formula bar, etc

(v)Definition of basic terms in MS Excel

  • -worksheet
  • -workbook
  • -cells
  • -cell ranges

(vi)Data types in Excel

  • -Number
  • -Labels
  • -Formula

(vii)Basic operation in Excel

  • -Data Entry
  • -Saving
  • -Retrieve
  • Copy
  • -Move

(viii)Arithmetic calculations using formula and built-in function

(ix)Additional operation in Excel

  • -Editing
  • -Formatting
  • -Printing
  • -Drawing charts, etc
  • Simple calculations with and without built-in functions e.g. sum, average, etc
  • Pie chart, histogram, bar chart, etc


(i)Definition of database and database packages

(ii)Examples of database packages

  • -Dbase IV,
  • -Foxbase
  • -MS Access
  • -Oracle, etc

(iii)Basic terms in the Database

  • -File
  • -Record
  • -Field
  • -Key

(iv)Types of database organization methods and their features

  • -Hierarchical
  • -Network
  • -Relational

(v)Features of database format

  • -Files designed as tables
  • -Tables comprise rows and columns
  • -Row containing related information about a record.
  • -Column containing a specific type of information about a field.

(vi)Steps in creating a database

  • -define the structure
  • -indicate field type(numeric, character, data, text, etc)
  • -enter data
  • -save data

(vii)Basic operations on the already created database.


  • -searching
  • -modifying
  • -sorting
  • -reporting
  • -selecting
  • -inserting, etc


(i)Definition of Graphics

(ii)Examples of Graphics packages

  • -Paint
  • -Harvard graphics
  • -Photoshop
  • -Coreldraw, etc

(iii)Features in activating and existing Coreldraw

(iv) Simple design using Coreldraw

  • -Business card
  • -School logo
  • -National flag
  • -Invitation card
  • -Certification, etc

Presentation package

(i)Definition of presentation package

(ii)Examples of the presentation package

  • -MS PowerPoint, etc

(iii)Features of PowerPoint environment

(iv)Steps in activating and exiting PowerPoint

(v)PowerPoint operation

  • -create a new presentation
  • -insert pictures, text, graphs
  • -animated contents
  • -add a new slide
  • -save presentation
  • -run a slide show
  • -print presentation
  • -close presentation


  • Concept of Computer Files
  • Handling Computer Files

(i) Definition of some terms

  • -computer file
  • -record
  • -field
  • -data item

(ii)Types of the data item

  • -numeric
  • -alphabetic
  • -alphanumeric

(iii)File structure organization (Data item—a record—file—database)

(iv)Types of file organization

  • -serial
  • -sequential
  • -index
  • -random

(v) Methods of accessing files

  • -serial
  • -sequential
  • -random

(vi) File classification

  • -master file
  • -transaction file
  • -reference file

(vii)Criteria for classifying files:

  • -nature of content(program and data)
  • -organization method
  • -storage medium

(i)Basic operation of computer files

  • -file
  • -delete
  • -retrieve
  • -insert
  • -copy
  • -View
  • -update
  • -open
  • -close

(ii) Effect of file insecurity

  • -data loss
  • -corruption of data
  • -data becomes unreliable

(iii)Causes of data loss

  • -over-writing
  • -inadvertent deletion

(iv) Methods of file security

  • -use of backup
  • -use of antivirus
  • -password
  • -proper labeling of storage devices, etc

(v)Differences between computer files and manual files

(vi)Advantages of computer files

  • -more secure
  • -fast to access, etc

(vii)Disadvantages of computer files

  • -expensive to set up
  • -irregular supply of electricity

Differences among the organization methods are required

File processing using BASIC programming is required.


Booting and shutting down process

Computer Data Conversion

(i) Description and types of the booting process
(ii)Types of the booting process
  • -cold booting
  • -warm booting
(iii) Steps involved in :
  • -booting a computer;
  • -shutting down a computer
(iv)Identification of features on a desktop
(i)Definition of registers, address, bus
(ii)Types and functions of registers: MDR, CIR, SCR
(iii)Differences between register and main memory
(iv)Steps involved in how a computer converts data to required information (Input-Process-Output)
(v)Factors affecting the speed of data transfer:
  • -bus speed;
  • -bus width.

The difference between cold and warm booting should be treated

The fetch-execute cycle is not required


Communication Systems

(i) What‘ICT’ acronym stands for?

(ii) Types of ICT

  • -Broadcasting
  • -Telecommunication
  • -Data Network
  • -Information Systems
  • -Satellite Communications
-Examples of Broadcasting
  • -Radio broadcasting
  • -Television broadcasting
  • -Satellite system
-Examples of Telecommunication
  • -Public Switched Telephone Network(PSTN)-Landline
  • -Mobile phone systems
  • -Circuit Switched Packet
  • Telephone System(CSPT)
  • -Satellite telephone system
  • -Fixed wireless telephone system
-Examples of data networks
  • -Personal Area Network(PAN)
  • -Local Area Network(LAN)
  • -Metropolitan Area Network(MAN)
  • -Wide Area Network(WAN)
  • -Internet
-Examples of Information Systems
  • -Data Processing System
  • -Global Positioning System(GPS)
Application areas of ICT


(d) Electronic Mail(e-mail)Services

(i)Application Areas of ICT include the following:
  • -Teleconferencing
  • -Video conferencing
  • -Telecommuting
  • -Telecomputing
  • -Messaging
  • -Information search, retrieval and archival.
(ii) ICT-based gadgets and their operations
  • -Mobile phones
  • -Computers
  • -Fax machines
  • -Automated Teller Machines(ATM)
  • -Dispensing machines
  • -Point of Sale Machines
  • – Automated Cash Register(ACR)
  • -Radio sets
  • -Television sets, etc
(i)Definition of the Internet and some Internet terms:
  • -Homepage
  • -Browse
  • -Browser
  • -Chatroom
  • -Cybercafe
  • -HTTP
  • -HTML
  • -ISP
  • -Webpage
  • -Website, etc
(ii)Types of Internet browsers
  • -Internet Explorer
  • -Netscape Navigator
  • -Opera
  • -Firefox
  • -Cometbird , etc
(iii)Features of Internet browsers:
  • -Title bar
  • -Menu bar
  • -Toolbar
  • -Address bar,etc
(iv)Types of Internet services
  • -Electronic mail (e-mail)
  • -e-mail discussion group
  • -Instant messaging
  • -Telnet
  • -Usenet
  • -File Transfer
  • Protocol(FTP)
  • -Worldwide
  • web(www)
  • -Chatting, etc
(i) Definition of electronic mail
(ii) E-mail Services:
  • -sending/receiving e-mail
  • -chatting, etc
(iii)Steps involved in creating an e-mail account
(iv)Steps involved in opening a mailbox
(v) Features in an e-mail address, e.g., [email protected]
(vi)Definition and steps involved in chatting

Definition and description of these terms are required

Knowledge of the operations of these ICT-based gadgets is required.

Demonstration of these terms through Internet access is required

Access the Internet through these browsers.

Application of the features of the Internet browser window is required

The benefits of the Internet to our society should be stressed

The procedure for sending and receiving e-mail is required


(f) Introduction to Worldwide Web (W.W.W.)

(i) Definition of a Computer Network
(ii) Types of Network
  • -PAN
  • -LAN
  • -WAN
  • -MAN
  • -Internet
(iii) Network topology
  • -Star
  • -Bus
  • -Ring
(iv)Network devices
  • -Hub
  • -Modems
  • -Switches
  • -Routers
  • -Network Interface Card(NIC)
(v)Advantages of Networking
  • (i)What is the ‘W.W.W.’ acronym stands for
  • (ii)Brief history of W.W.W.
  • (iii)Basic terminologies:
    • -W.W.W.
    • -website
    • -webpage
    • -homepage
    • -protocol, etc
  • -HTTP
  • -HTML
(v)Uses/benefits of www
(vi)Navigating through websites
(vii)Difference between e-mail and website address features: and [email protected]
(viii)Software for web development
  • -Frontpage
  • – etc

Differences in the various topologies should be treated

Knowledge of “Bridge” as a networking device is required.

Nigeria’s contribution to www should be mentioned

The use of HTTP and HTML should be mentioned

Visits to these websites are essential

(g) Cables and Connectors

(i)Types of Network Cables and Connectors
  • -Cables: Twisted pair, coaxial, fiber optic, telephone
  • -Connectors: RJ45, RJ11, T- connectors
(ii)Types of Computer Cables and Connectors
  • Cables: Power cables, Data cables
  • – Printer Cable, universal serial bus(USB), monitor cable, serial cable
  • Connectors: Male and female

Identification of different Network Cables Connectors should be treated


Programming Language (PL)

(i) Programming Language: Definition, examples, levels and features:

(ii)Levels and examples of programming language

  • -Machine Language(ML) , e.g.100011001
  • -Low Level Language(LLL), e.g., Assembly Language
  • -High Level Language(HLL) e.g. BASIC,C++, FORTRAN, etc.

(iii)Comparison of ML, LLL, HLL.

(iv)Advantages and disadvantages of ML, LLL and HLL.

(b) High-Level Languages

(i) Definition and examples

(ii)Classification of HLL as

  • -Scientific
  • -Gen-purpose
  • -Business
  • -AI
  • -String processing language(SPL)

(iii)Features of BASIC, C, PASCAL, COBOL –

Comparative study Other programming languages, such as Java, Python, etc., should be mentioned.

(c)Algorithm and Flowchart

(i)Definition of  Algorithm and Flowchart

(ii)Functions of Algorithm

(iii)Characteristics of Algorithm:

  • -Finite
  • -Effective
  • -Unambiguous

(iv)Writing algorithm for:

  • -Computing the average of a given set of numbers
  • -Evaluation of equation: y=a(b-c)2/(d+2)
  • -Computing out the first ten odd numbers, etc

(v)Flowchart symbols: – I/O, Process, decisions, etc

(vi)Use of each flowchart symbol

(vii)Flowchart diagrams for given programming problem

(d)BASIC Programming

(i)What BASIC acronym stands for

(ii)BASIC characteristics

(iii)Types of data

  • -variable
  • -constant/literal
  • -numeric
  • -string/alphanumeric

(iv)BASIC Statements

  • LET
  • END
  • REM
  • READ
  • DATA

(v)Arithmetic operators(-,+,*,/)

(vi)Arithmetic Expressions

(vii)Evaluation of Arithmetic expressions

(viii)Simple BASIC Programs

(ix)Running Simple Programs

(i)Built-in functions in BASIC

  • -SQR(X)
  • -INT(X)
  • -SIN(X)
  • -ABS(X)
  • -RND(X)
  • -COS(X)
  • -TAN(X)
  • -LOG(X)
  • -EXP(X)

(ii)BASIC Notation of

  • (-b±√(b^2-4ac))/2a
  • (x-y)/(x+y)
  • (a+b) +c/sind
  • ex+y – sin(x+ny), etc

(iii)BASIC program to -find the square root of numbers

  • -find the square root of S, round up to an integer
  • -find the cosine of known values
  • -find the tangent of given angles.
  • -plot sine wave curve

(iv)Additional BASIC Statements

  • -DIM Statement
  • -FOR – NEXT statement
  • -WHILE-END statement

(v)Defining one-dimensional array, using DIM statement.

(vi)Operating on Array elements

  • -Input of array
  • -Output of array
  • -Arithmetic operations on array

(vii)Write a BASIC program to :

  • -store a vector of 10 numbers
  • -calculate the mean of 100 numeric values
  • -calculate the area of 10 different rectangles
  • -Compute the sum of the first 100 integers

Types of data should be treated

Program to calculate
  • -Area of triangle
  • -Area of a rectangle
  • -Average of 3 numbers, etc

The simple BASIC program developed should be executable on the computer.

The number of iterations should not exceed eight (8).

Systems Development Cycle

(i) Definition of the system development cycle

(ii) Description of the system development cycle

(iii)Stages in the system development Cycle

  • -Preliminary study
  • -Feasibility
  • -Investigate study
  • -Analysis
  • -Design
  • -Implementation
  • -Maintenance
  • -Study review

(iv)Description of each stage of a system development cycle

(v)Diagram of a system development cycle

(e)Program Development Cycle

(i)Definition of the program

(ii)Characteristics of a good Program

  • -Accuracy
  • -Readability
  • -Maintainability
  • -Efficiency
  • -Generality
  • -Clarity

(iii)Precautions in developing a program

  • -Be stable, steady and patient
  • -No step skipping
  • -Follow the order of execution

(iv)Steps involved in program development

  • -Problem definition
  • -Problem analysis
  • -Flow chatting
  • -Desk checking
  • -Program coding
  • -Program compilation
  • -Program testing/debugging
  • -Program documentation

(v)Description of each of the stages in program development

(vi)Examples of :

  • -Interpreted program (BASIC)
  • -Compiled program (COBOL, FORTRAN)

A flow diagram on how a compiler and interpreter work is required


  1. Computer set
  2. Laptops
  3. Scanners
  4. Printers
  5. Fax Machine
  6. GSM Phone
  7. Memory chips
  8. Hard disks
  9. Flash drives
  10. Internet connectivity
  11. DVD
  12. Compact disks
  13. Cables (power and data)
  14. Word processing packages, database packages, BASIC programs and CorelDraw



ICT (Core)

Radio, Television and Electronics Works

Gsm Phones





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