WAEC Syllabus for Shorthand 2023/2024

The WAEC syllabus for Shorthand is the topic you must study to sit for the examination. It contains the aims and objectives, notes and format for the Shorthand exam.

Studying the shorthand subject is necessary for your exam preparation. It will serve as a guide for you to know the topics to read. There are also notes on concepts you should pay attention to learning.

Exam preparations without using the Shorthand are like going to the farm without your agricultural tools. You will end up not being productive.

Ensure you begin your exam preparations using the syllabus.

This post contains the Shorthand and recommended textbooks of the West African Examination Council (WAEC).

WAEC Shorthand

Scheme of Examination

Two passages will be dictated at 80 words per minute with an interval of 2 minutes. The syllabic intensity of the passages should be 1.35 – 1.40.

Each passage will last for 3 minutes. After the last passage, 5 minutes will be allowed for candidates to read through their shorthand notes before the commencement of transcription. All transcription must be done on the typewriter. 

The use of English and Shorthand Dictionaries is allowed. The examination shall be of 1 hour 13 minutes duration (6 minutes for dictation, 7 minutes for intervals and 1 hour for transcription).

WAEC Shorthand Syllabus

  • Business Matters

One of the passages for dictation shall be business in nature e.g. Letters, Memoranda, Reports, and any other related topics.

  • Literary Matters

The other passage shall be literary and within the experience of the candidates. It shall not be technical or controversial.

Notes on the Examination

  • Candidates must provide their own typewriters, shorthand notebooks, and other writing materials.
  • The shorthand notes may be written with either pen or pencil. The shorthand notes must be attached to the transcripts.
  • Specially marked typing papers will be supplied by the Council. No typing paper other than those supplied by the Council may be used.
  • Candidates shall not be allowed to make any carbon copy.
  • The shorthand readers shall be allowed access to the passages twenty minutes before the dictation commences.

                  A preliminary passage of 2 minutes duration will be dictated before the commencement of the actual examination to enable candidates to become accustomed to the reader’s voice. The preliminary passage must not be transcribed and does not form part of the examination.

  • The candidate’s shorthand teacher may be appointed to dictate the passages. The invigilator must check the dictation and note errors or deviations from the total time allowed for each passage. A signed certificate of the actual time taken should be returned with the completed scripts.
  • As quarter-minute indications are printed on each passage. Care should be taken to articulate the words very distinctly. Punctuations must be indicated by the inflexion of the voice and in no case dictated.
  • The reader is expected to leave the examination hall immediately after the dictation, taking away with him the shorthand passages. These should be returned to the Council or an official of the Council where one is available. On no account should the passages be left with either the Invigilator or Supervisor.


  • First course – Pitman
  • First course review – Pitman 2000
  • Pitman 2000 Phrase Book
  • First Dictionary – Pitman 2000 shorthand
  • 700 common words – Pitman 2000
  • Office skills magazines
  • Journals
  • Speed development – Pitman 2000 Bryan Coombs
  • Speed builder – Bryan Coombs
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