BECE Past Questions & Answers – 2004 (English)


45 minutes


Read the following passages carefully and answer the questions which follow

Once, in the world of animals, there was a great famine and the animals were dying. For about three months, Tortoise and his family had eaten very little. Tortoise‟s body rattled in his empty shell as he walked. One day as he thought of a way to get food, his throat began to itch.

He would go to the next village where he had heard there was still some food. He would steal some for himself and his family. He took the bush path and arrived at the village after sunset. The people were preparing their meals and the smell made his mouth water.

How would he get this food? Not far away from him was the village playground where there was a big hollow log leaning against a tree. This log was the drum used to summon the villagers for very important announcements. When he reached the tree he decided to climb it so that he could see the village better. Unfortunately, as he was climbing, he fell because he was very weak and hungry. His shell hit the drum, sending out a loud „kpom! kpom! noise.

When they heard this noise, the villagers ran to the playground, believing they had been called, thereby leaving the food cooking in their homes.

Very quickly Tortoise disappeared into a nearby bush and ran to the village. He filled his empty shell with as much of the food as he could carry and returned home.

1. There was famine means that A. all the animals died B. food was scarce
C. there were no farmers
D. food was not cold

2. Which of the following statements is true?
A. Tortoise had not eaten for three months
B. The villagers gave food to Tortoise C. Tortoise got food from his own farm D. Tortoise stole the villagers‟ food.

3. Tortoise arrived at the nearby village
A. at sunset
B. in the night
C. at dawn
D. in the afternoon

4. The villagers went to the playground because
A. they wanted to find out who made the noise
B. they wanted to hear an announcement
C. Tortoise had fallen
D. the drum had fallen

5. The villagers did not see Tortoise at the playground because he
A. ate fast
B. hid in the drum C. stole their food D. hid in the bush


In the centre of the town, the town clock chimed two o‟clock. In an abandoned house on the outskirts of the town an owl hooted as if to signal to Sergeant Abora and Constable Abaidoo to wake up from slumber. They had patrolled the town for hours and were heavy with sleep. The night was very dark and so cold that in spite of his thick overcoat, the Sergeant‟s teeth were chattering. He was about to speak when he heard a faint sound down the road that led to the town. Abaidoo also picked the sound. Both listened attentively and realized that a late traveller was coming up the road. They took cover behind two opposing trees. As he reached where Abaidoo was hiding, the traveller stumbled over what looked like the root of a tree.

Then Constable Abaidoo quickly flashed his torchlight and bawled out, „Stop or I shoot!‟ Abora‟s gun was also held in readiness. The traveller who carried a heavy load on his left shoulder panicked, dropping his cutlass in the process.

„Who are you? Where are you from? What‟s in your bag? Speak out or I shoot! We‟ve got you at last!‟ Abora exclaimed.

Trembling with fear and stammering for words the traveller gave his name as Nsiah. He was returning from
Fosa with a bag of plantain and cassava.
But his cutlass and bag, both dripping with blood, gave him away. After a search the police found a human head and triumphantly marched him to the police station.

6. Abora‟s teeth chattered because
A. he had a toothache B. the night was cold C. he wore a cloak
D. the owl hooted

7. From the beginning the police knew where the traveller was when
A. he made a noise B. the blood dripped C. he stammered
D. the torchlight flashed

8. Sergeant Abora and Corporal Abaidoo hid themselves in order to
A. keep warm
B. avoid being seen C. load their guns D. have some sleep

9. Th e police arrested the late traveller
A. behind the trees
B. near the police station
C. in the centre of the town
D. near the town

10. „… gave him away‟ in the passage means
A. frightened him
B. warned him C. exposed him D. disgraced him


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

11. Mary‟s mother is confident that her daughter will win a prize.
A. anxious

B. proud
C. certain
D. determined

12. The troops retreated when they were attacked.
A. escaped B. scattered C. fought
D. withdrew

13. Our teacher advised us to be courteous always.
A. punctual
B. mannerly
C. hard-working
D. kind

14. All latecomers were promptly punished.
A. immediately B. mercilessly C. roughly
D. severely

15. We should all learn to restrain our anger.
A. avoid B. control C. apply
D. delay


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. The two brothers are always quarrelling; they never see eye to eye. This means they do not ……….each
A. agree with
B. admire C. respect D. trust

17. You must be off your head if you really believe that the moon is a huge cake. This means that you must be

A. crazy
B. joking
C. unintelligent
D. dreaming

18. Amale does not earn much, but she has some money put by. This means Amale has some money
A. to live on
B. for charity
C. saved for the future
D. to pay her children‟s fees

19. Several passengers were killed in the accident, but the driver escaped by the skin of his teeth. This means that the driver
A. missed death narrowly
B. lost all his teeth
C. ran into the bush
D. had only a scratch on his skin

20. When the armed robbers could no longer fight the police, they gave in. This means the armed robbers
A. fled
B. surrendered
C. shot themselves
D. cried for help


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 commended for his good work.
A. admired B. promoted C. rejected D. rebuked

22. The teacher‟s stern looks helped maintain discipline in the class.
A. proud
B. indifferent
C. friendly
D. concerned

23. Our Assemblyman has declined our invitation to talk to us.
A. regretted

B. denied C. rejected D. accepted

24. Though her friend asked for some water, Divine callously drank all of it.
A. mercifully
B. greedily
C. playfully
D. intentionally

25. Rain makes the soil moist for planting
A. fertile B. loose C. solid
D. dry


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

26. The students can go home when they ……………..the work
A. had finished
B. finished
C. finish
D. will finish

27. Most people are not kind to animals, ……………?
A. weren‟t they
B. isn‟t it
C. wasn‟t it
D. are they

28. Afua ………….her clothes on the line to dry.
A. hung B. folded C. hang
D. stretched

29. Kwesi went to school after he …………his teeth.
A. had brushed B. has brushed C. brushing
D. brushed

30. Kate is the …………..pupil in her class.
A. well-behaved
B. more well-behaved C. very well-behaved D. most well-behaved

31. A bag of money, with some documents, …………stolen from the car.
A. were B. are C. was
D. have been

32. It is necessary sometimes to resort ………..violence.
A. through
B. to
C. into
D. with

33. Clara understood all ……………her teacher taught.
A. what B. which C. that
D. this

34. Ali agrees that the rice project is …………..good
A. so
B. much
C. too
D. very

35. Charles does not expect ………….his teacher today.
A. seeing
B. having seen C. being seen D. to see

36. Kweku thinks that life is difficult ………….you are old.
A. if
B. while C. when D. as

37. Many countries ………….the world use English
A. across

B. inside
C. by
D. on

38. Do you like this dress? I made …………….myself.
A. for
B. that
C. which
D. it

39. Ashanti Goldfields is the ………………of gold
A. nation‟s producer largest B. largest nation‟s producer C. producer nation‟s largest D. nation‟s largest producer

40. Neither Kwesi nor Yaw …………….. there when I got to the house.
A. are
B. is
C. was





1. B. food was scarce

2. D. Tortoise stole the villagers‟ food.

3. B. in the night

4. B. they wanted to hear an announcement

5. D. hid in the bush

6. B. the night was cold

7. A. he made a noise

8. B. avoid being seen

9. D. near the town

10. C. exposed him

11. C. certain

12. D. withdrew

13. B. mannerly

14. A. immediately

15. B. control

16. A. agree with

17. A. crazy

18. C. saved for the future

19. A. missed death narrowly

20. B. surrendered

21. D. rebuked

22. C. friendly

23. D. accepted

24. A. mercifully

25. D. dry

26. C. finish

27. D. are they

28. A. hung

29. A. had brushed

30. D. most well-behaved

31. C. was

32. B. to

33. C. that

34. D. very

35. D. to see

36. C. when

37. A. across

38. D. it

39. D. nation‟s largest producer

40. C. was