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Top 5 University and Polytechnic Entrance Examinations in Nigeria

Updated on June 2, 2013

Pre-University and Polytechnic Admission Examinations in Nigeria

Before gaining admission into any tertiary institution in Nigeria whether it is a university or polytechnic or other institution such as a college of Education or other Allied institutions, there are a number of Examinations you will have to take and pass. These exams will be explained shortly and what and where they can take you.

1. West African Examination Council Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE)

This is a mandatory examination that must be written by all secondary school students in English Speaking West African Countries comprising Ghana, Gambia, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria. This examination certifies that one has been to a secondary school and has obtained the required school leaving qualification to proceed to study in a Tertiary institution. To pass this exam, you need to have a minimum of 5 credit passes in subjects entered for including Mathematics and English Language.

2. National Examinations Council (NECO)

Just like WASSCE, NECO is a pre-university Exam (secondary school leaving certification Examination) but unlike WASSCE, it is only restricted to Nigeria and most Nigerians Prefer WASSCE to it owing to the perceived value of WASSCE as a better recognized Examination. NECO all the same is recognized by most tertiary institutions.

3. Joint University Tertiary Institutions Matriculation Examination (JAMB UTME)

This is a University and other tertiary institutions prequalification Examination organized by the Joint Admission and Matriculations Board (JAMB) into Nigerian Universities, Polytechnics and colleges of Education in Nigeria for full time courses. Prior to 2011, to secure admission into any Nigerian Tertiary institution meant that one had to embark the tedious exercise of writing separate examinations into various institutions. For instance, there was Polytechnic and Colleges of Education Examination (PCE) and Universities Matriculation Examination (UME) which have both been replaced by UTME exams as of 2011. To secure admission into any tertiary institution with this exam one must score a minimum 200 marks out of a possible 400 depending on institution. Some institutions accept below 200.

4. Post-UTME Exams

These Exams are written as part of entry requirements for admission into most Federal and State Universities in Nigeria as a way of ensuring that only Candidates who meet their set academic criteria rather than just about anyone is funneled through into their schools for admission. These exams are controversial with many of them being poorly conducted or fraught with fraud but they have significantly reduced the likelihood of wrong people being granted admission into certain institutions of tertiary Education.

5. Advanced Diploma Course Exams

Some universities offer pre-degree or Diploma courses for intending Candidates as a way of granting Admission to deserving intending students. Most institutions that run such programmes usually give preference to such diploma holders than to other candidates coming in via other means. Pre-degree exams are not easy to write firstly because getting accepted for the course in the first place is highly competitive and secondly very expensive. However passing the exams in flying colours usually ensures that the holders are usually granted admission for full time degree courses into the same university that awarded the diploma.


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    • profile image

      Ahiakwo Chibuike Ransom 

      6 years ago

      Having Known all these, why is the admision board in some of the higher institution of nigeria still awarding admision to candidate that has not credited all the necessary subject at their o level as required. Somany student in higher institution are still rewritting there o level while in higher institution. WHY IS IT SO? I think there should be a stop to that because at the end of the program, students whom were unable to credit the 5 necessary subjects at o level while in higher institution are denied of the admision on the final year screening. Let there be a remedy to this!

    • profile image

      adebisi damilare 

      6 years ago

      very interested


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