Differences & Similarities Between WAEC and JAMB

What are the Differences & Similarities Between WAEC and JAMB? One may be wondering if WAEC and JAMB are the same. Others may just want to know their clear differences.

In this post, I will share with you everything you need to know about the West African Examination Council (WAEC) and the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) including how each of them works.

Are WAEC and JAMB the same? It is important to note that WAEC and JAMB are separate examination bodies established for separate purposes. In other words, each has its own functions and as such, does not take over the functions of the of the other.

SEE ALSO: Does JPTS use JAMB | Does it Require UTME for Admission

Overview of WAEC, JAMB and Work Each Works

Under this subheading, we shall treat each examination body and they work independently and how they also work hand in hand.

West African Examination Council (WAEC):

Firstly, WAEC is an acronym which stands for the West African Examination Council. It was founded in the year 1951 (9 years before the independence of Nigeria)

The aim for the establishment of the West African Examination Council (WAEC) is to harmonize and unify educational system in the West African communities. WAEC does no only function in Nigeria. It also functions in 4 other countries which include: Liberia, Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and the Gambia. So, WAEC is operational in 5 African countries.

Another name for WAEC is WASSCE which stands for West African Senior Secondary School Examination.

WAEC is an examination which offers certificates after secondary school graduation. Before a student acquires this certificate, he must take WASSCE. The certificate is known as O’Level.

It is divided into two sections which are WAEC SSCE and WAEC GCE. WAEC SSCE is called O’Level while WAEC GCE is called A’Level.

In other words, it is a medium through which students are tested and scrutinized to know who is qualified to be a high school leaver or graduate. If a student passes the examination then he’s qualified to be a graduate. But if he fails the examination, he would be forced to retake it in other to graduate.

Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB):

On the other hand, JAMB is an acronym which stands for the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board. It was founded in the year 1978. It is designed to unify and harmonize system of admission into the University, polytechnic and colleges of education.

Another name for JAMB is UTME which stands for Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination.

JAMB is an examination body in Nigeria which is designed to usher students into tertiary institutions (Universities, polytechnic and colleges of education)

SEE ALSO: How to Pass Any Kind of Exam

Difference Between WAEC and JAMB

  • WAEC is recognized worldwide while JAMB is recognized in Nigeria only.
  • WAEC result is valid for about 10 years while JAMB result is valid for just 1 year. If you’re unable to gain admission with it, you would have to rewrite it the next year.
  • WAEC is designed to test and scrutinize students to ensure they are qualified to graduate from secondary schools or high school. On the other hand, JAMB is focused on offering admissions to students who registered and participated in the UTME exercise.
  • WAEC is also known as WASSCE while JAMB is also known as UTME.
  • During WAEC, a candidate takes at least 8 and maximum of 9 subjects including English and mathematics. Only English and mathematics are made compulsory for all candidates. While in JAMB, a candidate is allowed to take only 4 subjects with English language as compulsory for all candidates.
  • WAEC questions and answers are made up of both theories and objectives. While JAMB questions are exclusively objectives.
  • While WAEC results is calculated by grades (A,B,C,D,E and F). JAMB is calculated by scores (in figures)

Similarities Between WAEC and JAMB

  • The examination bodies are designed to work together with each other especially in terms of admissions into Nigerian tertiary institution.
  • Both WAEC and JAMB are recognized in Nigeria
  • One must pass both examinations in order to gain admission into tertiary institution. In other words, you must first pass WAEC before your JAMB result would be useful except in a case where you declare awaiting result.

Must I write WAEC and JAMB before I Gain Admission in the University

No, it is not compulsory to write both WAEC and JAMB before you gain admission into the University. Once you have WAEC, you can decide to register for JUPEB which does not require JAMB.

One can also opt in for IJMB which is also another way of gaining admission without UTME. Without JAMB one can join some private institutes such as Joint Professional Training and Support (JPTS University).

However, for one to gain admission into regular Nigerian university, he/she must take both WAEC and NECO.


While there are clear differences between WAEC and JAMB, they work hand in hand in such a way that one does not function without the other.

One can replace WAEC with NECO. That’s, you sn gain admission with WAEC and JAMB or with NECO and JAMB.

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