Over 70% of candidates who wrote the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) in four years scored below 200 despite the desire of a majority of them to study highly competitive courses that require more than that.
This is deduced from the statistics of the performance of candidates in the UTME between 2015 and 2018 as made available to EduCeleb.com by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB).
JAMB annually conducts the UTME as a qualifying examination for candidates hoping to obtain degrees, Nigeria Certificate in Education (NCE), National Diploma, and National Innovation Diploma (NID).
The statistics show that within the four year period, candidates who scored 200 and above were generally the least of the entire number of applicants for tertiary education admissions.
JAMB received a sum of Six Million, Four Hundred and Forty Three Thousand, Eight Hundred and Sixty-Eight applications between the 2015 and the 2018 UTME exercises. 2017 had more candidates applying for tertiary education in Nigeria while 2015 had the least across the four years examined.
This figure represents One million, Four Hundred and Seventy-Five Thousand, Six Hundred (1,475,600) for 2015, and One Million, Five Hundred and Ninety-Two Thousand, Nine Hundred and Five (1,592,905) for 2016.
In 2017, a sum of One Million, Seven Hundred and Twenty-Two Thousand, Two Hundred and Thirty-Six (1,722,236) applications were received. But that of 2018 was One Million, Six Hundred and Fifty-Three Thousand, One Hundred and Twenty-Seven (1,653,127).
The Significance of 200+
200+ is the highest of the generalised minimum JAMB score (otherwise known as cut-off mark) that tertiary institutions require for admissions. Also, most candidates do usually apply to study highly competitive courses. The Social Sciences, Medicine, and Engineering top the rank of candidates’ course choices in terms of number of applications received.
There may be varying cut-off marks for various courses but the minimum JAMB score for these competitive courses tend to be higher. The reality is that there is a low likelihood of a candidate who even scored 220 to gain admission to study medicine or engineering even after the institution may have pegged the general JAMB cut-off mark at 180.
A cursory look at the institutional choice of candidates shows that most candidates prefer Federal Universities as their First Choice Institution. This is as a majority of candidates were found to choose courses where such a score is likely the minimum even in institutions where 200 is not the JAMB cut-off mark.
A look at the top ten choices of candidates by institutions and course over these four years show this.
Candidates’ First Choice preferences
While registering for the UTME, most candidates indicated preference for degree awarding institutions.
With limited data available for 2015 in this respect, EduCeleb.com focused on the three remaining years. In 2016, 97.78% of candidates chose degree related programmes. That leaves less than 3% for those who consider the other types of institutions as first choice.
As shown in the table above, 1.11% of candidates chose NCE programmes while 1.10% went for ND programmes and merely 0.002% preferred NID programmes that year.
In 2017, 97.97% preferred degree awarding programmes as First Choice while 1.01% each prefer NCE and ND programmes leaving NID programmes with merely 0.02%.
In 2018, EduCeleb.com observed that there was an obviously increased interest in NCE and ND programmes translating into a decrease in First Choice interest in Degree programmes.
73.84% of candidates preferred degree programmes while 13.17% chose NCE programmes. But 12.95% preferred ND programmes as against just 0.04% who chose to go for NID programmes.
In terms of institutional choice, the University of Ilorin maintained the spot of the most chosen tertiary institution across the years. In other words, UNILORIN could clearly pass-off as Nigeria’s university of first choice.
Following it is Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria that was the second most chosen institution in 2017 and 2018 but 3rd and 5th respectively in 2016 and 2015.
Others on the top ten list consistently are the University of Benin, the University of Nigeria Nsukka, the University of Lagos, and Bayero University Kano.
The rest are the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Nnamdi Azikwe University (UNIZIK), the University of Ibadan (UI) and the University of Jos (UNIJOS). 2015 was the only time one of these institutions, UNIJOS was not in the top ten.
EduCeleb.com gathered from the records that while UNILORIN always had not less than 5% of all applications in each of the four years, the least of the top ten, UNIJOS received not less than 2% of all too each year.
Candidates’ UTME performance statistics (2015-2018)
A look at the performance of the candidates who write the UTME shows that merely 25.09% scored 200 and above in 2018. In 2017, 27% had a similar score range. 35.76% was recorded in 2016 but 10.46% in 2015. That means that 2015 was the least while 2016 had the most scoring up to 200 and above. There is also a 2.09% decline in the percentage between 2017 and 2018.
For the percentage of candidates scoring 190 and above, 15.2% was recorded in 2015, increasing to 51.88% in 2016 but declining to 35.76% and 33.79% in 2017 and 2018 respectively.
In terms of candidates’ performance from 180 and above, 19.5% of them scored within that range in 2015. Like the preceding range, 2016 witnessed the most of the four years with 66.56% while 46.57% and 44.73% were recorded in 2017 and 2018 respectively.
In 2015, 25.27% scored 170 and above. Within that score range, 86.51% was recorded in 2016, 59.49% in 2017 and 57.89% in 2018.
Considering candidates scoring 160 and above, 27.30% of them in 2015 had that. In 2016, it was 93.08% of them that did and 73.52% and 72.28% in 2017 and 2018 respectively.
EduCeleb.com was unable to obtain data for the percentage of candidates with from less than 120 to 150 in 2015 from JAMB since these were not take into cognisance previously by its leadership. But such is available for subsequent years.
In 2016, 95.57% of candidates scored 150 and above. 82.4% did in 2017 and 85.18 did in 2018.
As for candidates who scored 140 and above, 96.52% was recorded in 2016, 89.91% in 2017 and 93.24% in 2018.
96.92% of candidates had 130 and above in 2016. That reduced to 92.69% in 2017 but increased to 96.3% in 2018.
Based on candidates’ performance from 120 and above, 97% was recorded in 2016. 93.27% in 2017 and 96.98% in 2018 was the percentage performance within that score range.
The choices and performance of each candidate determine their chances of gaining admission each year. UTME score is one of the requirements institutions consider. Anything that falls short of the required score for a candidate’s choice could make it more unlikely for them to secure admission even if they meet up with the O’level requirements.