Analysis of JAMB Cutoff Mark: Is It Guaranty for Admission?

There are lots of misconceptions about cut off mark set by the Joint Admission Matriculation Board (JAMB) every year. It has been causing controversy.
The most controversial JAMB cutoff mark in recent time is 2017/2018 which was set at 120 marks for admission into tertiary institutions in Nigeria.

How to Pass Your JAMB Exam
How to Pass Your JAMB Exam

If an applicant scores 230, is that an assurance that they would be offered admission into the course of their choice?

JAMB Cut-off marks for 2022/2023 Academic Session

The minimum cut off marks suggested by JAMB for admissions into universities, Polytechnic, innovative enterprising institutes and colleges of education are:

  • Universities: 140
  • Polytechnics: 120
  • Innovative institutes: 110
  • Colleges of education: 100

Here is the analysis of JAMB cutoff mark

Whether the candidate scores 200, 300, 350, or even more, irrespective of cutoff marks set by JAMB, the department and the institution chosen by the candidate determine the application status of such student.

Example 1:

Let’s assume JAMB’s cutoff mark is 200, and a prospective law student, who chose the University of Ilorin as his first choice scores 250.

The fact that he scored above the JAMB cut off mark isn’t a guarantee that he’ll secure admission at UNILORIN if the scores of other candidates that are aspiring to study the same course are far higher than an applicant with 250.

In this case, assuming UNILORIN only has 60 spaces for law and more than 80 candidates already score 270marks and above, this means that the candidate who scores below 270, even scoring above 200 JAMB score off mark, will be disadvantaged because of the competitive nature of the department.

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However, this doesn’t mean that your mark for the year would be wasted. Some other Nigerian universities in the open market may offer you admission.

Most often most of the tertiary institutions offering unsolicited admission in Nigeria are recognized privately-owned institutions.

So it’s advisable that the candidate familiarizes himself with the institution’s school fees. School fee is one of the major reasons admission into private universities are rejected unless the candidate is financially buoyant.

Example 2:

Conversely, if JAMB cutoff mark is set at 200, and the highest score by a candidate who wants to study Petroleum Engineering at the University of Lagos is 150, this means that UNILAG would bring so many admission criteria into play, if the same, say more than 200 candidates score 150 marks in the UTME, while the department has provision for only 170 candidates.

So the cutoff mark set by JAMB could be debatable, but candidates must understand that the fact that they scored above the JAMB cutoff mark is a qualification, not a guarantee that they would be offered provisional admission by their preferred university.

The above analysis applies to other scores.

JAMB Cut-off mark is only a threshold below which no institution can admit candidates – Oloyede

Corroborating the above analysis, JAMB registrar Prof. Ishaq Oloyede said that only a combination of JAMB cut-off marks, post-UTME, ‘O’ level results and other admission criteria as determined by institutions can ensure candidates’ admission.

The former UNILORIN VC made the clarification at an intensive training and sensitisation forum on Central Admissions Processing System (CAPS) for the 2017/2018 academic session some years back.

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Oloyede said that scoring higher than the minimum cut-off marks did not guarantee admission, “cut-off mark by JAMB is only a threshold below which no institution can admit candidates.”

Oloyede also told the gathering that Nigerian institutions determine the institutional, programme and course cut-off marks and other admission criteria in the exercise of their autonomy.

“JAMB is not an examination body; rather, it is a ranking body. If there are enough spaces in the tertiary institutions, there may not be need for UTME.

“JAMB is a screening body to rank already qualified candidates. It is a coordinating and clearinghouse.

“The cut-off mark is not a pass or fail mark. It is not the total score but one of many factors such as post-UTME (where applicable), ‘O’ Level results scoring, etc.,” he explained.

“Regulating agencies like the National Universities Commission, National Board for Technical Education, National Commission for Colleges of Education, among others, can decide the admission quota for institutions.”

Purpose of Central Admissions Processing System (CAPS)

Oloyede said the introduction of CAPS by JAMB, “Is to ensure that every UTME candidate gets fair treatment.”

With the introduction of CAPS, candidates now have the choice to either accept or reject the admission offers.

He also advised candidates to indicate the acceptance or rejection of admission online and timely to enable the processing of their admission.

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