WAEC Grading System in Nigeria and Interpretation

Last updated on October 3rd, 2022 at 09:30 am

The West African Examinations Council since its creation in 1952 has been at the forefront of conducting a regional test for candidates residing in Anglophone West African countries: Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, The Gambia, and Liberia, who are the joint owners of the examination body.

It is an examination body that conducts the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE), result of the examination is based on grade, we’ll discuss the WAEC grading system and its interpretation.

Types of exams conducted by WAEC

There are three examinations conducted by the regional examination body every year, they are:

  1. May/June
  3. WASSCE for private candidates.


WASSCE for School Candidates (May/June) is specifically designed for the final year students in senior secondary schools who registered for the Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE).

During May/June exam which usually takes place between April to June, candidates are mandated to wear their respective school uniforms even external candidates also wear the same uniform as the “internal candidates”. They all undergo biometric registration.

Note: You can check your WAEC result through SMS and via the examination body porta.


The General Certificate Examination (GCE) which is popularly called WAEC GCE is tagged November/December. It is an examination conducted for candidates who want to rewrite papers they failed during the May/June examinations.

Although candidates are not mandated to wear uniforms, they are required to undergo biometric registration as it’s done in the May/June registration process.

WASSCE for private candidates.

The idea to conduct three examinations per year by WAEC was announced on April 13, 2017, when it said that an additional diet for the private candidates every year is to address the concerns and difficulties experienced by private candidates “who desire another attempt at WASSCE.

“With this development, there has been a wave of agitation, criticisms and appeal across the sub-region for the council to ameliorate the agony of long waiting experience by private candidates,” Dr Iyi Uwadiae, the registrar of WAEC as of 2017 said in Lagos.

Grades in WAEC And Their Meaning

With all three examinations conducted each year by the examination body, the same grading system applies in Nigeria for candidates who sat for any of the three exams.

Here is how grades are awarded by WAEC and what you need to score to get A1 or any other grades:

WAEC Score By Percentage Grade Interpretation
75-100 A1 Excellent
70-74 B2 Very Good
65-69 B3 Good
60-64 C4 Credit
55-59 C5 Credit
50-54 C6 Credit
45-49 D7 Pass
40-44 E8 Pass
0-39 F9 Fail

Analysis of WAEC Grading System:

WAEC uses figures 1 to 9 to represent grades. 1 represents A1 (Excellent) which means a candidate will have to score at least 75 out of 100 to fall in this grade.

A score of 70 to 74 is B2, which is interpreted as, “very good” while a score that falls between 65 to 69 is B3 (Good). A score between 50 to 64 falls under credit represented by 6, 5, and 4.

The above grade (1 to 8) appears on the original result of WAEC while failing (F9) doesn’t (June 2000 WAEC result). This means that if you registered and sat for 9 subjects in WAEC in May/June, and upon request for your original WAEC certificate, the examination specified seven subjects, it means you failed the two other subjects. It’s F9.

Significance of WAEC Result for Admission Seekers

The fact that you recorded A1 in all WAEC subjects isn’t an automatic admission into the tertiary institution as you will have to cross another hurdle set by JAMB.

Admission seekers into the universities, polytechnics, colleges of education, and other tertiary institutions will have to sit the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME), an entrance examination conducted by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), which is one of the agencies of the Federal Ministry of Education in Nigeria.

This means that candidates are required to satisfy not only the university’s general entrance requirements but also the requirements of the particular faculty in which they wish to study the course of their choice.

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