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What To Do If Your WAEC Result Is Withheld

Last Updated on January 6, 2022 by Ope Quadri

Whenever the West Africa Examination Council (WAEC) releases the results of May/June West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE), the most important figure that gets students worried is withheld results.

WAEC Result Is Withheld

Other figures that the body makes public each year include:

  • the number of candidates that register for the exam,
  • the per cent of passes and failures,
  • the number of credits obtained by candidates,
  • the per cent of credits in English Language and Mathematics,
  • the number of students that obtained five credits and above,
  • number of results that were cancelled,
  • the number of withheld results,
  • the number of pending results,
  • the number and percentage of already processed results and being processed among others.

We will focus on the WAEC withheld results in this article and take a cursory look at the data available regarding the number of results that were withheld by the examination body from 2009 to date. To know the status of your result, you have to check result on WAEC portal

We’ll also tell you what it means for your WAEC result to be withheld and what you can possibly do to keep to get your result released.

Data on WAEC Withheld Results in Nigeria from 2009 till date

Exam Year Number of withheld results Percentage
2021 170,146 10.9%
2020 215,149 13.98%
2019 180,205 11.33%
2018 No data No data
2017 214,952 13.79%
2016 137,295 8.89%
2015 118,101 7.41%
2014 145,795 8.61%
2013 112, 865  6.75%
2012 122,000 Not available
2011 81,573 5.29%
2010 77,168 5.71%
2009 109,201 8.0%

Withheld result explained

If your result isn’t among the ones that were released or it reads “withheld” you’re definitely going to be worried, but be sure that you’re not alone.

When your SSCE result is withheld by the examination body, you can’t confidently say if you passed or failed. You’re in the dark. You don’t know your fate. You’re at a cross-road. You can’t proceed with anything. Your ambition to gain admission to a high institution of your choice will automatically be put on hold if you don’t have an alternative like the National Examination Council (NECO)

For instance, the examination body revealed that 215,149 results were withheld in 2020 which represented 13.98 per cent while 170,146 candidates had their results withheld in the May/June 2021 exam, representing 10.9 per cent.

WAEC Result Is Withheld

What could make WAEC withhold results?

If your examination hall or centre got a bad report from an external supervisor, your results could be among those that would be withheld.

Sometimes you hear that a group of students have their results withheld by WAEC or NECO while others have no issues in the same exam centre. When this happens, it’s most likely that the group of the affected students are in the same exam hall.

It doesn’t mean you cheated, but the misdemeanour of some students may drag you into the problem.

The major reason why your result could be held is: Examination Malpractice.

When will my withheld result be released?

When there is a report of exam malpractice, a committee is constituted to investigate the matter, your result can only be released (or not) depending on the findings of the committee.

If the committee only identifies some students as the perpetrator of exam malpractice, others would be exonerated and have their results released.

“The increasing use of cell phones in the examination hall and organised cheating in some schools are other big concerns,” Head, Nigeria National Office, Mr Patrick Areghan said during the release of May/June 2021 result.

What can I do if my result is withheld?

You can possibly do nothing. You can only stay updated to hear the final decision of the exam body by doing the following:

Keep in touch with your school (centre)

Keep in touch with colleagues who are in the same shoe as you

Keep checking online

Should I keep my hope alive?

Definitely, if you’re sure that your centre didn’t indulge or aid exam malpractices in the course of the conduct of the exam. But the decision lies in the committee report, if your centre is indicted, you might have to look forward for the coming year exam.

Difference between Withheld and Outstanding Result

While a withheld result is on the part of the student or his centre, an outstanding result is an error arising from the WAEC. Most times, the exam body calls is “the result being processed”

When this happens, it means that some students have a few of their subjects still being processed due to some issues being resolved.

An outstanding result shows an error when you try to access your grade on the official portal of WAEC.

This means you need not be worried, WAEC will speedily complete the processing to enable all the affected candidates get their results fully processed and released, subsequently.

What is cancelled result?

If your exam number reads, “cancelled” it’s final, you can NEVER see the result for that year. Your best alternative is to take another exam


The withheld result is subject to investigation by a special investigative committee constituted by an examination body. Hope isn’t lost. You may be lucky when an investigation is completed.

When your result reads, “pending” it means an exam body is working on some resolvable issues.

When your result reads, “cancelled” that’s the end, it’s either you wait for another year or enrol for an alternative to WAEC


  1. Osayande, Elizabeth (November 22, 2021). “2021 WASSCE: 81% obtained 5 credits including Maths, English language; 10.9% results withheld — WAEC”. Vanguard News. Retrieved December 14, 2021.
  2. Adedigba, Azeezat (July 17, 2017). “WAEC releases May/June 2017 results; records high pass rate”. Premium Times Nigeria. Retrieved December 14, 2021
  3. Bella Naija, (August 11, 2014). “SSCE Results for May/June 2014 Reportedly Below WAEC’s Expectations”. Bellanaija.com.  Retrieved January 11, 2021
  4. Adebowale, Segun (August 8, 2013). “WAEC releases May/June 2013 examination results”. The Eagle online. Retrieved February 23, 2021.
  5. Premium Times (August 10, 2012). “WAEC releases 2012 results, withholds 122 thousand certificates”. Premium Times Nigeria. Retrieved March 2021
  6. Ogundare, Tunbosun (November 2, 2020). “WAEC Withholds 215,149 Of Results As 65% Pass School-Based SSSCE Exam”. Nigerian Tribune. Retrieved December 14, 2021

10 thoughts on “What To Do If Your WAEC Result Is Withheld”

  1. Ezekiel Nseabasi

    Please waec official should release my result
    i am pleading of you people this is the second time i write abeg

  2. My mom paid a huge amount for my waec,I suffered Trekking to school due to distance whether sunshine or rain
    This is my second time of writing waec cos the first one was cancelled
    I Registered this year in another center and my result again is held
    I’m pleading to waec, release my held results,my life will be a mess if it’s cancelled again

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