The National Examination Council (NECO) is the official body that organizes national examinations in Nigeria. Nigeria operates the 6-3-3-4 educational system wherein a 6year primary education is followed by a 3year junior secondary, a 3year senior secondary and a final 4year tertiary education.
What are the NECO Examinations?
To transit from one level of the education ladder to the next, pupils undergo exams to determine their suitability for the level they are transiting into. NECO conducts various transiting exams thus:
- National Common Entrance Examination (NCEE)
- Gifted Examination Into Federal Academy Suleja
- Junior Secondary Certificate Examination (JSCE)
- Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (SSCE Internal)
- Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (SSCE External)
This exam is administered to pupils in their 6th year of primary school which is the final stage of primary education (Primary 6). It selects the best candidates from every state of the federation and the federal capital territory (FCT) for admission into federal unity colleges. These colleges are essentially secondary schools owned by the Federal Government of Nigeria, whose objective is to foster unity amongst the children of NIGERIA.
Two exams are held annually. The results of the first exam determines candidates that qualify for a second exam based on cut-off marks for each state. The results of the second exam qualifies candidates for admission into the unity colleges based on merit, equal state quota and environment considerations.
2. Gifted Examination (gifted children education program) into Federal Academy Suleja
This is a special exam administered to identified talented children in primary 6 in all the states of the Federation and the FCT. It identifies exceptionally talented children primarily by merit, and to a lesser extent, by equal state quota. These kids are then brought together into a special secondary school called Federal Government Academy in Suleja, close to Abuja.
3. Junior School Certificate Exam (JSCE)
To transit from the three years of junior secondary to senior secondary, the JSCE is conducted for students in their third year of Junior Secondary School (JSS3). While each state of the federation and the FCT conducts the JSCE for its candidates, NECO conducts the JSCE for Federal Unity Colleges, Armed Forces Secondary Schools and other Federal establishments operating Secondary schools. Private Secondary schools also take part in the NECO JSCE provided they are permitted by their State Ministries of Education.
Twenty two subjects are administered at the JSCE level. A candidate is expected to sit for a minimum of ten subjects and a maximum of thirteen. The grading system is as follows:
- A - Distinction
- C - Credit
- P - Pass
- F - Fail.
This exam is taken by students in their third and final year of secondary education (SS3). The school at which they have studied present them to NECO for the exam thus the designation 'Internal'. 'External' option is for candidates who are not in the official school system. An alternative to NECO SSCE is the WAEC SSCE organized by the West African Examinations Council (WAEC).
The NECO SSCE Internal has forty subjects to choose from. The minimum number of subjects a candidate can sit for is eight while the maximum is nine. The results of this exam may be used for:
- Admission into Tertiary Institutions;
- Employment purposes;
- Qualification to stand for elective offices.
- A1 - Excellent
- B2 - Very Good
- B3 - Good
- C4 - Credit
- C5 - Credit
- C6 - Credit
- D7 - Pass
- D8 - Pass
- F9 - Fail
The 'External' option of the senior school certificate exam is for private and external candidates i.e those who are not in a formal school, and thus cannot be presented to NECO by any school for the exam. It may also be called NECO General Certificate of Education (GCE) exam or NECO SSCE/GCE exam. Centres are located in almost all the local government areas of the federation. Subjects and grades are the same as for the 'Internal' option.
What times are these exams taken?
As a general guide, the NECO SSCE (Internal) is taken in June/July; while the NECO SSCE (External) is in November/December every year.
What is the minimum number of subjects to pass?
For the junior certificate exam, a candidate is deemed to have passed the JSCE if he/she has passes in six subjects including English and Mathematics. For the senior certificate exam (SSCE), candidates are expected to pass five subjects at credit level to gain admission into a Nigerian University. Most university faculties require that the five credit subjects must include English Language and Mathematics.
What is CEMTP?
Converged Examinations Management Technology Platform (CEMTP) seeks to offer a one-stop platform for access to all examinations conducted in Nigeria. Currently JAMB, NABTEB and NECO exams can be accessed via the CEMTP website (see link below). Just like with the official NECO website, you may also check NECO result, information about NECO exams, and register for NECO exams on the CEMTP website.
CEMTP scratch card can be bought for N850 at designated selling points. You can then create a CEMTP account, enter a profile and register for any available exams (currently JAMB, NABTEB and NECO). You will still need to pay separate registration fees for each exam you are interested in.
NECO took over the responsibilities of the National Board for Educational Measurement (NBEM) in 1999, and also conducts the SSCE which had, in the past, been the exclusive preserve of the West African Examinations Council (WAEC). NECO also provides schools and institutions with online registration and checking of results. Access to the online portal requires the purchase of scratch cards from NECO National Headquarters in Minna, NECO state offices or other designated selling outlets in Nigeria.
NECO Contact Information
National Examinations Council (NECO)
Western Bye Pass,
Dr Nnamdi Azikwe Way,
Minna, Niger state,
Phone: 066-224732; Fax: 066-224182
For more (registration, result-check, etc): NECO home; Or NECO via CEMTP
Accredited cybercafes: NECO-accredited list of Cyber-Cafes
You may use NECO CEMTP result checker (but see UPDATE below)
UPDATE: On 18th Aug, 2011, following complaints; we wrote NECO asking clarification on their official site. Replying, NECO said, "Our official website for registration, result checking and other information concerning the organization is www.mynecoexams.com"