JAMB Performance Has Improved: Unraveling the Mystery

In recent times, it has become apparent that students are achieving significantly higher scores in the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME)/JAMB compared to previous years. Scoring 300 or more is now commonplace, and even a score of 300 no longer guarantees admission due to the increased competition. If you took the UTME 8 to 10 years ago, you might remember that such high scores were quite unusual. This phenomenon raises the question: Has JAMB’s standard decreased, making the exam easier, or have students become more intelligent? Are there hidden strategies that today’s students employ? In this article, we will delve into these questions and uncover the factors contributing to improved UTME performance.


Evolution of JAMB

To answer the first question, let’s examine the evolution of the UTME. The most significant change occurred when JAMB transitioned from a paper-and-pencil test to a Computer-Based Test (CBT) format in 2013. This transition offered several advantages. Firstly, CBT reduced the time spent shading answers, making the process more efficient. Moreover, it minimized the margin for error in marking, as OMR sheets were replaced by machine-marked responses. The introduction of CBT also played a role in reducing malpractice rates, as it became more challenging to cheat. While the format changed, the exam’s difficulty remained relative.

Another noteworthy change was the reduction in the number of questions. In the past, students had to answer 100 English questions and 50 questions in three other subjects, totaling 250 questions. Nowadays, students answer 16 English questions and 14 in other subjects, significantly reducing the question count. This change acknowledges that prolonged focus during an exam can lead to fatigue, and a shorter exam duration benefits students.

However, some claim that older UTME question papers appear more challenging when compared to recent ones. This perception could be attributed to curriculum changes over time. As syllabi evolve, students become more accustomed to the current curriculum, making older questions seem more difficult. Therefore, while the format and number of questions have changed, the standard of the UTME remains largely consistent.

The Intelligence Factor

Now, let’s address the second question: Are students becoming more intelligent? Globally, there is evidence suggesting that human intelligence, as measured by IQ tests, has been on the rise. This increase in IQ scores reflects not only increased intelligence but also improved access to educational resources. With the advent of technology, students have more tools at their disposal, making learning more accessible and efficient. This trend applies to the UTME as well, as students today have access to a plethora of resources to help them prepare.

Access to Quality Education

One key factor in improved UTME performance is access to quality secondary education. Many schools now understand the importance of preparing students specifically for these exams. They have dedicated teachers who are well-versed in the UTME curriculum, giving their students a distinct advantage. However, it’s worth noting that many of these schools are expensive and not accessible to everyone. While there are affordable schools that provide excellent education, there is a noticeable difference in the investment made by more expensive institutions in their students.

Utilizing Past Questions and Resources

Additionally, the repeating pattern of UTME questions plays a significant role in improving scores. Since the syllabus and curriculum have remained relatively consistent, some questions are inevitably reused. Students who effectively use past questions and study materials can excel in the exam. The key is to understand how to navigate the syllabus and use available resources wisely.

The Power of the Internet

The internet has revolutionized education. Students can easily access past questions, educational apps, articles, and videos. Nigerian educators have also contributed by creating valuable educational content tailored to UTME preparation. This wealth of resources has made preparing for the UTME more manageable and efficient than ever before.

In conclusion, while the UTME remains a challenging examination, the combination of technology, improved access to quality education, and a better understanding of the exam’s nuances has led to improved performance among students. It’s essential for students to make the most of these resources and preparation methods to excel in the UTME. As long as the standard of the exam remains consistent, success will be achievable for those who harness the available tools effectively.


Is the UTME easier now?

No, the UTME’s standard has not decreased. While the format and number of questions have changed, the core content and difficulty level remain consistent.

Are students becoming more intelligent?

Intelligence, as measured by IQ tests, has shown an upward trend globally. However, improved access to educational resources also contributes to higher scores.

Why do some students perform exceptionally well?

Access to quality education, effective utilization of past questions, and the abundance of online resources play significant roles in students’ improved performance.

What should students do to succeed in the UTME?

Students should make the most of available resources, including past questions and online educational materials, and receive guidance from experienced educators.

Are there plans to make quality education more accessible?

Efforts are underway to make quality education accessible to a wider audience. Initiatives and platforms are being developed to provide comprehensive UTME preparation resources to all students.

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2 thoughts on “JAMB Performance Has Improved: Unraveling the Mystery

  1. Thank you for the good writeup. It in fact was a amusement account it.
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