How to Effectively Prepare for JAMB exams

prepare for JAMB exams
Written by Robin Okwanma

Are you a Nigerian secondary student in SS1, SS2 or SS3 preparing to enter one of the tertiary institutions in Nigeria? By now you must be familiar with the JAMB examinations. You might just be afraid of the almighty JAMB exams, but it is not peculiar that you feel this way. Many Nigerian students preparing to undertake the JAMB examination into higher institutions normally experience apprehension and fear. Here in this article, we will present some tips to assist you to effectively prepare for JAMB exams and succeed.

You might be a first-time participant of the exams, or you have done it more than once. Nevertheless, there are strategies to help you effectively prepare for JAMB exams and scale through it. They can even help you to succeed in the subsequent UME exam of your target school as well. 

The Purpose of JAMB UTME Examinations

The Joint Admissions and Matriculations Board (JAMB) is the main entrance examination body for all tertiary institutions in Nigeria. JAMB prepares exams to screen and present candidates that are qualified and ready for admission into higher institutions in Nigeria. These include all Nigerian universities, polytechnics, monotechnics and colleges of education (whether private or public). 


In the years before 2010, JAMB examinations were conducted separately for universities. This was called the University Matriculation Examinations (UME). While other tertiary institutions were made to undertake another set of exams at a different time of the year. This second set of exams was called MPCEME (Monotechnics, Polytechnics and Colleges of Education Matriculation Examination)


What has been in operation since 2010 is now a Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examinations (UTME). It is compulsory for all candidates seeking admission into any tertiary institution in Nigeria to undertake the UTME. Additionally, it is now a Computer-Based Test (CBT) that can run for two or more days, and is no longer paper-based (compared to previous years). JAMB CBT examinations commenced in May 2014. To effectively prepare for JAMB exams and not have to repeat it several times is very vital. This will save you wasted time and money. 


Registration for JAMB Examinations

The JAMB authorities are fully aware that some students are just barely computer literate. That depends on how much computer skills each student had acquired from their previous schools (or through other training programs). To assist candidates to properly get ready for the exam, a mock JAMB CBT exam is normally conducted. This takes place roughly a month before the actual UTME exams take place. 


Both the JAMB Mock CBT and the final CBT exams are conducted by appointed JAMB CBT centers across the country. This of course requires that all candidates must have completed their JAMB registration earlier in a particular CBT center. Similarly, each candidate would prepare to undertake the JAMB exam in that same CBT center of registration.  


Candidates of JAMB UTME need also to be aware of three conditions they must fulfill to enter any higher institution in Nigeria. 


Special Tips to Effectively Prepare for JAMB Exams

We recommend that you follow the tips below to effectively prepare for JAMB exams. You would not want to fail and thus repeat such an important exam. In any case, your seriousness and commitment will make a huge difference, if you can put these tips to work, And congratulations in advance. So here we go.

JAMB Brochure: You Need to Study It

Going through the JAMB brochure should be the starting point for any candidate who wants to excel in the JAMB exams. It can be downloaded from the official JAMB UTME website after you have done the online exam registration. You can also access it HERE. Inside the JAMB brochure, you will find out the following:


Download the JAMB Syllabus

You also need to download the JAMB Syllabus PDF file from the JAMB official website, after you complete your JAMB exam registration. You can also download the syllabus for all subjects from HERE. Inside the JAMB Syllabus, you will find the exam objectives for each subject. These are the focus points/topics you are expected to know/study to pass that subject in the JAMB examination. You will also find a list of recommended textbooks for each subject in the JAMB Syllabus. And it is free to download. 


Obtain the Recommended JAMB Textbooks for Each Subject

Once you have taken note of the recommended textbooks for your chosen subjects, get one book for each subject. And devote yourself to studying the focus topics, with the aim to actually understand them. Make sure you choose the textbook(s) that you can easily comprehend. 


There are cases when such textbooks may not be readily available in bookshops around town. If necessary, you may also reach out to the publisher of a required textbook to get one copy. And don’t be surprised that some of these books end up being useful in your first few years in the university. Or any other higher institution for that matter. 


Create a Study Time-Table

For a more effective study, create a reading time-table. And remember – the key to success is to plan and study AHEAD OF TIME. To effectively prepare for JAMB exams, it is best to start  several months ahead of the exam. At least three months ahead, or even more than that, is a good strategy. 


Set apart more time for those subjects (and topics) that require extra focus and/or comprehension, if necessary. And remember to include break times. You may choose to set apart a day or two (especially Sundays) to get adequate rest.  A typical and effective time table would cover Mondays to Saturdays, and last for between two to three hours each day. 


Stay Focused

For your own good, it is highly necessary to put away anything that can distract you in your studies. Indulgence in smartphone games, internet, and social media are huge culprits you should avoid. Choose to study in quiet places; additionally you can choose quiet hours of the day. Very early hours of the morning, and late at night can be very useful. Also, make good use of local libraries around town. Some students may be able to study with low, harmonious music playing in the background (like classical music). 


In any case, remember to choose what works for you. Learn to make yourself comfortable while studying. Eat well and sleep well before studying. And ensure you read in a well-lighted and well ventilated place, free from any distractions. 


Get JAMB Questions Ready

Go the extra mile to get past JAMB questions, and add it to your study bouquet. Questions that cover up to the last 10 years are recommended. You can obtain these from bookshops; and there are also online sources that can provide them for you. And preferably get JAMB question-and-answer booklets that explain the answers. 


Studying and practicing past JAMB questions will help you to observe the pattern or format in which the questions are being set. It will also help you to identify your level of preparedness for the exam, and your weak points in each topic/subject. Note that you are not meant to cram the questions and answers – they are supposed to be your study guide. Use them along with your JAMB Syllabus and textbooks to test your comprehension. 


Get Yourself the JAMB Online CBT Practice Software

From experience, we know practicing the JAMB CBT software ahead of time will increase your confidence in taking the exam. You can download the software on your computer. There are also Android apps and websites that simulate the JAMB CBT (so you can download such apps on your smartphone). You can check out the MySchool Classroom for useful links from where you can download the JAMB CBT software. You will also be able to interact with other users across the nation.  


Don’t Ignore JAMB Tutorial Classes

It may serve you a good purpose to attend JAMB tutorials. You get to meet other students who will encourage you in your preparation. You also benefit from lessons and tutors who can help improve your comprehension in the weak subjects. Nevertheless, beware of distractions. You will surely find noisy co-learners, flashy ones, smartphone addicts and the like. Remember to stay focused.  


Stay Updated

You will not want to miss the latest news about the JAMB examinations, and current admission issues in higher institutions. So remember to stay close to news sources to know the latest happenings in JAMB and Nigerian higher institutions. Watch out for JAMB and admission news on the internet, in newspapers, magazines, on the radio and on television. Please don’t turn this into an opportunity to indulge in social media – guard yourself.  


General Requirements Needed to Register for JAMB Exams

Registration for JAMB UTME exams normally commences on a candidate’s smartphone. The final procedure to register for the JAMB exams will be concluded on the JAMB portal ( 

In order to be accepted as a candidate for JAMB exams, each candidate must provide the following details: 



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About the author

Robin Okwanma

Hi, I'm Robin Okwanma. Software Engineer || Django, Python || React, React Native || Blogger. Technical Writer.

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