JAMB Cut-Off Marks

JAMB Cut-Off Marks: Understanding the Essentials

The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) is the central Nigerian agency responsible for conducting entrance examinations for tertiary institutions. One of the pivotal aspects of this examination process is the determination of cut-off marks.


These marks serve as a benchmark to decide the eligibility of candidates for admission into various higher education institutions, including universities, polytechnics, and colleges of education.

What is a JAMB Cut-Off Mark?


A JAMB cut-off mark is the minimum score that candidates must achieve in the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) to qualify for admission consideration into Nigerian tertiary institutions. This mark is critical because it helps streamline the admission process by setting a standard that applicants must meet or exceed to be considered for entry into their preferred institutions.

Setting the JAMB Cut-Off Mark

The process of setting the JAMB cut-off mark involves several stakeholders, including:

  1. JAMB Officials: These officials play a central role in recommending a range of cut-off marks based on the performance of candidates in the UTME.
  2. Ministry of Education: The ministry provides oversight and ensures that the proposed cut-off marks align with national educational policies and goals.
  3. Tertiary Institutions: Representatives from universities, polytechnics, and colleges of education participate in the annual policy meeting to agree on the cut-off marks. These institutions have the autonomy to set their specific cut-off marks within the range approved by JAMB.
  4. Public Consultation: Occasionally, feedback from educational stakeholders and the general public may influence the final decision on cut-off marks.

Factors Influencing JAMB Cut-Off Marks

Several factors influence the determination of JAMB cut-off marks each year:

  1. Overall Performance: The general performance of candidates in the UTME plays a significant role. If the average scores are high, cut-off marks may be adjusted upward, and vice versa.
  2. Institutional Capacity: The carrying capacity of institutions (i.e., the number of students they can admit) affects cut-off marks. Institutions with limited spaces may set higher cut-off marks to manage the volume of applicants.
  3. Field of Study: Different courses and fields of study may have varying cut-off marks. For instance, competitive courses like Medicine, Law, and Engineering often have higher cut-off marks compared to less competitive courses.
  4. Educational Policies: Government policies aimed at promoting certain fields of study or ensuring regional balance in education can also influence cut-off marks.

Types of Cut-Off Marks

  1. General Cut-Off Mark: This is the minimum score set by JAMB for all candidates, regardless of their course of choice. For example, the general cut-off mark for universities might be set at 160.
  2. Institution-Specific Cut-Off Marks: After JAMB sets the general cut-off mark, individual institutions may establish their specific cut-off marks for various courses. For example, a university might set a cut-off mark of 200 for Engineering courses while maintaining the general cut-off mark of 160 for other courses.
  3. Course-Specific Cut-Off Marks: Within institutions, different courses may have different cut-off marks based on their competitiveness and the number of available slots.

Implications of JAMB Cut-Off Marks

  1. Admission Eligibility: Only candidates who meet or exceed the set cut-off marks are eligible for the next stages of the admission process, which may include post-UTME screenings or aptitude tests conducted by individual institutions.
  2. Merit and Opportunity: Cut-off marks ensure that only candidates with adequate preparation and performance gain access to higher education, promoting meritocracy.
  3. Regulation of Admission: Cut-off marks help manage the number of applicants that institutions have to consider, making the admission process more efficient.

Challenges and Criticisms

Despite its importance, the cut-off mark system faces several challenges and criticisms:

  1. Variability: The variability in cut-off marks across institutions and courses can create confusion among candidates.
  2. Pressure and Anxiety: The high stakes associated with meeting cut-off marks can cause significant stress and anxiety among candidates.
  3. Equity Issues: Some argue that the system might not fully account for educational disparities across different regions and socioeconomic backgrounds, potentially disadvantaging certain groups.


JAMB cut-off marks are a critical component of Nigeria’s tertiary education admission process. They serve to maintain standards, ensure fairness, and manage the admission workload for institutions. While the system is not without its challenges, it remains an essential tool for regulating entry into higher education. Candidates are advised to stay informed about the cut-off marks for their chosen institutions and courses and to prepare adequately to meet or exceed these benchmarks.


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