Breaking news:2024 UTME: Why some high-scoring candidates may not get admission into tertiary institutions


Breaking news:2024 UTME: Why some high-scoring candidates may not get admission into tertiary institutions



Against the common belief that what matters is scoring high marks at every Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME), the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has explained that being the highest scorer does not guarantee a candidate’s admission.

Fabian Benjamin, the JAMB’s spokesman made this known recently when he said that some candidates may not secure admission despite scoring high in UTME.

Benjamin explained that UTME is a ranking or selection examination and not an achievement test; hence it would be wrong for anyone to analyse it on pass and failure basis.

“If you look at the statistics that we keep reeling out and discussing out there, you will discover that a reasonable number of these candidates score less than 200 and above. They have not failed this examination because it depends on what you want to do with such an exercise.

“Our examination is a selection exercise. You can only say a candidate has failed if, in the final analysis, the purpose of such an examination is not achieved,” he said.

He disclosed that the board is willing to celebrate candidates who scored 300 and above, but he pointed out that some of them may end up not getting admission for some reason.

“I will give you an example. We want to celebrate candidates who have scored 300 or above. And I want to shock you by saying that some of them may not even be admitted with that high score, depending on where they want to go, while some candidates who have scored less than 200 will end up succeeding and being admitted,” he noted.

Buttressing his point, the JAMB spokesman gave an instance of a candidate who scores 180 or 200 and wants to read physics, according to him such a candidate is likely to gain admission, while another candidate who wants to read medicine with a score of 320, may not be admitted.

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He reiterated that admission is contingent upon the cut-off marks set by the various tertiary institutions and specific departments. Consequently, he condemned the idea of analysing UTME based on scores alone.

“There is nothing wrong with analysing the performance of any exercise, but the first issue that one will have to bear in mind is understanding the purpose for which such the exercise is undertaken.

“If you look at our examination and begin to analyse it without understanding the basic principles for which we conduct this examination, you may likely be misleading the public,” he said.

Benjamin explained that it is disruptive for people to only analyse the board’s examination on a pass or fail parameter. He said this was wrong because UTME is a selection examination.

Throwing more light on why a candidate who scored high marks may or may not be admitted, he pointed out that the current capacity for such a programme could just be around 200.

Our examination is a selection exercise. You can only say a candidate has failed if, in the final analysis, the purpose of such an examination is not achieved,” he said.

He disclosed that the board is willing to celebrate candidates who scored 300 and above, but he pointed out that some of them may end up not getting admission for some reason.

I will give you an example. We want to celebrate candidates who have scored 300 or above. And I want to shock you by saying that some of them may not even be admitted with that high score, depending on where they want to go, while some candidates who have scored less than 200 will end up succeeding and being admitted,” he noted.

Buttressing his point, the JAMB spokesman gave an instance of a candidate who scores 180 or 200 and wants to read physics, according to him such a candidate is likely to gain admission, while another candidate who wants to read medicine with a score of 320, may not be admitted.

He reiterated that admission is contingent upon the cut-off marks set by the various tertiary institutions and specific departments. Consequently, he condemned the idea of analysing UTME based on scores alone.

“There is nothing wrong with analysing the performance of any exercise, but the first issue that one will have to bear in mind is understanding the purpose for which such the exercise is undertaken.

If you look at our examination and begin to analyse it without understanding the basic principles for which we conduct this examination, you may likely be misleading the public,” he said.

Benjamin explained that it is disruptive for people to only analyse the board’s examination on a pass or fail parameter. He said this was wrong because UTME is a selection examination.

Throwing more light on why a candidate who scored high marks may or may not be admitted, he pointed out that the current capacity for such a programme could just be around 200.

“So it depends on the subscription to the programme that you are aspiring to go to. It depends on the university to which you want to go. It depends on the tertiary institution, whether it’s a polytechnic or a college of education,” he stressed

Recall that in 2019, a 15-year-old Ekene Franklin from Abia State emerged as the best candidate by scoring 347 marks which was considered the highest by the board.

But Ishaq Oloyede, the registrar of JAMB explained then that the best candidate may not be admitted to the University of Lagos, which was his first choice because of age.


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