GCE Harder than WAEC? Differences To Expect - SCHOOLCONTENTS.info


GCE Harder than WAEC? Differences To Expect

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A student visited me to register for WAEC GCE. He left with a question on my table – “Is it true that WAEC GCE is more difficult to pass than internal WAEC?”

What do you think when you’re asked this kind of question?

Of course, the guy had written WAEC April/May (formerly May/June) and made a few papers. He wanted to make up for his deficiencies in English, Chemistry, and Physics. That’s why he must obtain the WAEC Jan/Feb series (formerly called WAEC GCE).

WAEC stated differences between her three exams

I'll be willing to answer this question. Yet, we need to make some facts known before we can jump to a conclusion. Let's go...


By nature, candidates should commit to minds that, these exams are almost the same. They take the same approaches from the period of exams to the nature of questions and how exams are conducted.
  1. The time of NECO, NBAIS, and NABTEB GCE remains November/December (or sometimes earlier) each year. While WAEC GCE has been divided into two – one holding Jan/Feb and the other Aug/Sept. They are called the first and second series respectively.
  2. Questions are set with the alternative to practicals (on-paper practicals) instead of real practicals (laboratory practicals) that April/May exams use.
  3. All GCEs are conducted at designated centers (secondary schools) in selected towns instead of the general secondary schools in towns across the nation – which April/May exams use.

With the above comparisons, you should get the similarities and a few differences among these GCE exams.

Are WAEC, NECO, NABTEB, and NBAIS GCE Tougher to Pass than April/May, May/June, June/July Type?

Having said May/June (called internal exam) is conducted at individual secondary schools and the GCE types are done at chosen exam centers across the nation, then, which one is easier to pass?

This question is a bit difficult to answer. Hence, I won’t go too blunt and direct about it. You will check the points of view below, to start with. Then, we can decide which one may be more friendly than the other.

1. The Primary Purpose

The very reason exam bodies start GCE is to encourage candidates who had left secondary schools but didn’t make their results in internal exams to resit for those papers. Hence, they hope with these external (private) exams, they can rewrite and pass their papers or make up for the deficiencies they had in the internal ones.

Hence, if you'd had completed your SSCE internal but wish to make up for deficiencies within the GCE exams, it should be easier for you. One, you'd got the experience from the internal exam. You must have released why you failed the school exam in the first place. Now, you can prove your new knowledge.

However, if you'd not done school exams (SSCE internal) before now, GCE may still be strange and make that be a bit difficult to pass.

2. The Nature of the Exams

Internal exams are targeted at SS 3 students who had started in the same school from JSS 1 to SS3. With this, the curriculum and syllabus of the exam bodies must have been covered by the schools before registering their candidates for the internal exams.

GCE doesn’t care whether you’ve completed secondary school or you’re still in SS1. What matters is - do you have what it takes to pass the exams? Also, people of any age, government office, or profession are allowed to write GCE if they want.

I recently registered a 52-year old man who had been a court clerk all his years for WAEC GCE. Now, he wanted to study Law at a university. Hence, he needed to make Government and Literature because of his time, he was a commercial student with such subjects not included for him.

With that in mind, GCE candidates are expected to be academically better than students in their final year. This may make GCE a bit difficult. And with all syllabus covered from JSS1 to SS3 and with a fresh brain, a candidate who just in their SS2 or SS3 may find GCE simpler.

3. Practicals and Alternatives to Practicals

Internal candidates do real practicals (in-laboratory) in their exams. Exams bodies usually send specimens to the schools for them to have ideas of the areas where questions will be set for candidates.

For GCE, candidates are not provided with any specimens to prepare. Instead, candidates should be aware that they will be tested with the alternatives to practicals (on-papers). The alternatives to practicals test candidates practically but not as physically involved. They can be asked to identify and fill parts of drawn objects, machines, animals, etc instead of taking part in a practical science session.

As a result of not having the foreknowledge of what to expect in the practicals, GCE may be tougher for the candidates, unlike the internal candidates who had been prepared with a set of specimens.

4. The Nature of GCE Syllabus

I've gone through the WAEC GCE syllabus, for instance. Comparing that with WAEC April/May, there was little or no difference between topics to be covered in both exams.

Subjects are the same, topics are the same. The only difference as earlier established is the practicals.

Which one of the School Students' Exam (internal) and Private Students Exam (GCE) will be Easier?

The answer depends on you. What have you deduced from all the explanations above?

I’ve personally attempted the two exams years back. Things are not much different from what we’re used to.

WAEC internal can be easier because you’re have been well prepared for the papers most recently (SS1 to 3). People usually write GCE while they'd abandoned books for months - if not years. This may make it more difficult to pass.

There are other reasons WAEC internal (school students exams) could be more convenient as detailed in this post.

Another thing that makes internal exams more convenient is environmental psychology. You’re used to the invigilators (who usually are your teachers), your exams hall, and other students.

With GCE, you’re more likely which you're going to write in a different school or town. You will meet new teachers and supervisors. Even other students may come from far places and you might have not met them before.

This definitely may have effects on candidates' performance.

But in reality, if well prepared, you need the same amount of effort and reading to pass both internal exams and the GCE types.

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  1. Is it possible to work on pass question as ss1 student to pass gce and what re the subject compulsory to write as a commercial student

    1. Yes it's possible. For the compulsory SSCE subjects, visit the link below:

  2. Hi am a single mother but I got pregnant before the ssce waec time so it affected me and now I want to further my education how can I re-sit this exam please put me through

    1. Get some books, attend the right extra lessons. Get past questions and answers to prepare when you're ready for the exams

  3. Pls when is the gce registration going to start and end, and moreover when is the gce exam going to take place?

    1. Get all updates on https://registration.waecdirect.org/

  4. Is there any difference between d waec gce in Aug/Sept and the one in Jan/feb

  5. Please does neco gce take more time to compile results than waec gce and will neco gce come out January as there is no more COVID-19 protocols


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