Grading System For WAEC, NECO, NABTEB, GCE -
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Grading System For WAEC, NECO, NABTEB, GCE

Before writing your WAEC, NECO, GCE, or NABTEB, you may want to know how your exams/papers will be marked. And after marking, what does each mark range give you? A1, B2, B3, C4, C5, C6, D7, E8, or (God forbid) F9?

Some candidates won't worry about the exam marking scheme/grading until when they're done with their papers. Then, they want to know what to expect when their results are out and how they will be graded.

Fortunately, the marking and grading system doesn't defer among the well-known SSCEs i.e. WAEC, NECO, GCE, and NABTEB.

In this post, I will be using WAEC as the benchmark to show you the grading system being used by all O'level exam bodies. Candidates who want to know how JAMB marks and grades should consider reading, "How JAMB Marked 2022 UTME: Official Explanation".

Before Analyzing the Grading System, the Basics First

As already stated, WAEC, NECO, and NABTEB follow the same or similar pattern in marking and grading. Hence, where a particular exam is mentioned, it literally means all the exams body.

WAEC has three sets of exams yearly, WAEC May/June. This is recently renamed (called) WAEC for school candidates. As the name implies, it simply means the WAEC type that every secondary school leaver is expected to write when passing out of senior secondary school (SS3).

In addition to that, the exam body also conducts WAEC GCE. And this comes up twice a year. They are called WAEC for private candidates series 1 and WAEC for private candidates series 2 respectively. 

Private candidates are students who possibly have completed their secondary school, wrote WAEC May/June (or any other SSCE) but failed or had one or two deficiencies in their results. And later, they wanted to make the results with another exam as independent candidates rather than school candidates.

While the WAEC for Private Candidates Series 1 is expected to be held around August/September, the WAEC for Private Candidates Series 2 usually falls around January/February. Hence, it's fun calling it WAEC GCE Aug/Sept and WAEC GCE Jan/Feb respectively.

Similarly, NECO and NABTEB do conduct NECO June/July and NABTEB May/June respectively for school candidates. And their GCE versions, for the private candidates, are NECO GCE Nov/Dec and NABTEB GCE Nov/Dec.

In all, it's safe to conclude that nothing is significantly different in the grading system of these exams - be it for the school candidates or the private candidates.

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All SSCE Subjects Are Graded on a 100% Marking Scheme

Irrespective of the subjects you registered and sat for, the exam bodies will grade each, in total (i.e. theory and objectives), 100%.

In other words, the total mark that will be awarded to a subject will be 100%. This will include the total mark in theory and objectives.

However, year in and year out, each exam body determines what mark to give to each question. This is called the marking scheme instead of the grading system. This post is meant to attend to the latter. You may pick up any WAEC, NECO, or NABTEB Past Questions and Answers Pack to get ideas of the marks being awarded to each of the questions.

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The Grading System: The Percentage Range For A1, B2, B3, C4, C5, C6, D7, E8, and F9

The grading system for West African Examinations Council (WAEC), National Examinations Council (NECO), National Business and Technical Examinations Board (NABTEB), and the General Certificate of Education (GCE) are similar. Here is a breakdown of the grading system for each of these examinations:

1. WAEC and NECO

The grading system for WAEC and NECO is based on the candidate's performance in each subject. The highest grade is A1, which represents an excellent performance, and the lowest grade is F9, which represents a fail.

A1: Excellent (75-100%)
B2: Very good (70-74%)
B3: Good (65-69%)
C4: Credit (60-64%)
C5: Credit (55-59%)
C6: Credit (50-54%)
D7: Pass (45-49%)
E8: Pass (40-44%)
F9: Fail (0-39%)

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The grading system for NABTEB is also based on the candidate's performance in each subject, and the highest grade is A, while the lowest grade is F.

A: Distinction (75-100%)
B: Upper Credit (70-74%)
C: Lower Credit (65-69%)
D: Pass (55-64%)
E: Pass (45-54%)
F: Fail (0-44%)

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The grading system for GCE is similar to that of WAEC and NECO. The highest grade is A, and the lowest grade is F.

A: Excellent (70-100%)
B: Very good (60-69%)
C: Good (50-59%)
D: Pass (45-49%)
E: Pass (40-44%)
F: Fail (0-39%)

It's important to note that these grading systems are subject to change, and candidates should always confirm the grading system applicable to their examination before taking it.

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Interpretation of Held, Cancelled, Outstanding, and ABS in Results

As plain as it may look that candidates should understand what happened if they saw any of the above, some candidates might still remain confused if they printed their results and had Cancelled, Held, Outstanding, or ABS.

ABS simply means, the candidates, even though registered for the papers, didn't write them. Hence, instead of the exam body to omit the subject, among the ones to be released, they still released them but with ABS which is just an abbreviation for ABSENT.

Held and Withheld is an indication the results are under special scrutiny as the exam body might be susceptive of malpractice or the center was reported to be involved in any form of mismanagement in the exams or during the particular papers. Held results may be released or may permanently be canceled.

Canceled is a direct confirmation that there were unforgivable offenses committed by the center or the affected candidates during the exams or for the papers and the exam body was never ready to release the results. 

Outstanding is a temporary withholding of results as what led to not releasing the result yet wasn't anything criminal or offensive but rather some inadequacies on the part of the center or the students. For example, if the candidates didn't mark THE REGISTER for the paper or didn't write their exam number correctly, or related issues. These results will usually be released within a few weeks of holding it, as soon as the exam bodies clarify things.

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