Differences in JAMB, School and Post UTME Cut-Off Marks

JAMB logo
Generally, candidates want to know what a university’s, polytechnic’s, or college’s cut-off mark is before choosing it during the JAMB registration. And if you’re not inquisitive at this stage, as soon as JAMB announced the national cut-off mark, you may want to check your own schools’ post UTME cut-off marks. This, you have to wait until those schools start selling their entry forms.
Whereas, a few students that meet the JAMB cut-off mark will conclude that their admissions are certain for the year – not knowing that there is more to know.
This post is aimed at showing you what it takes to be offered admissions as far as the cut-off mark is concerned. Meeting the JAMB cut-off mark is not even half the journey, it’s just the beginning!

JAMB’s and Schools’ Cut-Off Marks are Not the Same

This may sound confusing. I will explain.
JAMB cut-off marks are the score range determined and recommended by the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board for institutions – Universities, Polytechnics, Colleges of Education, and Innovation Enterprise Institutions (IEIs) to accept while admitting their prospective candidates. These marks are usually over the 400 total scores expected from the UTME. The cut-off mark is usually unanimously concluded by the board and other education stakeholders.
The JAMB Board also announced its 2020 Policy Meeting will hold on June 16, which will be, expectedly, chaired by the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, with no fewer than 4,000 heads of tertiary Institutions comprising degree, diploma, NCE and NID-awarding institutions and other stakeholders in attendance.
Whereas the school cut-off mark can be different from that concluded by the board and the stakeholders. hence …
A school cut-off mark is the total score range a university, polytechnic, college of education, or innovative enterprise institute requires prospective admission seekers to have in UTME to be able to participate in its post UTME or screening exercise
A school cut-off mark is not necessarily what the school needs to offer you admission. Instead, the mark will only give you a chance to register for the school’s post UTME or partake in the screening.
In the same vein, a school hat is called post UTME cut-off marks.
Post UTME cut-off marks are the real score in the school’s entrance exams or screening point that candidates will be admitted with. For some schools, it starts from an average mark of 50% to 100% e.g UNILORIN, OAU, UI, etc. For some, each department will decide its post UTME cut-off mark before you can qualify for its course. For example, If the Accounting department asks for a 70% post-UTME cut-off mark, Banking and Finance may ask for 55% e.g UNIOSUN, Federal Polytechnic Ede, etc.

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Students Face the Three Cut Off Marks During Admission Pursuit

1. JAMB cut-off mark is not widely accepted by all institutions

As already noted, the board only recommends certain scores for the institutions – not a compulsion. Hence, each school is left with whether to accept that or not.
For instance, during the stakeholders meeting, JAMB and other attendees may conclude as we have in the previous years, 160 and above as the national minimum benchmark for admission into public universities, 140 for private universities, 120 for public polytechnics and colleges of education, and 110 for private polytechnics and colleges of education.
In other words, they can accept more than but never less than (≥)
These cut-off marks recommended by JAMB usually confuse candidates. They mistake it for what all schools must accept or use for admission. No!

2. School’s Cut-Off Mark as earlier pointed out is different 

  1. It can be the same as what JAMB draws
  2. It can be a bit higher than what JAMB draws
  3. But never lower than what JAMB draws
For instance, even though JAMB announced (for 2020/2021) 160 and above for universities, the University of Ibadan, University of Benini, Universversity of Lagos, etc drew 200 and above for their candidates.
Some universities such as Abia State University, Tai Solarin Univerity of Education, etc considered exactly 160 that JAMB announced (in recent years) while a few universities such as Osun State University, Ladoke Akintola University, Federal University Oye Ekiti, etc accept the announced JAMB cut off mark for a few courses and 200 or above for others.
Certain polytechnics such as Oke Ogun Polytechnic, Federal College of Agriculture Moor Plantation Ibadan, Osun State Polytechnic, etc accepted the national cut-off mark of 120 or above while Federal Polytechnic Ede, Federal Polytechnic Offa, Federal Polytechnic Bida drew 140, 150, and 140 respectively.

And we still have a few polytechnics that drew cut-off marks depending on the proposed course e.g The Polytechnic Ibadan which is notoriously known for drawing 200 or above for certain courses and above 150 for others. The polytechnic only uses the JAMB score to offer admission without further screening except for the online registration. This could be the reason their departmental cut-off marks are higher.

3. Post-UTME cut-off marks, likewise, is different from school pre-entrance cut off mark.

As said above, it’s the final cut-off mark to admit candidates with. These are usually called the departmental cut-off marks.
After the school must have completed post UTME tests or screening online or physically, they draw points usually in percentage to decide your fate of admission into the department proposed. 
Unfortunately, the cut-off marks may not be made public by some universities. For instance, the University of Ilorin, Ahmadu Bello University, Osun State University, Federal University Oye Ekiti, Federal Polytechnic Offa, Kwara State Polytechnic, Osun State Polytechnic Iree, Osun State Polytechnic Esa-Oke, etc won’t make their cut-off marks public after the Post UTME/screening exercise. If you see any, it may be proposed or some rumors.
Whereas, some universities will be open about the final cut-off marks for admission. For example, the University of Ibadan, Lago State University, Univerity of Benin, Sokoto State University, Federal Polytechnic Ede, etc usually announce their post UTME cut-off marks. 


I’m sorry to inform you that you don’t need rejoicing yet when JAMB announces the national cut-off marks as these may not be accepted or used by your proposed institution. It’s safe to say, you should check what your school drew in the last admission year to judge for this year. In most cases, they don’t change the cut-off marks too often. You can search this blog for the post-UTME forms of any school to see if I’d posted it.
Hence, you should be aware that, even if you meet the JAMB cut-off mark, there’s still more before being offered admission. You’ll have to satisfy the school and post-UTME cut-off marks too. And in fact, other factors as detailed in this post should be looked into.

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