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Difference Between WAEC, NECO & NABTEB

NABTEB O' level Exam
NABTEB O' level Exam

Difference Between WAEC, NECO & NABTEB: Is NABTEB Equivalent to WAEC and NECO?, Can I use NABTEB result to study Pharmacy and Medicine?, Between WAEC, NECO and NABTEB which one is the most difficult?

In this article, you and I will be going through the different O’ level Exams and their peculiarities…

Difference between Waec, Neco & Nabteb
Difference Between Waec, Neco & Nabteb

O’ level exam (WAEC, NECO or NABTEB) is in fact, one of the most important Exam you will ever sit for as a student in Nigeria. This Exam certifies you as no longer a secondary school student.

Read Also: After Registering For JAMB What Next? What To Do


O’ level as a term is an acronym for Ordinary level. There are three (3) major big wigs we refer to whenever we talk about O’ level Exams for students and these big wigs are…

  • WAEC
  • NECO and

With WAEC and NECO being the most popular, for this reasons there have been some misconception and questions from concerned students about these three exams, I keep receiving questions from student such as…

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a. Will I Need To Enrol For Neco If I Credit all my papers in Waec? 

b. What is the difference between WAEC and NABTEB?

c. Is NABTEB equal to WAEC and NECO, that is, can you use NABTEB to replace NECO?

d. Can NABTEB be used in place of WAEC? 

In Today’s episode of my “Admission Guide Series” All these questions will be addressed, all you have to do is sit back, take a chilled glass of water and relax as you ride along me… ENJOY!!!


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Now, let’s get down to business…

What Are O’ Level Exams (WAEC, NECO and NABTEB)

As I mentioned before, O’ level is an acronym for Ordinary Level Examination, it is an Exam organized for student in their Secondary school finals (SS3 students).

This exam serves as the demarcation between secondary school students and Students in higher institutions (Universities, Polytechnics or Colleges of Education). This Exam can either be WAEC, NECO or NABTEB.

In this exam, you will be expected to register a minimum of Eight (8) or a maximum of nine (9) subjects with English Language and Mathematics Compulsory.

The other six (6) or seven (7) subjects will now depends on your field of interest (Science, Art or Social sciences).

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Unlike JAMB which you may have to write again if you are unable to use it for admission that year, your O’ level result is more or less like a lifetime result

This means that once written and passed (minimum of five (5) credits in your core courses with Mathematics and English inclusive), you will have no need to go sit for another, whether or not you were able to use it to process admission for that year (simply put, it is reusable).

The Exams comes in different categories…


O’ level Exam for secondary school candidates is strictly for students who just finished secondary school. Registration for this O’ level exam can only be done through the school the student finished from or wish to sit for the Exam.

Some people believe that these Exams (WAEC, NECO or NABTEB) are more difficult than JAMB, while others believe in the reverse, but they are just believes though.

Most Universities and Polytechnics expects student who wish to secure admission in their school to have been able to garner at least five credits from the 8 or 9 subjects they registered, and these credits must be in their core subjects.

Students, able to pull at least 5 credits from their core subjects in any of the O’ level Exam they sit for and gets a JAMB score that is high enough would be the lucky once to wear the admission crown.

Now that we understand that WAEC, NECO and NABTEB are all O’ level Exams, let us now see the difference between these three (3).

Difference Between WAEC, NECO & NABTEB

WAEC, NECO and NABTEB are perquisite to securing admission to any University of your choice, although you don’t need to write all the three, one is enough to do the Job, but most student, in order to increase their chances of success (You know, not putting all your eggs in one basket), opt in for any of the two Exam, that is either WAEC and NECO, NECO and NABTEB or NABTEB or WAEC.

These three (3) exams do have their differences. Difference in the way student are graded, manner of exam, application of results, acceptance and lots more.

All these differences will be discussed below.

WAEC O’ level Exam

How To Register For Waec
How To Register For WAEC

WAEC is an acronym for West African Examination Council, it is a body that is responsible for conducting exam for English-speaking West African countries such as Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Gambia. It was established in 1953.

Read Also: How To Answer Post UTME Aptitude Test Questions

The West African Senior School Certificate (WASSC) examination is conducted three times a year, from January-February, May-June and November-December. The headquarter of WAEC is presently in Accra, Ghana.

Grade of students are in A1, B2, B3, C4, C5, C6, D7, E8 and F9


This table below will show you how WAEC results are graded.

A1 Excellent 75% – 100%
B2Very good70% – 74%
B3Good65%- 69%
C4 Credit 60% – 64%
C5 Credit 55% – 59%
C6 Credit 50% – 54%
D7 Pass45% – 49%
E8Pass40% – 45%
F9Fail0% – 44%
WAEC Grade Point

This format of grading is the same for NECO but different for NABTEB. the minimum grade point accepted by Universities is C6, any grade less than that (D7, E8 and F9) is considered as fail.

WAEC Result Acceptance

WAEC is accepted by all Universities in Nigeria, and is also recognized internationally.

WAEC Examination Pattern

WAEC Exam is of two (2) categories, that for Private candidates (what is popularly call GCE – General certificate Exam) and for secondary school student (popularly called WASSCE – West African Senior School Certificate Examination).

GCE can be registered privately online and do not required a third party or intermediary unlike WASSCE which require the secondary school in question to carry out the registration.

WAEC Official Website

Official website in Nigeria can be accessed

NECO O’ level Exam

NECO is an acronym for National Examinations Council, it is an examination body in Nigeria that conducts the Senior Secondary Certificate Examination and the General Certificate in Education in June/July and November/December respectively.

It was created by the former Head of State Abdulsalami Abubakar in April 1999

This Exam is not so different from WAEC except from the fact that NECO is strictly organized for Nigerians alone.

Grade of students is also in A1, B2, B3, C4, C5, C6, D7, E8 and F9


This table below will show you how NECO results are graded.

A1 Excellent 75% – 100%
B2Very good70% – 74%
B3Good65%- 69%
C4 Credit 60% – 64%
C5 Credit 55% – 59%
C6 Credit 50% – 54%
D7 Pass45% – 49%
E8Pass40% – 45%
F9Fail0% – 44%
NECO Grade Point

From this table you will observe that NECO grading pattern is similar to that for WAEC, but same is not true for NABTEB.

NECO Result Acceptance

NECO O’ level result is accepted by all Universities, Polytechnics and colleges of Education in Nigeria, I’m not certain if this result would be accepted internationally.

NECO Examination Pattern

NECO Examination pattern is also similar with WAEC but do not conduct first series January-February exam for private student.

NECO Official Website

You can access NECO official website @

NABTEB O’ level Exam

NABTEB O' level Exam
NABTEB O’ level Exam

NABTEB is an acronym for National Business and Technical Examinations Board, it was established in 1992. The National Business and Technical Examinations Board was established with the promulgation of Decree 70 of August 1993 and was charged with the responsibility to Conduct examinations leading to the award of the;

  • National Technical Certificate (NTC)
  • Advanced National Technical Certificate (ANTC)
  • National Business Certificate (NBC)
  • Advanced National Business Certificate (ANBC)
  • Modular Trade Certificate (MTC);

NABTEB unlike WAEC and NECO organize exam for student based on Technical and Business bases. This exam do not only prepare student for admission but also for various trades, making it serve dual functions.

Whilst WAEC and NECO can only be used for admission purpose, NABTEB can be used to secure a Job.


NABTEB grade point is quite different from that of WAEC and NECO.

  • A2 in NABTEB means B2
  • A3 in NABTEB Means B3
  • P7 in NABTEB means D7 
  • P8 in NABTEB mean E8

NABTEB Result Acceptance

All Universities in Nigeria Accept NABTEB O’ level result but not NABTEB A’ level, I cannot vouch for international acceptance.

NABTEB Examination Pattern

NABTEB Examination pattern is similar with WAEC and NECO but do not conduct first series January-February exam for private student.

NABTEB also have an A’ level exam wherein student with the A’ lev certificate can be admitted to continue from 200 level in any university that accepts nabteb a level.

You can see other methods you can explore to gain admission without JAMB HERE to 200 level.

Mind you, to be able to sit for NABTEB A’ level Exam, you must first have your O’ level results.

NABTEB Official Website

You can access NABTEB official website at

I guess with these you have a complete knowledge of the difference between WAEC, NECO & NABTEB.

Read Also: JAMB CAPS 2022/2023: How to Accept Or Reject Admission

Frequently Asked Questions

Here I will attempt to answer some of the most frequently asked questions on “the difference between WAEC, NECO & NABTEB”. Stay Tuned…

Can I combine WAEC and NABTEB Result?

YES, you can combine both WAEC and NABTEB O’ level result for admission.

Provided the school and course you applied for accepts combination of O’ level result, then Yes you can combine them.

Is NABTEB accepted In Nigerian Universities?

YES, NABTEB is accepted in all Universities in Nigeria

Is NABTEB part of SSCE?

YES, NABTEB offers a program that can be tagged under SSCE (Senior secondary certificate Exam).

It also offers other A’ level programs that can be used as direct entry to gain 200 level admission into Universities that accepts it.

Is NABTEB Recognized Internationally?

Not really.

WAEC would be a better alternative for this.

Is WAEC And NECO The same Thing?

YES, both WAEC and NECO are O’ level exams and can be used to gain admission into any University in Nigeria

Can NECO be used in place of WAEC?

YES, you can use your NECO O’ level result in place of WAEC and vice versa, as a matter of fact, all Universities in Nigeria recognize NECO result

Is WAEC better than NECO

WAEC O’ level is not better than NECO neither is NECO better than WAEC, which ever you have will play the same role and is given the same recognition

In Summary

WAEC, NABTEB and NECO are all O’ level exams and can be used to gain admission into any University of your choice.

Read Also: Difference Between JAMB And Post UTME

This will be all for now, I understand you may have a question or two to ask, feel free to drop them using the comment box below!

Ensure to share this with friends on FacebookWhatsapp, or any other social media network you can connect them with…

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