10 Facts about the West African Examinations Council (W.A.E.C)

The West African Examinations Council (WAEC) is an examination board established by law to decide the examinations required in the public interest in the English-speaking West African countries, to conduct the examinations and to award certificates comparable to those of equal examining authorities internationally.

If you are an admissions officers at a school or college or an international credential evaluator, an officer at a professional licensing board, or an employer reviewing credentials from West Africa, you have come across certificates issued by the West African Examinations Council. For some, these certificates and their authenticity pose confusion and may be challenging if unfamiliar with the nature and purpose of the Examinations Council. Continue reading to find out 10 facts about W.A.E.C that you probably didn’t know.

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1. 1952

WAEC was established in 1952 and serves the following Anglophone countries of West Africa: Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and the Gambia.

2. 4 Categories

The council conducts the following four different categories of examinations:

  • International Examinations
  • National Examinations
  • Examinations conducted in collaboration with other examining bodies
  • Examinations conducted on behalf of other examining bodies

3.  Bi-annually

The West African Senior School Certificate (WASSC) is conducted twice a year, May-June and November-December.

4. Who can take it

The WASSC is open to students in the third year of senior secondary school, or those who have taken the examinations before, or those with three GCE O Level passes, or any other qualification deemed equal.

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5. Grades

WAEC Grading Scale is as follows:

  • A1        Excellent
  • B2        Very good
  • B3        Good
  • C4        Credit
  • C5        Credit
  • C6        Credit
  • D7        Pass
  • E8        Pass
  • F9         fail

6. Affiliates

WAEC conducts the examination in West Africa on behalf of the following international examination bodies.

  • University of London GCE
  • Scholastic Aptitude Test for Educational Testing Service, Princeton, USA
  • Graduate Record Examinations for Education Testing Service, Princeton, US
  • JAMB (Joint Admissions and Matriculations Board) examination in countries outside Nigeria

7. Participants

The National examinations are taken in countries and include the following:

  • Junior Secondary School Certificate for Nigeria and the Gambia
  • Junior and Senior High School Certificate Examinations for Liberia
  • National Primary School and Basic Education Certificate Examinations for Sierra Leone
  • Basic Education Certificate Examinations for Ghana
  • Senior School Certificate Examinations for Ghana

8. Criteria for success

Candidates are required to enter and sit for a minimum of 6 core subjects which include the following:

  • English Language
  • Mathematics
  • At least one Nigerian Language (a waiver has been given in by the Federal Ministry of Education in Nigerian since 2003)
  • At least one science subject (Physics, Chemistry or Biology)
  • Literature in English, History or Geography
  • Agricultural Science or at least one vocational subject

9. Subjects

Every student must take and sit for two or three of the subjects listed below that are not already offered as core subjects

  • Biology
  • Economics
  • Physics
  • Book Keeping
  • Chemistry
  • Typewriting
  • Further Mathematics
  • Shorthand
  • Commerce
  • History
  • Geography
  • Literature-in-English
  • Agricultural Science
  • Woodwork
  • Health Science
  • Auto-Mechanics
  • Building Construction
  • Music
  • Clothing & Textiles
  • Art
  • Christian Religious Knowledge
  • French
  • Islamic Studies
  • Physical Education
  • Arabic Studies
  • Government
  • Metal Work
  • Applied Electricity
  • Electronics
  • Foods and Nutrition
  • Technical Drawing
  • Home Management

10. Collaborators

WAEC also coördinates examinations in collaboration with the following examination bodies:

  • City and Guilds of London Institute
  • Royal Society of Arts

Author: BF

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