Common entrance exam

The national Common Entrance Examination is eligible to pupils in their final grade of primary school (Primary 6) who are between 10–13-years-old. There are five different types of secondary school in Lagos and a variety of different entrance exams required to gain entrance. However, a child has to sit for their Common Entrance to be admitted to a federal government secondary—or unity—school. The Common Entrance seeks to select the best candidates from every State into Federal Unity secondary schools. There are just 106 Federal Unity secondary schools in Nigeria and the competition is fierce.

The exam is out of 200 marks. When the results are released, the subjects are grouped into four segments and the marks available are below:    

  1. Mathematics & Basic Science (out of 40 and 10 respectively)
  2. English & Social Studies (out of 40 and 20 respectively)
  3. Quantitative & Vocational Aptitude (out of 40 and 10 respectively)
  4. Verbal Aptitude (out of 40 respectively)

In 2019, Bridge pupils sat the Common entrance exam for the first time. Fifty-five children (31 girls; 24 boys) sat the exam from some of the most economically disadvantaged communities in Lagos, including Ijagemo and Maya.

Key statistic

  • Fifty-eight percent of pupils surpassed the historical Unity school cutoff score for Lagos state; the most competitive state.

Further statistics

  • Our best performing male pupil, Franklin Adedeji, achieved 182 marks out of 200.
  • Our best performing female pupil, Fatimat Ibrahim, achieved 179 marks out of 200.
  • One Bridge pupil won a prestigious Shell scholarship to study at top independent secondary school in Lagos.
Bridge Nigeria pupil, Franklin Adedeji now attends a top secondary school in Lagos as a beneficiary of a prestigious scholarship after performing exceptionally well in the national common entrance exam. Click here to read the full story.

Every State in Nigeria has a different weighted pass mark for the common entrance exam which is designed to take into account the wide differentials between Nigerian states including poverty levels. In Lagos State, the pass mark cut off fluctuates but it is usually 132 marks.

In addition, to weighted State cut-offs, the State pass mark applicable to an individual child is dependent not upon which State they sat the exam, but the State that the child’s father is from. For example, if a child sits the common entrance exam in Lagos but their father is from Edo, the cut-off marks for the child will be based upon the Edo State cut-off not the Lagos State cut-off.

More from Bridge

Read independent UK government report Learning in Lagos

Learn more about EdoBEST

Read EdoBEST visits the World Bank