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Unified Tertiary Matriculation Exam (UTME) is an exam used in qualifying students for tertiary education mainly in Nigeria. The Joint Admission Matriculation Board (JAMB) is the body anchoring and organizing this exam annually. There has been mixed reactions from Nigerians on the recently pegged cut-off mark of 120. Which most people consider “too low” for tertiary institutions and universities. JAMB Registrar Professor Ish’aq Oloyede said the cut-off mark is for ranking the students and not for consideration of admission as many people purported. JAMB has also given universities “the go ahead” to decide their cut-off marks and must not admit any student that scores below their chosen cut-off marks.  For this reason, the most sought after universities are pegging their cut-off mark around 180-200. These universities will definitely like to admit the best candidates available. So, how do you become one of the best candidates around? Here are tips on scoring very high in your Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination.

1.            Syllabus: Having the syllabuses of each subject is very essential if you really want to score high in your UTME. These syllabuses will serve as your director; to know where the questions will likely “pop-out” from. These syllabuses helped me a lot when I was preparing for my UTME. I read according to the syllabus of every subject; ‘’one after the other’’. It certainly made it easier to study.

Note: Read according to the syllabus of each subject.

2.            Hard work: I know you have heard about this somewhere. It is cliché and I want you to know it is pivotal. If you are not ready to study for 4 hours or more in a day; then, all you need to do is to click on the ‘red button’ of your phone. Because, this write up is not for you. But, if you are willing to work hard then you need to apply strict adherence to this tips. As Brian Tracy, the author of the best-selling book, The Power of Self Discipline would say, “your input determines your output”. This means that the amount of time, effort and sacrifice you exert in your studies will definitely appear in your results. This is actually a law, it is known as the law of sowing and reaping. When I did my first UTME, I scored average. I applied for UTME again during my Pre-degree days, and I scored above 230. The difference between these two scores is not obscure; hard work is very essential; perseverance is needed to surmount any problem or endeavour. I upped my game and it paid off.

Note: A dream does not become reality through magic or prayer; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.

3.            Consistency: Success is not always about greatness; it is about consistency. “Brian Tracy”. If you decide to work today and have fun the next day; you are nothing but a procrastinator. Consistent reading and practice are also needed to achieve good result in UTME. I wake up at 4:00am everyday consistently and it yielded a positive outcome.

Note: Hard work + consistency= success.

4.            Maintain the balance: It is important you balance your knowledge on all 4 (four) subjects. I actually failed in this aspect which I would like you to learn from. I chose English, Government, Lit-in-English, and Economics. I was deficient in Economics; in fact, I scored below average in Economics which affected my result. I regret not studying Economics as I studied Government. When I saw my result, I said to myself: “this result is a reflection of my preparedness”  

Note: Be serious about every subjects; they are equally important.

5.            Treat UTME past questions: It is always good to know where the questions are coming from; it’s a great feeling. If you can afford the JAMB practice software, buy it and practice it. If you cannot afford it; then, buy the commonly used series past questions. The more you practice, the better you get at it. Every past question has a 3/5 chance of been repeated. You need to be meticulous when practicing the past questions to avoid mistakes. If you encounter any difficulty in answering some questions; note them down and tend to them after practice. This will help you a lot.
Note: practice makes perfection.

6.            Roll with great minds: I lived with a first class student during my Pre-degree days. This guy turned me into a studious student overnight. He made me understand how to study. For this reason, you also need a friend(s) with like minds to enhance your course. Friends play a significant role in shaping your career. When you associate with friends who treat their studies with levity, they will surely affect your goals. Positive friends will rob minds with you to help you attain your preferred JAMB score.

Note: Do you want to score high in UTME? Then, roll with friends that have the same target as you.

7.            Set your target score: After reading this article, pick up your pen and write down what you wish to attain on each subject. For example, English=77, Chemistry= 72, Mathematics=80, Physics=81, total=310. Your target score is 310. A target above 300 is high enough to spur you into action. And make sure you do not set unrealistic score, like setting the target score of 398, which is ridiculously unreasonable. With the target score of 310, you will definitely get something close to it, if not exact. And, also apply strict adherence to the syllabus.

Note: Target is an essential element of delivery effort.

8.            Believe in yourself: You need to believe in yourself, you need to develop the self-confidence in you. You must not let anyone tell you that you cannot score above 300. If you do not believe in yourself, then, it does not matter how hard working, talented you are or how big your dreams are. Your mindset must be on your target score and not on what people say.

Note: If you believe in yourself, you will know how to achieve your targets.

9.            Have fun: You know how the hackneyed saying goes; “all works no play makes Jack a dull boy”.  Create a particular time you will spend in having fun. And also get involve in recreational activities. As a football fan I seldom miss my team’s matches and I also don’t treat my studies with levity.

Note: Have fun.

10.          Pray! : Go spiritual. Spend your weekends with God and seek for his forgiveness. Address your prayers to God on your goals. Always pray to God on a regular basis.

Note: Pray to God.

CREDIT: Balogun Muktar Abiodun

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