13 Common Mistakes Students Make in WAEC & NECO Examination

Popular mistakes students make in the WAEC and NECO examinations are why students fail the exam.

Passing the WAEC or NECO in flying colours with A grades is the dream of every secondary school student.

Imagine how you and your parents would be happy when you get A grades in your WAEC or NECO exam result.

But there are plenty of things that can go wrong at your end to poor grades.

I made many mistakes when I sat for the WAEC and NECO examinations many years ago.

During my time, there were no online platforms where I could read about the best strategies on how to study and pass the O’level examination. But thank goodness I got good grades in my exam.

In this post, I will walk you through the common examination mistakes and how to avoid them.

Let me know in the comment box below if you have any questions or need further assistance. I will love to hear from you.

Exam success as you prepare for your senior secondary school exams.

Common Mistakes Students Make in WAEC & NECO Examination

Here is the list of common mistakes students make in the WAEC or NECO examination;

  1. Reading without the WAEC or NECO Syllabus
  2. Late Exam Preparations
  3. Not Creating a Personal Study Timetable
  4. Studying without Pass Questions
  5. Joining the Wrong Study or Tutorial Group
  6. Sleep Deprivation
  7. Attempting Difficult Questions
  8. Social Media Addiction
  9. Poor Examination Time Management
  10. Failure to Revise Answers Before Submission
  11. Ignorance of Examination Instructions
  12. Answering Questions with Irrelevant Answers
  13. Use of Abbreviations to Answer Exam Questions

Reading without the WAEC or NECO Syllabus

A student with a laptop

Reading without the WAEC or NECO syllabus is a common mistake made by senior secondary school leavers.

The WAEC and NECO syllabus is the topics you must study to sit for the examination. It contains the aims and objectives, notes and format for the exam.

Each subject you will take in the WAEC has a syllabus for it.

Studying the syllabuses is necessary for your exam preparation. It will serve as a guide for you to know the topics to read. There are also notes on concepts you should pay attention to learning.

Exam preparations without using the syllabus are like going to the farm without your agricultural tools. You will end up not being productive.

Ensure you begin your exam preparations using the syllabus.

Use the link below to view the WAEC and NECO syllabus.

Late Exam Preparations

student studying with laptop

Late exam preparations are one of the common reasons why students fail the WAEC or NECO examination.

Studying late for your exam means waiting till a few weeks before starting or taking your preparations serious.

The best time to start preparing for your board exam is in SS1 and not a few days before your exam.

No, it does not mean that you will not pass the WAEC or NECO if you did not start your preparation in SS1. I am only saying it is the best time to start getting ready.

Begin your preparation as soon as possible. Do not procrastinate your study.

Are you finding it difficult to study for your exam?

Let me know in the comment box below so that I can give you the best advice.

Not Creating a Personal Study Timetable

Black marker on notebook

A personal study timetable is a draft of the subjects you want to study for each day of the week.

The timetable covers from Monday to Sunday.

Creating a personal study timetable is a productive reading technique to get good grades in your examination.

A study timetable should not contain too many goals. The problem here is that you will not be able to achieve your study objectives. It is better to go for a schedule that is practical and achievable.

The tables below will give you a clue on to create a study timetable for your examination.

WAEC Study Timetable

Science Student Study Timetable

Here is a sample of a WAEC study timetable for Science students taking the following subjects;

  1. Mathematics
  2. English Language
  3. Physics
  4. Chemistry
  5. Biology
  6. Agricultural Science
  7. Geography
  8. Civic Education
  9. Economics
DaySubject ISubject IISubject III
MondayEnglish LanguageEconomicsEnglish Language
TuesdayAgricultural ScienceMathematicsBiology
WednesdayGeographyEnglish LanguagePhysics
FridayChemistryGeographyAgricultural Science
SundayBiologyCivic EducationChemistry
This table contains the study timetable for Science students taking the WAEC examination
Art & Commercial Student Study Timetable

Here is a sample of a WAEC study timetable for Art and Commercial students taking the following subjects;

  1. Mathematics
  2. English Language
  3. Government
  4. Literature in English
  5. Economics
  6. CRS/IRS
  7. Commerce
  8. Nigerian Languages (Yoruba or Igbo or Hausa)
  9. Civic Education
DaySubject ISubject IISubject III
MondayEnglish LanguageEconomicsEnglish Language
WednesdayCRS/IRSEnglish LanguageLiterature in English
FridayCommerceGeographyLiterature in English
SundayNigerian LanguageCivic EducationChemistry
This table contains the study timetable for Art and Commercial students taking the WAEC examination

If you have any problem setting up a study timetable, let me know in the comment box at the end of this post.

Studying without Pass Questions


Studying WAEC and NECO past questions is the open secret to getting school grades.

The past questions booklet contains the examination questions over the last ten (10) years.

Studying past questions is to gauge your preparation and know the exam format.

Without studying past questions, you may not know how to tackle exam questions.

Ensure you get a WAEC or NECO past questions with correct answers for all subjects.

Do not cram the questions and answers into the past questions. You are to use it to practice and test your preparation.

Joining the Wrong Study or Tutorial Group

students sitting inside a lecture hall

Study or tutorial groups are good ways to prepare for your examination.

As they say, two heads are better than one.

In a tutorial centre, you will get a better explanation of topics you did not understand in class.

Also, joining a study group can help push you to work harder. It is achievable by teaching your classmates and answering past questions.

Unfortunately, many tutorial centres and study groups are a complete waste of time.

Students taking the WAEC or NECO exams go there for a fashion parade. There is little learning taking place in these venues.

You must ensure that any tutorial centre or group study you belong to is beneficial to your academics.

Do not hesitate to leave when you do not find them helpful.

Sleep Deprivation

man lying on a couch

Sleep deprivation is when a student decides to stay awake at night to study.

Many students stay awake all night because they want to cover the WAEC and NECO syllabus.

Well, it can be helpful for some students. But it is a good thing to study but not at the expense of your health.

You should read the best way to stay awake and study at night.

Creating time for sleep after your study hours is necessary for retentive memory.

Sleeping will help to sharpen your memory. It would be easier to read, understand and recollect.

Do not deprive yourself of sleep because of your exam preparation.

Attempting Difficult Question

a student studying with books on the table

Answering questions you do not know the answer to; is a bad strategy.

During the exams, many students make the mistake of attempting difficult questions.

From the start, they struggle with the examinations. It kills their morale causing poor performance.

The best method to begin your examination is to answer questions you know the answer to before moving on to others.

Every student gets anxious at the beginning of an examination. It is a common experience regardless of your level of preparation.

Go for simple questions to increase your confidence and make you relax. You would be able to tackle the difficult questions later on.

Social Media Addiction

Person holding iPhone

Social media addiction is the greatest challenge for students taking the WAEC and NECO examinations.

It is a grave problem because it is the leading cause of the poor performance of students in the O’level exams.

Social media addiction is when students cannot focus on studying because of social media apps.

Tiktok, Instagram, WhatsApp and Snapchat are the names of the popular social media causing addiction among students.

Dealing with social media addiction as a student will improve your academics and life.

Take a decision today to handle the urge of always wanting to check your phone to see watch videos and pictures.

Discipline yourself not to be distracted by your phone.

You can solve your problem with social media addiction as a student using the following tips.

  • Do not open social media apps when studying
  • Put your phone on flight mode while studying
  • Resist the urge to open your social media apps
  • Set a study target for yourself every day
  • Use social media at a specific time of the day

Poor Examination Time Management

hourglass on stone

Poor examination time management is a common mistake students make in the exam hall.

Many students with poor time management do not get enough time to finish their examinations.

It can be a painful experience if you know the answers to the questions asked.

The leading cause of this problem is students spending much time on difficult questions.

In the exam hall, your goal is to answer your best questions. Do not waste time on things that will not give you top grades.

Studying with past questions is the best way to learn good examination time management.

Failure to Revise Answers Before Submission

A man and a woman looking at a computer screen

Revising your answers before submitting your answer booklet is the only way to get top grades in your examination.

Many students make the mistake of submitting their examination without revising their work. It is a big mistake.

There is no award for the first student to finish the exam. Stay inside the exam hall going over your work till the end of the exam.

During this period, you will be able to spot mistakes in your answered questions.

Ignorance of Examination Instructions

students sitting at a table

WAEC and NECO examination instructions are guidelines to follow.

The first action a student must take in the examination hall is to follow the exam instructions.

Take time to read through the instructions. You will see information about the conduct of the exam and the number of questions to answer.

Answering Questions with Irrelevant Answers

African Student

Writing out of context is a common mistake students make in the WAEC or NECO examination.

Answering questions with irrelevant answers happens most times when you fail to read exam questions with understanding.

Another mistake is using big words in your essay paper. Always remember, the simpler, the better.

Use of Abbreviations to Answer Exam Questions

Nigerian student

Answering questions with shorthand or abbreviation is not accepted in any examination.

The use of social media languages leads to mark deduction.

You will not have this problem if you practice with past questions.

I will love to hear from you in the comment box below. Ask me any questions about the WAEC or NECO examination.

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31 thoughts on “13 Common Mistakes Students Make in WAEC & NECO Examination”

  1. Hi pls am a candidate of neco 2023 i wrote my name and subject but did not registration,serial,and my centre number can i see my result

    • Oluwaseyi,

      Not writing your registration, serial, and my centre number is a serious problem.

      You may not get result for the subject.

  2. Is there any implication to answering two questions on the same page in neco?, Can it make the candidate fail the paper?

  3. Sir , how will the examiner know how to mark if I didn’t write my full name and subject name but gave my center number and registration number with the serial number for neco

    • Abraham,

      If you didn’t write your full name and subject name on your NECO answer sheet, the examiner will not be able to mark your exam correctly. The examiner will need to know your full name and subject name in order to match your answer sheet with your registration number.

    • SIR I really need your help on this please I don’t know if you can reply me ??? I really want to start scschool Sir please I will be happy if you can respond to me back ?? Thank you ?? God Bless ??

  4. hi my is Favour I’m preparing for my neco exams and having difficulty in maths and physics can you use expo for it coz I’m not good at the subjects.

    • Hi Favour! I’m here to help. Preparing for exams can be challenging, but with the right approach and practice, you can improve your understanding of math and physics. Here are some tips to help you with your studies:

      1. Understand the Basics: Ensure you have a solid foundation in the fundamental concepts of math and physics. Review the core principles and formulas in each subject. If you’re struggling with specific topics, dedicate extra time to understand them thoroughly.

      2. Create a Study Plan: Develop a study schedule that allocates specific time for math and physics each day. Break down the topics into smaller, manageable chunks and assign them to different study sessions. This approach will help you cover all the necessary material effectively.

      3. Practice Regularly: Both math and physics require practice to improve. Solve a variety of problems from textbooks, past exam papers, or online resources. The more you practice, the more comfortable you’ll become with different question formats and problem-solving techniques.

      4. Seek Clarification: If you encounter difficulties or have specific questions, don’t hesitate to seek help. Consult your teachers, classmates, or online communities dedicated to math and physics. They can provide explanations, examples, and additional resources to support your understanding.

      5. Use Visual Aids and Resources: For subjects like physics, visual aids such as diagrams, graphs, and videos can enhance your understanding. Look for online tutorials, educational websites, or YouTube channels that explain complex concepts visually.

      6. Form Study Groups: Collaborating with classmates who are also preparing for the same exams can be beneficial. Share knowledge, discuss challenging topics, and solve problems together. Explaining concepts to others can solidify your own understanding.

      7. Take Mock Exams: As the exam date approaches, simulate the exam conditions by taking mock exams or timed practice tests. This will help you become familiar with the exam format, improve time management, and identify areas where you need additional practice.

      8. Stay Positive and Take Breaks: Maintaining a positive mindset is crucial during exam preparation. Take regular breaks to relax, rejuvenate, and prevent burnout. Engage in activities you enjoy to help alleviate stress and maintain a healthy balance.

    • If you’re having trouble reading specifically for the WAEC exam, here are some additional tips to help you prepare:

      1. Understand the Exam Format: Familiarize yourself with the format and structure of the WAEC exam. Know the types of questions asked, time limits for each section, and any specific instructions provided in the exam papers.

      2. Create a Study Plan: Develop a study plan that includes dedicated time for reading and reviewing the subjects covered in the WAEC exam. Break the topics into manageable sections and allocate specific study sessions for each subject.

      3. Use Clear and Concise Study Materials: Choose study materials, textbooks, and revision guides written clearly and concisely. Look for resources that provide explanations, examples, and practice questions to reinforce your understanding.

      4. Highlight Key Points: Use highlighting or underlining techniques to mark important information or key points in your study materials as you read. This can help you focus on essential concepts and make it easier to review later.

      5. Practice Past Exam Questions: Obtain past WAEC exam papers and practice answering the questions within the time constraints. This will help familiarize you with the question formats, improve your speed, and give you an idea of the types of questions you may encounter.

      6. Seek Clarification: If there are specific concepts or topics you’re struggling with, don’t hesitate to seek clarification. Consult your teachers, classmates, or online resources to understand those areas better.

      7. Form Study Groups: Collaborate with classmates or friends preparing for the WAEC exam. Discussing topics, sharing insights, and explaining concepts to each other can enhance your understanding and retention of the material.

      8. Take Breaks and Rest: Remember to take regular breaks during your study sessions to avoid mental fatigue. Allow yourself time to rest, relax, and recharge. This can help improve focus and retention when you return to your studies.

      9. Stay Positive and Motivated: Maintain a positive mindset and believe in your ability to succeed. Celebrate your progress and achievements, and stay motivated by setting realistic study goals.

      Remember, everyone has their own pace of learning, so be patient with yourself. With consistent effort, effective study strategies, and proper preparation, you can overcome your reading challenges and perform well in the WAEC exam.

  5. Hi! my name is Esther, I have been studing for my waec exam but i’ve not attended any tutorial classes .pls is it still possible for me to score high grades

    • Hello Esther! Even if you haven’t attended tutorial classes, you can score high grades in your WAEC exam. Here are some tips to help you:

      1. Get organized: Create a study schedule and stick to it. Divide your time between studying each subject based on your strengths and weaknesses.

      2. Practice past questions: This will help you get familiar with the exam format, types of questions, and how to manage your time during the exam.

      3. Focus on understanding: Don’t just memorize the information; ensure you understand the concepts and principles behind them. This will help you to apply the knowledge effectively during the exam.

      4. Seek help: If you encounter complex topics, don’t hesitate to seek help from your teachers or peers.

      5. Stay motivated: Keep a positive attitude towards your studies and stay motivated. Believe in yourself and your abilities to excel in the exam.

      Remember that exam success depends mainly on how well you prepare for it, so keep working hard and stay focused. Good luck!

  6. Hello, my name is Favour
    Am a WASSCE candidate for 2023
    Please my co_students told me I can’t pass without malpractice but am not ready to cheat
    But the pressure is much… Please are they correct? Is it that impossible?

        • It is possible to prepare for WAEC in two weeks and pass, but it will require much effort and dedication. You must create a study plan and prioritize the subjects and topics you need to cover. Here are some tips to help you prepare effectively in two weeks:

          1. Create a study plan: Create a study plan that covers all the subjects and topics you need to study, and allocate sufficient time to each case.

          2. Focus on the essential topics: Prioritize the critical issues with more marks in the exam.

          3. Use past questions: Practice with past questions to familiarize yourself with the exam format and learn how to answer questions effectively.

          4. Attend classes and tutorials: Attend classes and tutorials regularly to understand the subjects and topics better.

          5. Stay focused and motivated: Stay focused and motivated, and maintain a positive attitude towards your studies.

          It is important to note that two weeks may not be enough time to comprehensively cover all the subjects and topics.

          Therefore, focusing on the most critical areas and practicing as much as possible is essential. With hard work, dedication, and adequate preparation, you can pass WAEC even with a short preparation time.

  7. I need help am waec candidate from 425***9**5 centre some day ago I discovery i made a mistake in entering my waec centre number so my name is sunday uzochukwu Samuel, in case any marker come across my paper pls help me because i depend on this waec and God bless


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