What are the 4th choices in JAMB?What are the 4th choices in JAMB?

The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) is the body responsible for conducting the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) in Nigeria. The UTME is a standardized entrance examination taken by prospective students seeking admission into Nigerian universities, polytechnics, and colleges of education. The exam consists of four subjects, and candidates are required to select three of the four subjects to take, leaving them with one subject unselected. This unselected subject is known as the “fourth choice,” and it has been a source of confusion and controversy among candidates, parents, and educators.

In this article, we will explore the concept of the fourth choice in JAMB, its history, significance, and controversies surrounding it. We will also discuss the impact of the fourth choice on candidates, universities, and the education system in Nigeria.

What is the Fourth Choice in JAMB?

The fourth choice in JAMB refers to the subject that a candidate does not select among the four subjects tested in the UTME. The UTME consists of four subjects: English Language, Mathematics, and two other subjects, which are usually chosen based on the candidate’s intended course of study.

For example, a candidate seeking admission into a science-based course, such as medicine or engineering, may choose Physics, Chemistry, and Biology as their other three subjects. In this case, the unselected subject, which is the fourth choice, could be any of the other three subjects that the candidate did not select.

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Similarly, a candidate seeking admission into a social science-based course, such as economics or political science, may choose Economics, Government, and Literature in English as their other three subjects, leaving Mathematics as their unselected subject, which would be their fourth choice.

The fourth choice does not count towards a candidate’s UTME score or their admission consideration. However, it is used as a tiebreaker in the event of a tie between two or more candidates who have the same UTME score and similar O’level grades.

History of the Fourth Choice in JAMB

The concept of the fourth choice in JAMB dates back to the early days of the UTME. In the past, the UTME consisted of five subjects, and candidates were required to select four of the five subjects to take. The unselected subject was known as the fifth choice.

However, in 2017, JAMB reduced the number of subjects to four, making the unselected subject the fourth choice. The reason for this change was to simplify the UTME and make it less stressful for candidates.

Significance of the Fourth Choice in JAMB

The fourth choice in JAMB is significant in two ways: as a tiebreaker and as a factor in determining the distribution of candidates across courses.

As a Tiebreaker

In the event of a tie between two or more candidates who have the same UTME score and similar O’level grades, the fourth choice is used as a tiebreaker. The candidate with the better score in their fourth choice subject is given priority over the other candidate(s).

For example, if two candidates have the same UTME score, similar O’level grades, and the same scores in their chosen subjects, but one candidate has a better score in their unselected subject (i.e., the fourth choice), that candidate will be given priority over the other candidate.

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As a Factor in Determining the Distribution of Candidates Across Courses

The fourth choice also plays a role in the distribution of candidates across courses. JAMB uses the number of candidates who selected a particular course and the average UTME score of those candidates to determine the cut-off mark for that course.

For example, if a large number of candidates seeking admission into a particular course, such as medicine or law, have a high average UTME score, JAMB may set a higher cut-off mark for that course compared to courses with fewer candidates or lower average UTME scores.

However, if a course has a large number of candidates, but their average UTME score is low, JAMB may set a lower cut-off mark for that course to accommodate more candidates. In this case, the fourth choice may also be used as a factor in determining which candidates are admitted into the course.

For example, if a candidate selects Physics, Chemistry, and Biology as their chosen subjects for medicine but has a low score in Mathematics, which is their fourth choice subject, they may be given lower priority compared to a candidate with similar UTME scores but a higher score in Mathematics.

Controversies Surrounding the Fourth Choice in JAMB

The fourth choice in JAMB has been a source of confusion and controversy among candidates, parents, and educators. Some of the controversies surrounding the fourth choice include:

  1. Lack of Awareness

Many candidates and parents are unaware of the significance of the fourth choice in JAMB. Some candidates select their subjects without giving much thought to their unselected subject, not realizing that it could be used as a tiebreaker in the event of a tie.

  1. Inconsistencies in the Tiebreaker Policy

There have been cases where JAMB’s tiebreaker policy has been inconsistent or unclear. Some candidates have complained that their scores in their fourth choice subject were not considered in the tiebreaker, even though JAMB’s policy states otherwise.

  1. Impact on Course Distribution

Some educators and stakeholders have criticized the use of the fourth choice as a factor in determining the distribution of candidates across courses. They argue that it may lead to a mismatch between the candidate’s interests and their chosen course.

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For example, a candidate may have a high UTME score in Physics, Chemistry, and Biology but a low score in Mathematics, which may be their fourth choice. This may prevent them from being admitted into a science-based course, even though they may have a genuine interest and aptitude for the course.

  1. Disadvantage for Candidates with Disabilities

Candidates with disabilities, such as dyslexia or visual impairment, may struggle with certain subjects, such as English Language or Mathematics. This may affect their UTME score in those subjects, which could impact their chances of admission into their desired course.

However, JAMB has made efforts to address this issue by providing special accommodations for candidates with disabilities, such as extra time or a reader/writer.

Conclusion

The fourth choice in JAMB is an important but often misunderstood aspect of the UTME. It serves as a tiebreaker in the event of a tie between two or more candidates and is also used as a factor in determining the distribution of candidates across courses. However, its use has been a source of controversy, with some stakeholders criticizing its impact on course distribution and its potential disadvantage for candidates with disabilities.

To address these issues, JAMB should improve its communication and awareness efforts to ensure that candidates and parents understand the significance of the fourth choice. JAMB should also review its tiebreaker policy to ensure that it is consistent and transparent and provide additional support for candidates with disabilities to ensure that they are not unfairly disadvantaged.

By Sir Yormight

Hi, I'm Sir Yormight, and I'm passionate about education in Nigeria, particularly when it comes to helping students succeed in their JAMB exams. With 7 years of experience as an educator and 9 years as a blogger, I've had the privilege of sharing my knowledge and insights with countless students and parents. As someone who has personally experienced the challenges of JAMB exams, I understand how stressful and overwhelming they can be. That's why I'm committed to providing comprehensive and reliable information to students, parents, and educators through my blog. In addition to writing about JAMB exams, I enjoy staying active by hiking and practicing yoga. I also love exploring new cuisines and trying out new recipes in the kitchen. Thank you for visiting my blog, and I hope my posts can help you achieve success in your JAMB exams and beyond.

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