Revealing The WAEC Compulsory Subjects

For all anglophone countries in West Africa, secondary school leavers sit for a mandatory final examination conducted by the West African Examination Council (WAEC). Students are expected to write a couple of subjects related to their field of study. 

Are you sitting for WAEC this year and don’t know the compulsory subjects required? Don’t be bothered, this article uncovers all you need to know. 

Are There Compulsory Subjects In WAEC?

Yes. There are compulsory subjects every student must write, this differs for art, social science, and science students. Also, there are subjects made compulsory by the Ministry of Education which stand as a criterion when seeking admission to tertiary institutions. 

First of all, let’s look at general compulsory subjects for all students. 

General WAEC Compulsory Subjects

Here are the subjects compulsory for all students whether they are art, science, or commercials. 

  • English
  • Mathematics 
  • Biology 
  • Economics 

Note that these subjects are not absolutely approved by some schools, especially subjects like Biology and Economics. In recent times, Civic Education has been added as a compulsory subject but it is not adopted by all schools. 

Keep in mind that two major subjects remain compulsory over time these are; Mathematics and English. There exist other compulsory subjects for art, science, and commercial students, this will be outlined below. 

Related Post: Passing Junior WAEC

Compulsory WAEC Subjects For Arts Students

For most art students, some subjects are necessary when sitting for WAEC. Note that this subject combination differentiates an artist from other students. Here are a few of them;

  • Literature in English

Christian Religious Studies /Islamic Religious Knowledge

  • History 
  • Government 

Although some schools have the liberty to decide what their students choose to register during their WAEC, these subjects are most likely to be part of the subject combination for art students. 

Compulsory WAEC Subjects For Science Students

For science students, these subjects are important when writing WAEC. 

  • Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Geography
  • Agric Science
  • Biology

For specific students, a subject like Geography may be ruled out depending on their course of study. Generally, Physics, Chemistry, and Biology are key subjects. 

Compulsory WAEC Subjects For Commercial Students

For commercial or social science students, these subjects are;

  • Economics
  • Financial Accounting
  • Commerce
  • Government

That’s all about the subject combination for art, science, and commercial students. 

Note that students can pick any of these subjects at their discretion and also under the guidance of their teachers. 

Also, it is important to know that every student should offer at least one science subject, art subject, and commercial subject as the case may be. Being an art or commercial student doesn’t stop you from picking a science subject, for instance, Agricultural Science or Biology. 

Likewise, science students should pick one art or commercial subject also, this makes up a good subject combination. All these points to the fact that no knowledge is wasted and at some point in life and career, this knowledge will be needed. 

Also, there may be a need to switch from an art student to a commercial or science student. 

How Many Subjects Are Written In WAEC?

You are expected to write nine (9) subjects in WAEC. These subjects make both compulsory subjects and those related to your course of study. You can check through the requirements of your course of study to know the right subjects that suit you. 

Answers To Frequently Asked Questions

Is Biology Compulsory In WAEC?

No. Biology is not compulsory. Rather,  English Language, Mathematics, Civic Education, and a Trade Subject are the only compulsory subjects in WAEC. If you must write any other, it should be based on your course of study. 

Can I Change My Subjects After Registration?

No. Unlike Jamb, WAEC does not make provision for students to alter the subjects they chose during registration. Whatever has been registered stands as the subjects to be written. Always be cautious when registering your subjects. 

What Are The Failing Grade In WAEC?

The lowest grades in WAEC are D7, E8, and F9: which means Pass, Pass, and fail respectively. Also, having a D7 means that you scored 45 to 49, for E8, 40-44, and F9 0-39. 

Can I Get Admission With Only WAEC Result?

No. For every Nigerian student, there are other requirements to gain admission into any tertiary institution. Your O’ level result is part of it but not limited to that. You will need to sit for UTME to stand a chance. 


In preparation for the WAEC examination, you’ll need to be acquainted with the compulsory subjects that are required and related to your course of study. While some schools may influence your subject combination, WAEC also gives out a couple of compulsory subjects. 

If you’re sitting for the WAEC examination, I believe this article gives you a guide on how to select your subject. Having the wrong subject combination can affect your chances of gaining admission. Don’t be in a haste, choose wisely.

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