I read this and i was moved

Written by IHEJIRIKA FRANCIS

I doubt if there’s any student that has had to climb the mountain called UTME that does not have anything to say about it, whether good or bad. Trust me, more negatives than positives.

This is one word (permit me to use that) that has the power to TOTALLY and COMPLETELY disorganize a “Jambite”, I mean, a prospective candidate. I cannot be wrong if I assume that a UTME candidate was asked his birthday and he blurted out his UTME test date; and I don’t know if it is just me or someone else had noticed it too – that there are three places that are usually the most populated during the UTME period. First, places of worship (churches and mosques), next, libraries and the last but not the least, tutorial centers.

Before I go on, let me quickly acknowledge the fact that Nigerians have this funny attitude of assigning wrong names (or slang) to different things to suit them better, and funny enough, it turns out to be interesting. For example, JAMB which stands for Joint Admission Matriculation Board is now the “official name” for the examination instead of the original UTME – Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination. So it is very common to hear people say, “Have you written your JAMB?” instead of “Have you written your UTME?” or “Have you sat for your UTME?” Quick confession, it actually sounds “sweeter” to say, “Have you written your JAMB?” compared to “Have you sat for your Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination?” – All thanks and no thanks to “Nigerian English”. (I’ll tell you why later). So permit me to use “JAMB” as a substitute for “UTME” in some places.

Chike prays: “My father in heaven, you know you are a merciful Lord; and I know I did not prepare very well but show me your mercy; please just allow me pass this examination and I’ll serve you for the rest of my life” – this is a typical example of an unprepared or not-so-prepared candidate’s prayer point before the examination. (You know you cannot deny it. Yes, you, I mean you! You’re laughing right? Laugh well oo)

It is also not uncommon to hear an unprepared candidate tell another, “Musa, I didn’t read enough, but Insha Allah, I will pass”, even when he knows he started reading 24 hours before his screening date. Worse still, that is the time Gbenga will remember he has one “Baba” in the village that can give him a “magic ring” or “invisible eyeglasses” to enable him see the answers already ticked for him. Well every man for himself.

It was an opportunity for me to write my first JAMB in a boarding school. Don’t laugh at me, I wrote it only twice, and I passed both. Let’s just say “things” happened. And if you have written it more than two times, don’t be discouraged at all because your success in life is not measured by your JAMB score. This lady (@opsy_hustle) totally agrees with me.

jamb wahala 2*** Shey Dangote write JAMB? Hehehe (Pidgin English)

I can recall vividly the time I wrote mine; I had first-hand experience. If you ever attended (or you’re in) a boarding school, kudos. My experience in boarding school was beautiful. Those who did will agree with me that the only thing you hear on the day of “re-printing” is, “When is your own date?” or “Bros, when you dey write?” As usual, people will start praying deep down in their hearts for their dates to fall later than those of their close friends. I still do not know why but I think it is for them “to have hope” if their friends tell them was fine.

On the day of examination, the day of reckoning, the day when you can actually have an idea of the possibility of gaining admission that year or waiting another extra year, candidates wake up earlier than normal for their last minute revision (which I am totally against personally), cross check their acknowledgement slips about a hundred times and head for the “judgment ground” – the examination center. Then exam begins after thumb printing (new method introduced with CBT – Computer Based Test) or photo card checking exercise (old method associated with PPT – Paper Pencil Test).

About 20 minutes into the examination time, beads of sweat begin to form on peoples’ foreheads or that is when they remember they need to visit the restroom. The totally “hopeless” ones will not even attempt to answer even one question until they get notifications on their phones which they manage to smuggle in that the “dubs” have arrived, then they tick their way to failure. SMH

Then after the exam (Ghen ghen *action movie soundtrack*), candidates begin to troop out of the hall. More than half of them will reply “it was fine shaa” when asked how the exam was. Only a negligible number of candidates can actually boast that they “scattered” JAMB.

jamb palavaFortunately or/and unfortunately, only about half of the total number of candidates, over 1.5 million, pass the examination. Fortunately because you have crossed your first major admission barrier and your pastor can now stop making this prayer point – “May JAMB not jamb you this year”. Unfortunately because another barrier awaits you and that is Post-UTME. One advice, if there is an obstacle preventing you from achieving your goal, do not change your aim but change the direction to your destination or even tear down the barrier.

Oh! The tension and suspense of waiting for one’s preferred varsity to release its UTME cutoff mark can send a “Jambite” to early grave; but you know what Newton said, “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction”, in this case, it is no different.

If only people can “see” all the curses and insults (and in Naija language, the swear) that the JAMB registrar has received eh, you will pity him. Prof. Dibu Ojerinde “chopped” it seriously from the 2015 UTME candidates, especially prospective UNILAG students when cutoff was rumoured to have been fixed at 250 as compared to the usual 200 and students posted to other varsities contrary to their preferred choices. Affected candidates and their parents took to the street to protest the cutoff and express their grief and shock. They even dragged JAMB to court and suggested a compulsory resignation to the Registrar. How that case just died down, I was marveled.

Lastly, to pass your UTME in flying colours, you should prepare very well, if possible, 7 months before your exam date with intense studies. The role of past questions cannot be over emphasized. Forget all those “dubs” and “chukilis”, they only make things worse. Just commit everything into the hands of the creator.

*Adjusts native red cap* *clears throat* – like a village elder.

Future candidates, let me pray for you. May the gods of our land keep you safe and protect you that JAMB will not jamb you; but first, the gods have to wash their mouths with 1 bottle of dry gin. Also bring along a day old crocodile, five fingernails of a polar bear, one eye of an earthworm, the ventral fin of a 4 year-old shark and a golden lizard.

And if you have testimonies and experiences to share concerning JAMB, feel free to use the comment box below.

See ya!

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