Difference Between WAEC and NECO: Which one is Better

What is the difference between WAEC and NECO? Which is one better and easier to pass? Can I use WAEC or NECO to gain admission in Nigeria and out the country? Which of the certificates can I use to process my Visa and travel outside the country?

In the course of this article, we’re going to look into these questions and their answers. In case you have more questions after reading this post, do well to drop a comment below.

WAEC and NECO: Overview

What does WAEC stand for? WAEC stands for West African Examination Council. It is an international examination body which conducts examination for West African countries which include Nigeria, the Gambia, Ghana and Sierra Leone.


What does NECO stand for? NECO is an acronym which stands for the National Examination Council. It is an examination body which conducts examination for Nigerian students who have finished the Senior Secondary School.


Why was WAEC introduced?

The establishment of WAEC was a major step forward for education in West Africa. It has helped to promote educational equality, improve the quality of education, and facilitate student mobility. WAEC is now one of the largest examination boards in the world, and its certificates are recognized by universities and employers around the globe.

  1. Firstly, students need to have something to keep them going. They need something to drive them and force them to read/study. For this reason, examination was introduced in to the system to drive students to do what is expected of them (Read and/or Study)
  2. Another objective is to keep and maintain the formality of education. Everything about academics should be done under merit. So, to make sure students are qualified for the next level of academics WAEC exams were introduced.
  3. Since education is the order of the day,
  4. To provide a common examination standard for the English-speaking West African countries.
  5. To make it easier for students to transfer between schools or to gain admission to universities in other countries.
  6. Another aim for the establishment of WAEC is to improve the quality of education in West Africa.

Why was NECO Introduced?

The establishment of NECO has been a major boost to the education sector in Nigeria. The council has helped to improve the quality of education in the country and has made it easier for students to access tertiary education.

  1. NECO was introduced to provide feedback to schools on their performance.
  2. NECO was introduced to reduce the burden on the West African Examinations Council (WAEC)
  3. To provide a more responsive and efficient examination body
  4. To improve the quality of education in Nigeria
  5. To make it easier for students to access tertiary education

NECO has recorded a major success since its establishment. The council has conducted several examinations and has produced millions of graduates. NECO has also helped to improve the quality of education in Nigeria.


While it is not compulsory, it is a perfect and most popular alternative to WAEC. So, if you do not want to write WAEC, you can wait and register for NECO.

Just as it sounds, examination is not the true test of knowledge. These examination bodies are designed to test students and qualify them for next level of their academic journey. Since we practice formal education, WAEC and NECO bodies are designed to complete the formality of the process, where anyone who wished to further his/her academics up to the tertiary level would pass through WAEC or NECO test before he/she can proceed.


Difference Between WAEC and NECO

Here are some of the key differences between WAEC and NECO:

  • Establishment: WAEC was established in 1952, while NECO was established in 1999.
  • Geographical coverage: WAEC covers eight countries in West Africa, while NECO only covers Nigeria.
  • Number of subjects offered: WAEC offers a wider range of subjects than NECO.
  • Cost of registration: The cost of registering for WAEC is higher than the cost of registering for NECO.
  • Reputation: WAEC is generally considered to be more prestigious than NECO.

Overall, WAEC and NECO are both reputable examination bodies that offer a high-quality education. However, there are some key differences between the two bodies, such as their establishment, geographical coverage, number of subjects offered, cost of registration, and reputation.

The table below summarizes the key differences between WAEC and NECO:

Geographical coverageEight countries in West AfricaNigeria
Number of subjects offeredWider rangeNarrower range
Cost of registrationHigherLower
ReputationMore prestigiousLess prestigious


Is WAEC Better than NECO?

Above all, the best examination body for you will depend on your individual circumstances and preferences. If you are looking for an examination body with a long history and a strong reputation, then WAEC may be the better option for you. However, if you are looking for an examination body that is more affordable and has a wider range of subjects offered, then NECO may be the better option for you.


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