Good grades are essential for academic advancement.

How does the grading system in Ghana Senior High Schools work?

There are nine grades in the Ghana grading system. The lower the letter/number, the better.

Only grades A1 – C6 represent proper credit grades.
D7 and E8 are still passing grades, but insufficient for tertiary admission.
F9 means a failing grade.

Upon Senior High School graduation, pupils take the WASSCE (West African Senior School Certificate Examination), a standardised test taken by students across West Africa.

GradeMeaningEquivalent pointsInterpretation
B2Very good270-79%
C4Credit (high average)460-64%
C5Credit (average)555-59%
C6Credit (below average)650-54%

What grades does a student need for university admission?

To qualify for university admission, students generally need to show credit grades (A1 – C6) in six subjects.

These six subjects need to include the “big four”:

  • English Language,
  • Integrated Science,
  • Mathematics, and
  • Social Studies.

Two other subjects must be added to the calculation; which subjects depends on the desired university course and the standard of the university.

For top universities such as the University of Ghana, the cut-off for admission is as low as 24.
This means that the sum of the grades of the six subjects must not be higher than 24.

Therefore, 6 times C4 would qualify (6*4), as would 3 times B3 + 3 times C5 (3*3 + 3*5).

What is a cut-off point?

The most competitive university programs have very low “cut-off points”. This means that you may require outstanding WASSCE scores in particular subjects in order to be admitted.

For example:
The cut-off point to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Ghana in 2020/21 was “9 with B3 in Elective Maths”.

This means: Your six best subjects, including the big four, must total no more than 9 points.
In addition, your score in Maths (Elective) may not be worse than B3.

Therefore, if you have 4 * A1 and 2 * B2 (8 points) in your best subjects, and a B3 in Maths (Elective) as another subject, you would likely qualify for admission.
Whereas, if you have 2 * A1 and 4 * B2 (10 points), or a C4 or worse in Maths (Elective), you would likely not qualify for admission.

Cut-off points vary from year to year, so if your WASSCE score is close, it may still be worth applying.

What else is important?

Selecting the right senior high school course is essential for career paths.

For example, some career fields such as engineering or aerospace require students to demonstrate WASSCE credits in scientific subjects like physics or chemistry.

Students under a General Arts curriculum may therefore not be able to achieve a career choice in a scientific field if they do not pursue scientific or technical courses in Senior High School.

Therefore, it is important for Junior High School graduates to consider career options that appeal to them and make the right pre-selections for their senior high schools.

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