Chemistry Syllabus from JAMB

The aim of this 2016/2017 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) syllabus in Chemistry is to prepare the candidates for the Board’s examination. It is designed to test their achievement of the course objectives, which are to:
(i) understand the basic principles and concepts in chemistry;
(ii) interpret scientific data relating to chemistry;
(iii) deduce the relationships between chemistry and other sciences;
(iv) apply the knowledge of chemistry to industry and everyday life.

1. Separation of mixtures and purification of chemical substances


(a) Pure and impure substances
(b) Boiling and melting points.
(c) Elements, compounds and mixtures
(d) Chemical and physical changes.
(e) Separation processes:
evaporation, simple and fractional distillation, sublimation, filtration, crystallization, paper and column chromatography, simple and fractional crystallization, magnetization, decantation.
Candidates should be able to:
(i) distinguish between pure and impure substances;
(ii) use boiling and melting points as criteria for purity of chemical substances;
(iii) distinguish between elements, compounds and mixture;
(iv) differentiate between chemical and physical changes;
(v) identify the properties of the components of a mixture;
(vi) specify the principle involved in each separation method.
(vii) apply the basic principle of separation processes in everyday life.

2. Chemical combination

Stoichiometry, laws of definite and multiple proportions, law of conservation of matter, Gay Lussac’s law of combining volumes, Avogadro’s law; chemical symbols, formulae, equations and their uses, relative atomic mass
based on 12C=12, the mole concept and Avogadro’s number.
Candidates should be able to:
(i) perform simple calculations involving formulae, equations/chemical composition and the mole concept;
(ii) deduce the chemical laws from given expressions/statements/data;
(iii) interpret graphical representations related
to these laws;
(iv) deduce the stoichiometry of chemical reactions.

3. Kinetic theory of matter and Gas Laws

(a) An outline of the kinetic theory of matter;
(i) melting,
(ii) vapourization
(iii) boiling
(iv) freezing
(v) condensation
in terms of molecular motion and Brownian movement.
(b)(i) The laws of Boyle, Charles, Graham and Dalton (law of partial pressure); combined gas law, molar volume and atomicity of gases.
(ii) The ideal gas equation (PV = nRT).
(iii) The relationship between vapour density of gases and the relative molecular mass.
Candidates should be able to:
(i) apply
the theory to distinguish between solids, liquids and gases;
(ii) deduce reasons for change of state;
(iii) draw inferences based on molecular motion;
(iv) deduce gas laws from given expressions/ statements;
(v) interpret graphical representations related to these laws;
(vi) perform simple calculations based on these laws, equations and relationships

4. Atomic structure and bonding

(a) (i)The concept of atoms, molecules and ions, the works of Dalton, Millikan, Rutherford, Moseley, Thompson and Bohr.
(ii) Atomic structure, electron configuration, atomic number, mass number and isotopes; specific examples should be drawn from elements of atomic number 1 to 20.
(iii) Shapes of s and p orbitals.
(b) The periodic table and periodicity of elements, presentation of the periodic table with a view to recognizing families of elements e.g. alkali metals, halogens, the noble gases and transition metals. The variation of the following properties: ionization energy, ionic radii, electron affinity and electronegativity.
(c) Chemical bonding.
Electrovalency and covalency, the electron configuration of elements and their tendency to attain the noble gas structure. Hydrogen bonding and metallic bonding as special types of electrovalency and covalency respectively; coordinate bond as a type of covalent bond as illustrated by complexes like [Fe(CN)6]3-, [Fe(CN)6]4-, [Cu(NH3)4]2+ and [Ag(NH3)2]+; van der Waals’ forces should be mentioned as a special type of bonding forces.
(d) Shapes of simple molecules: linear ((H2, O2, C12,HCl and CO2), non-linear (H2O) and tetrahedral; (CH4) and pyramidal (NH3).
(e) Nuclear Chemistry:
(i) Radioactivity – Types and properties of
(ii) Nuclear reactions. Simple equations,
uses and applications of natural and
artificial radioactivity.
Candidates should be able to:
(i) distinguish between atoms, molecules and ions;
(ii) identify the contributions of these scientists to
the development of the atomic structure;
(iii) deduce the number of protons, neutrons and
electrons from atomic and mass numbers of
an atom;
(iv) apply the rules guiding the arrangement of
electrons in an atom;
(v) identity common elements exhibiting isotopy;
(vi) relate isotopy to mass number;
(vii) perform simple calculations relating to isotopy;
(viii) differentiate between the shapes of the orbitals;
(ix) determine the number of electrons in s and
p atomic orbitals;
(x) relate atomic number to the position of an
element on the periodic table;
(xi) relate properties of groups of elements on the periodic table;
(xii) identify reasons for variation in properties
across the period and down the groups.
(xiii) differentiate between the different types
of bonding.
(xiv) deduce bond types based on electron
(xv) relate the nature of bonding to properties
of compounds;
(xvi) differentiate between the various shapes
of molecules
xvii) distinguish between ordinary chemical
reaction and nuclear reaction;
(xviii) differentiate between natural and
artificial radioactivity;
(xix) compare the properties of the different
types of nuclear radiations;
(xx) compute simple calculations on the
half-life of a radioactive material;
(xxi) balance simple nuclear equation;
(xxii) identify the various applications of

5. Air

(a) The natural gaseous constituents and their proportion in the air.
– nitrogen, oxygen, water vapour, carbon (IV) oxide and the noble gases (argon and neon).
(b) Air as a mixture and some uses of the noble gas.
Candidates should be able to:
(i) deduce reason (s) for the existence of
air as a mixture;
(ii) identify the principle involved in the
separation of air components;
(iii) deduce reasons for the variation in the
composition of air in the environment;
(iv) specify the uses of some of the
constituents of air.

6. Water

(a) Water as a product of the combustion of hydrogen and its composition by volume.
(b) Water as a solvent, atmospheric gases dissolved in water and their biological significance.
(c) Hard and soft water:
Temporary and permanent
hardness and methods of softening
hard water.
(d) Treatment of water for town supply.
(e) Water of crystallization, efflorescence,
deliquescence and hyg
roscopy. Examples of the substances exhibiting these properties and their uses.
Candidates should be able to:
(i) identify the various uses of water;
(ii) identity the effects of dissolved atmospheric
gases in water;
(iii) distinguish between the properties of hard and
soft water;
(iv) determine the causes of hardness;
(v) identify methods of removal of hardness;
(vi) describe the processes involved in the
treatment of water for town supply;
(vii) distinguish between these phenomena;
(viii) identify the various compounds that exhibit
these phenomena.

7. Solubility

(a) Unsaturated, saturated and supersaturated solutions. Solubility curves and simple deductions from them, (solubility defined in terms of mole per dm3) and simple calculations.
(b) Solvents for fats, oil and paints
and the use of such solvents
for the removal of stains.
(c) False solution (Suspensions and colloids):
Properties and examples.
Harmattan haze and water paints as examples
of suspensions and fog, milk, aerosol spray,
emulsion paints and rubber solution as
examples of colloids.
Candidates should be able to:
(i) distinguish between the different types of
(ii) interpret solubility curves;
(iii) calculate the amount of solute that can
dissolve in a given amount of solvent at a
given temperature;
(iv) deduce that solubility is temperature-dependent;
(v) relate nature of solvents to their uses;
(vi) differentiate among true solution,
suspension and colloids;
(vii) compare the properties of a true solution
and a �false’ solution.
(viii) provide typical examples of suspensions
and colloids.

8. Environmental Pollution

(a) Sources and effects of pollutants.
(b) Air pollution:
Examples of air pollutants such as
H2S, CO, SO2, oxides of nitrogen,
chlorofluorocarbons and dust.
(c) Water pollution
Sewage and oil pollution should be
(d) Soil pollution:
Oil spillage, Biodegradable and
non-biodegradable pollutants.
Candidates should be able to:
(i) identify the different types of pollution and
(ii) specify different sources of pollutants
(iii) classify pollutants as biodegradable and
(iv) specify the effects of pollution on the
(v) identify measures for control of
environmental pollution.

9. Acids, bases and salts

(a) General characteristics and properties of acids, bases and salts. Acids/base indicators, basicity of acids; normal, acidic, basic and
double salts. An acid defined as a substance whose aqueous solution furnishes H3O+ions or as a proton donor. Ethanoic, citric and tartaric acids as examples of naturally occurring organic acids, alums as examples
of double salts, preparation of salts by neutralization, precipitation and action of acids on metals. Oxides and trioxocarbonate (IV) salts
(b) Qualitative comparison of the
conductances of molar solutions of
strong and weak acids and bases,
relationship between conductance and
amount of ions present.
(c) pH and pOH scale; Simple calculations
(d) Acid/base titrations.
(e) Hydrolysis of salts: Principle
Simple examples such as
NH4Cl, AlCl3, Na2CO3 and CH3COONa
Candidates should be able to:
(i) distinguish between the properties of
acids and bases;
(ii) identify the different types of acids
and bases;
(iii) determine the basicity of acids;
(iv) differentiate between acidity and
alkalinity using acid/base indicators;
(v) identify the various methods of
preparation of salts;
(vi) classify different types of salts;
(vii) relate degree of dissociation to strength
of acids and bases;
(viii) relate degree of dissociation to
(ix) perform simple calculations on pH and pOH;
(x) identify the appropriate acid-base
(xi) interpret graphical representation of
titration curves;
(xii) perform simple calculations based on
the mole concept;
(xiii) balance equations for the hydrolysis
of salts;
(xiv) deduce the properties (acidic, basic,
neutral) of the resultant solution.

10. Oxidation and reduction

(a) Oxidation in terms of the addition of oxygen or removal of hydrogen.
(b) Reduction as removal of oxygen or
addition of hydrogen.
(c) Oxidation and reduction in terms of electron transfer.
(d) Use of oxidation numbers. Oxidation and reduction treated as change in oxidation number and use of oxidation numbers in balancing simple equations.
(e) IUPAC nomenclature of inorganic compounds using oxidation number.
(f) Tests for oxidizing and reducing agents.
Candidates should be able to:
(i) identify the various forms of expressing
oxidation and reduction;
(ii) classify chemical reactions in terms of
oxidation or reduction;
(iii) balance redox reaction equations;
(iv) deduce the oxidation number of chemical
(v) compute the number of electron transfer
in redox reactions;
(vi) identify the name of redox species in a reaction
(vii) distinguish between oxidizing and reducing
agents in redox reactions.
(viii) apply oxidation number in naming inorganic compounds
(ix) relate reagents to their oxidizing and reducing abilities.

11. Electrolysis

(a) Electrolytes and non-electrolytes.
Faraday’s laws of electrolysis.
(b) (i) Electrolysis of dilute H2SO4, aqueous
CuSO4, CuC12 solution, dilute and concentrated NaC1 solutions and fused NaC1
(ii) Factors affecting discharge of ions at the electrodes.
(c) Uses of electrolysis:
Purification of metals e.g. copper and
production of elements and compounds
(Al, Na, O2, Cl2 and NaOH).
(d) Electrochemical cells:
Redox series (K, Ca, Na, Mg, Al, Zn, Fe, Sn, Pb, H, Cu, Hg, Ag, Au,)
half-cell reactions and electrode potentials. (Simple calculations only).
(e) Corrosion as an electrolytic process,
cathodic protection of metals,
painting, electroplating and coating
with grease or oil as ways of
preventing iron from corrosion.
Candidates should be able to:
(i) distinguish between electrolytes and non-
(ii) perform calculations based on faraday as a
mole of electrons.
(iii) identify suitable electrodes for different
(iv) specify the chemical reactions at the
(v) determine the products at the electrodes;
(vi) identify the factors that affect the products
of electrolysis;
(vii) specify the different areas of application of
(viii) identify the various electrochemical cells;
(ix) calculate electrode potentials using half-
cell reaction equations;
(x) determine the different areas of
application of electrolytic processes;
(xi) identify methods used in protecting metals.

12. Energy changes

(a) Energy changes([Math Processing Error]H) accompanying physical
and chemical changes:
dissolution of substances in/or
reaction with water e.g. Na, NaOH,
K, NH4Cl. Endothermic (+[Math Processing Error]H) and exothermic (-[Math Processing Error]H) reactions.
(b) Entropy as an order-disorder
phenomenon: simple illustrations
like mixing of gases and dissolution
of salts.
(c) Spontaneity of reactions:
[Math Processing Error]G[Math Processing Error]= 0 as a criterion for equilibrium, [Math Processing Error]G
greater or less than zero as a criterion for
non-spontaneity or spontaneity respectively.
Candidates should be able to:
(i) determine the types of heat changes
([Math Processing Error]H) in physical and chemical processes;
(ii) interpret graphical representations of heat
(iii) relate the physical state of a substance
to the degree of orderliness;
(iv) determine the conditions for spontaneity
of a reaction ;
relate [Math Processing Error]H[Math Processing Error], [Math Processing Error]S[Math Processing Error]and [Math Processing Error]G[Math Processing Error] as the driving
forces for chemical reactions;
(vi) solve simple problems based on the
relationships [Math Processing Error]G[Math Processing Error]= [Math Processing Error]H[Math Processing Error] -T[Math Processing Error]S[Math Processing Error]

13. Rates of Chemical Reaction

(a) Elementary treatment of the following factors which can change the rate of a chemical reaction:
(i) Temperature e.g. the reaction between HCl and Na2S2O3 or Mg and HCl
(ii) Concentration e.g. the reaction between HCl and Na2S2O3, HCl and marble and the iodine clock reaction, for gaseous systems, pressure may be used as concentration term.
(iii) Surface area e.g. the reaction
between marble and HCl with
marble in
(i) powdered form
(ii) lumps of the same mass.
(iv) Catalyst e.g. the decomposition
of H2O2 or KClO3 in the
presence or absence of MnO2
(b) Reaction rate curves.
(c) Activation energy
Qualitative treatment of Arrhenius’ law and
the collision theory, effect of light on some
reactions. e.g. halogenation of alkanes
Candidates should be able to:
(i) identify the factors that affect the rates of a chemical reaction;
(ii) determine the effects of temperature on
the rate of reactions;
(iii) examine the effect of concentration/pressure on
the rate of a chemical reaction;
(iv) describe how the rate of a chemical reaction is
affected by surface area;
(v) determine the types of catalysts suitable for different reactions and their effects;
(vi) determine ways of moderating these effects in chemical reactions.
(vii) interpret reaction rate curves;
(viii) solve simple problems on the rate of reactions;
(ix) relate the rate of reaction to the kinetic theory of matter.
(x) examine the significance of activation energy to chemical reactions.
(xi) deduce the value of activation energy (Ea) from reaction rate curves.

14. Chemical equilibra

Reversible reactions and factors governing
the equilibrium position. Dynamic
equilibrium. Le Chatelier’s principle and equilibrium constant. Simple examples to
include action of steam on iron and N2O4 2NO2.
No calculation will be required.
Candidates should be able to:
(i) identify the factors that affects the position
of equilibrium of a chemical reaction;
(ii) predict the effects of each factor on the position
of equilibrium;
(iii) determine the effects of these factors on
equilibrium constant.

15. Non-metals and their compounds

(a) Hydrogen: commercial production from
water gas and cracking of petroleum
fractions, laboratory preparation,
properties, uses and test for hydrogen.
(b) Halogens: Chlorine as a representative
element of the halogen. Laboratory preparation, industrial preparation by electrolysis, properties and uses, e.g. water sterilization, bleaching, manufacture of HCl, plastics and insecticides.
Hydrogen chloride and Hydrochloric acid: Preparation and properties. Chlorides and test for chlorides.
(c) Oxygen and Sulphur
(i) Oxygen:
Laboratory preparation, properties and uses. Commercial production from liquid air. Oxides: Acidic,basic, amphoteric and neutral, trioxygen (ozone) as an allotrope and the importance of ozone in the atmosphere.
(ii) Sulphur:
Uses and allotropes:
preparation of allotropes is not expected . Preparation, properties and uses of sulphur(IV) oxide, the reaction of SO2 with alkalis. Trioxosulphate (IV) acid and its salts, the effect of acids on salts of trioxosulphate(IV), Tetraoxosulphate(VI) acid: Commercial preparation (contact process only), properties as a dilute acid, an oxidizing and a dehydrating agent and uses. Test for SO42-.
Hydrogen sulphide: Preparation and properties as a weak acid, reducing agent and precipitating agent. Test for S2-
(d) Nitrogen:
(i) Laboratory preparation
(ii) Production from liquid air
(iii) Ammonia:
Laboratory and industrial
preparations (Haber Process only),
properties and uses, ammonium salts
and their uses, oxidation of
ammonia to nitrogen (IV)
oxide and trioxonitrate (V)
Test for NH4+
(iv) Trioxonitrate (V) acid:
Laboratory preparation
rom ammonia;
properties and uses. Trioxonitrate (V) salt-
action of heat and uses. Test for NO3-
(v) Oxides of nitrogen:
The nitrogen cycle.
(e) Carbon:
(i) Allotropes: Uses and
(ii) Carbon(IV) oxide-
Laboratory preparation, properties
and uses. Action of heat on
trioxocarbonate (IV) salts and test for
(iii) Carbon(II) oxide:
Laboratory preparation, properties
including its effect on blood;
sources of carbon (II) oxide to
include charcoal, fire and exhaust
(iv) Coal: Different types, products
obtained from destructive
distillation of wood and coal.
(v) Coke: Gasification and uses.
Manufacture of synthetic gas and
Candidates should be able to:
(i) predict reagents for the laboratory and
industrial preparation of these gases and
their compounds.
(ii) identify the properties of the gases and their
(iii) compare the properties of these gases and
their compounds.
(iv) specify the uses of each gas and its
(v) determine the specific test for each gas and its
(vi) determine specific tests for Cl-, SO42-, SO32-,
S2-, NH4+, NO3-, CO32-, HCO?3
(vii) predict the reagents for preparation,
properties and uses HCl(g) and HCl(aq);
(viii) identify the allotropes of oxygen;
(ix) determine the significance of ozone to
our environment.
(x) classify the oxides of oxygen and their
(xi) identify the allotropes of sulphur and their
(xii) predict the reagents for preparation, properties
and uses of SO2 and H2S;
(xiii) specify the preparations of H2SO4 and H2SO3,
their properties and uses.
(xiv) specify the laboratory and industrial
preparation of NH3;
(xv) identify the properties and uses of NH3;
(xvi) identify reagents for the laboratory
preparation of HNO3, its properties and
(xvii) specify the properties of N2O, NO, NO2 gases.
(xviii) examine the relevance of nitrogen cycle
to the environment.
(xix) identify allotropes of carbon;
(xx) predict reagents for the laboratory
preparation of CO2;
(xxi) specify the properties of CO2 and its
(xxii) determine the reagents for the
laboratory preparation of CO;
(xxiii) predict the effects of CO on human;
(xxiv) identify the different forms of coal:
(xxv) determine their uses;
(xxvi) specify the products of the destructive distillation of wood and coal;
(xxvii) specify the uses of coke and synthetic gas.
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Formation from alkanoic acids and
alkanols – fats and oils as alkanoates.
Production of soap and margarine from
alkanoates and distinction between
detergents and soaps.
(g) Amines (Alkanamines) Primary, Secondary,
and tertiary
(h) Carbohydrates
Classification – mono-, di- and polysaccharides; composition, chemical tests for simple sugars and reaction with concentrated tetraoxosulphate (VI) acid. Hydrolysis of complex sugars e.g. cellulose from cotton and starch from cassava, the uses of sugar and starch in the production of alcoholic beverages, pharmaceuticals and textiles.
(i) Proteins:
Primary structures, hydrolysis and tests (Ninhydrin, Biuret, Millon’s and xanthoproteic)
Enzymes and their functions.
(j) Polymers:
Natural and synthetic rubber; addition and condensation polymerization.
– Methods of preparation, examples and uses.
Thermoplastic and thermosetting plastics.
Candidates should be able to:
(i) derive the name of organic compounds from
their general formulae;
(ii) relate the name of a compound to its structure
(iii) relate the tetravalency of carbon to its ability
to form chains of compound (catenation);
(iv) classify compounds according to their
functional groups;
(v) derive empirical formula and molecular
formula, from given data;
(vi) relate structure/functional groups to specific
(vii) derive various isomeric forms from a given
(viii) distinguish between the different types of
(ix) classify the various types of hydrocarbons;
(x) distinguish each class of hydrocarbons by their properties;
(xi) specify the uses of various hydrocarbons;
(xii) identify crude oil as a complex mixture
of hydrocarbons;
(xiii) relate the fractions of hydrocarbons to their
properties and uses;
(xiv) relate transformation processes to quality
improvement of the fractions;
(xv) distinguish between various polymerization
(xvi) specify the process involved in vulcanization;
(xvii) specify chemical test for terminal alkynes
(xviii) distinguish between aliphatic and aromatic
(xix) relate the properties of benzene to its structure
(xx) compare the various classes of alkanols;
(xxi) determine the processes involved in ethanol
(xxii) examine the importance of ethanol as an
alternative energy provider;
(xxiii) distinguish the various classes of alkanols;
(xxiv) differentiate between alkanals and alkanones;
(xxv) compare the various types of alkanoic acids;
(xxvi) identify natural sources of alkanoates;
(xxvii) specify the methods for the production of
soap, detergent and margarine.
(xxviii) distinguish between detergent and soap;
(xxix) compare the various classes of alkanamine;
(xxx) identify the natural sources of
(xxxi) compare the various classes of
(xxxii) infer the products of hydrolysis and
dehydration of carbohydrates;
(xxxiii) determine the uses of carbohydrates;
(xxxiv) specify the tests for simple sugars;
(xxxv) identify the basic structure of proteins;
(xxxvi) specify the methods and products of
(xxxvii) specify the various tests for proteins;
(xxxviii) distinguish between natural and synthetic
(xxxix) differentiate between addition and
condensation polymerization processes;
(xl) classify natural and commercial polymers
and their uses;
(xli) distinguish between thermoplastics and
thermosetting plastics.

18. Chemistry and Industry

Chemical industries: Types, raw materials and
relevancies; Biotechnology.
Candidates should be able to :
(i) classify chemical industries interms of products;
(ii) identify raw materials for each industry;
(iii) distinguish between fine and heavy
(iv) enumerate the relevance of each of these
(v) relate industrial processes to biotechnology.


1. New School Chemistry for Senior Secondary Schools, Ababio, O. Y. (2009), (Fourth edition), Onitsha: Africana FIRST Publishers Limited.

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2. Senior Secondary Chemistry, Bajah, S.T.; Teibo, B. O., Onwu, G.; and Obikwere, A. Book 1 (1999), Books 2 and 3 (2000). Lagos: Longman.

3. Understanding Chemistry for Schools and Colleges, Ojokuku, G. O. (2012, Revised Edition), Zaria: Press-On Chemresources.

4. Essential: Chemistry for Senior Secondary Schools, (2008), 2nd Edition, I. A. Odesina, Lagos: Tonad Publishers Limited.

5. Countdown to WASSCE/SSCE, NECO, JME Chemistry, Uche, I. O.; Adenuga, I. J. and Iwuagwu, S. L. (2003). Ibadan: Evans.

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