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JAMB Chemistry Syllabus For 2019/2020


This page contains JAMB Chemistry syllabus for 2019/2020. This syllabus is to help every JAMB 2019 candidate who intend to take JAMB chemistry exam, prepare properly for the examination. In this syllabus, the key topics where JAMB questions will be collected from, are highlighted. Coupled with that, each topic has its aim for which it will be asked.

No doubt, this syllabus will be of great help to you if you want to pass JAMB chemistry examination. All you have to do, is to read this JAMB chemistry syllabus for 2019/2020 assiduously, and make good use of it when preparing for your examination.

Download JAMB Chemistry syllabus in PDF format Here!!!

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Aim: The aim of the 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) apply the basic principles governing scientific methods in new situations;

(ii) interpret scientific data;

(iii) deduce the relationships between chemistry and other sciences;

(iv) apply the knowledge of chemistry to industry and everyday life.

Topic 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.


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.

Topic 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;

(iii) interpret data based on these laws;

(iv) interpret graphical representations related to these laws.

Topic 3. Kinetic theory of matter and Gas Laws

(a) An outline of the kinetic theory of matter, melting, vapourization and reverse processes; melting and boiling explained in terms of

molecular motion and Brownian movement.

(b) The laws of Boyle, Charles, Graham and Dalton (law of partial pressure); combined gas law, molar volume and atomicity of gases.


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 chemical laws form given expressions/statements;

(v) interpret graphical representations related to
these laws;

(vi) perform simple calculations based on these laws and the relationship between the vapour density of gases and the relative molecular mass.

Topic 4. Atomic structure and bonding

(a) (i)The concept of atoms, molecules and ions, the works of Dalton, Millikan, Rutherford, Mosely, Thompson and Bohr. Simple hydrogen spectrum, Ionization of gases illustrating the electron as fundamental particle of matter.

(ii) Atomic structure, electron configuration, atomic number, mass number and isotopes; specific examples should be drawn from elements of atomic number 1 to 20. 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 should be noticed: 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, 02, C12,HCI and CO2), non-linear (H2O) and tetrahedral (CH4).

(b) Nuclear Chemistry:

(i) Radioactivity (elementary treatment only)
(ii) Nuclear reactions. Simple equations, uses and applications of natural and artificial radioactivity.


Candidates should be able to:

(i) distinguish between atom, molecules and ions;

(ii) assess 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) relate isotopy to mass number;

(vi) perform simple calculations on relative atomic mass

(vii) determine the number of electrons in s and p atomic orbitals.

(viii) relate atomic number to the position of an element on the periodic table;
(ix) relate properties of groups of elements on the periodic table;

(x) identify reasons for variation in properties across the period.
(xi) differentiate between the different types of bonding.
(xii) deduce bond types based on electron configurations;

(xiii) relate the nature of bonding to properties of compounds;
(xiv) apply it in everyday chemistry;

(xv) differentiate between the various shapes of molecules
xvi) distinguish between ordinary chemical reaction and nuclear reaction;

(xvii) differentiate between natural and artificial radioactivity;

(xviii) compare the properties of the different types of nuclear radiations;

(xix) compute simple calculations on the half-life of a radioactive material;

(xx) balance simple nuclear equation;

(xxi) identify the various applications of radioactivity.

Topic 5. Air

The usual gaseous constituents – nitrogen, oxygen, water vapour, carbon (IV) oxide and the noble gases (argon and neon), proportion of oxygen in the air e.g. by burning phosphorus or by using alkaline pyrogallol, air as a mixture and some uses of the noble gas.

Topic 6. Water

Composition by volume: Water as a solvent, atmospheric gases dissolved in water and their biological

significance. Water as a product of the combustion of hydrogen.

Hard and soft water: Temporary and permanent hardness and methods of softening hard water. Purification of town water supplies. Water of crystallization, efflorescence, deliquescence and hygroscopy. Examples of the substances exhibiting these properties and their uses.

Topic 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) Suspensions and colloids: Harmattan haze and paints as examples of suspensions and fog, milk, aerosol spray and rubber solution as examples of colloids.


Candidates should be able to:

(i) distinguish between the different types of solutions;

(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) classify solvents based on their uses;
(vi) differentiate between a 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.

Topic 8. Environmental Pollution

(a) Sources and effects of pollutants.

(b) Air pollution: Examples of air pollutants such as H2S, CO, SO2, oxides of nitrogen, fluorocarbons and dust.

(c) Water pollution Sewage and oil pollution should be known.

(d) Soil pollution: Oil spillage, Biodegradable and non-biodegradable pollutants.


Candidates should be able to:
(i) identify the different types of pollution and pollutants;

(ii) classify pollutants as biodegradable and non-biodegradable;

(iii) assess the effects of pollution on the environment;

(iv) recommend measures for control of environment pollution.

Topic 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, amount of ions present and their relative mobilities.

(c) pH and pOH scale.
pH defined as – log[H3O+]
(d) Acid/base titrations.
(e) Hydrolysis of salts: Simple examples such as NH4C1, AICI3, Na2CO3, CH3COONa to be mentioned.


Candidates should be able to:

(i) distinguish between the properties of acids and bases;

(ii) identify the different types of acids and bases;

(iii) differentiate between acidity and alkalinity using acid/base indicators;

(iv) identify the various methods of preparation of salts;

(v) classify different types of salts;
(vi) relate degree of dissociation to strength of acids and bases;

(vii) relate degree of dissociation to conductance;
(viii) perform simple calculations on pH;

(ix) identify the appropriate acid-base indicator;

(x) interpret graphical representation of titration curves;

(xi) perform simple calculations based on the mole concept;

(xii) balance equations for the hydrolysis of salts;

(xiii) deduce the properties (acidic, basic, neutral) of the resultant solution.

Topic 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.

IUPAC nomenclature of inorganic compounds.


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 species;

(v) compute the number of electron transfer in redox reactions;

(vi) identify the name of redox species using IUPAC nomenclature.

(vii) distinguish between oxidizing and reducing agents in redox reactions.

Topic 11. Electrolysis

(a) Electrolytes and non-electrolytes. Faraday’s laws of electrolysis.
(b) Electrolysis of dilute H2SO4, aqueous CuSO4, CuC12 solution, ilute and concentrated NaC1 solutions and fused NaC1 and factors affecting discharge of ions at the electrodes.
(c) Uses of electrolysis: Purification of metals e.g. copper and production of
elements and compounds
e.g. A1, Na, O2, Cl2 and NaOH.
(d) Electrochemical cells: Redox series (K, Na, Ca, Mg, AI, Zn, Fe, PbII, H, Cu, Hg, 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) identify between electrolytes and non-electrolytes;
(ii) perform calculations based on faraday as a mole of electrons.
(iii) identify suitable electrodes for different electrolytes.
(iv) specify the chemical reactions at the electrodes;
(v) determine the products at the electrodes;
(vi) identify the factors that affect the product of electrolysis;
(vii) specify the different areas of application of electrolysis;
(viii) identify the various electrochemical cells;
(ix) calculate electrode potentials using half-cell reaction equations;
(x) determine the different areas of applications of electrolytic processes;
(XI) apply the methods to protect metals.

Topic 12. Energy changes

(a) Energy changes(∆H) accompanying physical and chemical changes: dissolution of substances in or reaction with water e.g. Na, NaOH, K, NH4, Cl. Endothermic (+∆H) and exothermic (-∆H) reactions.
(b) Entropy as an order-disorder phenomenon: simple illustrations like mixing of gases and dissolution of salts.
(c) Spontaneity of reactions: ∆G
0 = 0 as a criterion for equilibrium, ∆G greater or less than zero as a criterion for non-spontaneity or spontaneity.

Candidates should be able to:

(i) determine the types of heat changes (∆H) in physical and chemical processes;
(ii) interpret graphical representations of heat changes;
(iii) relate the physical state of a substance to the degree of orderliness;
(iv) determine the conditions for spontaneity of a reaction ;
(v) relate (∆H), ∆S
0 and ∆G
0 as the driving forces for chemical reactions;
(vi) solve simple problems based on the relationships ∆G
0= ∆H0 -T∆S0)

Topic 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 HCI and Na2S2O3 or Mg and HCI
(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 HCI with marble in
(i) powdered form
(ii) lumps of the same mass.
(iv) Catalyst e.g. the decomposition of H2O2 or KCIO3 in the presence or absence of MnO2
(b) Concentration/time 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 these factors on the rate of reactions;
(iii) recommend ways of moderating these effects;
iv) examine the effect of concentration on the rate of a chemical reaction;
(v) describe how the rate of a chemical reaction is affected by surface area;
(vi) determine the types of catalysts suitable for different reactions.
(vii) interpret reaction rate curves;
(viii) solve simple problems on the rate of reactions;
(x) relate the rate of reaction to the kinetic theory of matter.
(xi) examine the significance of activation energy to chemical reactions. (xi) deduce the value of activation energy (Ea) from reaction rate curves.

Topic 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.

Topic 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 HC1, plastics and insecticides.


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 compounds.
(iii) compare the properties of these gases and their compounds.
(iv) specify the uses of each gas and its compounds;
(v) determine the specific test for each gas and its compounds.
(vi) determine specific tests for Cl, SO4
2-, S2, NH4
4+, NO3, CO3 2

Topic 16. Metals and their compounds

(a) Alkali metals e.g. sodium
(i) Sodium hydroxide:-
Production by electrolysis of brine, its action on aluminium, zinc and lead ions. Uses including precipitation of metallic hydroxides.
(ii) Sodium trioxocarbonate
(IV) and sodium hydrogen trioxocarbonate
(IV): Production by Solvay process,
properties and uses, e.g. Na2CO3 in the manufacture of glass.
(iii) Sodium chloride: its occurrence in sea water and uses, the economic importance of sea water and the recovery of sodium chloride.
(b) Alkaline-earth metals, e.g. calcium; calcium oxide, calcium hydroxide and calcium trioxocarbonate (IV);
Properties and uses. Preparation of calcium oxide from sea shells, the chemical composition of cement and the setting of mortar. Test for Ca2+


Candidates should be able to:
(i) determine the method for extraction suitable for each metal;
(ii) relate the methods of extraction to the properties for the metals;
(iii) compare the chemical reactivities of the metals;
(iv) specify the uses of the metals;
(v) determine specific test for metallic ions;
(vi) determine the process for the production of the compounds of these metals
(vii) compare the chemical reactivities of the compounds.
(viii) specify the uses of these compounds;
(ix) determine the processes for the preparation of the compounds of the metal;

Topic 17. Organic Compounds

An introduction to the tetravalency of carbon, the general formula, IUPAC nomenclature and the determination of empirical formula of each class of the organic compounds mentioned below.
(a) Aliphatic hydrocarbons
(i) Alkanes Homologous series in relation to physical properties, substitution reaction and a few examples and uses of halogenated products. Isomerism: structural only (examples on isomerism should not go beyond six carbon atoms). Petroleum: composition, fractional
distillation and major products; cracking and reforming, Petrochemicals – starting materials of organic syntheses, quality of petrol and meaning of octane number.
(ii) Alkenes Isomerism: structural and geometric isomerism, additional and polymerization reactions, polythene and synthetic rubber as examples of products of polymerization and its use in vulcanization.
(iii) Alkynes Ethyne – production from action of water on carbides, simple reactions and properties of ethyne.
(b) Aromatic hydrocarbons e.g. benzene – Structure, properties and uses.
(c) Alkanols Primary, secondary, tertiary – production of ethanol by fermentation and from petroleum by-products. Local examples of fermentation and distillation, e.g. gin from palm wine and other local sources and glycerol as a polyhydric alkanol. Reactions of OH group – oxidation as a distinguishing test between primary, secondary and tertiary alkanols.
(d) Alkanals and alkanones. Chemical test to distinguish between Alkanals and alkanones.
(e) Alkanoic acids. Chemical reactions; neutralization and esterification, ethanedioic (oxalic) acid as an example of a dicarboxylic acid and benzene carboxylic acid as an example of an aromatic acid.


Candidates should be able to:
(i) derive the name of organic compounds form 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 properties;
(vii) derive various isomeric form from a given formula;

Download JAMB Chemistry syllabus in PDF format Here!!!

Also Read:
How to pass JAMB examination with 300+
How to register for JAMB examination in Just 5 steps
Is JAMB examination difficult? See answer here


Ababio, O.Y. (2005). New School Chemistry for Senior Secondary Schools, (Third Edition), Onitsha: Africana FIRST Publishers Limited

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

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

Ohia, G.N.C., Adewoyin, F.A. and Akpan, B.B. (1997). Exam Focus Chemistry for WASSCE & JME: Ibadan: University Press Plc

STAN (1987). Chemistry for Senior Secondary Schools, Ibadan: Heinemann

Sylvester: O.O. (2004). A Comprehensive Practical Chemistry for Senior Secondary Schools, Ibadan: Evans

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

Wisdomline Pass at Once JAMB.

Okay. There you have JAMB chemistry syllabus for 2019/2020. Like I have said before, this syllabus is not meant to be used as a core study material. It is only to guide you when preparing for the impending JAMB chemistry examination. Believe me, if you use this syllabus properly, you will do extraordinarily well in JAMB chemistry examination.


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