MBBS in Nigeria: How To Pass Your Medical School Exams Explained For Free

MBBS in Nigeria
MBBS in Nigeria
MBBS in Nigeria

Are you a medical student trying to get your MBBS in Nigeria? Are you seeking admission into a medical school in Nigeria? Or do you simply want to know about MBBS in Nigeria and how the course is structured, as well as the examinations involved, this post is for you.

After going through this post you will understand the following:

1) How MBBS in Nigeria programme is organized

2) The different stages of medical school in Nigeria and the examinations

3) How the examinations in medical school in Nigeria are structured

4) Helpful tips you need to pass your MBBS in Nigeria exams at every stage with ease.

Now, let’s go.


MBBS is a degree programme which leads someone to becoming a medical doctor. You can acquire MBBS in Nigeria and in almost all countries of the world.

There are different exams as every stage of this programme. Each of the exams at every stage comes with its own challenges and peculiarities.

What Are The Stages In Medical School MBBS Programme In Nigeria?

The MBBS in Nigeria programme is generally divided into three.

1) Pre-Medicine—The “Medicine before the Medicine”. This is the 100 level or first year, where you are provided with the appetizer.
In most institutions, at this stage, you take general courses with students from other science-based departments. Medicine is a course based on science, so to obtain MBBS in Nigeria, you need a good science foundation.

2) Pre-Clinicals—“Before Clinicals”. This is made up of the 200 level and 300 levels. You’ll be learning the theory, the basics and the foundation for you to do well and obtain your MBBS in Nigeria. Here, you will do a lot of courses that are basic to your long-term success and further understanding and thus become able to function better and appreciate how the human system works as a medical doctor.

3) Clinical classes—These are the 400 level, 500 level, 600 level classes.

Medical School Examinations

To acquire your MBBS in Nigeria, you need to write and pass your medical school examinations. The medical school exams are as follows:
1) 100 Level—1st and 2nd Semester Examinations
2) 300 Level—2nd MBBS Examination/First Professional Examination
3) 400 Level—3rd MBBS Examination
4) 500 Level—4th MBBS Examination
5) 600 Level—5th MBBS/Final MBBS Examination

After successfully going through these exams, you are then awarded MBBS in Nigeria

So, let’s take these stages one by one:

Pre-Medicine (100Level)

This is the point of entering to the medical school. At this point, you do a lot of courses that are just like every other science student’s 100 level courses.

Courses include GS Courses. You may even do Nigerian Languages, Sociology etc. You will, of course do Chemistry, Physics, Biology courses, even Zoology courses, as well as Chemistry and Physics practicals.

How difficult is this stage?

If you’ve had a good grounding coming from secondary school , that is the O’Level, you will discover that these subjects are not that difficult. You just need to do away with the fear and all the stories they are going to tell you about many people not making it beyond 1st year. You write tests and exams in 100 level.


You need to pay attention to the practicals, and then to Mathematics too, if it scares you like some people we know.

You have to pass all your 100 Level Courses in order to proceed to 200 Level, on your pathway to obtaining MBBS in Nigeria. Not all institutions give you the luxury of coming from 200 Level to write a carry-over.

People still repeat or fail out of the department at the end of the 1st year. Some will have to start looking for other departments to join.

What Do You Need To Succeed In 100 Level?

1) You need discipline.

2) You need to start early to read because of the volume, especially because of chemistry, which some people consider volatile

3) You also need to pay attention to Mathematics if you are not so good in this area.

4) Go for extra lessons or tutorials if you believe it will help you understand some subjects better

If you put in a decent amount of effort, you should be able to make it beyond this stage, after writing your semester examinations and seeing the results.

The 100 level lasts for one academic year, comprising first and second semesters.

After passing the100 level courses, you are promoted to 200 Level. This is a big step forward in your quest to obtain your MBBS in Nigeria.

Pre-Clinicals (MBBS In Nigeria)

Pre-Clinicals consist of the 200 level and 300 levels.

They are seen as one continuous class in the sense that you do the same courses for 200 and 300 level.

200 and 300 Levels

In 200 and 300 Levels, you do the following courses:
1) Human Anatomy
2) Human Physiology
3) Human Biochemistry.

What is the duration?

Preclinical class (2nd and 3rd year combined) lasts for 18 months or thereabouts before you are expected to write the exams.

The exams written after that is called the Second MBBS Examination.

This examination is described as the “rate limiting step” as it has usually has the highest number of casualties in medical school exams. It is the First Professional Examination you will encounter in medical school.


This is the study of the makeup of humans, the structure and the function of the body parts. Under Anatomy we have 3 subdivisions

1) Gross Anatomy—study of the physical structures that make up the human body; the body parts as a whole; the things that you can See

Human Anatomy

2) Histology—tissues and cells that make up the body and how they appear under the microscope

3) Embryology –deals with how life is formed, right from the first day the baby is conceived and all the changes that take place, till the day of delivery.


Here, you learn the way the normal human system functions. Physiology is the study of a normal human being and how the different systems within the body function.

These include the digestive system, the cardiovascular system, the urinary system, nervous system and every other system in the body.


Human Biochemistry,

Here, you learn about the chemical processes that go on in the body.


In 2nd MB class, you are going to be exposed to a lot of lectures, in Anatomy, Physiology and Biochemistry.

Then you also have dissection classes. Dissection is the cutting up of dead human body known are cadavers.

Cadavers are dead bodies that are preserved by injecting formalin so that they do not decay.

So, medical students are exposed to cadavers from 200 to 300 level. You cut them up and learn, and see all those things you read about in your textbooks.

You will see the nerves, every part of the body, the muscles. You will go ahead to identify every muscle in the body, as well as the structures that are found in the human body.

Gross Anatomy is also divided into sections:
*Head and Neck
*Thorax and abdomen
*Upper limbs
*Lower limbs

For Histology, you will also have sessions where you go to the laboratory, you’re given slides and you’re able to see the micro structure of the human body, the type of cells or epithelium that can be found in different parts of the body.

In Physiology, you will have lectures as well as Practicals. The same goes for Biochemistry.

This 2nd MB class is one of the most challenging parts of medical school because most people are still novices and are trying to find their feet.

Before you know it, it’s time for the First Professional Examination, which is commonly known as the 2nd MBBS Exam. A lot of people get caught napping at this point and they start running around, and panicking as the exam draws closer.

Tips For Your 200 Level And 300 Level Classes.

1) Start early: This exam is unlike any other thing you’ve done previously in your life. All your past records do not matter here. Everybody is basically on the same level at this stage.

2) Be consistent: It’s always better if you read just two or three hours a day as a student, than you don’t read at all in an entire week. Two weeks later you get “ginger” and read 10 hours straight and probably brag about it; after that, you don’t read again for the next one week.

Someone that is consistent with reading just two to three hours a day is going to achieve more than you. You will end up stressing yourself out especially close to the exam.

3) Form study groups. The fact here is that nobody knows it all. So with study groups, when well organized, you will achieve more.

Form study groups

The members of the group should be focused on the discussion they came for; do not deviate or get into unnecessary chit-chats.

Specify a time duration for every meeting as well as the number of times tomeet in a week, and keep to it. We advise that study groups be limited to three to five persons

4) Practice, practice and practice: When we say practice, we mean recite, memorize, repeat over and over.

In Anatomy, even use yourself to practice. For instance, when studying the the forearm muscles, get your textbook and Atlas. You then place your forearm on a table where you will be seeing it. As you read and watch the atlas, try to appreciate what you are seeing on your own forearm too.

This also helps make the picture stick better in your head. Also use your classmates to practice

5) Be attentive in the cadaver room . Dissections are done in a group as you will not get a full cadaver for only yourself.

Try as much as possible to be at the forefront and see what is going on, even if you are not the one dissecting. Try as much as possible to get involved what is going on. Don’t run away.

Wear your gloves; wear your goggles too

6) Know your faculty timetable ahead of time, and work with it.

In most medical schools, as you enter a new class, you are immediately presented with a schedule stating when to expect your quizzes and also when to expect your next professional exam.

Work with that timetable. If possible, work ahead of the timetable. You will only be hurting yourself if you are wishing and hoping the exam will be shifted—most times, the dates don’t shift.

The only time they may shift is if your institution is affected by a protracted ASUU strike. Even for a strike of one month, most medical schools try as much as possible to still follow the schedule. They will pump you with lectures, even on weekends, in order to make up for the lost time.

Don’t allow your quizzes and exam to catch you unawares. The quizzes are the in-course assessment. They count towards your final score in the main exam.

7) Understand your body system and identify what works for you. Don’t go to night class and start sleeping. You are not impressing anybody. Go sleep at home in the night and wake up very early and read early.

Sleeping while reading

What works for your friend may not be what works for you. If you are a daytime person, maximize your daytime well; don’t keep jumping around aimlessly.

8) Read and read and read and discuss: This is for Biochemistry especially because of the volatile nature of the subject. You read something this morning and before evening you are trying to remember something reasonable from what you earlier read.

9) You may need to make sketches or draw diagrams. For instance study the Glycolytic pathway over and over again, sketch it and paste on your wall or wardrobe; discuss it with your colleagues. That way, it sticks faster.

10) Use mnemonics where you can. They help for easy recall

How Is The 2nd MBBS Examination Structured?

1) MCQs, multiple choice questions. Sometimes you can have objective, called OBJ, meaning every number has one best answer correct
2) Theory question. Here, you answer essays. You are given booklets to write full blown essays
3) Practicals.
4) Orals.


As for the issue of negative marking, this is dependent on institutions. Find out what works for your institution and adjust accordingly.

Attempt all or almost all questions. If you don’t, how will you even talk of passing in the first place. For instance, if you don’t attempt half of the questions, you will not pass

Another point to note is that pass mark in medical school is 50%. It is not 40 like most other departments

For the theory questions, most times you will not be able to score 100%, no matter how much you write. There’s a ceiling, even though, some institutions may say there’s no longer anything like “close marking”. Your best shot is the objective or multiple choice questions. If you get all the answers correct here, nobody can take your 100% away from you. So, buffer your scores with the MCQs and even your quizzes/in-course assessments

Get as many past questions as you can lay your hands on.
By past questions, we mean Theory questions. They are the only papers we know that you are allowed to legally leave the exam hall with.

For the MCQs/Objectives, you answer into your question paper and submit at the end of the exam. You may, however, try to recall some questions and compile them immediately you leave the hall, for revision purposes. You can also look for your seniors and see if they did such a recall

Attending and participating in your practicals is going to help you do well in the examination. It is difficult to be a truant in medical school and do well. One way or the other, the system will find you out. Also participate well in your dissection classes, as we’ve earlier noted.

You will have a session in the 2nd MBBS examination known as the “steeple chase”. Parts of the cadaver will be tagged and you will have accompanying questions to answer on each tagged part. Each question lasts one minute or thereabout. For instance, a part of the brain may be tagged, and you will see two or three accompanying questions

Don’t die on one single question: Be it your MCQ, Theory or steeple chase. You don’t have the luxury of time in your exams. Most times, if you waste a lot of time trying to “crack” one question, it may destabilize the time you have to answer the remaining questions.

Just take note of the question while you attend to the other questions. When you are done with the others, you can then quickly go back to your script to finish up with the problematic question.

However, if you still don’t have a good answer to the question by the end of the exam, sorry, there’s nothing that can be done at this point. Just submit your paper and hope for the best.

Avoid exam malpractice: Some people do it in a form called “anastomosis”, where a group of three or more people strategically position themselves in the exam hall in such a manner that they are still able to circulate answers and information in spite of the presence of invigilators and everybody else in the exam hall.

Examination Malpractice

It goes by other names too in some other institutions.

Once again, we say, avoid malpractice at all costs. Let’s just leave it at this point.

Pay close attention to your lecturers: For students that are always looking for “areas of concentration” before the exam, this advice is for you.

As lecturers talk, especially a month or so before exams, some of them tend to give out clues as to the questions you will see on the exam day.

Some can even go as far as asking you one or two questions during lecture and see how you answer them.

If you don’t go back and revise those questions, you may be shocked to come in for the exams and see the same question exactly the same way the lecturer asked it during lecture.

Some other lecturers might say something like’ “If I ask you so and so question in the exam, this is how I want you to answer it”. Take note of that too

Look for videos and watch: This will help you especially with your Gross Anatomy and Dissections

Be confident in your orals exam: Once you get the question, keep talking, and don’t stop till your examiners interrupt you or ask you to pick the next question.

Let your answer be precise; don’t waste time perambulating on things not connected to the question you’re asked. The more questions you can attempt, the better.

If you pick a question you have no idea about, tell your examiners something like this, “I’m sorry but I can’t remember this right now” or “I’m sorry but I cannot recollect at this moment”.

Politely let your examiners know that you cannot answer that particular question.

Even though that’s not so wonderful; however, it is much better than just staring blankly at your examiners and saying nothing or muttering a meaningless response. Most times, they will ask you to pick another question.

Remember, the more questions you attempt, the better for you.

If you succeed, congratulations and welcome to 400Level

The Clinical Classes

400, 500 and 600 levels in medical school are called the clinical classes. This is because it is while in these classes that you now come in contact with real sick people, also known as “patients”.

This is where you are exposed to the clinical aspect of medical practice

400 Level

In most institutions, you start doing your Introductory Medicine and Surgery Postings, known as M1 and S1 postings, respectively in 400 level

In 400 level, you do two major courses, Pathology and Pharmacology.

In Pathology, you learn about the abnormalities of the human function, that is how a sick body functions, the changes that go on in a sick individual at the minutest level.

Under Pathology you have Histopathology, Chemical Pathology, Microbiology, Hematology, and even Immunology/Virology.

Chemical Pathology deals with the chemical composition of the body. Microbiology deal with organisms, bacteria, parasites and so on.

In Haematology, you study the blood, structure, functions, abnormalities and blood-related diseases.

In Virology, you learn about viruses of human importance.

Pharmacology studies drugs, how drugs interact with the body and how the body interacts with drugs.

You are also exposed to Pharmacology practicals as well as practicals in the different aspect of Pathology.

Quizzes are also written from time to time, and they contribute up to 30% of the total score for the course

400 level lasts roughly one year or a little above that.

The nature of the exam is
1) Written—This consists MCQs/Objective questions and Theory questions
2) Practicals
3) Orals/Viva

Tips For 400 Level Class

1) Discussion groups are still important

2) Attend your practicals; don’t play truant

3) Mnemonics still pay at this level

4) Have enough time for personal study. You will not just have to rely only on lectures and discussions. You have to put in a lot of personal effort at this stage.

5) Start early. If you don’t take note of this, your quizzes and exams will always overwhelm you

6) Try to understand what you read so much that you will be able to explain it in your own words or to a little child

7) Don’t neglect your notes

8) Your textbooks should be your friends.

9) Don’t gloss over your Introductory Medicine and Surgery postings. They will come back for you in final year.

When you satisfy your examiners and are awarded a pass in both Pharmacology and Pathology, you automatically proceed to 500 Level

500 Level

The courses you will be offering in this class are:
1) Paediatrics
2) Obstetrics and Gynecology
At this stage you are exposed to children and diseases affecting them. You are also exposed to pregnant women as well as diseases that affect women.
3) In some institutions, you do Community Medicine/Primary Health Care (PHC)

This is where the real Clinicals start .
You are usually assigned to a unit, which comprises of the Unit Consultant(s), the Senior Registrars and the Registrars (Resident Doctors).

You learn to clerk patients, you present your clerking to the doctors and they guide you on how to do it better.

Here you pick up clinical skills, such as General physical examination as well as Systemic examination.

You also have didactic lectures, seminars, presentations and so on

The Nature Of The 4th MBBS Exams In Nigeria

The exam you write at the end of 5th year is the 4th MBBS Examination.

It is made up of:

1) Written—Multiple Choice Questions or Objectives
2) Clinicals—This tests your clinical skills, attendance to wards and clinics, interactions with patients, history taking skills and physical examination skills as well as management of common conditions related to Paediatrics and Obstetrics and Gynaecology
3) Orals

In Clinical class, the slogan is “does he/she come around?

When you “come around” to the ward, get involved in history taking, examination and management of patients, you are going to learn a lot.

Medicine is not just about reading textbooks. It is apprenticeship too. There are things you will never learn just by staying at home to read or being an absentee student.

The amount of skills you will pick correlates with how often you’ve been coming and participating in clinical activities.

Some MBBS In Nigeria Exam Tips For 500Level Class

1) Learn the basics
Read your textbooks and lecture notes too

2) Clerk and present to the Resident doctors and Consultants in your unit. Also present to other residents and Consultants you come across that are willing to listen to your presentation. The more you present, the more you are corrected, the better you become and the more confident you become. You will have no problems discussing the clinical cases with your examiners on the exam day

3) Have a schedule or target for your clerking. At the beginning of your postings, target at least one clerking per week. For a 12-week posting, you will end up with 12 clerkings you have done yourself. Many students don’t even get anywhere near this number and they start looking for patient’s diagnosis close to exam. This may not help you much if you haven’t taken time to get grounded in the basics. Some times, some examiners are not even so interested in you rattling the diagnosis; they will ask you a lot of questions surrounding the case. Even if you get the diagnosis and fail all the other questions surrounding it, you will most likely not pass the clinical

4) Listen to the presentation of your classmates too. When you see your classmates presenting their cases, come in and listen too. You can also make your input or corrections and you will learn as well.

600 Level

Courses here include:
1) Medicine
2) Surgery
3) Community Medicine/ Primary Health Care (PHC)

For your Community Medicine postings, you will visit both rural and urban areas, visit factories, abattoirs, markets, Medical Officer of Health, Water Corporation, State Ministry of Health and so many other places of public health importance.

Ensure to document your visits; take notes; take pictures and so on. You will need to refer to them later on

You will have lectures on Community Medicine and Primary Health care

You will also undertake a project as part of the requirements for the Community Medicine course. You will defend this project during the examination. Most of these projects will be Knowledge, Attitude and Prevalence studies

For Medicine and Surgery, you do postings too. You will also do postings in Psychiatry, Radiology, Orthopaedics, and other subspecialties. There is so much to learn.

You also have lectures too.

You also clerk and present clinical cases to your unit members—the Residents and Consultants.

Ensure to participate in your clinics and unit activities as well as theatre sessions. You will also have lectures.

Also know when your unit is on call and be present. Calls include 4pm to 8am, as well as weekends. Units are assigned to cover the wards as well as attend to new patients who are admitted during these times. You will learn a lot during call periods.

After the 5th/Final MBBS examination, the results are collated by the various departments.

After passing the departmental stage, there is now a Faculty Board Meeting where the Faculty now ratifies the result before it is then pasted

Medical school exams are usually released within 24-28 hours after the last day of the examination. This goes a long way to reduce tension as the air is palpable and thick with uncertainties as people wait for the results to be released.

Extra Tips For Your MBBS In Nigeria Exams

1) Keep talking once a question is posed at you. Remember to talk reasonably too

2) Set out some time before answering your Theory questions to map out an outline. For instance, if you are asked to write short note on management of status epilepticus, don’t just jump in. you may get stuck and forget some things along the way. Take about 5 minutes to plan your work. Write out your outline on your answer sheet. This will also make a good impression on your examiners. It will make you write as much as you are expected to write on the question.

3) Rehearse your Clinicals before the exams. Use your classmates, use your friends and even family to rehearse. If you have not devised a pattern for doing the basics, you may find yourself disorganized during the exam

4) Allot time for your questions. If you have a Theory paper lasting for 3 hours and you have 6 questions to answer, apportion time to each of the question. Don’t spend so much time answering one question and then you are now left with little or no time to answer the other questions as well as you would have loved to.

Wrapping Up

To get your MBBS in Nigeria, you need to pass through at least 6 years of medical school training. You write quizzes and examinations too. It is a journey filled with twists and turns. Navigate through it successfully and you come out with MBBS in Nigeria. You can then legally practice as a medical doctor with MBBS in Nigeria.

Do you have questions or comments? Let’s hear your thoughts in the comment section below.


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  1. I am very impressed with this tips on yours on how to pass in a medical college. I would like to understand more as I wish you could put me through more of this. Thanks very much.

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