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JAMB Syllabus for Chemistry

Official JAMB Syllabus for Chemistry

1. Separation of mixtures and purification of chemical substances

Under this topic, candidates should focus on;

  • Pure and impure substances
  • Boiling and melting
  • Elements, compounds and mixtures
  • Chemical and physical
  • Separation processes: evaporation, simple and fractional distillation, sublimation, filtration, crystallization, paper and column chromatography, simple and fractional crystallization.

At the end of reading the above sub-topics candidates should be able to;

  • distinguish between pure and impure substances;
  • use boiling and melting points as criteria for purity of chemical substances;
  • distinguish between elements, compounds and mixture;
  • differentiate between chemical and physical changes;
  • identify the properties of the components of a mixture;
  • specify the principle involved in each separation method

2. Chemical combination

Subtopics in the above topic are;

  • 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.

At the end of reading the subtopics above, candidates should be able to;

  • perform simple calculations involving formulae, equations/chemical composition and the mole concept;
  • deduce the chemical laws from given expressions/statements;
  • interpret data based on these laws;
  • interpret graphical representations related to these laws


3. Kinetic theory of matter and Gas Laws

Subtopics under the topic above are;

  1. 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
  2. The laws of Boyle, Charles, Graham and Dalton (law of partial pressure); combined gas law, molar volume and atomicity of gases.

After reading the topic above candidates should be able to;

  • apply the theory to distinguish between solids, liquids and gases;
  • deduce reasons for change of state;
  • draw inferences based on molecular motion
  • deduce chemical laws form given expressions/ statements;
  • interpret graphical representations related to these laws;


4. Atomic structure and bonding

Candidate focus on the topic above should be;

  1. here you should know;
    1. 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.
    2. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Shapes of simple molecules: linear ((H2, 02, C12,HCI and CO2), non-linear (H2O) and tetrahedral; (CH4)
  5. Nuclear Chemistry:
    1. Radioactivity (elementary treatment only)
    2. Nuclear reactions. Simple equations, uses and applications of natural and artificial radioactivity.

At the end of reading the topic, candidates should be able to;

  1. distinguish between atom, molecules and ions;
  2. assess the contributions of these scientists to the development of the atomic structure;
  3. deduce the number of protons, neutrons and electrons from atomic and mass numbers of an atom;
  4. apply the rules guiding the arrangement of electrons in an atom;
  5. relate isotopy to mass number;
  6. perform simple calculations on relative atomic mass
  7. determine the number of electrons in s and p atomic
  8. relate atomic number to the position of an element on the periodic table;
  9. relate properties of groups of elements on the periodic table;
  10. identify reasons for variation in properties across the period.
  11. differentiate between the different types of
  12. deduce bond types based on electron configurations;
  13. relate the nature of bonding to properties of compounds;
  14. apply it in everyday chemistry;
  15. differentiate between the various shapes of molecules
  16. distinguish between ordinary chemical reaction and nuclear reaction;
  17. differentiate between natural and artificial radioactivity;
  18. compare the properties of the different types of nuclear radiations;
  19. compute simple calculations on the half-life of a radioactive material;
  20. balance simple nuclear equation;
  21. identify the various applications of radioactivity.


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5. Air

Candidates should focus on;

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

At the end of reading the topic, candidates should be able to;

  1. deduce reason (s) for the existence of air as a mixture;
  2. identify the principle involved in the separation of air components;
  3. deduce reasons for the variation in the composition of air in the environment;
  4. specify the uses of some of the constituents of air


6. Water

Under this topic, candidates should focus their attention on;

  • 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

At the end of reading the topic candidate should be able to;

  1. identify the various uses of water;
  2. distinguish between the properties of hard and soft water;
  3. determine the causes of hardness;
  4. identify methods of removal of hardness;
  5. describe the processes involved in the purification of water for town supply;
  6. distinguish between these phenomena;
  7. identify the various compounds that exhibit these phenomena;


7. Solubility

Under this topic, Candidates should focus on;

  • Unsaturated, saturated and supersaturated solutions. Solubility curves and simple deductions from them, (solubility defined in terms of mole per dm3) and simple calculations
  • Solvents for fats, oil and paints and the use of such solvents
  • Suspensions and colloids: Harmattan haze and paints as examples of suspensions and fog, milk, aerosol spray and rubber solution as examples of colloids

At the end of reading this topic, each candidates should be able to;

  • distinguish between the different types of solutions;
  • interpret solubility curves;
  • calculate the amount of solute that can dissolve in a given amount of solvent at a given temperature;
  • deduce that solubility is temperature-dependent
  • classify solvents based on their uses
  • differentiate between a true solution, suspension and colloids;
  • compare the properties of a true solution and a ‘false’ solution.


8. Environmental Pollution

After reading the topic: “Environmental Pollution”, candidate should be able to;

  • identify the different types of pollution and pollutants;
  • classify pollutants as biodegradable and non-biodegradable;
  • assess the effects of pollution on the environment;
  • recommend measures for control of environment

Under the topic: Environmental Pollution, candidates should focus on;

  1. Sources and effects of pollutants.
  2. Air pollution: Examples of air pollutants such as H2S, CO, SO2, oxides of nitrogen, fluorocarbons and dust.
  3. Water pollution: Sewage and oil pollution should be known
  4. Soil pollution: Oil spillage, Biodegradable and non-biodegradable pollutants


9. Acids, bases and salts

Under this topic, Candidates should focus;

  1. 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 Oxides and trioxocarbonate (IV) salts
  2. 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
  3. pH and pOH scale
    1. pH defined as – log[H3O+]
  4. Acid/base titrations
  5. Hydrolysis of salts: Simple examples such as NH4C1, AICI3, Na2CO3, CH3COONa to be mentioned

After reading the topic, candidate should be able to;

  • distinguish between the properties of acids and bases;
  • identify the different types of acids and bases;
  • differentiate between acidity and alkalinity using acid/base indicators;
  • identify the various methods of preparation of salts;
  • classify different types of salts;
  • relate degree of dissociation to strength of acids and bases;
  • relate degree of dissociation to conductance;
  • perform simple calculations on pH;
  • identify the appropriate acid-base indicator;
  • interpret graphical representation of titration curves;
  • perform simple calculations based on the mole concept;
  • balance equations for the hydrolysis of salts;
  • deduce the properties (acidic, basic, neutral) of the resultant


10. Oxidation and reduction

Under this topic, candidates should focus on;

  • Oxidation in terms of the addition of oxygen or removal of hydrogen.
  • Reduction as removal of oxygen or addition of
  • Oxidation and reduction in terms of electron
  • Use of oxidation numbers. Oxidation and reduction treated as change in number and use of oxidation numbers in balancing simple equations.
  • IUPAC nomenclature of inorganic compounds.
  • Tests for oxidizing and reducing agents.

After reading the topic: “Oxidation and Reduction”, candidates should be able to

  • identify the various forms of expressing oxidation and reduction;
  • classify chemical reactions in terms of oxidation or reduction;
  • balance redox reaction equations;
  • deduce the oxidation number of chemical species;
  • compute the number of electron transfer in redox reactions
  • identify the name of redox species using IUPAC nomenclature.
  • distinguish between oxidizing and reducing agents in redox reactions


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11. Electrolysis

candidates should focus on;

  1. Electrolytes and non-electrolytes. Faraday’s laws of electrolysis
  2. Electrolysis of dilute H2SO4, aqueous CuSO4, CuC12 solution, dilute and concentrated NaC1 solutions and fused NaC1 and factors affecting discharge of ions at the electrodes
  3. Uses of electrolysis: Purification of metals e.g. copper and production of elements and compounds e.g. A1, Na, O2, Cl2 and NaOH.
  4. Electrochemical cells: Redox series (K, Na, Ca, Mg, AI, Zn, Fe, PbII, H, Cu, Hg, Au,)
  5. half-cell reactions and electrode potentials. Simple calculations only
  6. Corrosion as an electrolytic process, cathodic protection of metals, painting, electroplating and coating with grease or oil as ways of preventing iron from corrosion

After reading the topic Electrolysis, candidates should be able to;

  • identify between electrolytes and non- electrolytes;
  • perform calculations based on faraday as a mole of
  • identify suitable electrodes for different electrolytes.
  • specify the chemical reactions at the electrodes;
  • determine the products at the electrodes;
  • identify the factors that affect the product of electrolysis;
  • specify the different areas of application of electrolysis;
  • identify the various electrochemical cells;
  • calculate electrode potentials using half- cell reaction equation
  • determine the different areas of applications of electrolytic processes;
  • apply the methods to protect metals


12. Energy changes

Under this topic candidates should focus on;

  1. 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
  2. Entropy as an order-disorder phenomenon: simple illustrations like mixing of gases and dissolution of salts.
  3. Spontaneity of reactions: ∆G = 0 as a criterion for equilibrium, ∆G greater or less than zero as a criterion for non-spontaneity or spontaneity

After reading the topic: “Energy Changes” candidates should be able to;

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


13. Rates of Chemical Reaction

Under this topic, candidates should focus on;

  1. Elementary treatment of the following factors which can change the rate of a chemical reaction:
  2. Temperature e.g. the reaction between HCI and Na2S2O3 or Mg and HCI
  3. 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
  4. Surface area e.g. the reaction between marble and HCI with marble in;
    1. powdered form
    2. lumps of the same
  5. Catalyst e.g. the decomposition of H2O2 or KCIO3 in the presence or absence of MnO2
  6. Concentration/time
  7. Activation energy
  8. Qualitative treatment of Arrhenius’ law and the collision theory, effect of
    light on some reactions. e.g. halogenation of alkanes

After reading the topic “Rates of Chemical Reaction” candidates should be able to;

  • identify the factors that affect the rates of a chemical reaction;
  • determine the effects of these factors on the rate of reactions;
  • recommend ways of moderating these effects;
  • examine the effect of concentration on the rate of a chemical reaction;
  • describe how the rate of a chemical reaction is affected by surface area;
  • determine the types of catalysts suitable for different reactions.
  • interpret reaction rate curves;
  • solve simple problems on the rate of reactions;
  • relate the rate of reaction to the kinetic theory of matter.
  • examine the significance of activation energy to chemical


14. Chemical equilibra

Under this topic, candidates should focus on;

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. Please note that no calculation will be required.

After reading the topic, candidates should be able to;

  • identify the factors that affects the position of equilibrium of a chemical reaction;
  • predict the effects of each factor on the position of equilibrium.


15. Non-metals and their compounds

After reading this topic, candidates should be able to;

  • predict reagents for the laboratory and industrial preparation of these gases and their
  • identify the properties of the gases and their compounds.
  • compare the properties of these gases and their
  • specify the uses of each gas and its compounds;
  • determine the specific test for each gas and its compounds.
  • identify the allotrope oxygen;
  • determine the significance of ozone to our environment.
  • identify the allotropes of sulphur and their uses;
  • specify the commercial preparation of the acid, its properties and uses;
  • predicts reagents for the laboratory Preparation for the gas;
  • specify the laboratory and industrial preparation for the gas;
  • use Haber process for the industrial preparation of ammonia;
  • identify reagents for the laboratory preparation of the acid, its properties and uses;
  • examine the relevance of nitrogen cycle to the
  • identify allotropes of carbon;
  • predict reagents for the laboratory preparation of CO2;
  • specify the properties of the gas and its uses;
  • (xiv) determine the test for CO2;
  • determine the reagents for the laboratory preparation of the gas;
  • examine its effect on human;
  • identify the different forms of coal and determine their uses;
  • specify the uses of coke and synthetic gas.


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16. Metals and Their Compounds

Under this topic candidates should focus on;

  1. Alkali metals e.g. sodium
    1. Sodium hydroxide:- Production by electrolysis of brine, its action on aluminium, zinc and lead ions. Uses including precipitation of metallic hydroxides.
    2. Sodium trioxocarbonate (IV) and sodium hydrogen trioxocarbonate (IV): Production by Solvay process, properties and uses, e.g. Na2CO3 in the manufacture of glass.
    3. Sodium chloride: its occurrence in sea water and uses, the economic importance of sea water and the recovery of sodium chloride.
  2. 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+.
  3. Aluminium: Purification of bauxite, electrolytic extraction, properties and uses of aluminium and its compounds. Test for A13+
  4. Tin
    1. Extraction form its ores.
    2. Properties and uses
  5. Metals of the first transition series. Characteristic properties:
    1. electron configuration
    2. oxidation states
    3. complex ion formation
    4. formation of coloured ions
  6. Iron
    1. Extraction form sulphide and oxide ores, properties and uses,
    2. different forms of iron and their properties and advantages of steel over iron.
    3. Test for Fe2+ and Fe3+
  7. Copper: Extraction from sulphide and oxide ores, properties and uses of copper salts, preparation and uses of c o p p er ( I I ) tetraoxosulphate (VI). Test for Cu2+
  8. Alloy: Steel, stainless steel, brass, bronze, type- metal, duralumin and soft solder (constituents and uses only).

After reading the topic Metals and their compounds candidates should be able to;

  • determine the method for extraction suitable for each metal;
  • relate the methods of extraction to the properties for the metals;
  • compare the chemical reactivities of the metals;
  • specify the uses of the metals;
  • determine specific test for metallic ions;
  • determine the process for the production of the compounds of these metals;
  • compare the chemical reactivities of the compounds. specify the uses of these compounds;
  • determine the processes for the preparation of the compounds of the metal;
  • describe the method of purification of bauxite
  • relate the method of extraction to it properties;
  • specify the uses of tin;
  • identify the general properties of the first transition metals;
  • deduce reasons for the specific properties of the transition metals;
  • determine the IUPAC names of simple transition metal
  • determine the suitable method of extraction for the metal;
  • specify the properties and uses of the metal;
  • identify the appropriate method of extraction for the metal and its compounds;
  • relate the properties of the metal and its compound to their
  • specify the constituents and uses of the various alloys


17. Organic Compounds

This is the final topic and at the end of this topic candidates should be able to;

  • derive the name of organic compounds form their general formulae;
  • relate the name of a compound to its structure;
  • relate the tetravalency of carbon to its ability to form chains of compound (catenation);
  • classify compounds according to their functional groups;
  • derive empirical formula and molecular formula, from given data;
  • relate structure/functional groups to specific properties;
  • derive various isomeric form from a given formulae;
  • distinguish between the different types of isomerism;
  • classify the various types of hydrocarbon;
  • distinguish each class of hydrocarbon by their properties;
  • specify the uses of various hydrocarbons;
  • identify crude oil as a complex mixture of hydrocarbon;
  • relate the fractions of hydrocarbon to their properties and uses;
  • relate transformation processes to quality improvement of the fractions
  • distinguish between various polymerization processes;
  • distinguish between aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbons;
  • relate the properties of benzene to its structure
  • compare the various classes of alkanols;
  • determine the processes involved in ethanol production;
  • examine the importance of ethanol as an alternative energy provider;
  • differentiate between alkanals and alkanones
  • compare the various classes of alkanoic acid;
  • identify natural sources of alkanoates;
  • specify the uses of alkanoates;
  • distinguish between detergent and soap;
  • compare the various classes of alkanamine;
  • identify the natural sources of carbohydrates and giant molecules;
  • compare the various classes of carbohydrates;
  • infer the product of hydrolysis of carbohydrates;
  • determine the uses of carbohydrates;
  • relate giant molecules to their uses.


Recommended JAMB Textbooks for Chemistry

  1. New School Chemistry for Senior Secondary Schools by Ababio, O.Y
  2. Senior Secondary Chemistry, Book 1 by Bajah, S.T., Teibo, B.O., Onwu, G and Obikwere, A
  3. Senior Secondary Chemistry, Books 2 and 3 by Bajah, S.T., Teibo, B.O., Onwu, G and Obikwere, A
  4. Exam Focus Chemistry for WASSCE & JME by Ohia, G.N.C., Adewoyin, F.A. and Akpan, B.B
  5. Chemistry for Senior Secondary Schools
  6. Comprehensive Practical Chemistry for Senior Secondary Schools, Ibadan by Sylvester: O.
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Updated: July 11, 2018 — 12:27 pm

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