“How I emerged best UTME candidate with 360 score” –16 years old Nkechinyere Kamsiyochukwu Umeh
The best candidate in the last Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examinations, Miss Nkechinyere Kamsiyochukwu Umeh, who scored a total of 360 out of 400 marks, shared with SAMSON FOLARIN of The Punch Newpaper the secrets to her success and her aspirations in life.
Before now, there has been discrepancies over who was the authentic holder of the highest score for the 2023 UTME exam as another candidate Mmesoma Ejikeme who is under thorough scrutiny claimed to score 362 out of 400 marks beating Nkechinyere Kamsiyochukwu Umeh with two marks.
However, the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) has upheld Miss Nkechinyere Kamsiyochukwu Umeh of Deeper Life High School, Mowe as the student with the highest score for the 2023 UTME.
In a interview led by Samson Folarin, Nkechinyere Kamsiyochukwu Umeh gave some details about how she achieved her success and her plans. (NB: The Interview was exclusively made by The Punch Newspaper). READ BELOW
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Nkechinyere Kamsiyochukwu Umeh. I am from Anambra State. I attend Deeper Life High School, Mowe, Ogun State. I am a science student in SSS 3 and I am 16 years old. I am from a family of four children and I am the first child.
You’re in SS3, you mean you wrote the UTME as a student?
Yes. My school organised everything for us. My classmates and I were registered by our school and we wrote the exam between the second and third term break.
What’s your impression about the UTME, is it a difficult exam?
No, I don’t think so. It’s not so difficult. It’s just a matter of how you prepare. It is about how hard you read, how many questions you solved. It’s not a really difficult exam.
How did you prepare?
My school was highly involved in our preparation for the exam. We were given a series of tests and classes; our teachers drilled us. There was also an app, called Test Driller, which the school distributed to all students. It had different UTME past questions and you can take a mock exam. I also practised on my own. My school always encouraged us to persevere and that it would soon be over.
How long did the preparation take?
We started preparation immediately after we entered SSS3. This was when we started receiving pep talks on the exam; the school organised special UTME classes for us.
How did you feel when you saw your scores?
When it was announced that JAMB had released the result, I was in school and I went to meet my counsellor. I also called my parents to check for me. When I called them that day, my mum told me the result. My parents were excited. I particularly could not contain my joy. I wanted to shout at the top of my lungs; I was incredibly excited.
What does it feel like to be the candidate with the highest UTME score?
I almost could not believe it. I was really happy.
What are the secrets of your academic feat?
First, I give the glory to God, who made this a possibility. Aside from this, I also practised a lot of past questions to familiarise myself with the kind of questions JAMB could bring out. I also read my textbooks and then, I paid attention when the teachers took us through classes. In summary, I’ll say there is the God factor, which is key. Then my teachers, who made a lot of sacrifices for this to happen.
There is also a high level of discipline in my school, which removes things that may act as inhibitors to our success. My school frowns on exam malpractices; the management really stands against it. Any student caught cheating is expelled. So, this instils in us a culture of discipline, not depending on shortcuts to our success.
What role did your parents play in all of this?
My parents were there for me while I was preparing. Though I am a boarder, they always called me every weekend to give me words of encouragement. And whenever the school was opened for visitation, they never missed the opportunity to see me and encourage me to work harder.
What school did you apply to and what’s your course of study?
I applied to study Chemical Engineering at the University of Lagos, Akoka.
Why that course?
For starters, I have always been a lover of Chemistry. I scored 99 in Chemistry, which is my highest. It is my best subject. In Mathematics, I scored 98. Then the idea of working in an industry or a factory appeals to me; I want to do something in the line of engineering.
Who are your role models?
My major role model is the proprietor of my school, Pastor (Dr) W.F. Kumuyi. I also look up to Dr Ben Carson.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years from now?
In 10 years from now, I see myself as a graduate and I must have completed my master’s and PhD. I see myself as very successful by the grace of God. I intend to do my master’s and PhD abroad.
For a 16-year-old teenager like you, this is no mean feat. What stands you out?
Hard work, diligence and support from my family
What advice do you have for students hoping to achieve this kind of feat?
I want to advise them to work hard and start preparing early because it is always good to start on time. They must avoid anything that can distract them. They should also not look for shortcuts or easy ways to do things. The road to success is difficult, but the result is always gratifying. They should also trust in God with all their hearts. I want to particularly advise parents to take their children to good schools where they can get the best. Good education is the best legacy.
My daughter was rejected by federal school – Father
Can we meet you, sir?
My name is Uzonna Umeh and I am Nkechinyere’s father.
How do you feel that your daughter came tops in the UTME?
I know my daughter is intelligent. It started when she was in primary school. She was always among the top three. She left primary school in Class Five and did her common entrance and was on merit. We went to a federal school and they said we need to get somebody up there before she would be admitted.
That was how we took her to Deeper Life High School. Since she joined the school, we never had any regret. Her siblings also took the school’s exams and were admitted. We don’t pay a lot of money in the school, and their fees are moderate, but they treat the kids well and even feed them five times daily. God will bless everybody in that school.
Since Nkechinyere was declared the best candidate, has the family received any reward offer?
The first call I received after the result came out was from the JAMB Registrar, Prof. Ishaq Oloyede. He said the Nigerian Society of Women Engineers was asking for my daughter’s data for an award.
I also saw it in the papers that she was being offered a scholarship to study at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University. But I have not been contacted yet on the details of the scholarship.
45 classmates scored over 300 in UTME – School administrator
Can you briefly introduce yourself?
My name is Pastor Eze Emmanuel, the School Administrator of Deeper Life High School, Lagos Campus (Mowe). I am a seasoned educationist and certified teacher.
What can you say about your student, Miss Nkechinyere Kamsiyochukwu Umeh?
To start with, I am thankful to the Almighty God and I feel excited for this laudable achievement. Talking about Miss Umeh who had the highest 2023 UTME score in Nigeria; she is diligent, resilient, God-fearing, a goal-getter, a limit breaker and purpose driven.
Are there other students who did well like her in your school?
Absolutely yes! As a matter of fact, we had students who scored 355, 351, 350, etc. Statistically, the breakdown of the 139 students who sat the UTME is as follows:
300 above -46 students
250 – 299 -65 students
200 – 245 -27 students
Below 200 -1 student (197)
One of our students, Andrew Imoukhuede, who scored 355, had 99 per cent in Mathematics.
Is there any plan to recognize and celebrate this record?
Yes! There are plans on the ground to celebrate the girl and her colleagues (Class of 2023). There are also plans to celebrate staff members who worked tirelessly to prepare them.
What’s different about your school?
Deeper Life High School is the brainchild of Pastor (Dr) W. F. Kumuyi, a renowned and distinguished man of God, known for holiness. The school was established in 2010 with a vision to transform our nation by producing upright leaders of the future through high-quality and sound education and a mission to produce students who are academically well-grounded, morally upright and adequately equipped as future leaders.
Deeper Life High School is a co-educational institution, with 21st-century e-learning gadgets, a home away from home to raise future leaders, who will transform our nation through high-quality and sound education.
As a faith-based school, we are meant to raise students with holistic excellence, discipline, honesty, holiness, hard work and integrity as our core values.
Our success stories cut across all areas. We are exceptionally unique in our educational programmes because it is a combination of moral, spiritual and academic excellence with zero tolerance for exam malpractice.