JAMB Syllabus For Physics 2020/2021 Academic Session

Jamb past questions and answer in mathematics
Jamb past questions and answer in mathematics
Written by Nkedugist

What is Jamb Syllabus?

Simply means a summary of topics that jamb have converted during an academic course which is expected to be asked during an Examination day. Challenges students face is the inability of them getting the right tools or materials to study, there is a way to go about reading your syllabus. Your JAMB Physics syllabus is not meant for you to just know the topics you should stay focus by studying.

You are expected as an aspirant seeking admission to voraciously and meticulously exhaust your Physics syllabus topic by topic, solve all the questions that have ever come out under each of those topics and build your confidence towards the main exam.

JAMB Syllabus For Physics 2020/2021 

Every motive for every student is to pass there Exam with flying colors so we can say that 2020/2021 JAMB Physics Syllabus for Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME), is to prepare the candidates for the Board’s examination. Jamb syllabus for physics is a guideline necessary material for every candidate who wants to succeed and come out will good grades after studying.

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(a) Length, area, and volume: Metre rule, Venier calipers MicrometerScrew-gauge, measuring cylinder
(b) Mass
(i) unit of mass
(ii) use of simple beam balance
(iii) concept of beam balance
(c) Time
(i) unit of time
(ii) time-measuring devices
(d) Fundamental physical quantities
(e) Derived physical quantities and their units
(i) Combinations of fundamental quantities and determination of their units
(f) Dimensions
(i) definition of dimensions
(ii) simple examples
(g) Limitations of experimental measurements
(i) accuracy of measuring instruments
(ii) simple estimation of errors.
(iii) significant figures.
(iv) standard form.
(h) Measurement, position, distance, and displacement
(i) concept of displacement
(ii) the distinction between distance and displacement
(iii) concept of position and coordinates
(iv) frame of reference


Candidates should be able to:
i. identify the units of length, area, and volume;
ii. use different measuring instruments;
iii. determine the lengths, surface areas and volume of regular and irregular bodies;
iv. identify the unit of mass;
v. use simple beam balance, e.g Buchart’s balance, and chemical balance;
vi. identify the unit of time;
vii. use different time-measuring devices;
viii. relate the fundamental physical quantities to their units;
ix. deduce the units of derived physical quantities;
x. determine the dimensions of physical quantities;
xi. use the dimensions to determine the units of physical quantities;
xii. test the homogeneity of an equation;
xiii. determine the accuracy of measuring instruments;
xiv. estimate simple errors;
xv. express measurements in standard form.

Candidates should be able to:

i. use strings, meter ruler and engineering calipers, vernier calipers and micrometer, screw gauge
ii. note the degree of accuracy
iii. identify distance travel in a specified direction
iv. use compass and protractor to locate points/directions
v. use Cartesians systems to locate positions in x-y plane
vi. plot graph and draw inference from the graph.

2. Scalars and Vectors


(i) definition of scalar and vector quantities
(ii) examples of scalar and vector quantities
(iii) relative velocity
(iv) resolution of vectors into two perpendicular directions including graphical methods of solution.


Candidates should be able to:
i. distinguish between scalar and vector quantities;
ii. give examples of scalar and vector quantities;
iii. determine the resultant of two or more vectors;
iv. determine relative velocity;
v. resolve vectors into two perpendicular components;
vi. use graphical methods to solve vector problems;

3. Motion


(a) Types of motion: translational, oscillatory, rotational, spin and random
(b) Relative motion
(c) causes of motion
(d) Types of force
(i) contact
(ii) force field
(e) linear motion
(i) speed, velocity, and acceleration
(ii) equations of uniformly accelerated motion
(iii) motion under gravity
(iv) distance-time graph and velocity-time graph
(v) instantaneous velocity and acceleration.
(f) Projectiles:
(i) calculation of range, maximum height and time of flight from the ground and a height
(ii) applications of projectile motion
(g) Newton’s laws of motion:
(i) inertia, mass, and force
(ii) relationship between mass and acceleration
(iii) impulse and momentum
(iv) force-time graph
(v) conservation of linear momentum (Coefficient of restitution not necessary)
(h) Motion in a circle:
(i) angular velocity and angular acceleration
(ii) centripetal and centrifugal forces.
(iii) applications
(i) Simple Harmonic Motion (S.H.M):
(i) definition and explanation of simple harmonic motion
(ii) examples of systems that execute S.H.M
(iii) period, frequency and amplitude of S.H.M
(iv) velocity and acceleration of S.H.M
(v) simple treatment of energy change in S.H.M
(vi) force vibration and resonance (simple treatment)
(iii) conservative and non-conservative fields
(iv) acceleration due to gravity
(v) variation of g on the earth’s surface
(iv) the distinction between mass and weight
(v) escape velocity
(vi) parking orbit and weightlessness


Candidates should be able to :
i. identify different types of motion ;
ii. solve a numerical problem on the collinear motion;
iii. identify force as the cause of motion;
iv. identify push and pull as a form of force
v. identify electric and magnetic attractions, gravitational pull as forms of field forces;
vi. differentiate between speed, velocity, and acceleration;
vii.deduce equations of uniformly accelerated motion;
viii. solve problems of motion under gravity;
ix. interpret the distance-time graph and velocity-time graph;
x. compute instantaneous velocity and acceleration
xi. establish expressions for the range, maximum height and time of flight of projectiles;
xii. solve problems involving projectile motion;
xiii. solve numerical problems involving impulse and momentum;
xiv. interpretation of area under force – time graph
xv. interpret Newton’s laws of motion;
xvi. compare inertia, mass, and force;
xvii. deduce the relationship between mass and acceleration;
xviii. interpret the law of conservation of linear momentum and application
xix. establish expression for angular velocity, angular acceleration, and centripetal force;
xx. solve numerical problems involving motion in a circle;
xxi. establish the relationship between period and frequency;
xxii. analyze the energy changes occurring during S.H.M
xxiii. identify different types of forced vibration
xxiv. enumerate applications of resonance.

Candidates should be able to:
i. identify the expression for gravitational force between two bodies;
ii. apply Newton’s law of universal gravitation;
iii. give examples of conservative and non-
conservative fields;
iv. deduce the expression for gravitational field potentials;
v. identify the causes of variation of g on the earth’s surface;
vi. differentiate between mass and weight;
vii. determine escape velocity

5. Equilibrium of Forces


(a) equilibrium of particles:
(i) equilibrium of coplanar forces
(ii) triangles and polygon of forces
(iii) Lami’s theorem
(b) principles of moments
(i) moment of a force
(ii) simple treatment and moment of a couple (torque)
(iii) applications
(c) conditions for equilibrium of rigid bodies under the action of parallel and non-parallel forces
(i) resolution and composition of forces in two perpendicular directions,
(ii) resultant and equilibrant
(d) center of gravity and stability
(i) stable, unstable and neutral equilibria


Candidates should be able to:
i. apply the conditions for the equilibrium of coplanar forces to solve problems;
ii. use triangle and polygon laws of forces to solve equilibrium problems;
iii. use Lami’s theorem to solve problems;
iv. analyze the principle of a moment of a force;
v. determine the moment of a force and couple;
vi. describe some applications of a moment of a force and couple;
vii. apply the conditions for the equilibrium of rigid bodies to solve problems;
viii. resolve forces into two perpendicular directions;
ix. determine the resultant and equilibrant of forces;
x. differentiate between stable, unstable and neutral equilibra.

6. (a) Work, Energy, and Power


(ai) definition of work, energy, and power
(ii) forms of energy
(iii) conservation of energy
(iv) qualitative treatment between different forms of energy
(vi) interpretation of area under the force-distance curve
(b) Energy and society
(i) sources of energy
(ii) renewable and non-renewable energy eg coal, crude oil, etc
(iii) uses of energy
(iv) energy and development
(v) energy diversification
(vi) environmental impact of energy eg global warming, greenhouse effect, and spillage
(vii) energy crises
(viii)conversion of energy
(ix) devices used in energy production.
(c) Dams and energy production
(i) location of dams
(ii) energy production
(d) nuclear energy
(e) solar energy
(i) solar collector
(ii) solar panel for energy supply.


Candidates should be able to:
i. differentiate between work, energy, and power;
ii. compare different forms of energy, giving examples;
iii. apply the principle of conservation of energy;
iv. examine the transformation between different forms of energy;
v. interpret the area under the force-distance curve.
vi. solve numerical problems in work, energy, and power.

Candidates should be able to:
i. itemize the sources of energy
ii. distinguish between renewable and non- renewable energy, examples should be given
iii. identify methods of the energy transition
iv. explain the importance of energy in the development of society
v. analyze the effect of energy use on the environment
vi. identify the impact of energy on the environment
vii. identify energy sources that are friendly or hazardous to the environment
viii. identify energy uses in their immediate environment
ix. suggests ways of safe energy use
x. state different forms of energy conversion

7. Friction

On this topic, concentrate more on;

static and dynamic friction

coefficient of limiting friction and its determination.

advantages and disadvantages of friction

reduction of friction

qualitative treatment of viscosity and terminal stoke’s law

stoke’s law

After reading the Friction, make sure you are able to;

differentiate between static and dynamic friction

determine the coefficient of limiting friction;

compare the advantages and disadvantage of friction;

suggest ways by which friction can be reduced;

analyze factors that affect viscosity and terminal velocity;

apply stoke’s law

8. Simple Machines

Focus on;

definition of machine

types of machines

mechanical advantage, velocity ratio and efficiency of machines

After reading “Simple Machines” make sure you are able to

identify different types of machines;

solve problems involving simple machines.

9. Elasticity

Under this topic, read relevant things like;

elastic limit, yield point, breaking point, Hooke’s law, and Young’s modulus

the spring balance as a device for measuring force

workdone in springs and elastic strings

After reading Elasticity, make sure you can;

interpret force-extension curves;

interpret Hooke’s law and Young’s modulus of a material;

use spring balance to measure force;

determine the work done in spring and elastic strings

10. Pressure

Candidates should focus their attention on;

Atmospheric Pressure

definition of atmospheric pressure

units of pressure (S.I) units

measurement of pressure

simple mercury barometer, aneroid barometer, and manometer.

variation of pressure with height

the use of barometer as an altimeter.

Pressure in liquids

the relationship between pressure, depth, and density (P = rgh)

transmission of pressure in liquids (Pascal’s Principle)


After reading Pressure, you should be able to;

recognize the S.I units of pressure;

identify pressure measuring instruments;

relate the variation of pressure to height;

use a barometer as an altimeter.

determine the relationship between pressure, depth, and density

apply the principle of transmission of pressure in liquids to solve problems;

determine the application of pressure in liquid

11. Liquids at Rest

While reading the  topic “Liquids at Rest” concentrate on;

determination of density of solids and liquids

definition of relative density

upthrust on a body immersed in a liquid

Archimede’s principle and the law of floatation and applications, e.g. ships  and  hydrometers

To smash any question JAMB will set from the topic Liquidat Rest, make sure you are able to;

distinguish between density and relative density of substances;

determine the upthrust on a body immersed in a liquid;

apply Archimedes’ principle and the law of floatation to solve problems

12. Temperature and Its Measurement

Use your time wisely! Under this topic, focus your attention on;

concept of temperature

thermometric properties

calibration of thermometers

temperature scales –Celsius and

types of thermometers

conversion from one scale of temperature to another

For you are ready for any question that will come out from the topic Temperature and Its Measurement, you should be able to;

identify thermometric properties of materials that are used for different thermometers;

calibrate thermometers;

differentiate between temperature scales e.g Celsius and Kelvin.

compare the types of thermometers;

convert from one scale of temperature to another.

13. Thermal Expansion

Under this topic, just focus on;


definition and determination of linear, volume and area expansivities

effects and applications, e.g. expansion in building strips and railway lines

 relationship between different expansivities.


volume expansivity

real and apparent expansivities

determination of volume expansivity

anomalous expansion of water

After Reading the topic Thermal Expansion, make sure you are able to;

determine linear and volume expansivities;

 assess the effects and applications of thermal expansivities;

determine the relationship between different expansivities;

determine volume, apparent, and real expansivities of liquids;

analyse the anomalous expansion of water

14. Gas Laws

On this topic Gas Laws focus your attention on;

Boyle’s law

Charle’s law

Pressure law

absolute zero of temperature

general gas quation

ideal gas equation

When you you are done reading the topic Gas Laws make sure you are able to;

interpret the gas laws;

use expression of these laws to solve numerical problems

15. Quantity of Heat

While reading the topic: Quantity of Heat, make sure you  concentrate more on;

heat as a form of energy

definition of heat capacity and specific heat capacity of solids and liquids

determination of heat capacity and specific heat capacity of substances by simple methods e.g method of mixtures and electrical method

After reading make sure you are able to;

differentiate between heat capacity and specific heat capacity;

determine heat capacity and specific heat capacity using simple methods;

examine some numerical problems

16. Change of State

Under this topic, concentrate on;

latent heat

specific latent heats of fusion and vaporization;

melting, evaporation and boiling

the influence of pressure and of dissolved substances on boiling and melting

application in appliances

Once you’re done reading the topic Change of State you should be able to;

differentiate between latent heat and specific latent heat of fusion and vaporization;

differentiate between melting, evaporation and boiling;

examine the effects of pressure and of dissolved substance on boiling and melting points

17. Vapours

Concentrate more on;

unsaturated and saturated vapours

relationship between saturated vapour pressure (S.V.P) and boiling

determination of S.V.P by barometer tube method

formation of dew, mist, fog, and rain

study of dew point, humidity and relative humidity

hygrometry; estimation of the humidity of the atmosphere using wet and dry bulb hygrometers

After reading the topic Vapour, you should be able to;

distinguish between saturated and unsaturated vapours;

relate saturated vapour pressure to boiling point;

determine S.V.P by barometer tube method;

differentiate between dew point, humidity and relative humidity;

estimate the humidity of the atmosphere  using  wet and dry bulb hydrometers

18. Structure of Matter and Kinetic Theory

While reading the above topic focus more on;

Molecular nature of matter

atoms and molecules

molecular theory: explanation of Brownian motion, diffusion, surface tension, capillarity, adhesion, cohesion and angles of contact

examples and applications

Kinetic Theory

assumptions of the kinetic theory

using the theory to explain the pressure exerted by gas, Boyle’s law, Charles’ law, melting, boiling, vapourization, change in temperature evaporation, etc

After reading the Structure of Matter and Kineric Theory, make sure you are able to;

differentiate between atoms and molecules;

use molecular theory to explain Brownian motion , diffusion, surface, tension, capillarity, adhesion, cohesion and angle of contact

examine the assumptions of kinetic theory;

interpret kinetic theory, the pressure exerted by gases Boyle’s law, Charle’s law melting, boiling vaporization, change in temperature, evaporation, etc.

19. Heat Transfer

conduction, convention and radiation as modes of heat transfer

temperature gradient, thermal conductivity and heat flux

effect of the nature of the surface on the energy radiated and absorbed by it.

the conductivities of common materials

the thermos flask

 land and sea breeze

After reading heat transfer, you are expected to be able to;

differentiate between conduction, convention and radiation as modes of heat transfer;

determine temperature gradient, thermal conductivity and heat flux;

assess the effect of the nature of the surface on the energy radiated and absorbed by it;

compare the conductivities of common materials;

relate the component part of the working of the thermos flask;

differentiate between land and sea breeze.

20. Waves

Production and Propagation

wave motion,

vibrating systems as source of waves

waves as mode of energy transfer

distinction between particle motion and wave motion

relationship between frequency, wavelength and wave velocity (V=f λ)

phase difference

Progressive wavelength


types of waves; mechanical and electromagnetic waves

longitudinal and transverse waves

stationary and progressive waves

examples of waves from springs, ropes, stretched strings and the ripple tank


reflection, refraction, diffraction and plane Polarization

superposition of waves e.g interference

Please note that after reading Waves, you are expected to;

interpret wave motion;

identify vibrating systems as sources of waves;

use waves as a mode of energy transfer;

distinguish between particle motion and wave motion;

relate frequency and wave length to wave velocity;

determine phase difference;

 use the progressive wave equation to compute basic wave parameters

differentiate between mechanical and electronmagnetic waves;

differentiate between longitudinal and transverse waves

distinguish between stationary and progressive waves;

indicate the example of waves generated from springs, ropes, stretched strings and the ripple tank;

differentiate between reflection, refraction, diffraction and plane polarization of waves;

analyse the principle of superposition of waves

21. Propagation of Sound Waves

While reading this topic, just focus on;

the necessity for a material medium

speed of sound in solids, liquids and air;

reflection of sound; echoes, reverberation and their applications

disadvantages of echoes and reverberations

After reading Propagation of Sound Waves,  you should be able to;

determine the need for a material medium in the propagation of sound waves;

compare the speed of sound in solids, liquids and air;

relate the effects of temperature and pressure to the speed of sound in air;

solve problem on echoes, reverberation;

compare the disadvantages and echoes

22. Characteristics of Sound Waves

While reading Characteristics of Sound Waves, concentrate on;

noise and musical notes

quality, pitch, intensity and loudness and their application to musical instruments;

simple treatment  of  overtones  produced by vibrating strings and their columns

acoustic examples of resonance

frequency of a note emitted by air columns in closed and open pipes in relation to  their lengths

When you are done reading the  Characteristics of Sound Waves, you are expected to;

differentiate between noise and musical notes;

analyse quality, pitch, intensity and loudness of sound notes;

evaluate the application of (ii) above in the  construction of musical instruments;

identify overtones by vibrating stings and air columns;

itemize acoustical examples of resonance;

determine the frequencies of notes  emitted by air columns in open and closed pipes in relation to their lengths

23. Light Energy

While reading the topic light energy, concetrate on;

Source of Light

natural and artificial source of light

luminous and non-luminous objects

Propagation of light

speed, frequency and wavelength of light

formation of shadows and eclipse

the pin-hole camera

After reading Light Energy, you should be able to;

compare the natural and artificial sources of light;

differentiate between luminous and non luminous objects;

relate the speed, frequency and wavelength of light;

interpret the formation of shadows and eclipses;

solve problems using the principle of operation of a pin-hole camera.

24. Reflection of Light at Plane and Curved faces

While reading the above topic, concentrate more on;

laws of reflection

application of reflection of light

formation of images by plane, concave and convex mirrors and ray diagrams

use of the mirror formula

linear magnification

After reading Reflection of Light at Plane and Curved faces, make sure you are able to;

interpret the laws of reflection;

illustrate the formation of images by plane, concave and convex mirrors;

apply the mirror formula to solve optical problems;

determine the linear magnification;

apply the laws of reflection of light to the working of periscope, kaleidoscope and the sextant.

25. Refraction of Light

When reading  Refraction of Light, focus on;

Refraction of Light through Plane and Curved Surface

explanation of refraction in terms of velocity of light in the

laws of refraction

definition of refractive index of a medium

determination of refractive index of glass and liquid using Snell’s law

real and apparent depth and lateral displacement

critical angle and total internal reflection

Refraction of Light through Glass Prism

of the minimum deviation formula

type of lenses

use of lens formula


After reading Refraction of light, you should be able to;

interpret the laws of reflection;

determine the refractive index of glass and liquid using Snell’s law;

determine the refractive index using the principle of real and apparent depth;

determine the conditions necessary for total internal reflection;

examine the use of periscope, prism, binoculars, optical fibre;

apply the principles of total internal reflection to the formation of mirage;

use of lens formula and ray diagrams to solve optical numerical problems;

determine the magnification of an image;

calculate the refractive index of a glass prism using minimum deviation formula

26. Optical Instruments

Your area of concentration on the above topic should be;

the principles of microscopes, telescopes, projectors, cameras and the human eye (physiological details of the eye are not required)

power of a lens

angular magnification

near and far points

sight defects and their corrections

After reading the Optical Instruments, make sure you are able to;

apply the principles of operation of optical instruments to solve problems;

distinguish between the human eye and the cameras;

calculate the power of a lens;

determine the angular magnification of optical instruments;

determine the near and far points;

detect sight defects and their corrections

Candidates should also read up the following topics

dispersion of light and colours

Electgromagnetic spectrum



Electric Cells

Current Electricity

Electrical Energy and Power

Magnets and Magnetic Fields

Force on a Current-Carrying Conductor

Electromagnetic Induction

Simple A. C. Circuit

Conduction of Electricity Through liquids

Elementary Modern Physics

Introductory Electronics

JAMB Fundamentals of Physics Textbooks for Physics

Essential Principles of Physics, Ike E.E (2014)

Numerical Problems and Solutions in Physics, Ike E.E (2014)

Fundamentals of Physics, Nelson M. (1977)

Advance Level Physics, Nelson M. and Parker … (1989) (Sixth Edition)

Senior Secondary School Physics, Okeke P.N and Anyakoha M.W. (2000)

Comprehensive Certificate Physics, Olumuyionwa A. and Ogunkoya O. O (1992).

Jamb syllabus for physics is a guideline necessary material for every candidate who wants to succeed and come out will good grades after studying.



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