Kenya National Examinations Council
Curriculum for examination
The subjects are categorised into five groups. The three subjects in group 1 are compulsory.
Entry requirements are such that a candidate must be exposed to English, Kiswahili, Mathematics
and at least two science subjects.
Subjects to be offered for the examination
Group 1 Group 2 Group 3 Group 4 Group 5
English Biology History and Government Home Science French
Kiswahili Physics Geography Art and Design German
Mathematics Chemistry Agriculture Arabic
Physical Islamic Religious
Biological Social Education and
Metal Work Accounting
Building Construction Commerce
Power Mechanics Economics
Typewriting with Office
Drawing and Design
Subject entry requirements
The Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education will be awarded to all candidates who fulfil all the
requirements for the examination as prescribed in these regulations. Candidates must sit for at
least eight subjects selected from groups 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.
Admission requirements to various training institutions were previously based on the Kenya
Certificate of Education and the Kenya Advanced Certificate of Education. The Ordinary Level
Course had divisions I, II, III and IV with grades for each subject running from 1 to 9. But the
advanced Level Course had its candidates graded in principals A, B, C, D, E and subsidiary
However, the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education grading system has no provision for
divisions and principals. In the 8.4.4 system, each subject is graded on the basis of a 12-point
scale. 12 points is the highest and 1 point the lowest score. These points are accompanied by an
expanded grading system of A, A-, B+ ... E.
This system takes into account the level of performance as a major criterion for determining the
quality of candidates to be considered for further education. Institutions offering further education
and training for the 8.4.4 secondary school leavers are required to use these grades and points to
select suitable candidates for their training programmes.
KCSE grading system
Grade A A- B+ B B- C+ C C- D+ D D- E
Points 12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
There is an average grade based on performance in the eight subjects. Where a candidate sits
for more than eight subjects, the average grade is based on the best eight subjects. Selection is
based on the best eight and performance in the individual subjects. Look at the imagined
A student scored the following grades and points in the subjects indicated
Subject Group Grade Points
English 1 D+ 4
Kiswahili 1 D+ 4
Mathematics 1 C 6
History & Government 3 B 9
Geography 3 B- 8
Physics 2 B 9
Chemistry 2 B- 8
Biology 2 C+ 7
Woodwork 4 D 3
The total number of points is 51.
The average grade is 51 divided by 8, which equals 6.4 (approximately 6.0 points) which is Grade
C according to the grading system.
Note that although this student does not qualify to join one of the Public Universities due to the
poor average grade he has scored, he could still be considered in other institutions of further
education to take a course related to Physics, Chemistry and Biology because he has scored
relatively high grades in these subjects. It must also be pointed out that training institutions and
faculties and departments determine their own minimum entry requirements. This is because
different institutions will offer different courses that will, naturally, carry different entry
requirements in the subject clusters.
Students who manage a mean grade of C+ qualify to do a degree course at the University. Due
to competition, and fewer places at the University, those with B and in a few cases B-, and above
are taken for degree courses at the Public Universities. The rest join Private Universities or