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Home After School National Benchmark Test (NBT) – The Need-to-knows

National Benchmark Test (NBT) – The Need-to-knows

by Annique Bolliger

If you’re considering applying to a South African university and you’ve had a look at their admission requirements, chances are you’ve come across the National Benchmark Test (NBT). Here’s everything you need to know about the NBTs and why you have to write them.

The National Benchmark Tests are a set of tests that measure your academic readiness for university. They complement and support, rather than replace or duplicate, your National Senior Certificate results 🎓

Who uses the NBT and why?

A number of universities in South Africa use the NBTs to help interpret your National Senior Certificate results.

Universities use the NBT results in different ways:

  • Some use them to help make decisions about your access to university. This means that your NBT results, in combination with your NSC results, are used to determine whether you are ready for academic study.
  • They use them for placement within the university. This means that the results are used to decide whether you will need extra academic support after you have been admitted to university.
  • To help develop curricula within their university.

Don’t feel like reading? Watch this video instead or have a look at this infographic here

What do I need to know about writing the NBT?

We’re sure there’re lots you’d like to know about the NBTs but have a look at some of the key points you need to remember.

  • There are two tests – the Academic and Quantitative Literacy (AQL) test and the Mathematics (MAT) test. And that’s all you need to know 😉
  • The university faculty to which you are applying will determine which test you have to write, so check with them. Generally, the MAT test is reserved for those who wish to apply to courses that require Mathematics, such as Engineering and the Sciences 🔬
  • There are no past papers or special study materials to prepare for the tests. The NBT assesses your prior knowledge – what you know and what you are able to do. Go to the NBT website to find out what is covered in the tests.
  • The duration of the tests is three hours each ⏰
  • Even if you’re applying to more than one university, you need only write the tests once. The tests consist of multiple choice questions.
  • You should write the test in time to meet the university admission deadlines. If you are applying to more than one university, make sure you write in time to meet the earliest deadline 📅

 How do I register?

  • You must register online to write the tests and pay upfront. Go to the NBT website to register.
  • The costs of the tests for the 2021 admission cycle are:
    • R100 for AQL only
    • R200 for AQL and MAT
  • Even if you’re applying to more than one university, you need only write the tests once.

For more information, go to the NBT website. If you have any queries about the NBT, contact them at the Call Centre (021-650 3523), or connect with on Facebook or Twitter.

Make sure you book a test well ahead of the application deadline. Remember you only need to write the test once and it is valid for 3 years. Amazing, right? We think so too!

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Hopefully, you feel a bit more informed and on top of your game. Please make sure you inform yourself about whether or not you need to write the NBTs. If you need more information on what you need to know before applying to university, check out these guidelines and tips.

Good luck! 

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