What is the National Benchmark Test?

A number of South African universities use the NBTs to help interpret your National Senior Certificate results. Their goal is to ensure that you will be able to cope with the demands of academic study.

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.
  • Some use them for placement within university. This means that the results are used to decide whether you will need extra academic support after you have been admitted to university.
  • use them to help develop curricula within their university.

Which tests must I write?

There are two tests:

  • Academic Literacy and Quantitative Literacy (AQL)
  • Mathematics (MAT)

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.

What can I expect from the tests?

  • Go to the NBT web site to find out what is covered in the tests.
  • The duration of the tests is three hours.
  • The tests consist of multiple choice questions.
  • There are no past papers or special study materials to prepare for the tests. They assess the knowledge and skills that you have accumulated during your schooling.

2015 costs:

  • AQL & MAT: R160

What else do I need to know about the NBT?

  • Register online via the NBT web site.
  • Even if you register at more than one institution, you only need to write the tests once.
  • Your results will be requested by the institution to which you have applied and sent directly to them. You may also access them on the NBT web site using your registration login details.

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