National Benchmark Test (NBT): What You Need to Know

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).

If you’re wondering what a National Benchmark Test (NBT) is and whether you need to take one, then be sure to read on as we reveal everything you need to know about the National Benchmark Test (NBT) and why you may need to write one when you apply to university.

What is the National Benchmark Test (NBT)?

The National Benchmark Test (NBT) is a test used to measure your academic readiness for university. The test complements and supports, rather than replaces or duplicates, your final matric results.

Which Universities Use National Benchmark Tests (NBT)?

There are many institutions in South Africa that use the National Benchmark Test (NBT) to help interpret your National Senior Certificate (NSC) results.

Universities use the NBT results in different ways:

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

What do I Need to Know About Writing the National Benchmark Test (NBT)?

Before you register for the National Benchmark Test (NBT), there are a couple of things you need to know that will help you get started:

  • There are two tests: the Academic and Quantitative Literacy (AQL) test and the Mathematics (MAT) test
  • 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 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 3 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.
national benchmark test

How Do I Register for the National Benchmark Test (NBT)?

You must register online to write the National Benchmark Test (NBT) and pay upfront. You’ll need the following before you can register for the National Benchmark Test (NBT):

  • Your South African ID (if you’re not a South African citizen, you’ll need your passport)
  • Your email address
  • The city and venue where you want to write
  • NBT requirements from the institutions where you plan to apply
  • Date when you want to write (allow 4 weeks for the institution(s) to which you have applied to receive your results. You can access your results on the NBT website after 5 weeks.)
  • Pen and paper to record your username and EasyPay number

The costs of the tests for the 2022 admission cycle are:

    • R130 for AQL only
    • R260 for AQL and MAT
    • R250 for a re-mark

Make sure you book your National Benchmark Test (NBT) well ahead of the application deadline. Once you have written the NBT and passed, you’ll be happy to know that you only need to write the NBT once as it is valid for 3 years.

Fund Your Education With Fundi

Once you’ve passed your National Benchmark Test and gotten into a higher education institution, it’s time to think about funding your studies. Luckily, Fundi can help!

Fundi provides students with study loans that cover everything from accommodation to tuition fees. To see if you qualify for a Fundi loan, be sure to check out the Fundi Study Loan Calculator and start your academic journey today!

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