The National Benchmarking Tests (more commonly known as the NBTs) is a set of tests used to assess a student’s academic literacy, general knowledge and mathematical skill in an effort to measure academic readiness for tertiary education (i.e. university).
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The results of these test help tertiary institutions like universities to determine if a student is going to be successful or not on a chosen degree programme. If you do not achieve the NBT results that are required then you may not be selected for your degree programme(s). Therefore it is essential that you perform well in the NBTs to ensure you can study the degree programme that you want to.
What does the NBT assess?
The NBT test assesses readiness for tertiary study. It is made up of two assessments: AQL and MAT.
The AQL paper aims to test proficiency in language comprehension (Academic Literacy – AL) as well as logic based numerical skills (Quantitative Literacy – QL).
In short, the AQL paper of the NBT aims to assess whether students will be able to apply the knowledge they learnt at high school to the tertiary context.
The Academic Literacy (AL) sections will require the reading of various texts with multiple choice questions referring to the text. Some questions are general knowledge based. Questions on grammar, punctuation, vocabulary are included. It predominantly assesses the ability to understand the meaning and application of various texts as well as understanding and applying the argument or main point of the author.
The Quantitative Literacy (QL) sections assess a student’s capacity to: understand basic numerical concepts, read and interpret graphs, reason logically and identify patterns and trends. It is largely based on the Grade 11 Maths Literacy syllabus.
The second assessment is the MAT and not all students will need to write the MAT. Some degree programmes only require the AQL to be written, however, there are many that require both the MAT and the AQL to be written in order to apply for admission to a degree programme.
The Mathematics (MAT) paper assesses mostly Grade 11 Core Maths syllabus content although some Grade 12 work is also included. It tests proficiency in such areas as problem-solving, modelling, functions, trigonometry, spatial perception, and probability.
Both the AQL and MAT are differentiated into cognitive levels, meaning there is a range in difficulty in each section with the easier applications generally coming first. Both papers change throughout the year in order to maintain the integrity of the assessment and to date, no past papers have been published for students to prepare for the NBTs.Hence, choosing an experienced partner like Advantage Learn is critical to help you prepare sufficiently.
Advantage Learn’s 5 steps to NBT success
Advantage Learn was the first organisation to begin preparing learners for the NBTs, at the time of writing, Advantage Learn has prepared over 5000 students for success in the NBTs and through their vast experience have outlined 5 essential steps to help you perform in your NBTs. Here they are:
1. Find out all you need to know about the NBTs.
It is important you know what you are walking into before you go to sit your NBT. For instance, you are only allowed your ID, an HB pencil, an eraser and a pencil sharpener at your desk. NB: There are no calculators allowed! For further information about the tests, you can visit advantagelearn.com/nbt/.
2. Pick an NBT test date.
A full list of test dates is available on the NBTs main website. It is important to pick a date when you are not busy and are not completing other exams so that you can focus on the NBTs. You cannot book your test date until the bookings open, normally on the 1st April each year.
3. Purchase an NBT preparation course.
Advantage Learn offers NBT Online courses and in-person workshops nationwide.Preparing for these tests is vital. They are completely different from your school tests and because they decide if you get into varsity or not, it is important to be prepared for them. Advantage Learn offers a number of preparation options to help you with your NBTs. Purchase the online course now to make the most of your 12-months access or book your seat on an NBT Workshop.
4. Book your NBT test date.
If you haven’t already set a reminder in your calendar then do it now. The 1st of April is when the test dates are available for bookings so make sure you are ready to book the date you want before it sells out.
5. Create a study plan leading up to your test.
Now that you have a test date and a preparation course you need to plan a study schedule. Make use of the Advantage Learn mock NBT exams, particularly in the 2-weeks leading up to your test as this will mean the content is fresh in your mind.
Further information and links