How do I prepare for the national benchmark test?
How do I prepare for the test?
Two booklets are available for teachers to use to assist in preparing you for the tests:
AQL: Preparing your learners
MAT: Preparing your learners
Each of these booklets contain sample questions for you to practice and get a feel for what is in the tests. You may download these individually here:
- Download exemplar questions for the Mathematics (MAT) test.
- Download exemplar questions for the Academic and Quantitative Literacy (AQL) test.
There are no special study materials for these tests. Keep in mind the usual common sense advice given to students who are about to take a test: Get adequate sleep the night before and avoid having to rush things at the last minute. Do what works best for you.
Are past tests available?
No. The tests are confidential and are not available to anyone.
What if I have not written my Grade 12 exams yet?
Different institutional and faculty requirements determine the deadlines for learners to submit NBT results, which may be as early as June or July.
The time of writing should not be a cause for concern; available data suggests that learners writing the test late in the year have no advantage over those writing in earlier sessions.
However, learners who have not completed the curriculum, or who feel that they may benefit from further revision, may choose to write the tests later in the cycle, but must still meet posted institutional deadlines.
You should write the NBTs when you feel ready. Learners in South Africa are expected to complete the secondary syllabus and write the mock matric exams beginning in September.
The NBTs are available from the end of May until the first Saturday in January, if you feel that you should wait until you finish your syllabus. You must decide for yourself whether you want to write before or after your exams.
What are the tests like?
The NBTs are multiple choice tests. Answers are recorded on what is called a ‘bubble sheet’. The answer sheets are scanned and then translated into scores using sophisticated computer programs.
There are two tests. The Academic Literacy and Quantitative Literacy domains (AQL) are combined into one multiple-choice test. Each section is timed, for a total of three hours of writing time.
The AQL test is written by applicants to all programmes. The second test is Mathematics (MAT), which is written by applicants to programmes for which mathematics is a requirement.
The MAT test is also multiple-choice and timed, with three hours allowed. These tests are described in more detail under ‘Test Content’.