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NBT AQL Preparation Course Online

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NBT Preparation Course Online

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Want to get the best NBT result you can? Take this one-of-a-kind online course to help you prepare for your NBTs.

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How do I book for the NBT?

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NBT registration for the 2018 intake opens on 1st April 2017. Follow this link to book your test.

Check the following before you book your NBT test!

You need to check the following before you book for the NBT:
  • Your school’s calendar for sporting and social events, holidays and exams
  • Closing dates and application deadlines at all institutions where you intend to apply
  • The language of instruction where you are applying
All this needs to be taken into consideration when you are deciding when the best time is to write your NBTs.
Registration for the NBTs is done online and takes about 5 minutes. NBT registration for the 2018 intake opens on 1st April 2017. Follow this link to book your test.
  • Note: you will need your official South African ID or foreign passport in order to complete the registration process.
Your registration is only valid for the specific date and location you select and must be done at least three weeks before you wish to write. It is your responsibility to register early enough to ensure a place on one of the national test days at your chosen venue. There is a full list of available test days and venues on the NBT website. If you do not have access to the internet, or encounter problems during the registration process, you may either call 021-650-3523 or send an e-mail to nbt@uct.ac.za for assistance.

What is the NBT test?

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The NBT test 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 university.

The NBT test was implemented in 2008 and is a set of tests that assess students’ academic literacy, general knowledge, and mathematical skill in an effort to measure academic readiness for university. The NBT tests are managed by the Alternative Admissions Research Project at the University of Cape Town. NBT results are used by many universities as an extra admission criterion for applicants to their institutions. They serve to complement and support, rather than replace or duplicate NSC results. Dr Abbey Mathekga, the head of the higher education enrolment programme, said: “They [the NBTs] are intended to identify learners who might have problems in certain subjects. They are also aimed at determining the level of competency of learners in certain learning areas.” The NBT consists of two tests: the MAT and the AQL. The AQL (Academic Quantitative Literacy) is one multiple-choice test of three hours writing time. The MAT (Core Maths) is also a multiple-choice test with three hours writing time. Both papers are written on the same day.

What does the NBT test entail?

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The NBT test assesses readiness for tertiary study. It is made up of two assessments: AQL and MAT.

The AQL (compulsory for all students who are required to write the NBT) aims to test proficiency in language comprehension as well as logic based numerical skills. It assesses knowledge learned in the senior high school phase. It aims to assess whether students will be able to apply knowledge learnt in high school to the tertiary context. The AQL section comprises approximately 75 multiple-choice questions.
  • The Academic Literacy (AL) sections will require 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 MAT paper is a separate three hour paper (only written by students applying for certain degree programmes and who have done Core Maths at school) and assesses mostly Grade 11 Core Maths syllabus content although some Grade 12 work is included, depending on the time of year the assessment is written. It also takes a multiple choice format. It tests proficiency in such areas as problem solving and modeling, 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.

How to prepare for the NBT?

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Trust us, we've been doing this for years.

Advantage Learn offers NBT Preperation courses in the form of workshops (book here) and online (book here). Our course is recommended for all students wanting to prepare and do well in their NBT test. With many years experience in preparing students for the NBT test coupled with a world class online learning environment and exceptional educators, we are well placed to give you peace of mind with this challenging test.
Since formally commencing NBT training in 2013, Advantage Learn has helped over 5000 students across South Africa to prepare for this test. We are adding more cities and towns to our list in 2017 as well as expanding the course to be offered in Afrikaans as well as English.
Our carefully designed courses prepare students for both papers of the National Benchmark Test (NBT) - the MAT and AQL. It is important that you do this course at the appropriate time for your NBT.
Our course includes the following: training of essential sections known to be tested regularly in the NBTs, test day best practices, how to go about answering multiple choice questions, extensive practice examples and a full mock exam.

When should i prepare for the NBTs?

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We find that it is best to do the course relatively close to when you write your test. Depending on how much time you have available to study, you should do the course one-two weeks prior to your test. You should book your test date before booking your course. To view our courses click here.

Do I need to write the NBT test?

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Most South African universities require applicants to write the NBT test. So the answer to this question is - it depends on where and what you are applying for, but the most likely answer is, yes! Besides first year applicants, some post-graduate degrees (for example MBA programs) require the NBT as well as certain scenarios where students need to change degrees or universities. So, the NBT is NOT just for first year applicants. You may need to write the AQL and the MAT or just the AQL.
Below we have summarised a table of which universities and departments require the NBT. The second table will help you to see whether you need write just the AQL or the AQL and the MAT based on what and where you are studying as well as results to aim for and what dates you need to have written it by.
University Required? Department
UCT Yes All
Wits Yes Health Sciences
Stellenbosch Yes All
Rhodes Yes All
Tuks Yes Health & Veterinary Science
UFS Yes All
NMMU No N/A
UKZN Yes Medicine
*Each institution determines which tests are required i.e the university and faculty where you apply will determine which tests you must write (AQL or MAT, or both). Please check with each institution/faculty where you intend to apply, before you register for the NBTs with regards to their application requirements including closing dates and deadlines for receiving NBT results. Please note that each university has different requirements and each faculty may require different tests or have different deadlines.

NBT preparation courses

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NBT Online or NBT Workshops - You choose!

NBT online course:

Advantage learn NBT course online example Made up of just over 9 hours of tutorial videos led by our Maths and English experts, the course focuses on covering key concepts tested in the NBT as well as test day best practices. Students have full access to the material from the purchase date for 12 months. Students are able work at their own pace, at any time of the day, in accordance with their NBT test date. There are teaching videos, practice questions, quizzes, downloadable notes, a mock NBT past paper for the MAT & QL and comments for asking questions directly to the teacher and other students. The more you engage with the material you are watching the better you will do. Press pause, watch again, try the examples on your own and learn at your own pace. You can access the online courses at any time of the day or night - that is the beauty of online learning! Click for our Full Online course or just our AQL course.

NBT Workshops

Our NBT Workshops are a 9 - hour course where the teacher covers predominantly material tested in the MAT. Our students will be referred to the Academic and Quantitive Literacy components in our online course for study. The NBT Workshops are run on the weekend (and some public holidays). Some Workshops are full day courses (9 hours) and others are split over Saturday and Sunday mornings (4.5 hours each). This was carefully thought out in an effort to accommodate sporting commitments as well as those students who battle to concentrate for long stretches at a time. Advantage learn NBT course Included:
  • A printed NBT book
  • Access to online course training MAT, AL & QL from prior to the course day for 12months.
  • A mock NBT past paper - online
Click here to view our NBT workshops.

NBT courses for schools

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We offer our NBT preparation course solution to schools. If you would like to speak to one of our team about these packages then please Email us on info@advantagelearn.com.

When can I write my NBT test?

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Each university and department will have different requirements for when you need to write your NBT test. Some might be as early as June or July. This is one of the reasons why the NBT is so confusing! Our top piece of advice is to choose a date that fits in with your application requirements AND is at a time when you can give it the attention it deserves (i.e. make sure to check your school calendar to ensure you don’t have other important school events in that week).
We have summarised some helpful tips for you on writing dates based on universities & departments, according to our recommendation in our table below. We cannot speak on behalf of the NBT nor the institutions themselves, it is important that you double check with your relevant institution.
For detailed information on 2017-2018 NBT test dates & venue info click on this link. Bookings open on the 1st April 2017. The first NBT test date of the year is on the 20th May, the tests are run every week or second week in various venues across SA until the first week of January 2018.
Degree Recommended Test Date MAT + AQL or AQL only Minimum NBT result to aim for:
MAT AL QL
Medicine On or before 1st week July MAT + AQL 90% 70% 80%
Engineering & Built Environment On or before 1st week July MAT + AQL 80% 65% 80%
Business Science On or before last week July MAT + AQL 75% 65% 60%
BCom On or before last week July MAT + AQL 60% 60% 50%
Health Sci- ence On or before 1st week July MAT + AQL 70% 70% 70%
BSc Before Trial exams MAT + AQL 65% 65% 60%
BA Law Before Trial exams AQL only 50% 60% 50%

NB: Some universities/departments accept applications with proof that you have written the NBT without having received the actual results.
Available data by the NBT suggests that learners who write the tests later in the year have no advantage over those writing in earlier sessions. The test changes as the year progresses in order to maintain the validity of the test. From Advantage Learn’s experience and certainly our NBT expert and tutor, Mrs Pike, we recommend that students should write this test as early as possible in the year and definitely before trials. The earlier a student writes, the less content they have to learn for the test. Up until the end of June, the content tested is predominantly Grade 11 work and the first term of Grade 12 (Sequences and Grade 12 Trig). This makes the July holidays(4 term schools) ideal to give yourself enough time to prepare properly. Those applying for Medical and Health Science degrees have until the end of the first week in July to write their NBTs. If you are wanting to come on one of our preparation courses, then you should try to write your NBT test about a week later. Time must be given to working through the workbook and AQL modules before writing the NBT test.

IMPORTANT

Please don’t just book a test date because that is the exam venue you want to write at. ALL venues are very good exam venues. Ultimately, when you write your NBT test is up to you and when you can best fit it into your school and sporting schedule but in our experience, as we have said, the earlier in your Grade 12 year you write it, the better.

Can I write the NBTs more than once?

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Some universities do allow their applicants to write the NBT more than once in an attempt to achieve a better result the second time around. However you need to check with the specific faculty and tertiary institution that you are applying to, to make sure that this is the case as not every university will accept the second result.
Note If you do choose to write a second time, you should give yourself at least 6 weeks between writing sessions.If you write the MAT test a second time, you must also write the AQL test a second time on the same morning.

Does my chosen University require the NBT?

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Check our list below.*

Does UKZN require the NBT?

Only if you have chosen to study Medicine. All other courses do not require you to have sat the NBT.

Does NMMU require the NBT?

No, you do not need to sit the NBT if you want to study at NMMU.

Does UFS require the NBT?

Yes, you need to sit the NBT. You will only need to sit the AQL section for most degrees. Please check with your University Department to check their requirements.

Does Stellenbosch require the NBT?

Yes, you need to sit the NBT. You will only need to sit the AQL section for most degrees. Please check with your University Department to check their requirements.

Does Tuks require the NBT?

Only if you are planning on studying Health and Veterinary Science. For all other departments you do not need to sit it.

Does Rhodes require the NBT?

Yes, you need to sit the NBT. You will only need to sit the AQL section for most degrees. Please check with your University Department to check their requirements.

Does UCT require the NBT?

Yes, you need to sit the NBT. You will only need to sit the AQL section for most degrees. Please check with your University Department to check their requirements.

Does Wits require the NBT?

Only if you are planning on studying Health Sciences. For all other departments you do not need to sit it.
*Each institution determines which tests are required i.e the university and faculty where you apply will determine which tests you must write (AQL or MAT, or both). Please check with each institution/faculty where you intend to apply, before you register for the NBTs with regards to their application requirements including closing dates and deadlines for receiving NBT results. Please note that each university has different requirements and each faculty may require different tests or have different deadlines.

How do I get my NBT test results?

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To access your NBT results, please go to the NBT website. Once you are on the home page, look down the right hand side of the page and you will see one of the options is "Request your Results". Click on this option and you will be prompted to enter your ID number and your name and surname and then click "Submit". NOTE: If you wrote your test after 2012, you have to click on this link to request your results. You can only request your results about 6 weeks after you have written your NBT test. If you are unable to access your results, please contact the NBT Project on 021 650 3523 or email nbt@uct.ac.za for assistance. To request your NBT results you need:
  • Your ID number
  • Your full names (as provided on the NBT answer sheet)
  • Your surname (as provided on the NBT answer sheet)
For your NBT results, please click here National Benchmark Test Project

Didn't get the results that you wanted?

We offer a few online courses that will help increase your results. Our NBT Preparation Online Course will help you improve your MAT and AQL results. Our NBT AQL Preparation Online Course will help you improve your AQL results.

How is the style of the NBT assessment different to assessment styles students are used to?

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Unlike the US and the UK and many other countries that model their education system around standardised assessments (eg. SATs, ACTs etc) our South African school system more commonly uses summative, continuous and formative styles of assessment. ( for an explanation of these styles read more here). The NBTs are a standardised assessment and thus this form of assessment is not common for many  South African students.  

So how does this form of standardised assessment differ from the usual forms of assessment employed?

 

Here are some examples:

  1. They are multiple choice based. This is unfamiliar answering territory for many students and so needs practice before-hand in order to build confidence.
  2. The questions are formed around right AND wrong answers and not just the correct answers like we are used to. In other words, you will be faced with a situation where you think to yourself, but BOTH A AND B could be right. This can be really scary. At a high school level we are groomed to try to get the CORRECT answer hence questions are formed to lead students to the correct answer.
  3. There are no marks for working and hence the questions are formed to test absolute accuracy. This makes it critical to work efficiently and accurately!
  4. The order of difficulty does not build through the assessment. The hardest question might be the first question and this often throws students off from the get-go.
  5. A one-time assessment! Most students write this assessment once and the results are used for university applications. At school we are used to building our results through many different methods.eg. continuous assessment, outcomes based projects and portfolios of evidence etc etc
  6. You can’t use a calculator
  7. You don’t know ahead of time what is going to be tested - in school you know at least what part of the syllabus is going to be tested
We could go on for ages but I think you get the message, it is very different to what you are used to!

How much does the NBT cost?

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AQL R80 // Full NBT R160

Test fees are non-refundable and can be paid at any EasyPay point. Fees for the 2017 Admission cycle are: AQL only R80 AQL and MAT R160. Should you miss the test for which you were registered, you will need to reregister and pay again. Why do I have to register? The NBT project and the local venues guarantee space and materials ONLY for students who have registered to write at a specific venue on a specific day.

NBT Resources

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Helpful links...

National Benchmark Test Project

Contact details
  • Email: nbt@uct.ac.za
  • Telephone: 021 650 3523
  • Website: www.nbt.ac.za
NBT Brochure click here for more info.
More about the NBTs click here.
Book your NBT test click here.
NBT 2017 Test Dates click here.
NBT test sites click here for more info.
To request your NBT Test Scores click here.

University info

University of Cape Town click here for more info.
Wits University Click here for more info.
Stellenbosch University click here for more info.
Rhodes University click here for more info.
University of Kwa-Zulu Natal click here for more info.
University of Pretoria click here for more info.
University of the Free State click here for more info.

Other useful NBT information

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The NBTs are available in both Afrikaans and English. When you register, you will have the opportunity to indicate which of these two languages you prefer to write in.
NBT results are valid for three intake years. This means that it is worthwhile writing your NBT in your Matric year even if you are having a gap year. Your syllabus will never be more fresh in your mind as it is now.
If you cannot write the NBTs in the year before your studies (if, for example, you are overseas), you are allowed to write them in January before the start of the academic year. Bear in mind, however, that you do expose yourself to special risks and practical implications in terms of placement and selection if you write the tests at such a late stage. It is therefore strongly recommended that you write the NBTs in your matric year.

Enquiries

For all and any other enquiries about the writing of your NBTs and release of NBT results contact: NBT Client Services Centre (University of Cape Town). Telephone: 021 650 3523. Website: www.nbt.ac.za.

What are the NBT tests like?

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The NBTs are multiple choice tests. Both the AQL and MAT test are 3 hours long. Answers are recorded on what is called a “bubble sheet”. The answer sheets are scanned and then transferred into scores using sophisticated computer software. The AQL is made up of 25 minute sections. You may not refer back or go forward but can only work in the specified 25 minute section. The MAT is not made up of sections in this way.

What dates can i write the NBT?

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NBT registration for the 2018 intake opens on 1st April 2017. All test dates for the 2018 intake cycle (21 May - 9 January) will be available to book from 1st April. The tests will run on the weekend, every week or every second week from the 21st May 2017 - 5 January 2018. Follow this link for all the NBT dates for 2017.

What if I am applying to two institutions with different application deadlines?

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What if I am applying to two institutions with different application deadlines? If you are applying to more than one institution or faculty then you need to register and write the NBTs to meet the earliest deadline. You are only required to write the test once, even when applying to more than one institution. All institutions to which you apply will be able to access your NBT results.

What languages can I write the NBTs?

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The NBTs are available in English and Afrikaans. When you register you will be asked to indicate the language in which you wish to write. Note that you can only use one language i.e there is no option to write one test in English and the other in Afrikaans.

What to bring to the NBT test?

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You must bring:
  • Your ID Book, passport, or a certified receipt of application for South African ID
  • Your registration letter and EasyPay proof of payment (without this you will not be allowed to write the NBTs - the venue administrator will stamp the receipt and return it to you)
  • Two HB pencils, an eraser, and a pencil sharpener
  • Lunch and water, if you are writing both tests
  • DO NOT bring calculators, rulers, dictionaries, scrap paper, notebooks or ipads, tablets or phones
  • NOTE that learners without an official ID will be turned away and not allowed to write (except where the following documentation is provided - a birth certificate with an a davit from the police including a recent photograph and a letter of application for ID from Home A airs).

What NBT results do i need

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Degree Recommended MAT or NBT result to aim for
Test Date AQL MAT AL QL
Medicine before 2nd week July Both 90% 70% 80%
Engineering Built Environment before 2nd week July Both 80% 65% 80%
Business Science before August Both 75% 65% 60%
BCom before August Both 60% 60% 50%
Health Science before August Both 70% 70% 70%
BSc Before Trial exams Both 65% 65% 60%
BA Law Before Trial exams AQL - 60% 50%
*Each institution determines which tests are required i.e the university and faculty where you apply will determine which tests you must write (AQL or MAT, or both). Please check with each institution/faculty where you intend to apply, before you register for the NBTs with regards to their application requirements including closing dates and deadlines for receiving NBT results. Please note that each university has different requirements and each faculty may require different tests or have different deadlines.

What time are the NBT tests?

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Writers must be at the test venue by 07:30

The AQL is written in the morning (3 hours writing time), and writers must be at the test venue by 07:30. The MAT is written in the afternoon on the same day, with a short lunch break between the two tests. The MAT also has 3 hours writing time. No learner is allowed to arrive at mid-day to write just the MAT test. If you are writing the MAT test, you must write it on the same day as you write the AQL test.

What to expect on the NBT test day?

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YOU MUST CHECK IN AT 7:30AM. The test venue door closes at 8:30 after which no one is allowed inside the test room.

  • At check-in, you will be given an answer sheet with your name and ID number printed on the back
  • Once you are seated inside the test room, carefully check the printed name
  • You will be given instructions by the Chief Invigilator how to make corrections
  • You must show your official ID to an invigilator before the test begins
  • Place your ID beside the answer sheet, along with your pencils and eraser. Everything else must be placed on the floor
  • Note that bathroom breaks are not allowed. Plan ahead, and remember that the writing session is 3 hours long

Where can I write the NBT test?

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There are various centres across South Africa where you can write your NBT. Click on the following link for a list of all the venue sites across the country. Choose a venue that is convenient for you to get to with this link

Which institutions will use my NBT results and how do they get them?

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Which institutions will use my NBT results and how do they get them? All the universities to which you apply can receive your NBT results. Many South African universities use the NBTs in conjunction with the National Senior Certificate (NSC) for access to their programmes. The NBT NBTs help to interpret your NSC results and can be used by universities in different ways.
  • Some use them to help make decisions about your access/application to university. This means that your NBT results, in combination with your matric results, are used to determine whether you are ready for academic study
  • Some universities use the results for placement within the institution. This means that your NBT results are used to decide whether you will need extra academic support after you have been accepted to university
  • Some institutions use them to develop curricula within their university
When you apply to an institution, they will place your name on their applicant list. As applications are processed, they send the NBT Project a request for scores that match the applicants on the list. Universities will only get your results when they request them.
Before you submit your registration to write the NBT, you are asked to check a box giving permission for your results to be sent to the requesting institutions and for your results to be used in research projects. Be sure to read this and check this box before hitting “submit”. Remember, it is your responsibility to check whether your NBT results have been loaded with your tertiary institution.

Which Universities require the NBT?

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University Required? Department
UCT Yes All
Wits Yes Health Sciences
Stellenbosch Yes All
Rhodes Yes All
Tuks Yes Health & Veterinary Science
UFS Yes All
NMMU No N/A
UKZN Yes Medicine
*Each institution determines which tests are required i.e the university and faculty where you apply will determine which tests you must write (AQL or MAT, or both). Please check with each institution/faculty where you intend to apply, before you register for the NBTs with regards to their application requirements including closing dates and deadlines for receiving NBT results. Please note that each university has different requirements and each faculty may require different tests or have different deadlines.

Why do I have to register for the NBT?

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Why do I have to register for the NBT? The NBT project and the local venues guarantee space and materials ONLY for students who have registered to write at a specific venue on a specific day.

NBT Course photos

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Take a look at some of our course pictures...

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