What are the national benchmark tests?

The National Benchmark Tests (NBTs) are assessments for first-year applicants into higher education institutions. The NBTs were designed to measure a writer’s ability to transfer understanding of Academic Literacy, Quantitative Literacy and Mathematics to the demands of tertiary coursework. The National Benchmark Tests comprise three multiple choice tests, written as a combined Academic Literacy and Quantitative Literacy (AQL) test, and a separate Mathematics test. The AQL is a three-hour test that consists of an Academic Literacy (AL) section and a Quantitative Literacy (QL) section. The results of the two sections of the test are recorded separately. The second test is Mathematics (MAT), which is also multiple-choice and three hours in duration.

The Academic Literacy (AL) test targets a writer’s capacity to engage successfully with the demands of academic study in the medium of instruction of the test.

The Quantitative Literacy (QL) test targets a writer’s ability to manage situations or solve problems in a real context that is relevant to higher education study, using basic quantitative information that may be presented verbally, graphically, or in tabular or symbolic form.

The Cognitive Academic Mathematics Proficiency Test (CAMP) is a three-hour test that targets a writer’s ability related to mathematical concepts formally regarded as part of the secondary school curriculum (Mathematics Papers 1 and 2) relevant for Higher Education studies.

How does CUT use NBT results?

Although the NBTs address content typically taught in secondary school, they provide different and complementary information to the ”school-leaving” examinations. CUT uses the NBT results in addition to school academic performance and examination results for placement in development courses, extended programmes, or for identifying other additional academic support.

National Benchmark Test (NBT) requirements at CUT

It should be noted that all new first-year students at CUT should have written the National Benchmark Test (NBT) before registration.  All faculties’ applicants should have written the Academic and Quantitative Literacy Test. Applicants to the Faculty of Health and Environmental Sciences, the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology and some departments of the Faculty of Humanities should also have written the Mathematics test.  Costs for these tests are for the prospective students’ account.  Prospective students are advised to obtain information about the centres closest to their homes, as well as the dates on which these tests will be conducted.  CUT will also serve as one of the centres.

About the institutional proficiency test (NBT)

Applicants should register for a test date at least a month prior to the scheduled test.  Seats are limited at venues.  If one does not register and pay for the test(s) in advance, one may not be allowed to write on the test date.  An applicant who writes Academic and Quantitative Literacy (AQL) pays R80.00, while an applicant who writes both Academic and Quantitative Literacy (AQL) and Mathematics (MAT) pays R160.00. The applicant only needs to write the test once, even if they are applying to more than one university.  All universities to which one apply will be able to access the applicant’s test results.  CUT applicants are advised to write the test between June and September.

Learners with disabilities

NBTP makes provision for writers with disabilities, which are facilitated by the Unit for Students with Special Needs.  Writers who require to be accommodated during an examination on account of a disability can contact the NBT call centre (021-6503523) to request a form that has to be submitted three weeks prior to the selected test date. We have successfully accommodated writers who are:

  • blind (e.g.  using the jaws computer programme and/or braille);
  • visually impaired (e.g. large print);
  • hearing impaired;
  • mobility/physically impaired;
  • have any specific learning disability (i.e. dyslexia, extra time, need a scribe); or
  • have any chronic illness that require special accommodation.

Candidates with a specific learning disability with impairment in reading and who qualify for a reader for the National Benchmark Tests, should note that the universities to which they apply may not provide such accommodating measures. It is in the interest of candidates to enquire in advance what each university’s policy is regarding the provision of readers.

More information about NBT

NBT contact information: Tel: +27 (0)21 650 3523 |  www.nbt.ac.za

National and International Information

Where can I write the NBTs?

2nd Semester 2017 and 2018 Intake: test dates and sites across the country and international venues.

CUT is an official test venue

2nd Semester 2017 and 2018 Intake: Test Dates

Report to the Boet Troskie Hall, unless otherwise instructed via e-mail/SMS.



Please note that all venues and test dates are subject to change.

How to register for NBTs

You may register online or by telephone.

  1. Register online at www.nbt.ac.za. After reading the general information and the FAQs, select the ”Register to Write“ tab and follow all instructions. Note that you will need your SA identity document or passport in order to register.
  2. If you encounter problems during the registration process, call 021-650-3523 or send an e-mail to nbt@uct.ac.za for assistance. The NBT project is staffed from 08:00 to 18:00 weekdays and from 07:30 to 11:30 on national test days.
  3. If you do not have access to the internet, call 021 650-3523 to register. The NBT project is staffed from 08:00 to 18:00 weekdays and from 07:30 to 11:30 on national test days. The tests begin at 08:00 at many venues throughout South Africa. The Academic and Quantitative Literacy test is written in the morning session, while the Mathematics (CAMP) test is written in the afternoon. If both tests are written, you will probably complete them at approximately 16:00. They should also be written during the same sitting. Testing dates and venues are available on the NBT website at www.nbt.ac.za. Alternatively, please call the number indicated below.

What should you take to the tests?

  • Your identity book or passport
  • Lunch (not all centres are close to shops)
  • HB pencil and eraser
  • Bus/train/taxi fare for returning home

Please note that you will not be allowed to use calculators in any of the tests.

How do you get your test results?

Approximately two weeks after you have written the tests, you may access your results on the NBT website. Log on using your unique NBT reference number or your South African ID Number.

Tel: +27 (0)21 650 3523 | E-mail: nbt@uct.ac.zawww.nbt.ac.za

Applicants must have written the applicable National Benchmark Tests (NBTs) by no later than 31st December of each year.

Contact CUT

Questions may be directed to the Office of the Deputy Registrar, N Dlamini at ndlamini@cut.ac.za, or Ms L Masupe at pmasupe@cut.ac.za

Please note: All information above is subject to CUT’s admission policy and procedure. This document is for information purposes only.


Updated: 03 May 2017

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