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FAQ

21. May I change my test date?

Registration for the NBTs is specific to the date and location you select. You are allowed to make changes to your test booking online until the closing date posted on the test schedule. Once bookings close for that test date, you cannot make any changes. If you miss the test for which you are registered, you must register again and pay again in order to write the NBTs.

22. May I write the NBTs more than once?

The NBT Project allows an individual to write the NBT twice. Note that you must pay the total fee both times. If you write the MAT test a second time, you must also write the AQL test a second time that morning. You must first check with the institutions where you are applying; not all will accept a second score.

23. Where can I write the NBTs?

The NBTs can be written online or at a physical venue.

Click here to view the schedule and test venues .

There are a number of NBT National writing sessions scheduled on Saturdays, and some Sundays.

The NBT Project reserves the right to cancel a session at short notice. Reasons for cancelling include changes to COVID risk levels, low registration as well as structural problems with a venue.

Once registered, you will receive an sms and an email two days before your test confirming your test venue.

What if there is no test site near where I live?

A goal of the NBT project is to ensure accessibility to the NBTs around South Africa. If you live in another country or an area where there are no tests nearby, please click here to send us an e-mail and we will attempt to schedule a special site for your test.

 

REMOTE WRITERS

A remote writer/student is someone who is unable to write at an institution that generally facilitates the national benchmark test sessions.

Usually it is a writer who is in another country or in an area too remote to be able to make a trip of a reasonable distance to the nearest testing centre.

Procedures

Please note that the test proctor/invigilator should be a person with credibility and not a friend or relative of the writer.

The responsibilities of the test proctor/invigilator are to:

Serve as a receiver for mailed tests and not receive the tests directly from the writer/student;
Maintain test security and confidentiality, and invigilate the test in a quiet environment;
Ensure that the writer does not use any texts, notes or outside help;
Personally mail the original written script(s) to the NBT Project
Not photocopy or reproduce the tests or the student’s answers
The responsibilities of the writer/examinee are to:

Make arrangements for testing with the test proctor/invigilator according to the test due date;
Maintain test security and confidentiality;
Carry out any reasonable and legitimate instructions given by the proctor/invigilator
PLEASE NOTE: The Writer/ Student is responsible for all payments such as proctor/invigilator, courier, venue and test.

When we receive the proctor’s/invigilator’s details we will communicate with him/her directly via the e-mail address provided. It is the writer’s responsibility to stay in touch with the proctor/invigilator.

24. What is the NBT Test day like?

For the Pencil and Paper Venues, check-in at all venues begins at 07:30. Door closes at 8:30, after which no one is allowed inside the test rooms. The AQL test is written in the morning and the MAT test is written in the afternoon. No learner is allowed to come mid-day to write just the MAT test. If you are writing the MAT test, you must write it the same day as you write the AQL test. 

What do I need to bring with me?

You must bring:

• Your South African ID booklet or foreign passport

• Pencils and eraser

• Water and lunch, in case you are writing both AQL and MAT

Do not bring a calculator, ruler, dictionary or other learning aid. If you require special assistance such as a magnifier or other adaptive device, you must send a written request to nbt@uct.ac.za at least three weeks prior to the writing session. Special arrangements will be made for anyone with a disability. Note that learners without an official ID will be turned away and not allowed to write.

 

For writers taking the NBT online, writers must login to the test site by 08h00. Writers will be required to complete a compulsory test simulation in the week prior to the test, and will be required to capture a Photograph, complete the Photo ID verification, download the Lockdown Browser and complete the sample questions.

Note that learners without an official ID will not be able to complete the compulsory Simulation and will not allowed to write the NBT online. If you do not have a South African ID booklet or foreign passport and need to use your birth certificate for ID verification, you will need an affidavit from the police including a recent ID photograph that confirms your identity.

Present the affidavit with photo attached to the camera during the verification instead of the ID. On the third attempt you will be given the option of a manual verification. Choose this option BUT you will need to make sure the photo of you and the Affidavit are clear and readable or it will still be rejected.

Writers are reminded that the test is undertaken in a secure proctored online environment. You will be monitored throughout the test to ensure that you follow all testing procedures. Your entire test session will be recorded. You may only have a piece of paper and a pen/pencil in the test room. Books, cell phones, smart watches, calculators, and any other items are strictly prohibited. Please ensure that you comply with all test requirements to avoid the invalidation of your test.

Online NBT Test sessions start at 09h00 in the morning (AQL) and afternoon sessions (MAT) start at 14h00. Any deviation from these start times will be communicated to you for specific test dates.

Instructions will be provided on screen.

25. How will I prepare for the test? Will there be an exemplar question?

Should I attend preparation classes?

The NBT Project does not endorse any such courses and questions the value that these purport to offer.

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’.

26. What to expect on the test day.

For the Pencil and Paper Venues, check-in at all venues begins at 07:30. Door closes at 8:30, after which no one is allowed inside the test rooms. The AQL test is written in the morning and the MAT test is written in the afternoon. No learner is allowed to come mid-day to write just the MAT test. If you are writing the MAT test, you must write it the same day as you write the AQL test.

What do I need to bring with me?

You must bring:

• Your South African ID booklet or foreign passport

• Pencils and eraser

• Water and lunch, in case you are writing both AQL and MAT

Do not bring a calculator, ruler, dictionary or other learning aid. If you require special assistance such as a magnifier or other adaptive device, you must send a written request to nbt@uct.ac.za at least three weeks prior to the writing session. Special arrangements will be made for anyone with a disability.

Note that learners without an official ID will be turned away and not allowed to write.

 

For writers taking the NBT online, writers must login to the test site by 08h00. Writers will be required to complete a compulsory test simulation in the week prior to the test, and will be required to capture a Photograph, complete the Photo ID verification, download the Lockdown Browser and complete the sample questions.

Note that learners without an official ID will not be able to complete the compulsory Simulation and will not allowed to write the NBT online. If you do not have a South African ID booklet or foreign passport and need to use your birth certificate for ID verification, you will need an affidavit from the police including a recent ID photograph that confirms your identity.

Present the affidavit with photo attached to the camera during the verification instead of the ID. On the third attempt you will be given the option of a manual verification. Choose this option BUT you will need to make sure the photo of you and the Affidavit are clear and readable or it will still be rejected.

Writers are reminded that the test is undertaken in a secure proctored online environment. You will be monitored throughout the test to ensure that you follow all testing procedures. Your entire test session will be recorded. You may only have a piece of paper and a pen/pencil in the test room. Books, cell phones, smart watches, calculators, and any other items are strictly prohibited. Please ensure that you comply with all test requirements to avoid the invalidation of your test.

Online NBT Test sessions start at 09h00 in the morning (AQL) and afternoon sessions (MAT) start at 14h00. Any deviation from these start times will be communicated to you for specific test dates.

Instructions will be provided on screen.

27. What are the NBT tests like?

The NBT’s are multiple choice tests. There are two tests.  The Academic Literacy and Quantitative Literacy Domains (AQL are combined into one multiple choice test and is approximately three hours of writing time).

The AQL test is written by applicants to all programmes. The second test is the Mathematics (MAT) (pure or core maths), which is written by applicants to programmes for which mathematics (pure or core maths) is a requirement.

The MAT test is also multiple choice and timed, with three hours allowed. The tests are described in more detail under “Test Content” on the NBT website.

28. How long are the tests?

Both Tests are approximatly 3 hours long.

29. How do I get my NBT results?

You must access your results by logging onto the NBT website using your ID number as your username and the password you created when you registered, or by sending a request to nbt@uct.ac.za four weeks after the test session. Your results are made available by 12 noon on the date listed on the NBT Test Schedule. If there is an outstanding balance on your account - ie - if you missed an earlier test and did not pay for it - your results will not be accessible to you. If you have difficulties accessing your results, you must send an e-mail to request your results. NBT Project staff are not allowed to release your results over the phone.

30. I am a student with disabilities. How do I apply for a special session?

The best way is to contact the Office for Student Disabilities at the institution where you intend to apply. That office will know what support is available at that campus, the support that can be offered to enable you to write the NBTs, and how to arrange a session

There is a form to request a special session that must be completed in order to make final arrangements for the setting that best mitigates your disability. Click here to download the form. You will not be able to complete the online registration process until you have sent us the completed form.

If you have been receiving services in your secondary school, you may also ask your school to request required support by sending an e-mail to nbt@uct.ac.za.

Any modifications to the standardized testing process must be arranged and approved at least three weeks prior to the date when you wish to write.

Approval will require medical documentation indicating the nature of the disability and the appropriate type of support. Requests without medical documentation will not be processed.

Please note that not all test venues have handicap access with ramps or elevators. If you have a physical disability that only requires access assistance, you should also contact us three weeks in advance to ensure that the venue where you are scheduled to write is accessible. 

Will extra time be allowed for "special needs/accommodation for writers? 

Yes , with required medical documentation. 

Also note that, depending on the disability, testing might not be available on weekends for students with disabilities. Please contact the NBT Help Desk for further information (nbt@uct.ac.za / 021 650 3523).

31. What if my religious affiliation does not allow me to write on a Saturday?

There are 2 test sessions scheduled on Sundays - one online and one pencil and paper. You also have the option to write a "remote" session - nbtremote@uct.ac.za

32. What if I get sick before or during the test? Do I have to pay again?

Results for the NBTs are only valid if you complete the test. Should you get sick during the test; the Chief Invigilator will collect your materials and contact information.

A staff member from the NBT Project will contact you the following week to schedule another writing session as soon as possible. There is no cost for this make-up test and the first answer sheet will be destroyed, not scored.

If you become sick or injured before the test, send an e-mail to nbt@uct.ac.za or call 021-650-3523. Upon receipt of adequate documentation such as a hospital or police report, you will be allowed a make-up test with no additional fees charged. 

33. Can I write the pen and paper test?

There are 10 Pencil and paper test dates scheduled. These are subject to current national regulations.

34. What time do I have to be at the test centre?

For Pencil and Paper tests, writers need to be at the venue by 07h30 for registration. The doors will close at 08h30.

35. What do I need to bring with me?

For NBT Online:

Note that learners without an official ID will not be able to complete the compulsory Simulation and not allowed to write the NBT online If you do not have a South African ID booklet or foreign passport and need to use your birth certificate for ID verification, you will need an affidavit from the police including a recent ID photograph that confirms your identity.

Present the affidavit to the camera during the verification instead of the ID. On the third attempt you will be given the option of a manual verification. Choose this option BUT you will need to make sure the Photo of you and the Affidavit are clear and readable or it will still be rejected.

 

For the Pencil and Paper Tests you must bring:

  • Your South African ID booklet or foreign passport or a birth certificate with an affidavit from the police including a recent ID photograph.
  • Pencils and eraser
  • Water and lunch, if you are writing both AQL and MAT
  • Do not bring a calculator, ruler, dictionary or other learning aid. If you require special assistance such as a magnifier or other adaptive device, you must send a written request to nbt@uct.ac.za at least three weeks prior to the writing session. Special arrangements will be made for anyone with a disability.

Note that learners without an official ID will be turned away and not allowed to write (except when the following documentation is provided: a birth certificate with an affidavit from the police including a recent photograph.)

Under national Covid regulation the wearing of masks is compulsory at all times.

No writer will be permitted without a mask.

36. How do I find my test venue?

It can be difficult to locate the test room on a university campus or a town that is new to you.

Please allow sufficient time so that you arrive at 7:30 to check-in. Should you have any concerns about the exact location of the test room, please send your concern to nbt@uct.ac.za at least three days before the writing session and we will send you a directions and a map.

37. Where can I write the National Benchmark Tests if there are no venues close to me?

The NBT is available to be written online. A goal of the NBT project is to schedule sites around South Africa. If you live in another country or an area where there are no tests nearby, please click here to send us an e-mail. We will assist you to write a "remote" session.

38. Re-marking of Tests

You may request for your test/s to be re-marked within 30 days of having received your test results.

Re-mark payment process: R250 application fee is payable.

Payment is made through EasyPay, use NBT reference number.

Re-mark process: Test will be re-marked electronically. It takes four weeks to process.

Request will only be processed on receipt of signed application form and proof of payment.

Download re-mark form here.

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