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National Benchmark Tests, NBT Test Past Papers
The tests are confidential, so there are no past papers and no unique study materials to prepare for the tests.
- The NBT are multiple-choice tests.
- AL and QL are combined in the AQL test and written in a three-hour morning session: the MAT is written in a three-hour afternoon session.
- The AQL test consists of seven sections. Each section is timed; some sections allow 25 minutes and some allow 30 minutes of writing time.
- The total writing time for the AQL is three hours and minutes.
The NBTs are available in English and Afrikaans – the common languages of instruction used at Institutions of Higher Education in South Africa. When registering, you will be asked to indicate the language in which you wish to write.
Note that you can only choose one language; there is no option to write one test in English and the other in Afrikaans.
For students with disabilities, the AL test has also been translated into Braille.
There are two very general guidelines we can offer. Either chose the language of the programme that is your first choice; or, use English as the default language. However, you are the only one who can make this final decision.
Be aware that some institutions have different language policies at different campuses; certain programmes may even have their own unique language requirements. If you have any questions about language requirements, contact the relevant faculty at the institution where you are applying to check the language of instruction before registering for the NBTs.
NBT Test Past Papers and Likely Sample Questions
Read the following passage here on advertising and answer the multiple-choice questions that follow:
1. The overall purpose of paragraph 1 is to do the following: (communicative function)
a. introduce the reader to the basics/fundamentals of advertising
b. inform the reader that advertising is brainwashing
c. indicate that advertising means announcing what you have in store
d. indicate that advertising has changed to become influencing
2. In paragraph 4, we read that “Most advertisements associate independence and leisure with consumption of alcohol.” This suggests that advertisements mainly communicate the message that (inferencing)
a. independence and leisure encourage people to drink alcohol
b. independence and leisure are always accompanied by alcohol consumption
c. independence and leisure enable people to relax
d. lack of independence and leisure makes it impossible for people to relax
3. In the first sentence of paragraph 2, the phrase “has become” signals that the change in advertising: (grammar/syntax)
a. started in the past and ended in the past
b. started yesterday and ended yesterday
c. started in the past and is still in progress
d. started yesterday and will end tomorrow
4. In paragraph 2, the word “ardent” can be substituted with the word: (vocabulary)
5. In paragraph 2, we read: “This is a craving for harmful products that we are better off without.” In this sentence, the word “This” mainly refers to (cohesion)
a. enviable attention
b. excessive consumption
c. unnecessary wants
d. increasing demands
6. Which of the following statements best describes the relationship between paragraph 1 and paragraph 2 of this passage? (discourse)
a. Paragraph 2 takes over from paragraph 1.
b. Paragraph 2 solidifies the point made in paragraph 1.
c. Paragraph 2 corroborates the point made in paragraph 1.
d. Paragraph 2 develops the point made at the end of paragraph 1.
7. The main idea of paragraph 3 is that (essential/non-essential)
a. The media and advertisers aim to achieve different goals
b. The media and advertisers complement each other
c. Both the media and advertisers target the same consumers
d. The media and advertisers aim to outsmart competitors
8. In paragraph 2, the phrase “fancy an edge over” means: (metaphor)
a. take pleasure in pushing others to the edge
b. wish that someone falls over an edge
c. wish to have an advantage over others
d. hope to have an opportunity to win
9. The writer’s attitude towards advertising in this text can best be described as: (text genre)
10. A school band consists of 40 learners. Five of the learners play the drums, 10 learners play the guitar, 3 learners play the flute, 2 learners play the saxophone and the rest of the learners play the trumpet.
If a learner in the school band is picked at random, what is the probability that this learner plays the guitar?
How to Prepare for the NBT 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.
- Download exemplar questions for the Mathematics (MAT) test.
- Download exemplar questions for the Academic and Quantitative Literacy (AQL) test.
Solve Some NBT Test Questions
Here are samples of the National Benchmark Tests, and NBT tests past papers PDF.
Learn how to book and register to write the next NBT tests. check out the current dates and venues.