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Compulsory National Benchmark Tests (NBTs)

What are the NBTs?

Universities South Africa (USAf) initiated the NBTs that several South African universities use as part of their student placement processes. The first test is the Academic and Quantitative Literacy Test (AQL), and the second is the Mathematics Test (MAT). Each test takes three hours to complete and both tests are written on the same day.

Is it compulsory to take the NBT tests?

Yes, all first-time entering undergraduate applicants to the University of the Free State must write the NBTs before registering, but preferably before the end of 2018.

Must I write both tests?

It depends. ALL prospective students must write the AQL test. If you apply to the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, or the Faculty of Health Sciences, you must write both the AQL and MAT tests where required.

Why write the NBTs?

The level of academic reading and writing that you must be able to master at university is very different from what you are used to at school. If you lack this level of skills, you may have a hard time at university. But if we know what the level of your skills are, we can make sure that you enrol for the most appropriate modules and programmes in your first year. And that is what we use the NBTs for – to help us understand what skills you have, and what skills need to be developed.

How, when, and where to write?

Registration for NBTs opens on 1 April 2018. You should write the NBTs while you are in Grade 12, before you register at the university. Visit www.nbt.ac.za for all the information you need. Once you have written the tests, you can use the results to apply at any university. The UFS only accepts NBT results, NO other admission tests will be considered. If you are applying to study MBChB in the Faculty of Health Sciences, you have to write the NBTs by the first weekend in July.

How does the UFS make use of the NBT results?

In three ways:

  • We use it as part of the selection process for the Faculty of Health Sciences (School of Clinical Medicine and School of Allied Health Professions).
  • If you apply to any of our other faculties (including Nursing), we use NBT results during the registration process.
  • To place students in appropriate academic literacy development modules, where necessary.

Generally, as stated above, we use NBT performance levels to place first-year students into appropriate programmes or modules. If you did not pass the NBT Academic Literacy Test and want to study in English, you must register for one of the following academic literacy development modules in English: EALH/EALE/EALN/EALL 1508. The same applies if you want to study in Afrikaans (if offered in the relevant faculty), but did not pass the Academic Literacy Tests – in which case you must register for one of the academic literacy development courses in Afrikaans: AGAH/AGAM/ AGAL/AGAN/AGAE 1508.

These academic literacy development courses are not language courses. They teach you to read academic text efficiently and critically, while extracting the main ideas and key details. This skill will help you to adequately demonstrate your knowledge in tests and exams. It will also teach you to write academic essays and assignments. Overall, it will give you the confidence to perform at your best, academically.

NB: If you have not written the NBTs yet, please register to write as soon as possible.

What is the UFS proficiency/pass score?

Academic Literacy (AL) = 64%
Quantitative Literacy (QL) = 70%
Mathematics Test (MT) = 68%

For more information:

Online: www.ufs.ac.za/nbt | www.nbt.ac.za

Qwaqwa Campus: Khethiwe Biyo: +27 58 718 5484 | biyokc@ufs.ac.za | TK Mopeli Building

Bloemfontein Campus: Lerato Masisi: +27 51 401 2448 | nbt@ufs.ac.za | masisilc@ufs.ac.za | Benito Khotseng Building, Room LG5.

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