How The NBT Online Test Works

The National Benchmark Test (NBT) can prove essential to the outcome of your application to a university, and since the pandemic began, the exam has been written online more frequently. The following outlines the rules and requirements of the online NBT exam.



The NBT aims to assess a student’s readiness for a university level education, and hence may be requested in accompaniment with your university application at certain tertiary institutions.

There are two tests to be written for three hours each. The first is the Academic Literacy and Quantitative Literacy (AQL) exam, which combines the two into one examination and is required to be written regardless of the course chosen by the student.

The second test is a Mathematics (MAT) examination to be written by applicants who require the use of Mathematics in their chosen university course.

The online examination will require the following:

  • The use of a desktop/tower, Notebook/laptop, or iMac/Macbook, with no other exceptions.
  • For most tests, the morning sessions begin at 09:00 and afternoon sessions at 14:00, although each individual will have their test times communicated to them beforehand. Login 30 minutes before the test to allow the Lockdown Browser to download.
  • Devices should remain plugged into chargers and connected to data throughout the three-hour session, as in the event that the device were to fail, the student will be kicked out of the test.
  • 500MB will be required to complete each test, including downloading the examination browser, so the student must make the necessary data provisions .
  • The test should be taken in a quiet room with a blank wall behind the student and good lighting.
  • The device camera should be functional and facing the student at all times during the test, with the student’s face made to be clearly visible.
  • Headphones are not allowed during the test.
  • Someone entering the room as well as suspicious movement from the student will invalidate the test.
  • Only a piece of paper and a pen/pencil are allowed in the test room.
  • Bathroom breaks should be no longer than 5 minutes and during that duration, students should ensure that their device does not log out of the test or go to ‘sleep’.
  • Liquid refreshments during testing are permitted.

For further information on the online NBT test, including the detailed properties of the devices that are allowed during the test, click here.


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