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National Benchmark Test

What are the National Benchmark Tests?

The National Benchmark Tests (NBTs) are tests designed to measure your ability to respond to and cope with the entry-level academic literacy, quantitative literacy and mathematics demands you will face in their university studies. The NBTs assess your proficiency levels in three content areas: Academic Literacy, Quantitative Literacy (AQL) and Mathematics (MAT).

Applying to IIE MSA and the NBTs

At IIE MSA the holistic development of students is top priority for us.  We strive to take care of the academic, social and psychological needs of students entrusted into our care.

IIE MSA produces outstanding academic outcomes for students but we work to constantly improve our practices.

The National Benchmark tests are designed to assess entry-level preparedness of students in terms of the key areas of academic literacy, quantitative literacy and mathematics. These domains represent core areas of competency in which students entering any form of higher education would be expected to display minimum levels of proficiency.

It is important to note that the National Benchmark Tests are not used as an entrance requirement at IIE MSA

Rather, these tests are used by academic staff members to determine areas of challenge for students to design appropriate and tailored individual interventions for students where necessary from the commencement of studies at IIE MSA.  In other words, NBT test scores will allow us the opportunity to work proactively with students in supporting individual learning needs.

We therefore strongly encourage all students applying to study at IIE MSA to write the National Benchmark Tests.

NBT ONLINE Notification 2021


If you need to meet our site coordinator on the above test dates, please email our Student Advisor team at, in order to make the necessary arrangements.

More information

NBT Call Centre: 021 6503523

NBT Focus Areas

  • Make meaning from text, typical to that encountered in tertiary studies;
  • Understand vocabulary related to academic study, in context;
  • Identify and track points and claims made in texts;
  • Evaluate evidence used to support writer’s claims;
  • Extrapolate and draw inferences and conclusions from text;
  • Differentiate main from supporting ideas in the overall and specific organisation of a passage;
  • Identify text differences that relate to writers’ purposes, audiences, and kinds of communication;
  • Understand and interpret information that is presented visually (e.g. tables and flow-charts); and
  • Understand basic numerical concepts and information used in text.
  • Select and use a range of quantitative terms and phrases;
  • Apply quantitative procedures in various situations;
  • Formulate and apply formulae;
  • Interpret tables, graphs, charts and text and integrate information from different sources;
  • Do calculations involving multiple steps accurately;
  • Identify trends and patterns in various situations;
  • Apply properties of simple geometric shapes to determine measurements;
  • Reason logically; and
  • Interpret quantitative information presented verbally, symbolically, and graphically.
  • Understand and apply properties of the real number system;
  • Recognise and use patterns, including sequences and series;
  • Apply relationships such as ratios and percentages in a variety of contexts;
  • Use surds, logarithms and exponents in a variety of algebraic and numerical contexts, including solution of exponential equations and financial calculations;
  • Carry out algebraic manipulations, and apply these in the solution of equations and inequalities;
  • Solve problems using mathematical process skills;
  • Understand function concept and identify properties of functions, such as domain and range, in the context of straight lines, parabolas, hyperbolas, exponential and logarithmic graphs, and trigonometric graphs (sine, cosine, tangent);
  • Identify relationships between graphs and their equations, or inequalities and the regions they describe;
  • Interpret transformations of functions represented algebraically or graphically;
  • Apply trigonometric concepts in solving problems;
  • Understand and use trigonometric identities in solving equations;
  • Understand properties and interpret representations of two-dimensional and three-dimensional shapes;
  • Solve problems relating to perimeter, area, volume;
  • Apply principles of analytic geometry;
  • Interpret various representations and measures of data; and
  • Use logical skills in making deductions and determining the validity of given assertions.