Here's The Difference Between The NSC and NBT


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The National Senior Certificate and the National Benchmark Test are both used as means to access education at higher learning institutions, but they perform different functions. Here's the difference between the two. 

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National Benchmark Test (NBT)

NBT stands for National Benchmark Test. This is an examination set up by the National Benchmark Test Project. The NBT is a set of tests used to assess a learner’s academic literacy, general knowledge, and mathematical skill in an effort to measure academic readiness for university.

The NBT tests were implemented in 2008 and are managed by the Alternative Admissions Research Project at a university. NBT results are used by many universities as an extra admission standard for applicants applying to their institutions. They serve to complement and support, rather than replace or duplicate NSC results.

National Senior Certificate (NSC)

The National Senior Certificate or NSC is a high school diploma that is the school-leaving certificate in South Africa. This certificate is commonly known as the matriculation (matric) certificate, with grade 12 being the matriculation grade.

Students study at least seven subjects, including two compulsory official South African languages, either Mathematics or Mathematical Literacy, Life Orientation and three elective subjects. The official pass grade is 40%. The mean mark in any subject is usually about 55.

It is important to note that you don’t have to pass your matric to write the NBT, the institution of interest usually communicates the dates to write the test to candidates, and many of the candidates are usually in their matric year.

The NSC is the most important document to access institutions of higher learning and it is mandatory that you obtain the certificate even if you did well in your NBT.  For more information about the NBT please contact your institution of interest and for more information about the NSC, you can CLICK HERE to visit the Department of Basic Education.



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If you plan on pursuing your tertiary studies then you may have to write NBTs in order to meet admission requirements at your preferred institution. Here is how much NBTs cost and how to pay. 

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Post-Matric Options


After completing your matric certificate exams, you are faced with a lot of post-matric options that can shape your future paths.

These options range from pursuing higher education at universities or colleges, entering vocational training programs, joining the workforce, or even starting your own business. There are so many choices but we are here to help.


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