NBT Test Past Papers and Memos:

We have compiled a selection of questions and answers from previous National Benchmark Tests (NBT) to give you a better understanding of the test’s format and the type of questions you can expect. These samples have been carefully selected from a range of past NBT papers that we have gathered, providing you with practical insights and a valuable tool for your test preparation.

1. Academic Literacy NBT Questions and Answers

Read This Before Answering Questions

 The Influence of Advertising 

1. Advertising was initially meant to make people aware of the goods available in the market. It was as simple as announcing what you have in your store or the services you offer in your premises. Over the years, advertising has evolved into a major industry that goes beyond informing, to persuading and influencing. It is a form of brainwashing consumers. 

2. Advertising has become a type of culture with ardent followers. In the process, it attracts enviable attention from manufacturers and service providers who fancy an edge over their competitors. Unfortunately, in keeping with the ever-increasing demands of the manufacturers, the advertisers have resorted to creating unnecessary wants and excess consumption in most of us. This is a craving for harmful products that we are better off without. It preys on our minds, rendering us completely irrational. The billboards (hoardings), television and radio advertisements target us from a very early age, forming our view of the world as we grow into adults. 

3. The notion that the media are primarily in place to give us news is not very true. If the truth may be told, the media are there to gather a large enough audience, package them into a pricey commodity and sell it to the advertisers. The advertisers, on the other hand, are always on the lookout for a target audience to persuade them that this product or service is better than that of the competitor. 

4. In a nutshell, advertising does influence people. Most of the advertisements are filled with images that equate emotional well-being with material acquisition and associate independence and leisure with consumption of alcohol. Advertising also makes people lavish their affect on products rather than real people, thereby destroying human relationships. We have become trapped in the web of advertising where products like brands of beer and cigarettes take over our minds, doing away with our core family values. 

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The Influence of Advertising

 The Influence of Advertising 

Questions and Answers

Question 1: What is the primary purpose of the first paragraph in the text?

Answer: The primary purpose is to indicate that advertising has evolved from simple announcements to a powerful influence on consumer behavior.

Question 2: According to paragraph 4, what message do most advertisements convey about independence and leisure?

Answer: Most advertisements suggest that independence and leisure are consistently associated with alcohol consumption.

Question 3: What does the phrase “has become” indicate about the change in advertising mentioned in paragraph 2?

Answer: The phrase “has become” indicates that the change began in the past and continues to the present.

Question 4: What word could replace “ardent” in the context of paragraph 2?

Answer: The word “passionate” could effectively replace “ardent.”

Question 5: In paragraph 2, to what does the word “This” primarily refer?

Answer: In this context, “This” primarily refers to the creation of unnecessary wants.

Question 6: How does paragraph 2 relate to paragraph 1?

Answer: Paragraph 2 further develops the idea introduced at the end of paragraph 1, explaining the evolution of advertising into an influencing force.

Question 7: What is the main idea presented in paragraph 3?

Answer: The main idea is that the media and advertisers work together to reach and influence the same consumers.

Question 8: What does the phrase “fancy an edge over” mean within paragraph 2?

Answer: It means to desire an advantage over competitors.

Question 9: How does the writer view advertising in the text?

Answer: The writer views advertising negatively, criticizing its manipulative tactics and harmful impacts.

2. Probability NBT Questions and Answers

To find the probability that a learner picked at random from the school band plays the guitar, we start by considering the total number of learners in the band and the number who play the guitar.

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The total number of learners in the band is 40. According to the problem, 10 of these learners play the guitar.

The probability ūĚĎÉP that a randomly picked learner plays the guitar is calculated by dividing the number of guitar players by the total number of learners:

Converting this probability to a percentage:


Therefore, the probability that a learner picked at random plays the guitar is 0.250.25 or 25%25%.

The correct answer is B) 25%.

3. Quantity, number and operations Questions and Answers

To find the ratio of teachers to learners in the primary school, you need to compare the number of teachers to the number of learners.

The school has:

  • 40 teachers
  • 160 learners

The ratio of teachers to learners can be calculated by dividing the number of teachers by the number of learners:

Therefore, the ratio of teachers to learners is 1:4.

The correct answer is B) 1:4.

More questions and answers can be found on pdf documents below


After reviewing a number of NBT Tests written over the years by students in South Africa, we have come up with very useful tips that can help learners to better prepare their next NBT tests.

Here are some tailored and specific tips for learners preparing for the NBT, particularly for the Academic and Quantitative Literacy (AQL) section:

Understanding the Test Format

  • Familiarize Yourself with Question Types: The NBT AQL test includes multiple-choice questions that assess academic literacy, quantitative literacy, and mathematical skills. Understanding the structure of these questions can significantly improve your test-taking strategy.

Academic Literacy Preparation

  • Critical Reading Skills: Improve your ability to interpret and analyze texts. Practice by reading diverse materials and summarizing their main points. This will help in tackling passages and comprehending complex information under time constraints.
  • Vocabulary Enhancement: Expand your vocabulary as the test may include challenging words. Use vocabulary apps or flashcards to learn new words daily.
  • Practice Inference Questions: Many questions will require you to infer information from the text, not just find direct answers. Engage with practice tests that focus on inferential questions to enhance these skills.
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Quantitative Literacy Preparation

  • Basic Math Review: Ensure you have a solid grasp of basic arithmetic, algebra, and geometry. The test will include practical mathematical scenarios.
  • Interpreting Data: Be proficient in reading graphs and tables as these are common in quantitative literacy tests. Practice with charts and data interpretation exercises.
  • Time Management: Quantitative questions can be time-consuming. Practice pacing yourself to ensure you can complete all sections in the allotted time.

General Test Preparation Tips

  • Practice Tests: Regularly complete practice tests to become comfortable with the format and pressure of timed exams. Analyze your mistakes to understand where you need improvement.
  • Study Groups: Join or form study groups to discuss and solve practice questions together. This can provide new insights and make learning more engaging.
  • Rest and Nutrition: Do not underestimate the power of rest and proper nutrition leading up to and on the day of the test. Being well-rested and nourished can significantly impact your cognitive abilities and concentration levels.

Importance of Passing the NBT

  • University Admission Requirements: Many universities use the NBT results as part of their admission criteria. Excelling in these tests can enhance your chances of being accepted into your desired course.
  • Preparedness for University Challenges: The NBT is designed to assess readiness for higher education. A strong performance indicates a good foundation for the academic challenges of university courses.

Remember, consistent practice and a deep understanding of the test structure are crucial for success in the NBT. Use resources wisely, focus on areas where improvement is needed, and maintain a balanced study schedule. Passing the NBT is not just about meeting university requirements but also about setting yourself up for success in your higher education journey.