What is the difference between NBT's and SATs?


Are they very similar and would I have to learn much more beyond the NBT’s to prepare for my SAT exams?


The NBT’s are standardized tests that students are required to take to be considered for admission to some South African university programs. There are two parts to the test, the AQL (English and some maths) and the MAT (more advanced maths). Some courses may only require you to take the AQL if maths is not an important component of your degree. The NBT’s are only relevant when applying to South African universities and international universities will not ask you for your score, but they may require that you take a different test, such as the SAT.

I have taken both the NBT’s and the SAT’s and I can tell you that they are two very different tests. Although they are both multiple choice and test similar topics, the way that the questions are asked is considerably different. There is also a mismatch between the content that you would need to cover for each of the tests. The SAT assumes that you have been through the American schooling system, whereas the NBT’s assume that you have been through the South African one. As a South African student, you would need to cover additional content to close the gap. This is a pain, but certainly manageable.

I would recommend taking a practice test before you start preparing. Take it under time pressure and use your score to see how much you would have to improve to have a decent chance at getting into your university of choice. You will also get an idea for the areas where you need to cover additional content to close the education gap. The SAT Practice Tests can be found on the College Board website. It is important not only to study the content, but to practice how to best take the test.

You may find it challenging to achieve the score that you need for your university of choice. There are valuable online resources, such as Khan Academy, that can help you to study for the SAT. You may want to consider working with a tutor as they will know the test back to front and can point out the areas that you need to focus on. This can save time and help to improve your score. Crimson is a good place to look if you are interested in pursuing that route.