Exploring the association of the National Benchmark Test results with the academic performance of medical students who completed the degree in minimum time

  • Sfiso Emanuel Mabizela University of the Witwatersrand
  • Lionel Patrick Green-Thompson University of the Witwatersrand


The National Benchmark Tests (NBT) have been used for selection and placement of students in South Africa since 2005. The NBT assess students’ cognitive knowledge in three domains: academic literacy; quantitative literacy; and mathematics. In this study we aimed to explore the NBT entry-level abilities in relation to school quintiles of the 2011 class of medical students at the University of the Witwatersrand who graduated in minimum time and to explore the link between the NBT domains and academic performance in the first, third, and sixth year of study. The results of students who attended Quintile 5 schools (n = 93) show that 31% obtained proficiency in NBT mathematics, 65% in NBT academic literacy, and 79% in NBT quantitative literacy. The academic literacy domain was a consistently significant predictor in all three years of study. The results show that proficiency and intermediate upper levels of all NBT domains are associated with minimum time completion.

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