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Centre for Access Assessment & Research

What is the Access Assessment Test (AAT)?

This is the name given to the group of measures used in the Nelson Mandela University Access Testing, to admit and place students in the University's programmes.

The AAT tests are all in multiple choices, untimed format and are proficiency tests which assess an applicant’s current knowledge and skills.

The tests are Paper based or Computer based depending on the venue.


All applicants referred for testing, write the following tests:

  • Reading Comprehension &
  • Arithmetic


IF the programme for which they have applied requires additional mathematical skills, then it is vital that the applicant writes the Elementary Algebra Test.


What the AAT entails?

Applicants referred for testing, complete a Biographical Questionnaire and the AAT, which assesses the following:


Biographical Questionnaire – It provides information about your:

  • Planned occupation/career choice

  • Past work experiences
  • Goals

  • Study habits
  • Written language proficiency


English Reading Comprehension It assesses how well you understand what you read, by asking questions that require you to:

  • Reason and draw conclusions
  • Identify main ideas

  • Identify the purpose of texts

  • Identify the relationship between texts

  • Demonstrate understanding of texts


Numeracy Compulsory (No calculators) - It assesses your level of numerical functioning by asking questions that require:

  • Addition, subtraction, multiplication and division

  • Working with whole numbers and fractions

  • Working with decimals and percentages

  • Solving word problems


Elementary Algebra (Only written for mathematical based programs - No Calculators) – It assesses your level of mathematical functioning by asking questions that require:

  • Working with integers and rational numbers

  • Knowledge of formulas and expressions

  • Solving equations and inequalities

  • Solving word problems


Process after testing?

Once the applicants have completed the AAT, the tests are scored and double checked. Thereafter, the scores are captured and are double checked once again before being sent to the CAAR Consultant for processing.


What happens after the decision is made?

Once a decision has been made, it is captured and the following process occurs:

  • The decision is emailed to the relevant Admissions Officers within 3 weeks if there are no additional consultations required
  • Individual feedback reports are printed

  • Reports are posted at regular intervals


Based on the decision/recommendation the applicant may:

  • Be admitted to the chosen programme

  • Be admitted to the programme with additional modules
  • Be admitted to the applicant’s second choice degree /diploma / higher certificate

  • Be admitted for the extended programme

  • Be placed into an alternative but related programme.

  • Be referred for career counselling before a decision is made


*In a case where the applicant is not admitted, s/he may contact the CAAR office and a consultant will advise them or give a recommendation on the next steps to take, based on the information we have gathered on the applicant.