Numerical Reasoning Tests

Numerical reasoning tests demonstrate your ability to deal with numbers quickly and accurately. These tests contain questions that assess your knowledge of ratios, percentages, number sequences, data interpretation, financial analysis and currency conversion.

Numerical Reasoning Tests

What are numerical reasoning tests?

Numerical reasoning tests are aimed at quantifying your numeracy skills. Essentially, this is when graphs, long numbers, and equations come into play. Built on maths, these tests are often written in the context of everyday business activities to check candidate’s ability to work with numerical information.

Given the time limit, and quite unconventional structure of these tests – some graduates find numerical reasoning tests to be tricky or even challenging when compared with their university experience of tests and examinations.

Whether you are applying for a job in an investment bank, consulting firm or even for a managerial position, you might be asked to take the numerical reasoning test. To check who might want to test your calculus visit our top employers pages.

Why do employers use numerical reasoning tests?

The employers who use numerical reasoning tests assess how comfortable you are with numbers, basic mathematical functions and analyzing data under a considerable time pressure. It comes as no surprise, that firms and organizations who test their candidates with numerical reasoning tests usually rely on large numbers and data.

With these tests, it’s possible to measure candidates’ potential perfomance at work.

So, if the company you are applying for offers professional services in deal advisory, tax consulting or data analysis you should be expecting an assiduous accuracy from them in measuring your skills.

What level of mathematical reasoning is expected?

These tests are quite a challenge for students with a mathematical background, so no wonder they might be a true hassle for those who spent their time at university reading and writing, rather than actually crunching big numbers and solving formulas. No need to worry yet, as these tests can be, and in fact should be practiced, regardless if you are a math pro or just a fresher in the land of Pythagoras. This level of numeracy is reachable for everyone but a bit of practice and dedication is required.

Prepare yourself for leading employers

How should I answer numerical reasoning tests?

Numerical Tests are the form of multiple choice tests. The answers, unlike with verbal reasoning tests will be definite. That doesn’t mean they’re easy. Add to this time pressure, and it will be clear why so many find them so very challenging.

One question = one minute rule

Usually, candidates are presented with a number of questions in accordance with one question = one minute rule, however, there might be a case in which you will be expected to find a right solution in less than 1 minute.

Which numerical test formulas are worth revising?

Most numerical tests have repeated themes which it makes sense to prepare for. Key topics include fractions, ratios, estimations, percentages, data analysis and graphical interpretation. Make sure you’ve practiced and are comfortable (or at least reasonably comfortable) with all these areas.

Numerical reasoning example questions

The table below shows the average value of the British Pound compared to each of the following currencies in 2019 and 2020.


Q1) How many more Hong Kong Dollars (HKD) could you buy with 1000 British Pounds in 2019 compared to 2020?


Calculate the number of HKD you can buy in 2019: 1,000 x 10.11 = 10,110 HKD Calculate the number of HKD you can buy in 2020: 1,000 x 9.95 = 9,950 HKD Subtract the two to get the difference: 10,110 - 9,950 = 160 HKD

Q2) What was the percentage change of the Australian Dollar compared to the British Pound from 2019 to 2020?


Calculate the change in Australian Dollars: 1.49 - 1.31 = 0.18 Divide the difference by the original value: 0.18 / 1.49 = 0.12 Multiply by 100 to get the percentage: 0.12 x 100 = 12%

Q3) If 5,000 British Pounds were used to purchase US Dollars in 2019, how much would it be worth in 2023?


Calculate the number of US Dollars purchased: 5,000 x 1.53 = 7,650 USD Calculate the number of Pounds those Dollars are worth in 2020: 7,650 / 1.32 = £5,795

I’ve practiced hundreds of numerical questions and still have plenty more to try.
Ellen used Practice Aptitude Tests to prepare for her upcoming interview at HSBC. Start your success story

Numerical Reasoning Tests Tips

1Prepare your own toolkit

Whether you need to sharpen your maths skills or learn everything from scratch, taking some mock tests will help. It might not make you a brilliant mathematician but will definitely improve your performance. Practice will also save you sleepless nights before the real assessment day by improving accuracy, speed and confidence. And you will need a good night’s sleep.

2Watch your timing

Don’t get stuck on one question. Work out roughly how much time you have per question before you start each test (think of it as a good warm-up) and try to stick to those timings. If it feels tough, keep going anyway – remember the easiest questions might be to come.

3Practice in exam conditions

When you practice for your assessment, try to do so in the same conditions in which you will be sitting your real numerical reasoning test. Try quiet surrounding with a minimal distraction at a table. This will not only keep you more focused but also make silence less daunting while sitting your real assessment.

4Ask the expert

Look at our explanations to see how we’ve come up with the solutions. Understanding the thought process, how the question is broken down and the steps involved is an excellent way to simplify difficult questions.

5Carry out post mortems

Sure, numerical reasoning tests won’t kill you, but you should assess which areas you’re getting wrong. That way you can focus on practicing them which will improve your performance on the tests as a whole.

6Prepare your own toolkit

Pressing the old and trusted buttons of your own calculator is easier than staring at the limitless functions of a scientific calculator your friend lent you. We also suggest you have a pen and plenty of rough paper for workings.

7Answer the question

It might be obvious but the fact that we mention it means it is not. At least not always. Although there is only one correct answer, there may be decoys that could trick you. Stay calm and focused and be careful with your numbers.

8Do your research

Find out from your employer what type of psychometric assessments they are going to want you to sit. If you’re not sure simply ask them! Each job is different so the assessments will vary but as a starting point visit our top employers.

9Don't be complacent

There are sometimes 100+ applicants per place for the most sought after roles. Your competition will be prepared so make sure you are too. The more you practice, the better prepared you’ll be.

Numerical Reasoning Video Tutorials

Simplified Ratios

2 mins

Data Interpretation

2 mins

Number Series

3 mins

Percentage Change

2 mins

Currency Conversion

2 mins

Graph Interpretation

2 mins

Practice numerical reasoning tests

There’s a reason they say practice makes perfect. That phrase holds true when it comes to numerical reasoning tests. In fact, practice is perhaps even more important if you’re pretty new to these tests.

But don’t worry, we have all the tools you need to get started. Begin by trying some numerical reasoning questions, viewing the explanations and seeing your scores improve.

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