What is a basic numeracy test?

A basic numeracy test assesses a candidate’s understanding and application of basic mathematical concepts.

The format of the test is typically multiple-choice questions, with one correct answer and three distractors.

A basic numeracy test requires cognitive skills: the ability to comprehend mathematical problems and know what the logical steps are to solve them within a limited time frame.

It’s also important to make a distinction between the numerical reasoning test and a numeracy test, as they are not the same.

Numeracy tests can typically comprise of the following mathematical concepts and therefore are important to practice and revise:

Example Numeracy topics  
Calculating percentages Equations
Currency conversion Proportions and ratios
Fractions Roots
Conversion of units Calculating fractions to decimals

Why do employers use basic numeracy tests?

It can be difficult to know from your CV what level of basic numeracy you have. Employers, therefore, tend to send aptitude tests to applicants so they can compare test scores with other candidates and ensure you meet a certain level of criteria.

10 key steps to answer basic numeracy tests

If you need to do a basic numeracy test, don’t panic. Our step-by-step guide should provide the best possible strategy to score top marks.

Step 1: Comprehend the questions

If you practice some aptitude tests, you will know how easily a person can be confused if he/she has not read the questions correctly. This mostly happens when people don’t recognize the correct units, graph, or tables. To avoid such confusion, read the questions carefully even after answering them. In this way, you won’t miss any point.

Step 2: Bring your calculator

If you are taking your numeracy test in an assessment centre, we recommend bringing your own calculator. You will be more familiar with the buttons and functions on your calculator, so time will not be wasted trying to use a different calculator. However, if you are taking your test online, then you can use the calculator on your computer or laptop.

Step 3: Use the rough paper

In most aptitude tests, you can bring along rough paper. Before solving the question on the paper, try solving it on the rough one so that if you make a mistake, it will not be on the real test. Sometimes, one question’s working is similar to another, so you don’t have to repeat that part while solving the other problem.

Step 4: Study the options that are given in the paper

Verbal reasoning tests have questions with options like true, false and cannot say. Similarly, numeracy tests also have some options for a problem. Therefore, consider only the options that are given in the paper for a question. This will save you time which you can use to solve other queries.

Step 5: Manage your time

Numeracy tests are strictly timed. Practice sample tests to get familiar with the format. Practicing will also improve your speed while doing calculations. Your goal should not be solving every question of the paper; it should be to answer the maximum number of questions correctly within the allotted time.

Step 6: Always check the units of measurements

A common mistake is not checking the units of measurements, as your answer may need to be specified in that unit. Therefore, check this carefully.

Step 7: Recheck your paper

After completing your paper, spend some time rechecking your answers. To check each answer after attempting a question is time-consuming. Therefore, first, try all the questions carefully and then double-check the answers at the end.

Step 8: Concentrate on your paper

If you have done your preparation well and practiced different sample tests, then it is easy to score well in such skill tests. Be confident while answering every question. Don’t waste time while looking at others.

Step 9: Don’t waste time reading irrelevant data

Most tests are formatted in a way that have questions with unrelated data. The unnecessary information is to confuse the candidate, so his/her time is wasted. Read the questions carefully, and don’t spend time reading any irrelevant information. Stick to the question and answer it accordingly.

Step 10: Practice lots of tests

Our final tip is to ensure you get lots of practice before taking your official test. Try a range of basic numeracy tests online; this should give you a good indication of your current abilities and what areas of numeracy you might want to improve.