What are SHL Style AMCAT assessments?

The SHL Style AMCAT assessment is a pre-employment test that is used in the recruitment process for several roles, from entry-level right through to executive-level positions.

The test was developed by Aspiring Minds, and the acronym stands for Aspiring Minds Computer-Adaptive Test. This type of test uses artificial intelligence to adjust the difficulty of each question according to the performance of the candidate on the previous questions.

Aspiring Minds was acquired by leading assessment company SHL in 2020 to provide employers with the opportunity to test candidates in a new and more in-depth way, making use of the latest technology to give more information to employers about the readiness and performance potential of each candidate.

SHL already has a large battery of different tests that are used in application processes in more than 150 countries, translated into 40-plus languages. They are the company of choice for thousands of companies who are looking for new and innovative ways to not only find the best talent but also for data used to help develop and train employees already in a position.

Why is the test important for employers?

The SHL Style AMCAT is computer-adaptive, which means that the difficulty changes to suit the performance of the candidate. With a large bank of unique questions that are phrased in different ways to similar tests elsewhere, the AMCAT is a single assessment that can provide thousands of different combinations of questions - so the test can be used as easily to recruit for a graduate or entry-level position as it can for a higher level executive role.

The scoring of the AMCAT is based not only on the number of questions that the candidate has answered correctly but also on the relative difficulty of the questions - which gives more insight into their specific capabilities.

Test Format

There are 24 questions on the AMCAT, with a time limit of 35 minutes. The questions are divided into three different sections.

  • Logical Ability
  • Quantitative Ability
  • Verbal Ability

These are typical of the content of any aptitude or psychometric test, but what makes the AMCAT unique is that the content of the questions is considered to be much more challenging than your typical verbal, logical, or numerical questions, making passing the assessment that bit more challenging - and making it easier for the recruiters to be able to differentiate between those that are just capable and those that are ready for higher level performance.

SHL Style AMCAT Assessment

Example Questions

Logical Ability

These questions are similar in structure to the logical reasoning questions in other aptitude tests, where the candidate needs to follow certain rules to come to a logical conclusion. However, the rules that are used in the AMCAT test are more likely to be almost counterintuitive, which makes them more difficult to solve.

Example Question

No footballers are fit and healthy.

All famous sports players are footballers.

Given that the above is true, which of the following is the logical deduction?

  1. All footballers are famous sports people
  2. All famous people are fit and healthy
  3. All famous sports players are not fit and healthy
  4. All fit and healthy people are footballers
  5. All football players are men

The difficulty in this example comes from the assumption that no footballers are fit and healthy, this seems counterintuitive to us. The answer is 3., but with time constraints and the pressure of a test environment, getting past the ‘wrong’ feeling of the logic rules used makes this much more difficult.

Quantitative Ability

These questions are very similar in content and structure to the numerical reasoning questions that are found in other pre-employment assessments, but again, you can expect them to be a bit more challenging in both presentation and the calculations that need to be done to find the right answer in the multiple choice options.

Example Question

Date Number of People Total Profit
23/11/2002 34 £569
24/11/2002 45 £435
25/11/2002 26 £356
26/11/2002 76 £632

The table above shows the number of people that attended a market event in the town center. Which day had the most spend per person?

  1. 23rd
  2. 24th
  3. 25th
  4. 26th

To find the answer, several steps need to be completed - and the first is to work out how much each person spent on each day. It might look like the answer is most likely to be d) because that is the highest total profit, but extra calculations show that it is a), with an average spend of £16.74 per person on that day.

Verbal Ability

In the verbal ability questions, much like in verbal reasoning assessments, you will be presented with a passage of text, which is likely to be written in formal or business language and about something quite obscure to make it more difficult. The passage will be followed by a statement and you will have to decide if the statement is true, or false, or if there isn’t enough information based on what is in the passage.

Example Question

During the meeting, the shareholders agreed that there needed to be some redundancies to meet company targets for that year, with spiraling costs in utilities a major factor in the economic downturn. The budget needed to be cut but it was not clear where the redundancies should be made; it was not immediately obvious which department had the least to lose if jobs were to be axed. The chair wanted to take some time to discuss each department and decide where the most money could be saved most efficiently without having a negative impact on productivity.”

The costs of hiring new people are the main reason that redundancies have to be made.

  1. True
  2. False
  3. Not enough information to say

In this example, there is a lot of detail that is extraneous to the statement and can be disregarded, but you would need to read it thoroughly enough to be able to pinpoint the information that is required. In this case, the answer is b) because the main reason is the increased cost of utilities.

Tips to prepare for the SHL Style AMCAT Assessment

Tip 1 - Practice Tests

One of the most important things you can do before any pre-employment assessment is to practice. Using specific AMCAT practice tests, you will not only get a feel for what the question content will be like, but you will also become familiar with the structure of the test, the way the questions need to be answered, and be able to complete the assessment within the time limit.

Tip 2 - Revise

From your answers in the practice test, you are likely to see that there are some areas that you did not score so well - and these are where you should focus on any practice or revision. If, for example, a question on percentages stumped you in the practice test, you might want to look at guides on solving percentage questions or find a new method to use that works fast so you can answer under pressure.

Tip 3 - Expand Your Knowledge

Even if there are no obvious areas that you need to improve in the assessment, it is a good idea to develop yourself in all areas where you can. You might want to try taking other assessments based on logic, language, and numeracy to grow - especially if you haven’t done many before. You can also widen your reading to include more formal and business content, such as journals and newspapers, and complete puzzles.

Tip 4 - Prime Your Brain

Your body is a fine-tuned instrument, and as such, it needs the right conditions to work at its best. What this means when it comes to testing is that you need to give your body the right fuel for success - so make sure that you are well-rested before taking the test, eat a nutritious meal, and stay hydrated.

Tip 5 - Read the Question

When you are under time pressure, it is easy to try and rush through an assessment. This can be troublesome - you might find that you are ruining your chances of success by missing out on essential information provided in the instructions or the question. The talent for quickly reading and understanding different types of questions, whether numerical, verbal, or logical, is part of what the AMCAT is testing you on.