Below are our top 10 hints and tips on how to approach a numerical reasoning test question and maximise your exam performance. Remember to practice numerical reasoning tests to help reinforce what you learn.

1) Read all instructions provided

This is the first thing you should do before beginning your numerical reasoning test assessment. During this time note down on your rough working paper how many questions you will be tasked with answering and quickly calculate how long you have to complete the assessment. If you were to answer every question – calculate how many questions per minute you would need to answer e.g. 10 questions in 20 minutes would be two minutes per question.

2) Stick to timings

This is of paramount importance, if you can’t answer a question you should look to move on, easier questions may follow. Numerical reasoning test assessments aren’t typically negatively marked so it can be worth going with your best guess, taking a deep breath to calm your nerves and advancing onto the next question if you’re really stuck.

Remember the questions are not always in order of difficulty so don’t panic if you find the initial questions difficult. In many numerical reasoning assessments you can flag difficult questions and come back to them at the end if you have time. Provided you have invested plenty of time in preparing for your assessment you should feel well prepared and confident.

How to start a numerical reasoning test

  • Step 1: Once you’ve click start test, the first question will appear, begin by reading the title of the graph or table, this will familiarise yourself with the context of the question.
  • Step 2: Read the first question slowly making sure that you understand what the question is asking.
  • Step 3: Examine the graph or table and begin calculating the answer to the first question. The primary reason for not immediately investing time reviewing the graph or table is that they often contain ‘distractors’ i.e. data / informaton not required to answer the question. It’s only once you have read the question that you know which parts of the graph or table are relevant to answering the question.

When you advance to the next question you will be familiar with the information contained within the graph / table and you will have made effective use of your finite time. Typically there are 3 – 5 questions associated with each graph / table.

Calculator skills are of paramount importance so ensure that you are using your own calculator and you’re absolutely familiar with the keys layout and functions. It’s worth getting used to utilising the bracket and memory functions scientific calculators offer during your preparation time.

In some numerical reasoning test assessments candidates are able to go back and review answers. If you are sitting an assessment which allows this and you finish early, see if you can go back and review your answers. This functionality should be described in the instructions that appear before you being your assessment. It’s worth making a note of questions you found difficult and perhaps passed on so you know which questions to go back to and have a go at towards the end of your assessment.

Practice numerical reasoning tests first

Remember that numerical reasoning tests, as daunting as they seem, are not designed to test your knowledge of advanced maths and specific formula. The questions typically require simple mathematics skills to solve them. One of the key skills to success is being able to identify which bits of information are relevant and needed to answer the question. Advanced questions will contain ‘distractors’ which you will get used to identifying and navigating around through question practice. Practice as many questions as possible prior to sitting your assessment to maximise your chances of success and your exam performance.

Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security because numerical reasoning tests are typically multiple choice. They are designed to identify the best candidates so they will be challenging so you need to be well prepared and done plenty of question practice.

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