SHL is one of the most recognised and trusted test assessment providers in the world.

Specialising in aptitude tests and assessment centres for graduate recruitment, SHL helps businesses, including many listed in the Forbes 500, to hire the best talent.

SHL provides a range of different tests from verbal reasoning and numerical reasoning, right through to general ability and personality tests. Employers can then pick the tests that will best help them to understand more about their applicants’ relevant skills.

SHL tests have a prestigious reputation because they are devised with occupational psychologists and use data acquired from the workplace. This ensures every question being asked, on every SHL test, delves deep into each candidate’s psyche and skills.

The tests are designed to be challenging. As well as relevant skills, you’re also being tested on your speed, accuracy and ability to keep calm under pressure. All of this will be reported back to employers to help them select the best person, or people, for a particular role.

To give yourself the best possible chance of succeeding at your SHL test, follow these ten tips:

1. Practice SHL tests until you pass

There’s no substitute for practice and there’s no better thing to practice than past SHL tests. Not only will doing so ensure you know what to expect on the day, it’ll also help you to boost your speed, accuracy and confidence.

At the end of each test, make sure you go back over your answers and see where you went wrong. This will help you to recognise which areas you need to work harder on.

2. Get your time management right

Part of the challenge of the SHL test is to manage your time effectively.

Before the test starts, make a quick note of how many questions you have to answer, and how long you have to do so. Working out roughly how long you can spend on each question is a helpful way to keep you on track, and ensure you don’t end up missing questions nearer the end of the test.

If you have time at the end, you can always go back and have another go at anything you’re unsure of.

3. Understand what it takes to pass

Passing the SHL is about more than just knowing the answers to the questions. This is obviously important, but you also need to:

  • Understand what’s being asked of you. For example in a personality test, there are no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answers, but there are answers that might better fit with the values and ethos of the company you’re applying for
  • Have a go at every question – it’s always a better idea than leaving it blank
  • Practice good time management

4. Create a practice routine

Routines can really help when it comes to instilling a sense of purpose and discipline into your preparation.

Try to listen to your mind and body and what works for you. If you tend to have better focus in the morning, that’s the time to set aside for practice. Or if you work better after you’ve eaten, make sure you build in practice time after every meal.

Taking regular breaks, revising in a distraction-free area and ensuring you have a glass of water nearby are all excellent ways to help yourself to get more out of your revision sessions.

5. Do your research

This shows the employer that you’re interested and dedicated. The more you know about the company you’re applying to work for, the more you’ll feel prepared for every part of the recruitment process.

It’s also an important part of many of the SHL tests, including personality tests, as it may affect the way you answer. While it’s always important to be honest, it’s also helpful to know what a company is looking for in a prospective employee.

This helps to ensure they pick the right person for the job, and you end up in a role suited to your skills, beliefs and motivations.

shl assessment tips

6. Practice numerical and verbal reasoning tests

The mainstay of the SHL test, numerical and verbal reasoning tests are set by a large number of employers who want to ensure they hire candidates with strong numeracy and communication skills.

Practising the tests will help you to get comfortable with the style of question, and ensure you know what’s being asked of you on the day.

If your maths or comprehension skills are a little rusty, it might be worth brushing up on them before you start a practice test, since it can bruise your confidence going into a test with no prior knowledge.

7. Don’t be afraid to fail

That’s what practice is for!

Every failure is a chance to learn something ahead of the test that really counts. So don’t see an incorrect answer as a failure; try to see it as a learning opportunity. Chances are, if you see the same question come up on the real test, you’ll get the answer correct the second time around.

8. Don’t settle for just official questions

Thinking laterally can help to make revision more fun.

Practice tests are really important, since they help you to understand what you’re likely to see on the test you’re preparing for. But it can also be useful to find more inventive ways to learn.

Why not get a friend to ask you questions on a passage of your favourite novel to help with your verbal reasoning skills? Or play a maths-based computer game to help you master basic mathematical principles?

9. Learn from your mistakes

Learning from your mistakes is the best way to grow in knowledge and confidence, and can really make the difference between someone who does well at an SHL test, and someone who doesn’t.

Every time you practice a past test, make sure you take time to go over your answers at the end to identify any areas you’ve struggled with. Make a list of questions you got wrong and then have another go at reviewing the principles behind these questions.

You’ll probably find that every time you do this, the next test will be easier and you will score higher.

10. Get in the mindset

Try to remain as calm and confident as you can.

If you’ve revised hard before the SHL test you have nothing to worry about. So take deep breaths, remember how much work you’ve done to get here and think about showing the employer just how strong a candidate you are.

And remember that everyone finds tests hard, so you’re not alone.