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SHL numerical reasoning test

SHL Numerical Reasoning Tests

  • 45 tests
  • 900 questions
SHL numerical reasoning test

SHL’s numerical test is the most popular numerical reasoning test used by employers and recruiters around the world. It’s designed to assess how critically, quickly and accurately you can analyse and interpret charts, graphs, tables and other numerical data.

About the SHL numerical reasoning test

SHL numerical tests are designed to be challenging, to help employers select the best candidates from what’s often a competitive pool of applicants.

There are usually 18 questions, all of which require complete focus as they can be complex, and you have very little time to answer each one.

Typically, you’ll be asked to analyse tables, charts and graphs, and demonstrate mathematical skills by working with multiplication, division, fractions, percentages and ratios.

Some tests allow the use of a calculator while others don’t, so always check before you start practising.

SHL tests exist in both online and offline formats. If you’re taking the test on a computer, you’ll be advised as to whether you’re taking it unsupervised in a location of your choice or supervised by the recruiter. If you progress to a later stage having taken an unsupervised test, it’s likely you’ll have to do a follow-up one in exam conditions.

SHL Verify is used to draw random questions from a database to guard against cheating. It ensures no two candidates get the same test, and helps to make the recruitment process fairer and more objective.

The test is usually scored comparatively. This means that your results will be compared to those of your peers who took the test alongside you.

How to prepare for and pass an SHL numerical test

The best way you can prepare for the SHL numerical test is to take as many past tests as you can.

We recommended whole tests rather than practising the questions in isolation, as it’s important to time yourself to ensure you’re answering each question with both the speed and accuracy needed.

Before taking a mock test, ensure you have everything you need: calculator (only if you will be taking the real test with one), pens and paper, a glass of water and most importantly — a timer.

At the start of any test, quickly work out how long you have to answer each question and try to stick to it. If you’re struggling with a particular question, move on to the next and remember to go back to it at the end if you have time.

After you’ve finished a test, it’s essential to go back through your answers and note down any questions you’ve got wrong. This will help you decipher whether you have a particular skill you need to brush up on (e.g. fractions), or if it’s your ability to answer the questions in the allocated time that’s the issue.

Remember that on the SHL test there isn’t a penalty for answering a question incorrectly, so it’s essential you do answer each one, even if you only have enough time for guesswork.

Prepare yourself for leading employers

Free example SHL numerical questions

We recommend you start with our free SHL numerical practice tests and questions. Each example practice question includes worked solutions.

After that, try the three example questions below. Answers and solutions follow after the questions.

1. Percentages

numerical percentage question

What was the average total percentage decrease in the number of homes sold by Bradfield Homes and Thompson Homes from May to June?

  • A) 18.18%
  • B) 13.26%
  • C) 13.04%
  • D) 8.33%

2. Tables and graphs

numerical chart question

If Heathrow Airport pledged in January to reduce cancelled flights by 80% by March, by how many cancelled flights have they failed to reach this target?

  • A) 4
  • B) 0
  • C) 14
  • D) 18

3. Conversions

numerical conversion question

2,000 CHF was used to purchase USD in Q2 and then sold in Q4. How much will the amount be worth in CHF?

  • A) 2,117.65
  • B) 2,098.03
  • C) 2,077.67
  • D) 1,981.48

Answers

1) May = 110 + 120 = 230 June = 90 + 110 = 200 230 - 200 = 30

30 / 230 x 100 = 13.04%, so the answer is C)

2) Step 1: Take the number of flights cancelled in January and calculate an 80% reduction:

30 × (1-0.8) = 6

Step 2: Subtract this figure from the March figure:

10 - 6 = 4, so the answer is A)

3) Step 1: Calculate how many USD you can buy with CHF 2,000 in Q2:

2,000 × 1.08 = USD 2,160

Step 2: Calculate how many CHF you can purchase with USD 2,160 in Q4:

2,160 ÷ 1.02 = CHF 2,117.65, so the answer is A)

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Are SHL numerical tests difficult?

The tests are designed to be challenging, as they act as a filter for employers who are looking to take only the best candidates forward. The good news is, if you’re applying for a job that requires you to take an SHL numerical test, you’re probably pretty adept with numbers already— so it’s just about ensuring you’ve put enough practice and preparation in before the test to sharpen your skills.

How are SHL numerical tests scored?

The tests are scored comparatively, which means your score will be compared to the scores of every other candidate who took the test. This is preferable to a benchmark pass rate or normative scoring, as it takes into account how hard the test was.

How long is an SHL numerical test?

The SHL numerical test usually comprises 18 questions, for which you’ll have between 17–25 minutes to answer. It’s important to check how long you have at the start, so you can give yourself a time allowance for each question.

Can you use a calculator?

The answer to this varies from test to test. As such it’s essential to find out before you start practising past tests, so you know whether you can use a calculator or not.

If you are allowed to use a calculator, it’s wise to familiarise yourself with the model you have and make sure you know how to get the best from all of the different functionalities.

Where can I practice numerical reasoning tests?

You can start with the numerical reasoning tests on this website, where there’s also plenty of tips and tricks from industry insiders, helpful blog posts and advice from people who have taken the tests previously.

How can I improve my numerical reasoning?

There really is nothing better than practising past tests. Doing so helps you to get quicker, familiarise yourself with the different questions, work out which areas you need to brush up on and ensures you enter the test with confidence that you can face what’s in front of you.

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SHL Numerical Reasoning Tests Tips

1Brush up on your numerical skills

You need to make sure you have a good grasp of fractions, ratios, percentages, averages and statistics. Build your confidence at analysing data presented in graphs and charts, as that’s what the majority of the questions will focus on. Our numerical reasoning test questions are a good place to start.

2Practice different numerical tests

Practising is the most important thing you can do to prepare, but there are ways to make your practice more efficient. Don’t just rely on the questions on the SHL website, as these are easier than the ones you’ll see on the actual test. Our sample tests cover all of the kinds of questions you’re likely to see.

3Replicate the test environment

Take any mock test you do in exam conditions, so you prepare yourself mentally and get better at answering the questions quickly and accurately. This means a quiet working environment free from distractions, equipping yourself with the tools you’ll be allowed on the day and most crucially — timing yourself.

4Work quickly but don’t rush

The most common mistakes are made because people don’t read the questions properly and miss key information. A good example of this is the different axes on the graphs — they’re often swapped around as a means of checking whether you’ve been paying attention.

5Use your time efficiently

If you’re running out of time, make an educated guess and come back to it if you have time at the end. You can maximise your chance of selecting the right answer by eliminating any you know to be wrong and trying to roughly arrive at an answer in your head, to help you better guess which answer may be correct.

Numerical Reasoning Video Tutorials

Graph Interpretation

2 mins

Percentage Change

2 mins

Simplified Ratios

2 mins

Data Interpretation

2 mins

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