Numerical Reasoning Practice Tests & Knowledge Hub: Essential Tips For 2015

Welcome to the Hub! You’ll find tons of numerical reasoning practice tests, top tips, coaching videos and proven strategies for numerical reasoning success.

3 useful starting-point resources

  1. Get hold of our recommended numerical practice tests here.
  2. Check out our numerical reasoning podcast episode here.
  3. Our Ultimate Interview & Assessment Day Guide is filled with tips, tricks and insider-secrets that will help you succeed on your big day.

numerical-reasoning-practice-testWhat’s here on The Hub?

  • 19 numerical reasoning practice tests.
    • 4 numerical reasoning coaching videos.
  • Links to all numerical reasoning practice test suppliers.
  • A huge list of the web’s best numerical reasoning practice tests, tips, articles, books & resources.

NOTE: There’s TONS of stuff on this page, much more than you’ll be able to use in one visit, so please remember to bookmark/favourite the page for future reference.

Why did you create this numerical reasoning Hub?

We get more emails about numerical reasoning tests than anything else (we get the message – you hate them!), so we created this Hub to help you.

Let’s get straight to it, how do you pass a numerical reasoning test?

How to pass a numerical reasoning practice test – Coaching Video 1

There are 6 steps that you need to follow to pass a numerical reasoning practice test. In this first video, we’ll cover steps 1-3.

How to pass a numerical reasoning practice test – Coaching Video 2

In part 2 we share steps 4-6 including the most important secret you need to know to pass a numerical reasoning practice test.

Numerical reasoning practice tests – Arranged by supplier

Here’s a list of supplier-specific numerical reasoning practice tests. This list will always be maintained, so feel free to check back at any point in the future for the latest versions of each supplier’s test software.

Note: These tests also include explanations for the areas where you fall short. This knowledge is pure gold-dust as it highlights how you will fail, which gives you the opportunity to respond & improve before your test.

Are all numerical reasoning practice tests the same?

No. They assess similar criteria, but there are big variations in the tests themselves. Find out which numerical reasoning supplier will be used for your test. Was it created by SHL, Saville, Talent Q, Kenexa, or someone else?

Your prospective employer’s HR department, or the agency who is representing you will be able to give you this information. (Don’t feel ‘pushy’ for requesting this, it’s a reasonable and fair question for you to ask.)

To give yourself the best chance of success you should sit 4-6 numerical reasoning practice tests created by your test supplier before you sit your real test.

Numerical reasoning tests – the basics

Let’s rewind a little and cover off some basic background principles about numerical reasoning tests.

‘What is a numerical reasoning test?’

A numerical reasoning test is a form of psychometric aptitude testing that is widely used by corporate employers in interviews and assessment centres. If you’re applying for a role at a big corporate employer, it’s highly likely there will be some form of numerical testing.

practice-numerical-reasoning-tests

‘So the test is basically measuring my maths ability?’

Broadly, yes. Your ability to interpret and manipulate mathematical data is the main area of assessment, but the test also gives employers insight into your overall intelligence, judgement and business acumen.

‘What should I expect during a numerical reasoning test?’

You will be required to answer questions by interpreting figures and data that are (usually) presented in statistical tables & graphs.

For each question you are given a number of options to choose from, but it’s important to remember that one, and only one, of the options is correct in each case.

‘Can you show me a practice numerical reasoning test example?’

Sure, here’s a couple of numerical reasoning practice test questions from a real assessment centre test:

Numerical-Reasoning-Test

Numerical reasoning practice test Question 1 – Which newspaper was read by a higher percentage of females than males in Year 3?

      • The Tribune
      • The Herald
      • Daily News
      • Daily Echo
      • The Daily Chronicle

Numerical reasoning practice test Question 2 – What was the combined readership of the Daily Chronicle, the Daily Echo and The Tribune in Year 1?

      • 10.6
      • 8.4
      • 9.5
      • 12.2
      • 7.8

Here’s another example question from a numerical reasoning practice test:

Practice-Numerical-Reasoning-Test

Numerical reasoning practice test Question 3 – In Year 3, how much more than Italy did Germany spend on computer imports?

      • 650 million
      • 700 million
      • 750 million
      • 800 million
      • 850 million

Numerical reasoning practice test Question 4 – If the amount spent on computer imports into the UK in Year 5 was 20% lower than in Year 4, what was spent in Year 5?

      • 1,080 million
      • 1,120 million
      • 1,160 million
      • 1,220 million
      • 1,300 million

‘Are all numerical reasoning tests the same?’

No. They all assess very similar criteria, but there are variations in the tests themselves. Find out beforehand who your numerical reasoning test was created by (SHL, Saville, Talent Q, Kenexa etc) and to give yourself the best chance of success you should repeatedly take a numerical reasoning practice test created by that company.

Your prospective employer’s HR department, or the agency who is representing you will be able to give you this information. (Don’t feel ‘pushy’ for requesting this, it’s a fair and reasonable question for you to pose!)

8 Expert Tips For Numerical Reasoning Test Success

1) Study the information at least TWICE

It is absolutely vital that you fully understand the information you’re being presented with before you begin answering questions. Small assumptions can catch you out in a numerical reasoning practice test – don’t forget this test is also checking your eye for detail.

2) Stay calm

Nothing will damage your performance more than losing your focus during the test. Numerical reasoning tests are timed and some people find this applies an element of pressure that makes it very hard for them to concentrate.

Two articles of mine that will be a huge help to you here are:

3) Manage your time carefully

A standard numerical reasoning practice test lasts for around 20 minutes. As with most assessment centre activities it’s vital that you manage your time carefully. You should always scan ahead and see how many questions you need to complete in the time you have available.

As a rough rule of thumb, you should spend about 90 seconds on each question. If you are really stuck on a question don’t waste time trying to figure it out.

During the 5 minutes you spend pondering one tricky question you could correctly answer 3-4 others and secure a much higher overall score in your numerical reasoning test . 

4) Practise as much as possible before your real test

Numerical reasoning is the easiest assessment centre activity to prepare for because the preparation is so clear-cut. If you put the time in to prepare for this test you will pass, that’s not something you can say with such certainty for other assessment exercises. Practise, practise, practise!

PRO TIP: You can practise numerical reasoning tests used by employers here and here (these tests aren’t free, but they are a must for candidates who want to do absolutely everything to guarantee success).

Buy some numerical reasoning books from Amazon to brush up on your maths, here’s a good selection to get you started.

Listen to my podcast on how to succeed in a numerical reasoning practice test, a companion to this article, by clicking here.

Be sure to check out my Ultimate Interview & Assessment Day Guide – it’s filled with useful advice and resources that will help you.

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5) If possible use your own calculator 

Using your own calculator that you’re comfortable with and fully understand how to use will save you valuable seconds in your numerical reasoning practice test. A scientific calculator with the ability to use macros is ideal, but in the absence of this just use a big calculator with a clear screen and large buttons. Simplicity and ease-of-use are the key here; don’t lose sight of the fact you’re being timed against other candidates!

6) Make no assumptions

In a numerical reasoning practice test you mustn’t factor in real-life data that you know proves or disproves an element of a question. You absolutely must take the numerical reasoning test literally – if it isn’t included in the data you’re shown then you can’t include it in your decision-making process for the question.

7) Focus only on the sought data

The answer to most questions will be in only a sub-section of the data you are shown. (You can often disregard 80% of the data that’s presented.) The key is knowing where to look and this is part of the test; your data-selection skills are being measured as well as your core mathematic ability.

8) Fully understand how to calculate percentages

Do you fully understand percentages? It’s surprising how many people think they do, but don’t. It’s important that you know this because it forms a large part of every numerical reasoning test.

As a quick test: Do you know how to strip a retrospective percentage increase out? (Eg for after-sales tax, such as VAT?)

For example, if I bought £72.14 of fuel for my car and needed to calculate how much that would be without VAT what would I do? Would I calculate 17.5% of £72.14 (£12.62) and deduct it from the total? This would give me a pre-VAT figure of £59.52. This would be incorrect. 

This is the most common mistake made by candidates in a numerical reasoning test. Why is it wrong? Because the calculation took a 17.5% measure of the after-tax figure.

The correct way to strip out the VAT increase (or any after-the-fact percentage increase) is to divide the original number by, in this example, 1.175. (The 1.175 represents the 17.5% VAT, but you could use 1.52 to represent 52% or 1.255 to represent 25.5% etc.) So in this example the original after-tax amount was £72.14 which when divided by 1.175 gives us the correct figure of £61.40.

Here’s two simple videos that will help you further:

How to calculate percentages in your numerical reasoning practice test – Coaching Video 3

The most fundamental thing that you must be able to do to succeed in a numerical reasoning practice test is understand percentages.

Percentages are the most-used metric in numerical reasoning practice tests, you simply must understand how to calculate percentages and reverse percentages. Most people can do the former but often fail at the latter.

So far so good, right? Most people are comfortable with this. But how about reverse percentages? They feature is almost every numerical reasoning practice test. Do you really know how to strip a percentage out?

Reverse percentages (calculating an original number from a percentage-increased one) account for the most-failed questions in numerical reasoning practice tests.

How to calculate reverse percentages in your numerical reasoning practice test – Coaching Video 4

Numerical reasoning practice tests – The Big List

I hope you found the coaching videos useful? Let’s round-up the best resources and articles that you can use to prepare for your numerical reasoning practice test.

Useful resources for numerical reasoning practice tests & preparation

Ok, here’s some key numerical reasoning practice test resources that should be on your radar:

  • Assessment Day – Fantastic practice aptitude tests, an excellent modern-thinking company.
  • JobTestPrep – The accuracy and sheer breadth of tests on offer (including explanations) is superb.
  • PracticeAptitudeTests.com – One of the big players in this area. Worth a look.
  • Saville (official website) Saville numerical test guide, very useful.
  • SHL (official website) This is SHL’s “test preparation and career centre”.
  • Kenexa (official website – now owned by IBM) – GraduatesFirst free Kenexa guide (signup required)
  • Cut-E (official website) – These tests are used by some of the big financial services companies like PwC.
  • Cubiks (official website) – Numerical reasoning practice test resources
  • Talent-Q (official website)

Why is it so hard to find a free numerical reasoning practice test?

We often get emails from people asking where they can find a free numerical reasoning practice test. Sadly, there aren’t many high-quality free numerical reasoning practice tests out there. There are free tests, but they tend to be very generic and the style and difficulty level won’t be the same as the real test you will sit.

Sure, in one sense “maths is maths”, so practising ANY test is helpful to a degree, but the format, layout & timings of the tests vary hugely from supplier to supplier which is why we recommend you practice with supplier-specific tests.

“You get what you pay for” is the order of the day here. We encourage all of our clients and coaching students to not see the price of the tests as a cost; it’s an investment you’re making to progress your career and unlock the next chapter of your life.

High-quality, supplier-specific numerical reasoning practice tests

These are our recommend tests due to their accuracy, breadth and the inclusion of clear explanations for areas where you struggle. This allows you to pinpoint your weaknesses and improve. In short, they’re perfect:

Numerical reasoning practice: One-to-one coaching

Before we continue with The Big List of resources, we’d like to flag our new numerical reasoning tuition service.

Would you like to have a 1-to-1 coaching session with maths guru John Bridges? (John is stood on the right in the coaching videos above.) Nothing will improve your ability more than learning from an expert and then practising ahead of your test. If you’d like some 1-on-1 guidance via Skype drop us an email here and we’ll send you further details & pricing.

You’ll be amazed at the difference just one hour’s focussed tuition can make.

numerical-reasoning-test-coaching

assessment day

More useful resources and links for numerical reasoning practice tests

Ok, let’s carry on with The Big List! This is a round-up of all the best content that’s out there for passing a numerical reasoning practice test. There’s a lot here so work through it over a period of time to ensure you digest it:

Two quick and simple numerical reasoning practice tests

This numerical reasoning practice test has a 15 minute time limit – try and ensure you’re free from distraction (put your phone on ‘silent’, etc) so you can focus wholly on the test and get an accurate result. Good luck!

Numercial Reasoning Practice Test

How did it go? Well I hope? Here’s another numerical reasoning practice test:

Numerical Reasoning Practice Test

What tools or resources will I need for my numerical reasoning test?

The Casio MX8 calculator is a business workhorse and sells for around £4 on Amazon UK.

Having a large basic calculator with a clear display and big buttons is a real help when you’re doing a timed numerical reasoning practice test and under pressure to outpace the other candidates who are your competition. (It may sounds pedantic, but these things are often very close. If you’re serious about doing well in this test then you’ll appreciate that literally every second counts.)

Three good books that will help you succeed

  1. ‘Now you’ve been shortlisted: Your guide to being successful at interviews and assessment centres’ Amazon (UK)
  2. ‘You’re Hired! Psychometric Tests: Proven tactics to help you pass your numerical reasoning practice test’ Amazon (UK)
  3. ‘Practice & Pass: Numeracy tests’ Amazon (UK)

Our numerical reasoning success podcast episode

You can listen to it here.

Extra resources of ours that will help you

Some final questions for you…

  • Lastly the Tools and Resources page is packed with useful equipment and ‘A’ List recommendations that will make your life easier.

Have we missed anything?

If you find something useful that should be added to this page please let us know by dropping us an email and we’ll add it.

Did you find this page useful?

I hope you enjoyed using this free numerical reasoning practice hub? If you did please help us out by sharing it on Facebook or Twitter. Thanks and good luck with your numerical reasoning test! :-)

assessment centre numerical reasoning

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