SHL Mechanical Comprehension Test

How to Prepare for SHL Mechanical Comprehension Test?

Last Updated on February 16, 2023

If you’re applying for a job that revolves around mechanics, your potential employer will likely ask you to take the SHL Mechanical Comprehension Test. Often, this applies to technical roles in manufacturing companies and engineering firms.

If you’re unsure about what the SHL Mechanical Comprehension Test consists of or what to expect, keep reading as we explain the five core topics it focuses on and give you some valuable tips on preparing for the test.

What Is the SHL Mechanical Comprehension Test?

This mechanical comprehension test is designed by Saville and Holdsworth Limited, one of the top pre-employment test providers in the world. It aims to assess an applicant’s ability to understand mechanical concepts and apply them to different situations and scenarios that can occur within a workplace.

Many employers use these tests as part of their hiring process in order to find the top candidates for graduate schemes, internships, or full-time positions within the company.

During the test, candidates are given 10 to 15 minutes to answer 15 to 18 questions in total. It can be taken online and in person. It’s worth noting that some employers may require you to take the test twice (once online and once on location) to ensure your score is genuine. While it is similar to mechanical aptitude tests, it does have some unique key differences.

  • Depicts machinery and tools instead of theoretical scenarios
  • Each question is multiple choice
  • Cannot change already submitted answers

The main goal of this test is to assess one’s understanding of machinery and the many aspects of operational uses, maintenance of machinery, knowledge of basic mechanical principles, and one’s ability to apply that knowledge within certain scenarios in the real world.

The test will be different for every candidate, and the difficulty of the questions is not based on the candidates’ performance. The SHL mechanical comprehension test can be taken alone, or with any other test as dictated by recruiters and HR managers.


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How Will I Be Assessed?

The best part of the SHL test is that it only counts your correct answers. This means that you don’t lose points for wrong answers.

This is true across most SHL tests, including the mechanical comprehension test. No matter the type of test, though, you’ll be answering multiple-choice questions. This makes it even better that you only get scored on correct answers since you have a good chance of guessing the questions you don’t know.

The point here is that it’s crucial to answer every question. You might not know every answer, but don’t leave any unanswered, because you aren’t penalised for wrong answers.

What happens when you submit your test? Your results will be compared to a reference group of people that are made with similar characteristics as you. So, you’ll essentially be scored against thousands of people of the same nationality, age, and education, amongst other factors. You would also be scored against people in the same industry and job level to give your employers a sense of your skills.

Your score will be transformed into a percentile, so when you receive your score, you’ll see something like 75th percentile. This would mean that you scored higher than 75 percent of the people within your group, which is a pretty great score.

If you want to progress to the next stage, you’ll need to get a score that’s higher than the other people in your reference group—40 percent higher than their average score. Additionally, if you want the best chance of getting into the next selection stage, you’ll want to be in the top 20 percent of your group.

Basically, all of this means that your raw score doesn’t matter. How you do compared to others is what matters, so look for that percentile score before anything else, and study so that you can perform well in your industry.


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What Is Included in the Test?

Mechanical Systems

The SHL mechanical comprehension test focuses on five core topics, The topics are:

Mechanical Devices Interaction

The interaction of parts within machinery is a major focus point of the test. Therefore, questions for this topic will involve various mechanical systems, and you will be required to predict what happens when they function.


Applicants will be asked about subjects such as gear ratio and directionality within machinery. These questions are standard for SHL Mechanical comprehension tests.

Force and Torque

This is less common in the SHL Mechanical Comprehension Test than in other tests. It includes a selection of fundamental mechanical concepts, to which understanding them is critical for succeeding in other topics. This topic includes questions pertaining to the law of the lever, force equilibrium, etc.

Fluid Mechanics

These questions focus on subjects and materials pertaining to hydraulics, flow, and the relationship between heat and pressure.

Tools and Equipment

These questions require the applicant to answer questions that apply physical principles to various power tools and shop equipment. In addition, candidates will be required to determine which tools are preferable for specific tasks.


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Sample Questions

As mentioned, the SHL mechanical comprehension test questions feature machinery and tools instead of text describing scenarios. Hence, expect to see many illustrations and diagrams.

Some sample questions you might encounter include:

  • What is the maximum weight that this lever could lift?
  • Which direction will the white wheel rotate in?
  • Which shelf has a higher possibility of bending?
  • How much force is needed to lift the weight with the pulley?

Have a look at Job Test Prep’s practice plan which features accurate sample tests so you’ll know exactly what to expect. Their practice plan also includes guidance to teach you the actual principles behind the answers.

How to Pass the Test

Engineer Reviews Data

Passing the SHL mechanical comprehension test means scoring higher than other people in your group. You don’t need to get a perfect score, you only need to perform better than others by a certain percentage. So, to pass the test, the best thing you can do is to begin by brushing up on your basic skills.

You can never predict what questions you might encounter, so knowing the basic skills will help you throughout the test. Of course, that means knowing fractions and ratios, and completing lots of practice to get the hang of it.

You likely know how to do these things already, but take time to practice how to do these types of operations again. Spend some time looking at graphs too, so it’ll be much easier for you to understand them when it comes time to undergo the test.

Remember that this is a timed test, after all, so you don’t want to spend a lot of time trying to recall how to work with decimals or read graphs.

This is where you should take the time to complete some practice tests. Job Test Prep has all the practice tests and guides that you’ll need. Not only will these help you with your basic skills, but taking these tests will help you become familiar with the format of the tests and types of questions you might encounter.

While it might be tempting to give yourself an extra minute or two to complete the test, you should set a timer and stick to it so that you can get used to completing the test in a set amount of time.

Practice these tests until they’re familiar. This means understanding questions that are abstract, layered, or have odd wording and red herrings.


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How To Prepare For SHL Mechanical Comprehension Test?

All this preparation is important because of how little time you have and how important it is for you to perform well compared to the other people in your group. One of the best ways to do this is to familiarise yourself with the tests, which will give you an edge over the other people within your group.

Prepare by refreshing your memory on some basic math and reading skills that you see in lots of standardised tests.

It also helps to create an actual practice plan for yourself. This means creating a plan that focuses on the five common topics that are on your Mechanical Reasoning Test and making sure that you’re familiar with all of them.

Take the mechanical reasoning practice tests on Job Test Prep, which will show you the questions you need to answer and even provide you with a time limit.

It’s a short test with only 15 questions to complete in just 10 minutes, but you’ll want to practice with this specific test so that you can get used to questions involving mechanical concepts like levels, gears, and pulleys.

With the practice tests, take the time to work within a time limit and simulate the structure of the test. This will help you learn your skills while hopefully making you feel less nervous about facing the actual test.


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Test Tips

Male Mechanical Engineer Designs

Have a look at these test tips which can give you an added edge over other test candidates.

Improve Your Mechanical Knowledge

It’s crucial to assess your understanding of technical mechanical elements like levels, springs, pulleys, gears, and electrical circuits, not to mention principles like force, motion, and energy. The best tip is to ensure you have existing knowledge of the topic before taking the test.

Check Your Equipment

Before you take the test, it’s essential to take the time to check your browser and internet connection. While you might live in an area where your internet goes out a lot, you should make sure that you can do as much as possible to ensure that this doesn’t happen.

Your next question on the test will load as soon as you’ve finished the previous one, so if your connection is slow or your internet goes out, you’ll have to wait for it to come back before your test can continue.

Keep Practising

Take as many of those practice tests as possible. It helps to test once or twice, but the more you test, the more comfortable you’ll be when taking the actual test.

Hone your practice skills. It’s not just about gaining the knowledge and skills—it’s also about feeling confident when you take the test and how well you can recall all the knowledge that you learned.


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Take Your Practice Tests Seriously

When you take these practice tests, it’s crucial to take them in suitable surroundings. This means sitting somewhere quiet that’s free from distractions.

Avoid anything that might make it hard to focus or take your attention, and have everything you would have when you take the test, like scratch paper to help you work out any math.

Pay Attention to the Details

Finally, read all of your questions carefully and pay attention to details. You’ll be looking at diagrams, reading charts, and going through different types of text too.

Don’t rush through it then, because it can be difficult to absorb everything and perform the correct calculation if you go too quickly. While you need to move at a steady pace, remember not to rush.


With the help of Job Test Prep, it’s possible to be adequately prepared for the SHL mechanical comprehension test. Create a practice plan that’s comprehensive and ensure that you’re familiar with all the five core topics that will be tested.

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Then, stick to the plan with discipline and you’ll be able to face the test with confidence and a high chance of success.

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