SHL Numerical Test: 5 Essential Tips for Guaranteed Success

Last Updated on November 30, 2022

Are you faced with taking the SHL Numerical Test? Worried about what you might encounter, how hard it will be to pass, and how to prepare?

With employers getting large numbers of applications for advertised positions, pre-employment testing has become one of the ways to work through the list of applicants to select people to be interviewed.

The SHL Numerical Reasoning Test is a widely used test to select applicants who may be more suited to a role at the company than others although a more general OPQ test is often used, as well.


All applicants pass through the same impartial selection process, so to land the job you need to make sure you score highly and stand out to the employer. While this is daunting, preparing well will help you face the exam with confidence and get the highest score possible.

Soon that job could be yours!

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What Is the SHL Numerical Reasoning Test?

The SHL Numerical Reasoning test is one of the top aptitude tests used by a variety of companies, especially in the banking and finance industries. It tests mathematical ability of potential candidates in the hiring process.

The test will assess how quickly and accurately you can analyse and interpret data. People doing the test can expect to be asked to deal with word problems, numerical calculations, data, and charts and graphs.

What Companies Use the SHL Numerical Test?

Thousands of companies use SHL tests. ​​80% of the FTSE 100 work with SHL tests as well as 50% of Fortune 500 companies worldwide. Some of the companies include:

  • Amazon
  • Crédit Suisse
  • Microsoft
  • Heineken

How Many Questions Are in the SHL Numerical Reasoning Test?

There are two possible versions of the SHL Numerical Reasoning tests you might be presented with. Each have a slightly different format.

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SHL Verify G+ Numerical Reasoning Test (Non-Interactive)

The most probable test you will face, this test is a non-interactive, multiple-choice exam. It is formed of 16 questions with a time limit of 20 minutes meaning you have to move swiftly through the questions at no more than 75 seconds per question. You will likely be presented with graphs, tables, data and you will need to select the right answer.

Try a free SHL Numerical Non-Interactive Test here at Job Test Prep.

SHL CEB Verify Numerical Reasoning Test

This is an older and less-used test. However, if you do face this version it will be formed of 18 questions with a time limit of 25 minutes.

How Long Do SHL Tests Take?

The SHL Numerical Test, depending on the version you receive will take between 20 and 25 minutes. As the test is short, the difficulty is working quickly, accurately and under pressure.

Is the SHL Numerical Test Difficult?

The test is regarded as one of the most difficult pre-employment tests. SHL, an occupational psychology consultancy, developed the test as part of their range of psychometric tests.

The test, which helps employers assess job applicants, is used across a range of industries. But it is especially popular in the banking and finance industries. As data handling and analysis are important in these sectors, the test is challenging. This way employers can assess the ability of candidates to work with numbers and deal with maths problems.

To find out more about the test head to job preparation site Job Test Prep. Here you can take an accurate and totally free sample test.

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What Is the Pass Mark for the SHL Numerical Test?

While there is no specific pass mark, the higher you score the better. The highest-scoring candidates usually make it through the test and into the positions. If you can score in the top 20% of candidates you should pass the test.

How Do You Pass the SHL Test?

The SHL Test is challenging, especially when considering the time limit. That means preparing well for the test is imperative if you want to score highly and pass.

This is a test to prepare for. And in that preparation, you need to become familiar with the test, the type of questions asked and what information the test is looking for. For this, we highly recommend the guidance and tailored resources at Job Test Prep.

You will find free resources plus a full extensive prep pack with guides, practice tests and tips. These will also be tailored to the version of the test you are taking. Equipped with accurate information and a test prep pack you are ready to begin your preparation.

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Get Organised

All good campaigns need to be organised and none more so than the challenge of facing a test when you are no longer in school.

Take the following steps to get your campaign underway:

  1. Decide where you are going to do your preparation. A quiet spot free from distractions is called for.
  2. Decide how long you have to prepare. Exclude the day before the test from this calculation. You will need that day to review a question or two and get ready to face the test with a clear head.
  3. Draw up a timetable, making sure you are going to do some preparation every day to maintain the flow of the work. Put that timetable where you can see it and stick to it.

Use Your Sample Papers

Your sample papers are going to become your friends for the days you are preparing for the test. Use them in every preparation session to lend structure to your work.

Using them like this you will:

  • Become familiar with the exam and the style of questioning
  • Be able to monitor your progress from test to test
  • Become familiar with the time constraints you will be working under in the real test
  • Gradually be able to adjust your own answering to the time limit

Keep in mind that your work will be assessed in relation to other applicants’ work. It is not enough to merely do the test. Competition for jobs at this level is intense. You need to shine above other applicants to get to the next stage of the recruitment process.

Can You Cheat on the SHL Numerical Test?

It would be very difficult to cheat on the SHL Numerical Test as there is no way of knowing the questions beforehand. The best thing you can do is take simulation practice exams so you are familiar with the types of questions that will come up.

Factors to Bear in Mind

  • As you are working on your sample tests there are important points to bear in mind.
  • Become familiar with all the functions of your calculator. You will be using it at speed on the day of the test.
  • Read the in-depth explanation for each question in your test prep pack. They will ease you into understanding how to deal with the questions.
  • Discover your strengths and weaknesses. You will do better on some types of questions than others. Pay particular attention to the ones that bring down your scores. They will need more practice.
  • Lack of confidence is the enemy of good test performance. Practice until you can face all or even most questions without fear of making mistakes.
  • As your confidence in your own ability grows you will notice your scores improving. When the real test comes round you will have the confidence to put in a good performance.

Are Numerical Reasoning Tests Hard?

Numerical reasoning tests can be very challenging as they are used for some of the top companies in the world. Many people compare preparing for and doing an important test to running a physical and mental marathon.

Your test prep pack will prepare you for the mental aspect of this marathon. However, there is a lot you can do yourself to help this process along. Remember your mind’s ability to function optimally is dependent on your physical well being.

While preparing, and in the run-up to the test, ensure you get:

  • Proper sleep
  • Good nutrition
  • Fresh air and exercise
  • Proper breaks between preparation sessions to ensure your brain is working at its best

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Stress and Burn-out

Stress and burn-out affect even the most experienced of people doing tests. If you are working a job while preparing for the test there is an even greater likelihood of this happening. Your best approach is to take pre-emptive action.

Assume it is going to happen and put mechanisms in place to keep it at bay. The self-care mentioned in the previous section will help with this but try building stress-busting exercises into your routine. You may have your own techniques. If not people find the following helpful:

  • Deep breathing exercises
  • Meditation
  • Yoga

Have those ready especially for the day of the test. Having done the work you do not need stress sabotaging your chance to shine. And approach the test confident that you have done your best to get the scores you need.

If you are preparing for the SHL Numerical Test you will find all the resources you need here

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