SHL Numerical Test: 5 Essential Tips for Guaranteed Success

Last Updated on September 17, 2021

In this SHL Numerical Test guide you’ll find practice tests, coaching videos & 5 Essential Tips for success.

The SHL numerical test is the most common form of numerical testing in modern recruitment. If you have to take a numerical test as part of a job application, it’s probably the SHL numerical test.

In this article you’ll learn what to expect and how to succeed. Let’s get started!

SHL Numerical Test Success Guide


Ok, let’s get stuck in. What’s included here in this guide?

  1. A brief overview of SHL, the company.
  2. What’s special about the SHL numerical test?
  3. 5 Top Tips for your SHL numerical test. (A must-read!)

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A brief overview of SHL

SHL is an ‘occupational psychology consultancy’ that’s used by thousands of organisations around the world.

SHL offer a wide spectrum of services that help large corporations to assess their job candidates. (Assessment centre material, candidate selection and development tools, training courses, psychometric tests, etc.)

SHL’s psychometric tests have become staple products, widely used in the recruitment industry. In particular, the SHL numerical test and SHL verbal test.

Useful background info: Back in 2012, SHL was purchased by a company called ‘CEB’.  You may hear this name used while researching for your SHL numerical test and you may find SHL tests sometimes referred to as ‘CEB Talent Measurement Solutions’.

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Want to learn more about SHL Tests?

If so, check out this video to get an overview of the company and what they offer:

How is the SHL numerical test different to other suppliers’?

If you’ve read any of our other articles on aptitude testing (numerical, verbal, logical etc) you’ll know that we always stress the importance of knowing who your aptitude test was made by.

Why? Because the tests vary depending on who made them. There’s no point practising tests made by supplier X if your actual test was made by supplier Y.

The format and criteria of the tests will be different. The main difference is in the formatting: what they look like, how they appear, the style, wording and timings.

Here’s a screengrab of an SHL numerical test (courtesy of our friends at JobTestPrep):



This second image is a Kenexa test:


SHL numerical test

See the difference? The first uses a bar chart and is ratio-based, while the second splits the data in a different way and poses a fundamentally different numerical problem. There’s also more subtle differences, in language and nuance.

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How to prepare for a SHL Numerical Test?

An SHL numerical test isn’t something to take lightly. The tests are timed and they scale in difficulty. Remember you’re being measured against other candidates, so literally every second counts.

You need to be on top of your game. Here’s some top tips.

5 Top Tips For Passing An SHL Numerical Test

Ok, let’s look at how to pass an SHL numerical test.

1. Check out our Numerical Reasoning Hub

We’ve worked hard to make sure you have everything you need, at your fingertips. Please take advantage of this resource, we made it for you! 🙂


2. Make sure you’re confident with your calculator’s advanced functions

Make sure you get to grips with all the functions of your calculator. Invest in a decent scientific calculator with programmable macros (a huge timesaver) and use a guide like this to learn how to get the most from it.

Use every possible advantage you can. (All of the other candidates will!) This is your career, your future. Do everything possible to give yourself the best chance of success.

3.Watch our coaching videos

John Bridges and I take a step by step approach to show you exactly how to pass your SHL numerical test. You can find all of the videos here.

4. Practice tests are essential

This is crucial. If you only do one thing to prepare for your SHL test, please let it be this.

  • You can’t expect to get used to the style of questioning without practising.
  • You have no chance of learning where your strengths and weaknesses lie, without practising.

Practising improves your confidence AND your competence. It will make you more relaxed in your SHL numerical test (a huge performance multiplier) and it will allow you to pinpoint where your knowledge gaps are. Which then allows you to plug those gaps. It’s a win-win-win scenario.

We recommend you practice with JobTestPrep’s practice tests as they include in-depth explanations for each question and this allows you to improve with maximum efficiency. (They also include a useful study guide.)

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When practising, keep the following in mind:

  • Practice for your SHL numerical test as much as your free time allows. Plenty of practice will increase your knowledge, up your confidence and of course, is the only real way of genuinely boost your chances.
  • Work out where your weaknesses lie and focus on learning more in that specific area. Focus on the questions that you get incorrect, not the ones you get right.
  • Make sure your practice test is correct for your job level.  The difficulty and skills assessed will vary, according to the job you are applying for. (Graduate level tests are much easier than senior management ones.)
  • Never lose sight of the fact that the SHL test is a time-focused test. Keep this in mind when practising. Every second counts. Try to answer the questions as quickly as you can, without error. The more you practice, the quicker you will become.

5. Seriously focus on your maths

This is a no-brainer, especially if this isn’t a subject that you naturally excel in, but it’s incredible how many people fail to seriously invest in their maths ability.

Use your practice test to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses, then go and find out how to improve. Make it happen! Hire a tutor. Buy a book. Go crazy on YouTube etc.

Here’s a few videos to get you started:

‘Mental Math Tricks: How To Multiply In Your Head!’

‘Long Division Trick – Fast Calculation!’

Some final questions for you…

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Good luck!

Ok folks, that’s it. We hope you enjoyed this free SHL test guide and we wish you the best of luck in your future career.

We hope you feel more confident and better equipped to shine in your SHL numerical reasoning test with our practice test and success guide.

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