student preparing for shl test

SHL Test Results | How Do I Get the Best Score?

Last Updated on February 16, 2023

Applying for a job no longer only includes an impressive CV and well-worded cover letter. Many candidates now have to complete SHL psychometric tests, where one’s numerical, verbal reasoning and diagrammatic reasoning is tested and compared to other candidate’s results.

The SHL test results are used to lessen the pool of candidates recruiters look at seriously when hiring new graduates or managers.

The good news is: most people achieve 80% on their SHL test results. The bad news is: the SHL tests require a bit of preparation. But don’t worry, we can help!

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SHL Aptitude Tests: What to Know

The SHL tests are assessing each person and their ability to answer questions accurately and in a timely manner. While no one enjoys taking a test, think of these aptitude tests as an opportunity to prove to your recruiter that you are capable and the best person for the position.

Below are several types of SHL tests, depending on the post applied for, one or more of these tests may be completed before interviews with future employers.

1. SHL Quantitative Reasoning Test

24 questions in 25 minutes: the objective in this test is to identify reoccurring patterns in a collection of graphics or single image. The test is designed to showcase one’s ability to understand the similarities and patterns in various concepts, and infer meaning.

2. SHL Numerical Reasoning Test

18 questions in 25 minutes: Depending on the job level applied for, a set a numerical problems are given in the SHL Numerical Reasoning Test. The questions will be relevant to the position and attempt to be realistic to the daily activities at work. The test is used to assess and compare candidates’ statistical and mathematical solving ability.

3. SHL Verbal Reasoning Test

30 questions in 19 minutes: In any position, being able to understand oral and written information is vital. This verbal reasoning test is designed to test one’s cognitive ability and make logical deductions. Because there are more questions than minutes allotted for this test, consequently, one’s time management is also assessed.

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4. SHL Mechanical Reasoning Test

25 minutes: Depending if the position applied for requires mechanical knowledge, one may need to prove their advanced understanding of mechanics, engineering and physics. Questions will focus on real-life problems and events in daily work tasks. Candidates will need to showcase their knowledge of the relationship of physical forces and mechanical elements in practical situations.

5. SHL Comprehension Reading Test

18 questions in 10 minutes: Much like the verbal reasoning test, here candidates are asked to deduce information and meaning from written statements. Comprehension skills are vital in most positions where communication and liaison are part of one’s duties. The provided information in the test should be used in making critical and well formed answers. Because there are more questions than minutes allotted for this test, it’s important to manage one’s time well in the test.

6. SHL Deductive Reasoning Tests

18 questions in 10 minutes: Candidates are given statements and outcomes, candidates should accurately identify outcomes and come to logical conclusions. If the outcomes don’t correlate with the given scenarios it shows a lack of logic and reasoning that may be foreshadowing for a candidate’s daily work abilities.

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7. SHL Management and Graduate Item Bank (MGIB)

90 minutes total: This test is for graduate-level and managerial positions. In the test there are different sections. Verbal, numerical, and cognitive tests are allotted 25 minutes, 35 minutes and 30 minutes each. In each test one should showcase their creativity and abstract intelligence when dealing with different scenarios. The test was designed to assess and identify the most qualified and outstanding candidate, so one should approach the test with that outlook of themselves.


Different Types of Questions Asked in the SHL Tests

Visit JobTestPrep’s site to find many practice tests and examples of questions. Below we’ve taken some example questions from the most common SHL tests and discussed the best solutions and answers.

These question types are taken from past tests and are a showing of the difficulty level some of SHL tests may be. But we recommend you review many practice tests in full before your SHL exam.

Quantitative Reasoning Question Example:


Q: What is the projected percentage increase in the combined consumer goods exports for both Hong Kong and Singapore between Y and Y+4?

  • 10%
  • 20%
  • 30%
  • 40%
  • 50%

First, we need to look at the difference between the Y and Y+4 values for both Hong Kong and Singapore.

Hong Kong had 300 million dollars at Y and then 450 million dollar at Y+4, which makes the difference 150 million dollars. the % difference of 300 and 450 is 50%.

Singapore had 60 million dollars at Y and the 90 million dollars at Y+4, which makes the difference 30 million dollars. The % difference of 60 and 90 is also 50%

Therefore the percentage increase for both is 50%.

Q: What is the projected ratio of Hong Kong to Singapore consumer goods exports in Y+4?

  • 2 : 1
  • 3 : 1
  • 4 : 1
  • 5 : 1
  • Cannot say

First, we need to divide 450 by 90 and that = 5

But we know that divisions are easily expressed in ratios as well, so if 450/90 = 5 then it’s fair to say that the same information = 5/1

Lastly you convert that fraction into a ratio by changing the symbols so 5/1 becomes 5:1.

To summarise:

We can see now how these questions are assessing your ability to solve problems and reach logical conclusions. Yes, it’s math and that might stress some people, but conceptually, it’s really testing your accuracy and capability to problem-solve under pressure.

Numerical Reasoning Question Example:


Q: How many Bernd cars were sold in May?

  • a. 10
  • b. 1 000
  • c. 5 000
  • d. 10 000

First, this graph gives the sales figures cumulatively

Second, we can see that in April there were 9 000 car sales, and by the end of may there are 10 000.

Therefore, during May there were (10 000 – 9 000) car sales, which means the correct answer = B (1 000).

Bar Graph and Pie chart

Q: In October 2010, which 2 Pacific Bond fund holdings when combined had the same value as Southern Pacific Holdings?

  • Northern Pacific and Central Pacific
  • Central Pacific and Pacific Rim
  • Pacific Rim and Pacific Mixed
  • Pacific Mixed and Northern Pacific
  • Pacific Rim and Northern Pacific

First, in the pie chart we see the Pacific Bond value divided into the separate holdings values as percentages. The question is asking for which two holdings equal (=) Southern Pacific holdings which in the chart = 35%

Looking at the other sections of the pie we need holdings that can add up to 35% – and there are only a few combinations that come close the that combined percentage. But only 1 combination = 35% exactly.

Therefore the only possible answer is Central Pacific and Pacific Rim

To Summarise:

Whereas Quantitative Reasoning was about logic in relation to numbers, Numerical Reasoning is a lot more focused on the math and practical problems. But again, don’t let that scare you – as we’ve practiced above, there are simple solutions that are easily applied if you can keep a cool head.

Also, all the information you need to solve each problem will be readily available, as it is above.

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Verbal Reasoning Question Example:

Use the texts below to answer the questions.

Although there is no scientific support for the contention that the physical features observed in palm reading can enable someone to read a person’s character, or divine their future, the human hand does show evidence of a person’s health, cleanliness, occupation and nervous habits. Examples of this include callouses or nail biting. Hands are often examined in diagnosis and provide clues with which the palm reader may often astound the unsophisticated.

Q: Do the features of a person’s hand provide clues to his/her job?

  • True
  • False
  • Cannot say

First, in the Verbal Reasoning test it is vital that you only answer the question using only information and knowledge gained from the text. If the question goes beyond the scope of the text, then the answer is probably False or Cannot say

Therefore, the answer to this question is False. As the text says ‘there is no scientific evidence…’ for someone to divine a person’s occupation from their palm alone.

The most prevalent neurological condition in the developed world is the migraine. It’s characterised by severe, recurrent headaches, with additional symptoms including nausea and sensitivity to light and sound. The frequency and duration of migraine attacks are variable: attacks may occur a few times a year or a few times a month, while pain may last between four hours and three days. Approximately one third of sufferers experience an aura – a perceptual disturbance before the onset of the migraine. There are numerous theories on the cause of migraines. The vascular theory posits that migraines are caused by problems with blood vessels in the brain. Prophylactic drug treatment which prevents the onset of migraine, has declined in recent years because of side effects and also improvements in medications treating the actual attack. Whereas older varieties of pain medication are potentially addictive, new drugs called triptans work by reducing pain information provided to the brain. Treatment plans include avoidance of known migraine triggers, such as diet, alcohol and stress. Not only are migraines bad for sufferers but they are also bad for the economy, with an estimated 25 million days of work lost in the UK alone, every year.

Q: One third of migraines are preceded by a sensitivity to light

  • True
  • False
  • Cannot say

This is a slightly nuanced answer. As the passage does mention that ‘one third of sufferers experience an aura’, it’s not defined what that means. Is it a sensitivity to light or only an effect of one’s perception?

We also do not know about the other two thirds of sufferers and what they experience when a migraine sets in. Therefore the correct answer is ‘Cannot say’.

To Summarise:

While this section is slightly easier than some of the other tests, don’t underestimate this section. Many testers are tricked by the questions which are based off incomplete information. It can be frightening to answer a question with ‘I cannot say’, especially when all your answers determine whether you get hired or not. But admitting that you don’t have enough information or don’t have the ‘correct answers’ is a sign of maturity and confidence.

Many people in their lives will pretend they have all the answers and never admit they need help. But those are very revealing qualities in a manager or employee, that attitude often reflects badly on a team.

That is why it’s important to carefully read all the provided texts and think critically when answering each question. Teachers are fond of saying ‘there are no wrong answers’ but we’d amend that to ‘there are only answers given from incomplete information’.

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Our Best Preparation Tips

Student doing test

As we said earlier, no one enjoys assessments but being well-prepared can ease much of the anxiety that tests bring. Below are some of our best tips to prepare for the SHL tests.

Start Early!

Procrastination rarely makes any task easier to do. That’s why it’s best to get a head-start on the studying and preparation. This is especially true if you have to take multiple of the SHL tests. Don’t make life harder by having to prepare for many aptitude tests only the night before.

If you have to take 3 tests, allow yourself at least 3 days to study and familiarise yourself with the content.

1. Remove Distractions

Closing the door on loud noises and distracting roommates is a great start. But don’t undermine that closed space by bringing in a buzzing cellphone. Turn off your phone or leave it somewhere else, so you can really focus on the studying you might have to do.

Another great idea is to play ambient and atmospheric music, if you’re someone who doesn’t enjoy absolute silence, a calming playlist can be a great idea to aid productivity.

2. Plan Ahead.

There may be a lot of paperwork or tasks involved when taking the SHL tests. Make a list of all the documents, small tasks and steps involved leading up to the test. This way you can make sure you haven’t forgotten to bring a pen, what documents need to be submitted or anything important.

Being prepared is also a great quality in an employee and might accidentally impress your recruiter if they get wind of it. Being prepared can also boost your confidence on the test day and improve your performance, so it’s a great idea all ’round.

3. Make Studying Interesting

A lot of the SHL content may be boring, but there are ways of improving your studying experience. You can begin by identifying the more entertaining topics and starting with those. You could also break down the sections of work, and after each section you could reward yourself with some snacks or fun break activities.

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4. Study with Friends

The test itself has to be done alone, but studying doesn’t have to be! Ask your friend or roommate to quiz you on the SHL questions or if they’re also taking tests at the same time, you could study together.

5. Take Regular Breaks

Studying is fatiguing for the brain, so it’s vital that you allow yourself some rest time. 90 minutes should be the maximum time you study before you give yourself a break. But many people function better with shorter study sessions, 30 minutes – 45 minutes with breaks in between.

6. Use Reliable Practice Tests

We’ve already recommended JobTestPrep as they have many practice tests and helpful guides that can greatly boost one’s performance in the SHL test. The reason this helps so much is quite simple, when you practice answering questions repeatedly when you get to the real test, the correct answers are already familiar. But there are many other sites that offer similar services to improve candidate’s results.

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Final Thoughts

Finishing off your degree and having plenty of work-experience is only the beginning of excelling in the recruitment process. Employers often require their job candidates take SHL situational judgment tests as this separates most candidates from the outstanding few.

You can use this process to prove yourself.

We’ve discussed how there are many SHL psychometric tests: most people achieve 80% on their SHL test score. When 80% of people succeed, it means you need a very high score to stand out. That’s where preparation and presentation come in.

Revise our preparation tips and take our advice, and practice more with JobTestPrep here. Only practice makes perfect and JobTestPrep can help you achieve a perfect score.

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