About SHL

SHL Talent Measurement Solutions are a part of Gartner’s (formerly CEB) talent management services. Their psychometric tests are used by employers to evaluate and compare a number of abilities in job candidates, and cover numerical, verbal and diagrammatic reasoning tests, inductive reasoning tests, personality questionnaires, and motivation questionnaires, delivered either online or on paper. The company operates in over 30 languages, deploys solutions in over 150 countries and maintains a presence in over 50 countries, and is a trusted partner to 90% of the Fortune 500, nearly 75% of the Dow Jones Asian Titans and over 85% of the FTSE 100.

Aptitude tests deployed by SHL are intended to assess an individual’s maximum ability in an identified competency which is important for success in a given role – for instance, the inductive/deductive reasoning test may be particularly essential in the screening process of a law firm in order to identify the ability of candidates to think fluidly in a legal environment.

Prepterminal has produced comprehensive course content for those looking to practice for their SHL assessment. Making use of text/video modules in order to build a deep understanding of every component of the test along with mock assessments in order to benchmark progress, our test preparation pack is a one-stop shop to test success. Get started with our SHL test prep packages in order to get one step closer to your dream job.

How are SHL Tests Administered?

The SHL assessment can be delivered either electronically or as a pen-and-paper examination.

In the vast majority of SHL tests, this is delivered in two stages. Known as a Verify Test, this test begins with an electronic version of the test being delivered for the candidate to complete remotely, which is then completed in an assessment center in order to eliminate the possibility of any cheating/collusion, a behavior which is rife in remotely-completed tests.

One test which is delivered in a single stage is the Management and Graduate Item Bank (MGIB), which is a combination of SHL tests, usually at a higher difficulty level, delivered entirely in a proctored assessment center. As suggested by the name, it is generally used on management-level and graduate-level job applicants.

Types of SHL Tests

SHL tests are made available to employers for use for the screening of applicants at any job level, from entry level administration to senior executive roles. They are also used for the development of existing staff, as an assessment of who is fit to progress to a higher position than they are already in. As was mentioned earlier, the SHL Verify range of tests is most common, and include but are not limited to:


SHL Numerical Reasoning Tests : These tests assess a candidate’s capability when faced with numerical, statistical, financial and graphical data, and their ability when required to make deductions based on that data. The questions in these tests are applied to the job position in question, meaning that they are formulated to accurately represent real challenges which may arise in the workplace. The SHL Verify Numerical Reasoning Test consists of 18 questions and lasts between 17-25 minutes depending on the job level being applied for.


SHL Verbal Reasoning Tests: These tests gauge a candidate’s ability to understand and form logical deductions based on verbal/written data. In a majority of cases, some written information which is relevant to the workplace is given to the candidate, who is required to answer questions based on this information. The SHL verbal reasoning tests consist of 30 questions, and typically last 17-19 minutes depending on the job level being applied for.


SHL Inductive Reasoning Tests: These tests assess a candidate’s ability to solve problems on their feet and deal with unfamiliar information. More abstract questions are posed to the candidate, requiring a degree of skill in conceptual and analytical thought, often involving shapes and patterns. In essence, the candidate needs to demonstrate an ability to draw inferences and identify relationships between various abstract concepts, outside of learned knowledge. The SHL Verify Inductive Reasoning Test consists of 24 questions and is 25 minutes long.


SHL Mechanical Reasoning Tests: These tests measure a candidate’s understanding of basic mechanical and physical principles, and the application of these principles to devices such as pulleys, gears, and levers. This test draws a random set of questions for the candidate from a very large item bank in order to ensure that there is no chance of previous exposure to that exact test. The SHL Mechanical Reasoning Tests last for 25 minutes.


SHL Reading Comprehension Tests: These tests gauge a candidate’s ability to comprehend written sources so that they may extract relevant information and make relevant judgments on the basis of this information. The SHL Reading Comprehension Tests consist of 18 questions and typically last for 10 minutes.


SHL Deductive Reasoning Tests: These tests measure a candidate’s ability to draw logical conclusions based on a given premise. These tests commonly feature questions delivered in the form of premises establishing some logical constraints, requiring the candidate to select a statement which is consistent with said logical constraints or to state the truthfulness of a given statement in relation to the premise.

In addition to the Verify tests, the aforementioned MGIB test is widely-used in the appropriate applications:


SHL Management and Graduate Item Bank (MGIB): This is a collection of tests aimed at graduate and management level positions, assessing multiple facets of a candidate’s skills at a higher difficulty level than the standard Verify tests. The tests included are verbal, numerical and productive thinking ability tests. The verbal reasoning test has a time limit of 25 minutes, the numerical reasoning test limit is 35 minutes, and the productive thinking ability test comes with a 32-minute time limit.

Additionally, SHL works directly with a number of companies in order to produce bespoke tests to meet the very specific requirements of given job roles. These tests have considerable accuracy in assessing the traits required for the job for which they were produced and often feature a number of different SHL test questions in order to perfectly measure a candidate’s exact fit for the job in question.

If you are required to take an SHL of any description, Prepterminal has you covered. We offer a range of comprehensive SHL test preparation packs, including module-based courses to fully explore the concepts contained within the test and SHL practice tests to benchmark your progress in improving your score for the real test. Our psychometric experts have painstakingly composed these mock assessments to accurately represent the content of the real test, so that you may enter the real thing without any fear. If you’re ready to take your test performance into your own hands and beat the SHL test, sign up today and get one step closer to your dream job.

SHL Test Scoring

SHL tests are graded on the basis of performance percentiles, meaning that a candidate’s success is relative to the performance of others in the same industry and job position who have previously taken the test, making the tests an excellent tool for benchmarking the potential of candidates relative to those already in the industry. SHL defines two categories of norm groups for assessment: Industry and Job Level:


  • IT
  • Accountancy & Financial
  • Public Service
  • Telecom & Media
  • Consulting
  • Retail
  • Industry & Manufacturing
  • Law & Legal
  • Pharma, Science & Healthcare

Job Level:

  • Managerial & Professional
  • Junior Management
  • Junior Customer Contact
  • Graduate
  • Senior Customer Contact
  • Administrator
  • Skilled Technology
  • Skilled Technical
  • Semi-Skilled Technical

Based on these two dimensions by which a candidate is sorted into a norm group, an assessment can be effectively delivered for results pertaining exactly to their performance with reference to the performance of others in the industry, with comparison being made easily made through the use of percentile ranking. For those who are not aware, percentile rankings provide a metric by which candidates can be assessed based entirely on their performance compared to others in the same grouping. The 50th percentile is the mean and the median of test-takers, with the percentile the candidate is in essentially equating to the percentage of test-takers they have outscored, i.e. an individual in the 70th percentile has scored more highly than 70% of test-takers, meaning they are in the top 30%. SHL grades percentiles by grade, ranging from A-E, given below:

AWell Above Average99-92
BAbove Average90-73
DBelow Average27-10
EWell Below Average8-1

A normal distribution diagram is presented below for a visual understanding of the groupings:


As is seen here, the average grade ‘C’ is the largest group, this being of course because the very nature of an average requires it to be the most common in a normal distribution. Those who fall far below or score highly above the average are uncommon, being towards the tails of the distribution. Employers utilize this information as it allows them to screen for the best candidates in order to only employ those who would be directly beneficial to their organization. Simply put, the SHL test provides a direct reflection of how well a candidate will perform in their industry. Percentile grading with reference to the two-dimensional norm grouping provides a deep insight into the skillsets of candidates so that employers may make informed decisions as to who they employ, eliminating the mediocre and poor candidates. As a rule of thumb, it is highly recommended to aim to achieve a B grade or higher to be seriously considered by employers.

If you wish to secure your position in the green when completing an SHL test, Prepterminal offers a comprehensive study resource consisting of text/video based modules along with SHL practice tests in order to build and benchmark your ability to pass SHL’s challenging examinations. Start practicing today and bring that dream job within reach.

SHL Test Variety

Based on norm groupings, SHL delivers combinations of tests which vary in subject and difficulty.

The industry in which the job exists primarily defines the tests to be taken based on the needs of the position, and secondarily defines the relative difficulty of each test type based on how important it is to the job. For instance, which a retail employee may require some numerical skills at an entry-level, that requirement won’t be quite as high as that of an entry-level accountancy employee.

The Job Level defines the scale of difficulty of the defined tests to be taken. This is fairly straightforward: the higher the job level, the more intense the difficulty of the tests administered.

Using this information, it is key that those taking an SHL test for a prospective job role appropriately gauge the requirements of the job position so they may accurately identify what to expect in the exam and plan for practice & preparation accordingly. For every level of difficulty, Prepterminal offers comprehensive learning content in order to understand and overcome SHL’s range of psychometric tests.

SHL Test Tips

While practice is a key element in SHL test success, there are some important tips to take note of:

  • Use a pen and paper for working out problems
  • For the online component of the test, wait until the time of day when you are most ‘awake’
  • Make sure you take the test in a quiet environment so you can think with clarity
  • Make sure you allocate appropriate time to each question, and when taking the test at home make sure that you have enough time to complete the full test.
  • When allowed, have a calculator on hand. Invigilated tests will not permit the use of a mobile phone’s calculator app, so have a scientific calculator available.

Preparing For SHL Tests

When preparing for SHL tests, the key is to practice. It cannot be overstated how important it is to ensure that you take the time to educate yourself on the content of the test and make every effort to practice. To that end, Prepterminal offers the perfect solution in proceeding with your preparation:

  1. Take a practice test
  2. Identify errors, strengths, and areas requiring development based on performance
  3. Work through all of Prepterminal’s modules for the test in question
  4. Re-take practice test
  5. Identify points of improvement and remaining areas of development
  6. Revise modules pertaining to the remaining areas of development
  7. Continue to complete steps 4-6 until you have reached the required level of proficiency

By sticking to this routine until you have achieved the level of performance you require to pass the cut-off point in your test score, you are ensuring a significantly greater level of success in your job application process. As with all tests, by taking steps to prepare adequately for your SHL test you can improve your performance in an objective and measurable way. Prepterminal’s SHL Test preparation packs provide every resource required for success built upon structured study and SHL practice tests.

Start practicing SHL practice tests today with Prepterminal, your partner in psychometric success.