About SHL Assessments

SHL is a leading brand of psychometric tests, owned by Gartner (formerly CEB). These tests are widely used as a talent measurement solution in the screening process for prospective employment. These tests cover numerical, verbal and diagrammatic reasoning tests, inductive reasoning tests, personality questionnaires, and motivation questionnaires, delivered either online or on paper. SHL psychometric tests are deployed in over 150 countries and in over 30 languages and are considered to be one of the most widely-used method of psychometric testing worldwide, being utilized by 90% of the Fortune 500, almost 75% of the Dow Jones Asian Titans and over 85% of the FTSE 100.

In essence, SHL tests are meant as a metric of an individual’s maximum ability in a given competency which is important for success in a given role – for instance, numerical tests might be deployed when screening job applicants for a role in an accountancy firm where such skills are vital.

Prepterminal’s expert psychometricians have put together comprehensive preparation resources for those seeking to take an SHL test. Featuring text/video modules as well as SHL practice tests with test answers/explanations provided after completion, our SHL test preparation pack is a one-stop shop to test success. Sign up now and take a step towards your dream job.

SHL Assessment Format

SHL Assessment Tests are delivered in one of two formats, being either administered in one stage or two stages. In the first case, where only one stage is used, this might because the company administering the test has elected to only carry out the test in one of the two available stages; either remotely or in an assessment center. In both cases, it is quite impractical to do so as only completing the test remotely facilitates cheating and only carrying out the test in an assessment center would lead to far more applicants sitting the test in person, putting a greater strain on resources. Another instance of using only one stage for the SHL assessment is the Management and Graduate Item Bank (MGIB), which is usually administered to those applying for graduate or management positions. This format is a variety of the different SHL tests administered together and at a higher difficulty than the usual SHL test.

The far more widely-used two stage assessments are known as SHL Verify Tests. In this process, a remote version of the SHL test with the standard parameters is sent via email for remote completion by candidates. Those who score well enough in this stage of the assessment are then required to take a proctored examination in order to verify the results of the remote test; as the assessment center is far harder to cheat in it means that those who have achieved their score dishonestly are weeded out through this second stage of assessment.

Without further ado, let’s examine the standard procedure of SHL assessment, and what you can expect in your own experience of the test.

SHL Assessment Tests: What To Expect

The stage at which a company administers the SHL test can vary, so it is difficult to predict exactly when an individual can expect to take this test in the process. When the company does initiate this part of the screening process, the candidate can expect an email with a link to the test after being informed of this by the prospective employer.

SHL Assessment: Remote Test

For this component of the test, you will be required to complete whichever SHL assessments you have been asked to take remotely, meaning you must have access to a PC which is connected to the internet. Mobile devices are not supported. The browsers which are supported by SHL tests are as follows:





Internet Explorer  
Google Chrome  

While other browsers may or may not be compatible with the remote SHL test, it is recommended to stick to one of the browsers given above to ensure a smooth experience. Additionally, it is unclear whether Linux is a viable operating system for SHL tests.

In order to take the test, the candidate should also make sure to have Adobe Flash Player and Java installed on the PC.

After ensuring that all the requirements have been met, the candidate should refer to the invitation email. This email will contain the details of the assessment (name, status, overall time required and items required), some basic advice to be observed before starting the assessment and a link to the assessment itself.

Upon opening the link, the candidate should log in using the details provided to them. If they do not know the appropriate password, they can recover their account by using the ‘forgotten password’ link and entering the username shown in the invitation email. In cases where no login information was provided, the candidate can use the ‘create account’ button to register.

Once the candidate has logged in, they will be presented with the tests they are required to take and will be able to begin them when ready. Once the test has been opened, the timer will begin counting down immediately, and cannot be paused. At this point, the candidate is required to complete all questions within the time limit. The candidate should take note of the session ID at this stage.

If the candidate experiences a technical issue and is unable to continue the assessment, they should try to refresh the page in order to continue the assessment. If this is successful, the candidate should be able to continue with the assessment as it was. Do not press the ‘exit’ button if technical problems arise, as this may lead to results being submitted and the test being marked as complete. If problems persist, the candidate should try closing the test window and clicking the ‘continue assessment’ link on the homepage, or entering the session ID at https://assess.shlonline.com/default in order to continue with the test. In some cases, the candidate will be allowed to continue where they left off, but in others they may be required to start over. If the given solutions do not work, the candidate should contact the technical support team through the portal’s ‘contact us’ button.

Once the test has been completed, results will be submitted to the organization administering the test so that those who have scored highly enough can be invited to the second stage of the assessment.

SHL Assessment: Proctored Examination

Once the first stage has been completed and a high enough score to pass into the next stage has been achieved, the candidate will be invited to an assessment center for an invigilated administration of the SHL tests which were initially completed remotely.

As with any proctored examination, candidates will be required to relinquish any bags, coats, phones and other devices which are not expressly allowed in the examination. As the test may be administered on computers or using pen and paper, the candidate should bring the proper stationery, including a calculator if allowed. All containers used for any stationery should be clear. Clear pencil cases are quite easy to find in stationery stores for this purpose. If the candidate has brought a calculator, they will likely be required to remove the case prior to the exam. Water is allowed in most assessments, but must be stored in a clear bottle with no labels. The crux of this is that any means of cheating or bringing in notes to an exam is not allowed.

Paper will often be provided for rough working out during tests. It is highly recommended to use this instead of holding as much information as possible in one’s memory – it is easy to lose one’s train of thought and need to start over if all the information in solving a problem is stored in one’s head without any physical notation to refer to.

Generally speaking, it is advised to arrive at least 15 minutes before the test in order to be present and seated by the time the test is started.

Once the test has begun, if it is delivered on a computer it will be very similar in format to the remotely-administered test. If it is completed on pen and paper it is delivered in a standard multiple-choice format. In any case, both formats are quite straightforward to understand.

SHL Test Results

Once both components of the test have been completed, the organization administering the assessment will be provided with a report laying out the performance of the candidate, presented in percentile rankings. These rankings compare the performance of one candidate against the recorded performance of all other candidates in a given ‘norm group’, which is based on the industry and job level in which the job being applied for exists. This report is not made available to candidates, though the employer may issue a simple report which ranks percentile performance as follows:





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

In order to simplify this concept, a normal distribution diagram is given to visually illustrate the proportions of these rankings:

For each test administered, the candidate report will provide a grade from A-E. This may be used to inform future preparation for other opportunities which require the candidate to take an SHL test. Generally speaking, the candidate should aim to achieve a B or better in order to be seriously considered for a job role – after all, the point of the SHL psychometric test is to check the maximum potential of a candidate relative to others in the same field, so it would be counterintuitive for the employer to select those who do not achieve above average when the SHL tests have made it so easy to identify who does and doesn’t stand out above the average.

Prepterminal’s SHL test preparation packs serve as a cornerstone in your exam readiness. Featuring a text/video module-driven learning course which thoroughly explores all of the content in your test and SHL practice tests to benchmark your progress, our test preparation pack is a one-stop shop for test success. When taking a test for a prospective job role, employers will not offer second chances if you do not achieve the required score to progress.

Don’t take that chance – sign up to our SHL preparation pack today and take a step towards your dream job with Prepterminal, your partner in test success.

SHL Assessment Test Tips

Remote Test

  • Make sure you have plenty of time to complete the test in one sitting
  • Take the test in a quiet, cool place
  • Have some paper on hand for rough working out
  • If technical issues prevent you from completing the test, reload. If that does not work, close the window and re-open the test from the dashboard. If problems persist, contact a technician through the dashboard. Do not click ‘exit’ on the test or it may submit your results as complete.
  • Make sure that you are running the test on a supported browser, with the appropriate plugins

Proctored Test

  • Show up to the test 15-20 minutes in advance
  • Bring any stationery in a clear pencil case
  • If bringing water, make sure it is in an unlabeled clear bottle
  • If it is required, don’t forget your calculator – forgetting a calculator for certain SHL tests are a near-certain route to failure
  • Bring an actual calculator – invigilated tests do not permit the use of a mobile phone’s calculator app