SHL Numerical Reasoning Test

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The SHL numerical test is the most prevalent form of numerical testing used in today’s recruitment process. If you have been asked to take a numerical test as part of your job application, it is most likely an SHL numerical reasoning test. An SHL numerical reasoning test is not something you should approach lightly. This test is notoriously difficult and to do well you will need to bring your A-game.

At PrepTerminal we continuously research and develop our SHL numerical reasoning prep test courses to bring you a top e-learning platform. Our aim is to help you get prepared for your SHL numerical reasoning test, so you can perform to the best of your ability on the day of the test. Get one step closer to landing your dream job with PrepTerminal’s SHL numerical reasoning preparation course.

What is SHL Numerical Reasoning Test?

An SHL numerical test measures a candidate’s numerical critical thinking ability. In this test, you will need to interpret numerical data shown in graphs and tables and answer questions in relation to this data. The type of numerical operations covered will be division, multiplication, fractions, percentages increases and decreases, and ratios.

In each question, you are generally given several options to choose from. Only one of the options is right in each question. Candidates are typically allowed to use a sheet of paper for rough workings and/or a calculator. However, not all tests permit the use of a calculator

SHL’s numerical reasoning test comes in different forms and various levels of difficulty according to the position you have applied for.

The different levels of SHL numerical test according to job positions are as follows:

Numerical Interpretation & Numerical Evaluation: These tests are created for sales and customer service positions. These tests are called either NCC2 or NCC4, where NCC4 is the more complex of the two.

Interpreting data: These tests are created for positions that demand analysis and decision making. The level of complexity of Interpreting data tests ranges from basic to moderate levels. This test is called NC2.1.

Numerical critical reasoning: This series of tests is developed for applicants seeking managerial and graduate positions. These tests range from moderate to advance in their level of complexity and can demand knowledge of industry-related data. These tests are called NMG1-6 or Management and Graduate Item Bank (MGIB).

Numerical reasoning & numerical analysis: These are the most complex levels of SHL numerical tests. They are administered to candidates applying for senior information technology and management positions. These tests typically include questions related to percentages, ratios, and probability. They are called NMT2, and NMT4.

SHL Numerical Reasoning Verify Tests
SHL’s Verify tests are a central part of their assessment methods. There are their online aptitude tests distributed to candidates to complete at home prior to coming into an assessment center or for an interview. Verify numerical reasoning tests measure your ability to logically and quickly process numerical data. Test questions ask candidates to interpret numerical data displayed in the form of tables and graphs.

Like the other SHL tests, the Verify type of their numerical tests come in different levels of complexity according to the position the candidate is applying for. These tests usually give candidates between 15 to 25 minutes to solve between 10 to 20 questions.

The numerical operations needed to complete the SHL numerical tests will be workable for most candidates, however, what makes these tests difficult is the harsh time limit. The majority of candidates will struggle to answer all the questions within the time limit.Through practice you can learn how to tackle any type of SHL numerical reasoning test. Start practicing today with PrepTerminal’s SHL prep course.

Types Of Questions in SHL Numerical Reasoning Test

The SHL numerical reasoning test involves the analysis of data when it is presented as a graph or a chart, the performance of calculations, and the answering of a concise question.

Let’s take a look at the types of questions that appear on numerical reasoning tests in greater detail.

Table and graph questions
Many types of graphs and tables display numerical data. Numerical reasoning tests feature a mixture of types of tables – for instance, population demographics, balance sheets, and the results of telemarketing surveys – since the aim is to determine how fast you can analyze changing data sets.

Tables can take various forms and assess your arithmetic abilities and skill at calculating percentages or ratios. Candidates sitting the test for businesses that specialize in finance will probably be presented with multiple data sets, questions where the candidate needs to calculate common financial ratios, or questions where the candidate needs to apply a higher level of analysis.

Number series
These tests feature numerical sequences that adhere to a logical rule founded on basic arithmetic. An initial sequence is presented, from which the candidate needs to deduce the rule. They are then asked to predict the next number that follows the rule.

Word problems
When presented with word problems the candidate is required to undertake quick mental arithmetic calculations to answer the question. So a candidate must be able to do division and subtraction quickly and relatively easily. Practising this sort of questions will help the candidate improve their speed when completing the real test.

What Does SHL Numerical Reasoning Test Measure

Numerical reasoning tests are created to assess the candidate’s ability to understand tables of statistical and numerical data, as well as their ability to form logical deductions. The questions used in these tests fall under four categories:

Numerical computation – You will be tested on your ability to solve basic arithmetic (subtraction, additions, division, multiplications, powers, percentages, fractions etc.)

Numerical estimation – You will need to estimate the answer to basic arithmetic problems, quickly.

Numerical reasoning – You will be shown some data and questions but the methodology needed to answer the questions will not be given.

Data interpretation – These tests typically feature line graphs, pie charts, tables, and scatter-plots, which you will need to interpret to answer the questions.

Let’s take a look at each of these categories in greater detail.

Numerical computations
These questions assess your ability to use the fundamental principles of arithmetic. For example:

  • Addition
  • Subtraction
  • Multiplication
  • Division

The may also use mathematical methods and terms including:

  • Percentages
  • Decimals
  • Ratios
  • Fractions
  • Roots
  • Powers
  • Exponents

These questions are not created to test your reasoning skills. Rather, to score well on these types of questions, you will need to form accurate and fast calculations.

Numerical Estimate
These questions test your capacity to form quick estimates of the answers to quite simple numerical questions. To score well on these types of questions, you will need to form fast approximates of the answer. You should try to avoid the trap of working out the exact answer, as this will take up too much time and may stop you from answering as many questions as you need to attain a high score.

Numerical estimation is essential in many technical and craft jobs where the capacity to accurately and quickly estimate material quantities is important. Nevertheless, the capacity to form quick estimates is a helpful skill to have even if you are sitting a graduate test as it will let you roughly check your answers to data interpretation problems. Prior to answering each question it is helpful to look at the range of answers available and see just how accurate your estimate should be.

Numerical Reasoning
Numerical reasoning tests measure your capacity to use numbers in a rational and logical way. You will need to study the information provided and then use the right logic to answer the questions. Put another way, you need to work out how to achieve the answer rather than what calculations to use.

These questions demand only a basic level of education and are therefore a measure of numerical reasoning skill rather than educational level of achievement. The questions measure your comprehension of numerical transformation, number series, the relationship between numbers and your skill at performing numerical calculations.

They also include text-based questions where a mathematical problem is presented in words. Often the questions are created to approximate the sorts of reasoning needed in the workplace.

Number sequences
These types of reasoning questions ask you to find the missing number in a sequence of numbers. The missing number can be at the beginning or middle but it is typically at the end.

Data Interpretation
Many supervisory and management positions need you to be able to interpret data given in tables, charts and grapes to form day-to-day decisions. If you are applying for a job that involves decision making based on, or the analysis of, numerical data then, in all likelihood, you will have to solve data interpretation problems.

These types of tests typically use:

  • Line graphs
  • Pie charts
  • Scatter-plots
  • Tables of data

Data interpretation problems generally involve two steps:

  • Firstly, you need to read a graph or chart to ascertain certain information.
  • Then you have to manipulate or interpret the information to achieve an answer.

SHL Numerical Reasoning Sample Questions & Answers

Question: A mixture of 36kg is obtained by mixing three substances: x, y and z proportional to 2, 3 and 4. If 12 kg of the substance y is added to the mixture, what will become the new ratio of x, y and z?
  • 1:
    x : y : z = 2 : 3 : 4
  • 2:
    x : y : z = 1 : 3 : 2
  • 3:
    x : y : z = 4 : 3 : 2
  • 4:
    x : y : z = 2 : 3 : 1
Answer: B


  • From the clues, we have
  • x=2k
  • y=3k
  • z=4k
  • Where k is a constant of proportionality.
  • Also,
  • x+y+z=36
  • Thus, we have:
  • 2k+3k+4k=36
  • 9k=36
  • k= 36/9 = 4
  • Hence, x = 2 ∙ 4kg = 8kg, y = 3 ∙ 4kg = 12 kg and z = 4 ∙ 4kg = 16 kg.

When we add 12 kg to the substance y, it will become y = 12kg + 12kg = 24 kg and the total amount of mixture will become 36kg + 12kg = 48kg.

Thus, there will be 8kg of the substance x, 24kg of substance y and 16kg of substance z in the new mixture. The value of the new k now will be equal to 8, as it is the highest common factor of 8, 24 and 16.

  • Hence, the new proportion will be
  • x=k
  • y=3k
  • z=2k
  • Or
  • x:y:z = 1:3:2
  • The answer is therefore B.

Question: If 24 workers can produce 20 T-shirts in a certain time, how many T-shirts can 6 workers produce during the same time?
  • 1:
  • 2:
  • 3:
  • 4:
  • 5:
Answer: E


This is an example of direct proportion because increasing the number of workers brings an increase in the number of T-shirts produced.

Let’s calculate the rate of this proportion k which represents the number of T-shirts produced by a single worker during the given time. Thus, we have:

k = (20 T-shirts)/24 workers = 5/6 * (T-shirts)/worker

Hence, 6 workers can produce

N = 6 workers * 5/6 * (T-shirts/worker) = 5 T-shirts

The answer is therefore E.

Question: The percentages of car sales of three well-known German car manufacturers for two consecutive years in a certain country are shown in the charts below.

Giving that the total number of cars sold in the second year is 40% more than in the first year, calculate the percentage of Mercedes cars sold in the second year compared to the total number of cars sold in the first year.

  • 1:
  • 2:
  • 3:
  • 4:
  • 5:
Answer: A


Let’s denote by N the total number of cars sold in the first year. Thus, Mercedes cars sold in the first years represent 20% of N = 0.2N.

In the second year, the total number of cars is N + 40% · N = 140% · N = 1.4 N.
Thus, the fraction of Mercedes cars M (in terms of N) sold during the second year is M=35% of 1.4N = 0.35 × 1.4N =0.49N =49% of N

Thus, in the second year the number of Mercedes cars sold represents 49% of the total number of cars sold during the first year. Therefore, the answer is A.

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How To Pass SHL Numerical Reasoning Test

College Student

1. Carefully read through the questions

Focus on the question before you begin to examine the data below the question. Then continue to move back and forth between the question and the corresponding data. There can be distracting information in the charts and data, that is not needed when determining the answer. It is easy to get tripped up by this information if you don’t read the question properly first. This involves not seeing the applicability of the table or graph, not recognizing the units, and forming assumptions about possible meaning.

2. Double check your answers

Once you have taken a few minutes to understand a table or graph and to form an answer, it makes perfect sense to invest an extra couple of seconds into re-reading the question to ensure you have answered the question accurately. It’s a small amount of time that could prevent you from wasting all the time you spent on finding a solution to that question.

3. Keep track of your time

You are being assessed on two things when you complete a numerical test: how many questions you answer correctly and how long you take to answer each question. So if you can’t solve a particular problem, move on. An easier question may be next, as the questions don’t necessarily go in order of complexity. Furthermore, you are unlikely to have points taken off for a wrong answer, so it can be worth returning to the difficult question at the end and to give it your best guess.

4. Bring your own calculator

If you are sitting your numerical reasoning test at an assessment center, you may be required to use the calculator they supply. However, you should take your own calculator, just in case they permit you to use it. Familiarity with the functions and buttons on your calculator could save you precious time. It is also good, if possible, to use or purchase a calculator with a clear screen and large buttons.

5. Practice, practice, practice

This is essential. Even if you have limited time before your SHL numerical test, make sure you put time aside to do a practice test. You can’t become familiar with the style of questions and the format of the exam without practising. Furthermore, you won’t be able to identify your strengths and weaknesses without taking a practice test.

Practising can greatly improve your competency and confidence. It may also make you feel more relaxed when you take your real SHL numerical test, and it will let you discover where you have gaps in your knowledge. You can then fill these gaps through study.

Improve Your Score With Prepterminal’s SHL Course

By practising for your SHL numerical test you are able to perform at your best. You will become familiar with the numerical operations needed and the types of questions presented. You will also become used to how to sit an SHL test in a situation where you are pressurized for time. Practice will also give you the opportunity to showcase your numerical skills during the real SHL test.

As time is a critical factor in SHL numerical tests, if you are able to begin a test with a general idea of what will appear on the test and what the structure of the test will be, you will save yourself some important seconds. Preparing for an SHL numerical reasoning test is thus a lot about familiarity with the test.

A top way to prepare for your SHL numerical reasoning test is with PrepTerminals preparatory SHL course. So, don’t waste any more time – take time to study and start taking practice tests. Considering that you’re being measured against the competition – every little bit helps!

Need a well-rounded solution? Check out Prepterminal’s test preparation pack for the SHL test. It features a diverse combination of video and text modules with practice assessments to refine and benchmark your skills. Don’t let any dream job pass you by – start practicing as soon as you can! It’s a fact – if you prepare, you will likely improve your score!

*Note: SHL and other trademarks are the property of their respective trademark holders. None of the trademark holders are affiliated with PrepTerminal or this website.
Michael Lerner

Created by: Michael Lerner

BSc, Psychometric Tutor, Prepterminal Test Expert

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Hey, welcome to our Rapid SHL Masterclass. I’m Michael, PrepTerminal’s SHL Rapid SHL Masterclass in-house expert. I am here to assist you with any queries about the Rapid SHL Masterclass. Don’t hesitate to contact me at [email protected].

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