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SHL Test Preparation: Free Practice Questions & Tips – 2024

Numerical Reasoning Practice Test Questions for Practice

SHL is one of the most common psychometric tests available on the market today operating in over 30 languages in over 150 countries for companies of all sizes including Fortune 500 companies. Recently acquired by Gartner, the company is sometimes referred to as CEB.

Most job-seekers encounter SHL tests when applying for new positions. SHL releases tests for applicants of all skill levels from entry-level all the way to senior management level. If you’ve received an invitation to take one of these examinations, then do proceed. Below, you’ll find everything you need to know about preparing for and taking these tests.


What Are SHL Tests?

SHL-style tests are usually timed multiple-choice tests focused on a particular set of skills, such as verbal reasoning, logical analysis, numerical computation, or situational judgement. These questions are designed to evaluate both your learned skills and your raw intelligence. The better your score is, the more likely you are to succeed in the role compared to your competition.

These assessments are administered online and accessible from any location and at any time. You’ll receive a link to take the test in your email upon submitting an application. If you pass the at-home version, you’ll be asked to come into an assessment centre to take a second test used to verify the results of the first.

The first round of SHL assessments is scored electronically and automatically. The hiring manager will contact you if you pass the first couple of assessment rounds, at which point you’ll probably be asked to come in for an in-person interview. Your interviewer will see your profile, but your actual scores probably won’t play an enormous role in the final hiring decision unless you attained extraordinary results.


Why Do I Need to Take an SHL Assessment?

A bad hire could cost a company thousands upon thousands of dollars not only in recruitment and training costs, but in productivity losses as well. That number more than triples for senior management positions. The actual figures are hard to calculate because many of these losses are not quantifiable. That being said, Tony Hsieh, the CEO of Zappos, estimated that bad hires costed his business well over $100,000.

It’s far more efficient for a company to invest in their HR departments than to pay for bad decisions later. That’s why more and more large companies are turning to psychometric tests. Psychometric tests are essentially IQ tests adapted for employers. They are designed to test both your crystallized intelligence and your fluid intelligence—your acquired knowledge and basic aptitude for learning new information.

These tests are, admittedly, far from perfect; however, they are very accurate. On the whole, psychometric tests like the SHL ultimately do give businesses a general idea of how well applicants will perform. Modern psychology teaches us that the more intelligent someone is, the more quickly he’ll learn and master new skills, and the more quickly he’ll advance through the company. While personality, work ethic, and dedication are just as important, they cannot override or negate the role intellect and good judgement play in success.


How to Prepare for SHL Tests?

These assessments are similar in structure to the SAT and ACT, and you should prepare as such. There is a defined set of subjects on which the company can test you, but you’ll be better off preparing with SHL practice tests than with a subject review. That is to say that you shouldn’t have to learn any new material when preparing for these tests. However, you will need to familiarize yourself with the wording of the questions and the structure of the test.

It is of utmost importance that you learn to quickly read the questions on the test and identify the most relevant pieces of information. Time will be your biggest obstacle regardless of which assessment you’re taking. So, while preparing, you’ll want to make sure that you’re working as efficiently as you possibly can. That means that you know all of the shortcuts and tricks you need to find the answer in as little time as possible. Repetition, of course, is key to improving your scores, but you shouldn’t rely on repetition alone. Review every question that you answer to see whether you could have answered it with less effort.


SHL Psychometric Tests

  • Numerical Reasoning Test Numerical reasoning tests evaluate your ability to manipulate numbers and figures. Typically, these exams will cover basic high school math topics, including fractions, percentages, probability, geometry, and algebra. Consulting and analyst positions may require more advanced math, but these exams are the minority. Most of the time, you’ll be asked to apply your knowledge to the professional world, solving word problems in an industry-specific context.
  • Verbal Reasoning TestRegardless of your chosen field, you’re going to need to communicate effectively. Whether you’re writing reports, giving presentations, or conducting research, you’ll need to know how to identify important topics, condense and summarize large amounts of text, and convey ideas clearly. Verbal reasoning tests on the SHL usually contain a series of true/false questions. These questions will provide you with two premises followed by a conclusion, and you’ll have to determine the truth value of the argument based on the evidence.
  • Inductive Reasoning Test In philosophy, arguments are usually either inductive or deductive. Inductive logic states that the conclusion can be drawn from the given statements, but is not certain. These questions ask you to recognize patterns and extrapolate to predict future items in the series or matrix. On SHL tests, you’ll usually be shown patterns with abstract shapes and figures. You’ll have to identify the rules governing the pattern and figure out which figure completes it.
  • Deductive Reasoning Test Deductive reasoning is based on certainty. The conclusion in a deductive argument can be proven absolutely using the given evidence. On the previsor test, you’ll be shown a series of statements and asked which of the answers can be proven without a doubt.
  • Personality Test (SHL OPQ32) After intelligence, personality is the most important factor in determining professional success. That’s why many companies choose to administer personality assessments to interested applicants alongside their standard array of pre-employment psychometric tests. SHL has two personality tests. One measures motivation, and the other evaluates 32 different personality traits associated with sociability, influence, empathy, and thinking style. These tests are composed of a series of statements, and you’ll have to decide whether you agree and to what degree.
  • Situational Judgement Test (SJT) Situational judgement tests are designed to analyze your decision-making ability. These questions will describe a situation that you might encounter while working at the company and ask you to choose your response.
  • SHL Mechanical Comprehension Test
  • Senior Management Aptitude Test – Candidates applying for senior management level positions will need to prove their abilities in multiple areas, including verbal, numerical, and logical reasoning. This SHL assessment will draw questions from several of the tests listed above.
  • Graduate Aptitude Tests
  • Calculation Test
  • SHL Aptitude Test
  • SHL AMCAT Test



Scoring for SHL Assessments:

As opposed to tests like the Wonderlic, for example, SHL-style tests are graded on the curve. That is to say that you’ll be judged based on your score as it compares to other candidates and not based on a pre-determined standard. So, if the questions happen to be particularly difficult, you can rest assured that because they’ll be difficult for everyone, you won’t be at a disadvantage.

The curve is established using the results of what SHL calls a norm group. This norm group, otherwise known as a control group, accounts for differences in education, race, gender, and social class, so you know the results are fair. Though there’s no way to know what the cut-off is for certain, you can safely assume that anyone who scores above the 80th percentile can expect to move on to the next step in the hiring process.

After you’ve passed the initial online SHL exam, you’ll be asked to complete a second psychometric test in person. The company will compare the results of your first and second exam to make sure that you didn’t cheat. If your scores are very different, they’ll throw away your application. So, make sure that you don’t use any study aids while taking the test at home.


SHL Test Tips

Worried about your upcoming SHL assessment? Read over these tips before heading out to the assessment centre!

  1. Don’t Watch the Clock: Yes, you should always watch the time, but you’ll waste time if you’re always looking up to check the clock. Check the time occasionally, but make sure to stay focused on your work.
  2. Read Slowly: Don’t skim through the instructional sections and word problems to save on time. If you have to go back to read them again, you’ll have wasted time more time than you would have reading at a normal pace the first time around.
  3. Go with Your Gut: It’s usually a good idea to go back and check your work on a test, but because time is so limited on SHL-style exams, you’ll want to keep moving. You’ll lose more points if you leave questions unanswered then you would probably gain checking over your work.


Companies That Use SHL Tests

These are some of the many companies that use SHL psychometric tests:


Final Thoughts on SHL Test Preparation

SHL-style tests can seem overwhelming. They can be quite difficult, and it’s normal to be nervous. That being said, practice does make perfect. The more you prepare, the better off you’ll be.


Practice SHL Sample Questions & Answers

Practicing for SHL tests is the key to scoring higher and increasing your chances of getting your desired job. Our team developed sample questions so you can experience test questions of similar topics. The following aptitude questions focus on a few main topics that are common in this assessment, such as: numerical reasoning, verbal reasoning, and logical reasoning.

Example Questions:

  1. Suzie’s flower shop is having a sale on bouquets of roses and daisies for Memorial Day. Roses are selling for $5, and daisies, are selling for $4. If Suzie sold a total of 57 bouquets and made a total of $253. How many bouquets of roses did she sell?
    1. 25
    2. 32
    3. 28
    4. 12
  2. Given the first two statements, the conclusion is: Lisas parents do not like children who always complain.
    Lisa never likes the meals her mother cooks for her.Lisas parents do not like her.
    1. True
    2. False
    3. Uncertain
  3. Given the following statements, what must be true? All bachelors in London live in tiny apartments.
    Some married men in London live in tiny apartments.
    No single women in London live in one-bedroom apartments.
    Newly married women in London live in smaller apartments than single women.
    All men and women in London live in apartments.
    1. Most men in London live in tiny apartments.
    2. Newly married women in London live in one-bedroom apartments.
    3. Single women in London have higher salaries than newly married women in London.
    4. All single women live in apartments with at least two bedrooms.
  4. What is the next number in the series?
    4, 6, 12, 20, _
    1. 28
    2. 30
    3. 24
    4. 32
    5. 36
  5. Divide 504 by .18
    1. 2.88
    2. 28.8
    3. 280
    4. 2,800
  6. The fraction 1/9 is equal to:
    1. .011
    2. .111
    3. .133
    4. 0.166
  7. What is 13% of 698?
    1. 101.74
    2. 89.24
    3. 90.74
    4. 91.44
  8. If today one AUD is equal to 0.88 EUR, how many Euros can you buy for 200 EUR?
    1. 188 EUR
    2. 88 EUR
    3. 27 EUR
    4. 176 EUR
  9. Choose the picture that best completes the pattern below:
    CCAT Sample QuestionCCAT answer
  10.  Which figure comes next in the series?
    Free Cognitive Ability Test QuestionFree Cognitive Ability Test Answer
  11. Loquacious means
    1. Confident
    2. Moody
    3. Outgoing
    4. Talkative
  12. Vehement most nearly means:
    1. Ardent
    2. Apathetic
    3. Antagonistic
    4. Aroused



  1. A
  2. C
  3. D
  4. B
  5. D
  6. A
  7. C
  8. D
  9. E
  10. A
  11. D
  12. D



How Are SHL Tests Scored?

SHL tests are scored with a primary focus in the rate of accuracy. Wrong answers will not negatively affect your score but skipping a question will have a poor impact. Therefore, if you are unsure, the best solution is to guess. SHL evaluates your scores with two different steps. Initially, they count all the questions you have answered and compare them to the correct answers. Next, they take your correct answers and calculate the accuracy against completion. This essentially informs the employer not only your aptitude in that area, but also your consistency.

For Example:
Sally and Joe are taking an SHL Numerical Reasoning Test. Sally completes ten of the twenty questions and gets all of the answers right, meanwhile Joe completes all twenty questions and gets the same amount of correct answers as Sally; who scored higher? Although they have the same ‘raw score’, Joe scores higher than Sally because he attempted more questions and was not penalized for wrong answers.


How Do Employers Interpret SHL Test Scores?

Your raw score has little significance because employers compare your score to those of the other candidates, their employees, and a norm group to establish a standard. SHL provides the company with a series of norm groups relevant to the role you have applied for. Then, your score is converted to a percentile to compare your score against that of your competition. Some employers require that you score in a certain percentile; for example, you must score in the 50th percentile meaning you have performed better than 50% of the participants in your norm group.


What Are SHL Norm Groups?

SHL has a variety of norm groups for employers to choose from. Along with the field you are applying for, your score may also be compared to your level of experience. SHL norm groups can be divided into these two categories:


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


SHL Occupation Level Groups
Administrator Junior Management Senior Customer Contact
Graduates Managerial & Professional Skilled Technical
Junior Customer Contact Semi-Skilled Technician Skilled Technology


How Are SHL Results Reported to Employers?

SHL uses a standard grading system. Your overall score is sent to employers, but applicants do not receive this information as well. Instead, you are provided a feedback report which details your strength in certain abilities on a scale of 0-100 which is labelled ‘A’ through ‘E’. The grading scale per skill follows these guidelines:


SHL Grade Scale
Grade Percentile Explanation
A 90-100 Very Strong
B 70-89 Strong
C 30-69 Average
D 10-29 Weak
E 0-9 Very Weak


What Is the Normal Distribution Graph?

SHL’s feedback report will include your placement on the normal distribution graph in comparison to your norm group. SHL’s normal distribution graph is akin to a bell curve, with 50% being the mean and the median of the data. The normal distribution will vary depending on scores and norm groups, this means it also isn’t considering your absolute score. With the normal distribution graph, you can see how many people achieved which scores in comparison to yours.


What Score Do I Need to Pass the SHL Tests?

Each employer will require you to meet a different benchmark or hold their applicants to a different standard. Therefore, there is not a definitive answer to this question. Most employers, however, appreciate a score that is strong, or in the seventy-to-eighty-nine percentile. The best advice for an above average score is to practice, then you will be familiar with SHL tests and its components. Employers are typically looking for the cream of the crop, so if you score significantly higher than your opponents, you’re in good shape.