SHL Numerical Reasoning

SHL numerical reasoning tests are a range of assessments used to evaluate the numerical abilities of individuals in various job categories. These tests are prevalent in many industries, especially where the ability to make decisions based on numerical data is crucial. This includes sectors like finance, engineering, professional services, and information technology, among others.

The SHL test is a standardized assessment tool used by employers to evaluate candidates’ cognitive abilities, behavioral tendencies, and technical skills. It helps in identifying individuals’ strengths and suitability for a role, ensuring that potential hires are capable of meeting the demands of the job efficiently.

Understanding SHL Numerical Reasoning Tests

These tests are designed to measure a candidate’s ability to interpret, analyze, and draw logical conclusions based on complex numerical information. While they do not test advanced mathematical theories, they require a good grasp of basic mathematics, statistics, and number sense. Here’s what candidates can expect:

  1. Data Interpretation: Questions often present data in the form of graphs, tables, or charts. Candidates need to analyze and interpret this information to answer the questions.
  2. Mathematical Problems: These involve basic arithmetic, percentages, ratios, and possibly some elements of algebra and geometry. The problems are usually set in a business or work-related context.
  3. Statistical Understanding: Some questions may require basic understanding of statistical concepts, such as averages, medians, and trends.
  4. Currency Conversion: For roles involving finance, there might be problems requiring currency conversion, requiring an understanding of exchange rates.
  5. Time Pressure: These tests are typically timed, requiring not only accuracy but also the ability to work under pressure.

Preparation Tips for SHL Numerical Reasoning Tests

To excel in SHL numerical reasoning tests, candidates need to prepare effectively. Below are strategies that can help improve performance:

  1. Review Basic Mathematics: Candidates should revisit the basic mathematical concepts learned in school, such as arithmetic operations, fractions, percentages, ratios, and basic statistics.
  2. Practice with Mock Tests: One of the most effective preparation methods is taking practice tests. Simulate the experience of the real assessment, helping candidates get used to the format and time pressure.
  3. Learn Shortcut Methods: Time is limited during these tests. Learning shortcut methods for calculations can save time and improve efficiency. This includes quick ways to calculate percentages, ratios, and averages without a calculator.
  4. Read Questions Carefully: Misinterpreting data or misunderstanding a question can lead to incorrect answers. It’s crucial to read and understand what’s being asked, especially under time pressure.
  5. Manage Time Effectively: Candidates should practice answering questions more quickly and accurately. Knowing how to allocate time to different questions can make a significant difference.
  6. Stay Informed: For questions involving currency conversion or financial trends, having up-to-date knowledge on the current economic situation can be beneficial.
  7. Stay Calm and Confident: Stress and anxiety can affect performance. Candidates should find ways to stay calm during the test, such as by practicing deep breathing techniques.

On the Test Day

On the day of the test, candidates should ensure they are well-rested and have everything they need, including any necessary identification for in-person tests. They should also plan to arrive early to avoid any additional stress from running late.


SHL numerical reasoning tests are a significant hurdle in many people’s career paths. However, with the right preparation, including understanding the test format, revising basic mathematical concepts, and practicing under timed conditions, candidates can significantly improve their chances of success. These tests are not insurmountable barriers but opportunities to demonstrate one’s skills and suitability for a career.