BSc Economics, University of Leeds
"These got me ready for the real thing with SHL. They're so similar that it's fantastic practice that you can't get elsewhere."
Verbal reasoning tests normally aim to assess your written understanding and comprehension skills. You’re presented with a brief passage of written text about a topic. You then must answer a series of statements about the text. You must figure out if the statement is true, false or you can’t tell, based purely on the information contained in the passage. It’s crucial to remember that you must only base your answer on what is contained explicitly in the text. This may be a little difficult, especially if the passage is about a well-known topic that you are well versed on. For example, you might have a strong knowledge of coffee. You might know everything there is to know about where coffee beans are grown, how coffee beans are roasted, the best ways to grind the beans etc. However, if you come across a passage about coffee in a verbal reasoning test, you have to completely forget about your actual knowledge. You must base your answers purely on the actual information contained in the passage, and nothing else. Never forget this. This rule can be tricky. Practice does make perfect though. Take a practice SHL Verbal Reasoning now by clicking the Practice Now button above.
Most big companies, in almost all industries use verbal reasoning tests as part of the recruitment process. In the USA, Canada, the UK, Ireland, Europe and Australia, these tests are standard practice, especially for graduate and internship positions. If you are going for a position with a commercial bank, investment bank, accounting company, management consultant, fund manager, mining company, large government department or any other corporate, you will almost certainly face a verbal reasoning test.
They are so common because most employers demand high quality verbal skills. Being able to interpret written data is a pretty basic part of most jobs, especially for modern ‘knowledge workers’. Some companies currently using verbal reasoning tests as part of their graduate or intern recruitment include: Goldman Sachs, UBS, NAB, Deutsche Bank, Morgan Stanley, McKinsey, BCG, Google, BHP, Rio Tinto, Vodafone, AT&T, Wesfarmers...the list goes on and on. You would be hard pressed to find any big corporates who aren’t using them.
At GradTests we have worked tirelessly to create a series of verbal reasoning tests which closely resemble the SHL ones that you will actually face on test day with the company. We have analysed the patterns and topics covered in SHL verbal reasoning tests, and have created tests based on these. On top of this, we have created a simulated environment which closely matches the look and feel of the environment you will face on test day. You have to sit a timed test, which forces you to become strong in time management, an integral part of success in SHL tests. Once you have finished the test, you get full feedback on how you went. We have detailed answers explaining exactly why the answer is what it is. We have 6 full length verbal reasoning tests - that’s over 150 questions for you to practice. You can take the tests as many times as you like, compare your performance over time, and compare your score to others. Take a free practice SHL verbal reasoning test by clicking the Practice Now button above.
Most employers use verbal reasoning tests as a screening tool prior to interview. They do this because this is the cheapest and quickest method to rule candidates out. For some companies, you will automatically be invited to take a verbal reasoning test once you have submitted an application. For most companies, though, your application will first be screened (again usually automatically using software, which searches your CV for relevant keywords), and then verbal reasoning test invitations will be sent out. Verbal reasoning tests are often part of assessment centres of investment bank and management consulting Super Saturdays. This may be the first stage in the process where the candidates are tested, or it may actually be a verification test. Herein lies why it’s so important to practice. Some people try to cheat by getting others to sit their test for them. But companies retest you under supervision at their offices to ensure you didn’t cheat. If there is a large difference in your scores between the two attempts, you will almost certainly not get the job. You may in fact be blacklisted from that company.
Yes, yes, yes! I cannot believe you just asked that. Put it another way, why wouldn’t it improve your score? It’s pretty simple - like most things in life, if you practice, you get better. Doesn’t matter if that’s football, chess, playing guitar, or taking verbal reasoning tests, you get better with practice. If you don’t believe that you can improve your score with practice, then just try. With GradTests you can assess your score over time for every single question that you answer, to very clearly measure that improvement.
OK so that’s the good news - you can improve with practice. However, it’s a jungle out there, and your competition for these graduate and vacation positions are also practicing. So the bar has just been raised. When you take our SHL practice verbal reasoning tests, you can compare your score to all your competitors too, and get your percentile ranking. This gives you a good indication of where you sit compared to your competition.
There’s a few ways taking our practice SHL verbal reasoning tests will help:
1. You learn all the patterns and trick
For verbal reasoning tests, it’s essential that you get into the habit of forgetting everything you know about a topic that comes up. For example, if you’re a Ferrari expert and a question comes up about Ferraris, you cannot bring that outside knowledge into the equation. You have to park that at the door. You must only use the content in the actual passage to answer the questions, even if the content is wrong in reality.
You also get a feel for what the ‘burden of proof’ is for each question. That is, you get to understand how strong the evidence has to be to say a statement is ‘true’/’false’ instead of ‘can’t tell’. You will develop a knack for noticing statements that clearly are trying to elicit a certain response from you. For example, any statements that are very strong, such as by using the terms ‘always’ or ‘never’, will become red flags to you. You will learn to be ready for them.
2. You will literally see the same questions
If you keep applying for internships and graduate positions over a year or two, you will almost definitely sit the exact same exam, with the same questions. The testing companies get a little bit lazy. Now clearly our tests aren’t direct replicas of these tests, but you should expect to see your performance improve towards the end of recruiting season if you have sat a number of tests. We have designed our tests to be very similar in style to SHL verbal reasoning tests.
3. Your efficiency increases
When you have become so accustomed to the same patterns and tricks, you are able to really quickly identify them. This becomes essential in timed tests, which are often constructed to put you under severe time pressure. If you are able to quickly identify tricks and patterns, your average response time is going to go down, and you will be more likely to finish the test.
4. You know what to expect
If have faced and conquered a challenge before, facing it one more time will be no issue for you. If you take 6 full length verbal reasoning tests on GradTests, practicing them several times, learning from the feedback, and seeing your score improve over time, sitting the actual test for the job of your dreams will not be so daunting. After so much practice, you know you will be able to conquer it. It’s just like at school or uni when you had a presentation or speech to do. I guarantee that you always felt more relaxed and more confident when you were well-prepared. Practice and preparation makes you feel at ease because you remove the fear of the unknown that we all suffer from.
So that are you waiting for? Practice makes perfect, so click the Practice Now button above to start learning.
Numerical reasoning tests aim to assess your propensity to analyse charts, tables, graphs and other pieces of numerical data. You’re shown a table/chart/graph of data, and then face a series of questions relating to the information. You’ll need to interpret the data and make some basic calculations. The calculations themselves involve simple additions, subtractions and percentages, and the use of a calculator is always permitted. You can also use Excel to help when you are doing the test at home. The main difficulty in doing these tests is avoiding falling into the traps laid for you in the answers. For example, suppose there’s a question about money and the answer is $3.50. The question might request the answer in cents, not dollars, requiring you to convert. The selection of answers in this instance will probably include both 350c and $3.50. The $3.50 is placed in there to deliberately throw you off and try to trick you. You can prepare yourself for these tricks and more by taking a free practice numerical reasoning test above.
It would be much quicker to list the companies that don’t use numerical reasoning tests. In the USA, Australia, UK, Europe, Brazil, Russia and Canada, most big corporates use numerical reasoning tests, across pretty much every major industry. The fundamental reason for this is that most white collar jobs require basic numerical reasoning and data interpretation skills. You always need to be able to look at graphs, charts etc. and understand the basics of what’s going on. This is especially the case for most internship and graduate positions, whereby as a junior member of staff, you are generally relied upon for most of the grunt work of analysis, report writing etc. You are the one actually producing the charts and tables. As you move up the food chain into management, you will come to rely on these charts and tables to make decisions. That is, you will have become a user of these charts rather than a producer. Either way, you need to be able to interpret them correctly.
Some example companies who currently use numerical reasoning tests as part of their graduate or internship recruitments: JP Morgan, BoAML, Credit Suisse, Siemens, GlaxoSmithKline, BMW, Bayer, AT&T, Rio Tinto...the list is almost endless, and spans most industries.
1. Simulated online environment
When you enter our Testing Centre to take a practice test, you will face the same layout and style as the actual test. You’ll also be faced by the time pressure, with the clock ticking away in the top corner.
2. Common tricks and patterns
There are some common tricks and patterns in numerical reasoning tests, such as converting between units, axes of graphs being swapped around or in different units, small fine print at the bottom of graphs etc. Once you have sat enough practice tests, you will be used to all these little patterns and you will find yourself automatically checking for them.
3. Feedback with fully worked answers
Once you have finished a practice test, you will go to the Feedback Dashboard, where you can drill down on each question with a fully worked, detailed explanation of where you went wrong.
4. Track performance over time
You can take our tests as many times as you like to help you improve as much as possible. You can track exactly how you have progressed over time, for every single question.
5. Compare performance to others
You will know exactly how you place compared to your job rivals when using our Feedback Dashboard. You can compare where you rank to everybody else for each individual question.
Most companies tend to use the numerical reasoning tests as an initial screening mechanism, prior to interview offers being sent. For example, in a graduate recruitment role for an investment bank, suppose 5000 people apply for 20 roles. Commonly, the bank will send all 5000 candidates a numerical reasoning test invitation. From this, they can then cull, say, 80%. They will then semi-automatically review the remaining 1000 applications using a combination of software and HR staff. The software will probably rule out a further 500 candidates on the basis of keyword matching of their CV, excluding people that don’t meet the minimum WAM requirements etc. The remaining 500 candidates will be screened, with perhaps the top 100 progressing to a first round interview (possibly on the phone).
Companies tend to use the numerical reasoning test as the very first stage because it’s relatively cheap and very efficient - there is no other way to screen out 4000 candidates in a few days. Some companies may use the tests much later on in the process, or may retest candidates to verify the results. The Big 4 accounting companies, for instance, commonly do this. This is why it’s so important that you become strong in taking numerical reasoning tests yourself. Don’t get your friend to sit it for you. If you get to the final stage, you will likely have to re-sit the test in the company’s office, where you will need to take it yourself. If there’s a big difference in your score, it will look very suspicious.
There are probably a few key ways in which practicing the numerical reasoning tests improve your mark
1. You learn all the tricks and patterns
For numerical reasoning tests, there are lots of little tricks and patterns that show up again and again in SHL tests. For instance, it’s very common that you will have to find the percentage change between two numbers. You will have to deal with currency exchange rates. You have to use two or three separate graphs to find the answer. You have to use a prior question’s answer to find the current question’s answer. Basically, if you practice the numerical reasoning tests enough, these things become second nature to you and you are much more efficient.
2. You may literally see the same question
If you go for a number of graduate and internship positions over a year or two, you will sit most of your tests with SHL. They recycle the same tests again and again. So you will probably sit the exact same test several times. Now obviously our tests aren’t exact replicas of SHL’s and so won’t directly help in this regard, but you should expect to see your performance improve towards the end of recruiting season if you have sat a number of tests. We have designed our tests to very closely resemble those of SHL.
3. Your efficiency increases
If you can quickly identify tricks and patterns, the time it takes you to find the answer will be reduced. This is crucial in timed tests, which are often designed to put you under significant pressure. Any time that you can save through efficiency is good.
4. You know what to expect
Because you know what to expect, you will feel more prepared and you will be less nervous. This is the same for most things in life - they are hardest the first time you attempt them.
So the only thing left to do is start practicing. Click the Practice Now button below, to take a free numerical reasoning test.
Inductive reasoning tests (also known as abstract reasoning tests, logical reasoning tests or diagrammatic reasoning tests) try to assess your propensity to detect abstract patterns. Normally you will see an existing sequence of squares (normally 3-5) which contain various shapes. There will be some sort of pattern occurring inside the sequence of squares. Your job is to figure out logically what that pattern is and then choose what the next square will be in the sequence. You’re normally given 4 options to choose from. Of the three main types of psychometric tests, most people find these the hardest, especially initially. A lot of people look at them and their eyes glaze over, similar to the first time you saw a page of calculus, or a foreign language. But don’t panic! With practice, you will come to learn that there are many patterns that will repeat themselves. For example, it’s extremely common for a particular shape inside the square to be rotating in each step, by a certain number of degrees. Other common patterns are rotation of the whole square, replacement of shapes and flipping of shapes. The more you practice inductive reasoning tests, the easier they will become.
Click Practice Now above to start learning right now.
Inductive reasoning tests are very commonly used during graduate and intern recruitment. They are not quite as common as the verbal reasoning tests and numerical reasoning tests, because logical reasoning is probably not as absolutely essential to most positions compared with basic numeracy and literacy skills.
Companies across many industries do employ logical reasoning tests, including Morgan Stanley, RBS, RBC and JPMorgan in banking, McKinsey, BCG and Bain in consulting, PwC, KPMG, EY and Deloitte in accounting, Rio Tinto and BHP in mining, and many others. If you are applying for a graduate role or internship and are unsure if you will face one, assume that you will. It’s best to be over prepared than underprepared.
At GradTests we have worked very hard over several years to create the best possible preparation for sitting the actual SHL inductive reasoning tests when you’re going for your graduate or internship positions. We have found all the most common patterns that get used in inductive reasoning tests, and we have embedded them into our own practice tests. We have 6 full length inductive reasoning tests, with 150 questions in total to practice. We provide detailed explanations for which answer is correct, so that you can learn and improve. You can track your performance over time, and compare your answers to your job rivals. We have also created a simulated online environment, which is very similar to what you would face when sitting the actual SHL inductive reasoning test.
Normally, invitations to inductive reasoning tests are distributed early on in the recruitment process. Similar to numerical and verbal reasoning, they are used as a relatively cheap and quick screening mechanism to cull at least around 80% of applicants. This becomes essential for the big banks and other very popular companies, who will have many 1000s of applicants for only a handful of jobs. Be aware, however, that some companies mix it up a bit and choose to use them later on in the process. If they do elect to do this, it’s normally under proper test conditions, supervised, in their offices. This means that you must be able to do well in the test yourself. Some people think that they can get away with getting their mates to do the test for them if it’s an online one at home. Beware, companies do often re-test you later on in the process, again under supervised conditions in their office.
The more you practice, the more the patterns will become easily identifiable to you. Most of them will become second nature. You will find yourself being presented with a pattern, and quickly cycling through all the possible options of patterns, until you realise what it is. The quicker you can identify these patterns, the more likely you are to be able to pass your SHL test, which are often constructed to put you under significant time pressure.
There are a few key ways in which practicing the mock SHL inductive reasoning tests will help:
1. The most common patterns will become second nature to you
You will find yourself being presented with a pattern, and quickly cycling through all the possible options of patterns, until you realise what it is. The quicker you can identify these patterns, the more likely you are to be able to pass your SHL test, which are often constructed to put you under significant time pressure. There are some really common patterns that crop up again and again, such as a shape rotating by a certain number of degrees, the positions of shapes being swapped, a shape rotating out of the sequence, the position of a shape changing the same way each step etc.
2. You may literally see the exact same pattern
If you go for a number of internships or graduate roles in the same year, you will probably end up sitting exactly the same SHL logical reasoning test several times. This is where the test provider gets a bit lazy. This is to your advantage though. Our practice SHL tests won’t directly help in this regard as they’re not direct replicas of the ones that you’ll face, but all practice helps, and we’ve designed our tests to be very similar.
3. Your efficiency in identifying the patterns improve
As you gain familiarity with the patterns, which will become second nature to you, the speed with which you can identify patterns improves. This is crucial in the timed test environment, which will place you under immense pressure.
4. You know what to expect
Knowing what to expect will make you less nervous and more confident. This will directly improve your score as you will not panic and will work more quickly.
Anyway, enough talking. Now time for some practicing. Take a free practice inductive reasoning test by clicking below.
"These got me ready for the real thing with SHL. They're so similar that it's fantastic practice that you can't get elsewhere."
"GradTests is awesome - definitely wouldn't have landed my role with BHP without them"
"Definitely helped a lot. Cheers guys."
I went from around 50th percentile to 90th on the inductive reasoning just by spending a few hours with these tests.
Fantastic. Tests were just like SHL ones! If anything, these were slightly harder than the ones I faced.
I am VERY luck my friend put me on to these. There is no way I would have landed my internship at EY without. I was OK at numerical and logical, but was terrible at the verbal stuff. This practice got me in the door.
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"Absolutely died in the tests last year (especially numerical). Learnt my lesson and practiced hard with these tests this year. Didn’t end up getting the internship but nailed the testing, just fell down with interview. So thanks for all your help."
"Wow is all I can say. I found all those psychometric tests so hard, and now they seem so easy! Well practice makes perfect I guess."
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"I just landed a role with Goldies! While I did a lot of prep for interview and knew my technical stuff back to front, it was really the extra practice on the tests (especially diagrammatic – I hate that stuff!) that got me over the line."
A couple of my mates tried to tell me practicing couldn’t help because you can’t change your IQ. Well I got through the testing stage and they didn’t. So…