Numerical Reasoning Tests: what they are, examples, solutions and tips to pass them
After being for 16 years in HR we can confidently assert that 100% of large companies that employ millions of people all over the world use numerical reasoning tests. Numerical reasoning is the most commonly used type of aptitude testing and 1000s of candidates are tested with them every day.
Whether you are applying for a job in an office or in a plant, in an airline or a social service and you are to pass a series of numerical reasoning tests. So read our article to learn more about these tests and tips how to pass them.
What are numerical reasoning tests?
Such tests are made to assess your skills to work with numerical information of all kind. Usually this means – quickly sort out specific data in diagrams or tables and make 3-4 accurate calculations.
Questions of numerical aptitude tests can be tuned to assess your knowledge to work in fields like reading tables and graphs, finding percentages and ratios, calculating currency conversion rates and making basic financial analysis, understanding numerical sequences and so on.
Standard question types include the following:
- Graphs, Diagrams and Tables
- Unit or Currency Conversions
- Numerical Rows
You should be prepared to meet all of these features of numerical tests in your employment assessment. Usually HR tests are a combination of all types above.
For example, a numerical test can look like a table with a lot of numbers showing currency exchange rates for a few years and a question to find the percentage (%) change of US dollar value to Australian dollar and a possible profit of such exchange. Although this only requires 3-4 simple calculations, such numerical test can be complex because you only have 60-90 seconds to find the required data in the table and figure out the correct answer among 5-6 options that look very similar to the correct answer.
If you have never seen and practiced such tests before, and unless you are a pro working with numbers all day, it is very likely that you will be in trouble. But 4-5 days of practice can give you the skill to sort out the data and make calculations quickly and accurately. Practice can be a game-changer when you have to pass aptitude tests.
Why are numerical reasoning tests used by all employers?
Numerical aptitude tests are a very useful tool for any employer because they are good for assessing a large number of candidates quickly and accurately.
They can be tailored to assess knowledge of candidates in any field of business of social services since all of them require working with numerical data.
Since numerical aptitude tests have a time limit, they put you in a stress of having to work under strict conditions. Therefore, besides attentiveness and accuracy, these tests show your employer how you can cope in a stressful situation.
If you want to get a job in the following industries you need to get prepered for numerical reasoning testing:
- Audit and consulting
- Stocks and Brockers
- Ministries and Central Banks
- Mining and Energy
- Transportation and Logistics
So, in two words, mostly ALL employers use numerical reasoning tests to pick the best candidates. Therefore, you must score high to get the job you want.
How to pass numerical reasoning tests?
Perhaps you are fine with any calculations and you can easily solve even complex problems in your mind. But as for me, I start to sweat and my head immediately becomes empty at the mention of any math tests.
Still, if you are a jobseeker, these tests cannot be avoided. As we wrote, 100% of companies require passing numerical reasoning. Therefore, if you have not worked with numbers for a while, and you are the same as me, then, most likely, you are also scared by the prospect of passing such testing.
But there is nothing to really worry about. In general, numerical reasoning tests in HR are designed in such a way that every candidate is given a fair opportunity to get a high score. Such tests do not contain problems that require being a professor of higher mathematics.
Really, numerical aptitude tests for employment purposes are the same level as math tests in elementary school. All you need to do are basic math calculations:
What makes numerical employment tests difficult is the pressure of the count-down timer and data that you need to sort out in graphs and tables.
Some preliminary acquaintance may be necessary in order to correctly understand the essence of the numerical questions, but, for the most part, numerical tests are simple and require only attentiveness and minimal ability to correlate numerical data. The strategy for success is simple: just try to familiarize yourself with examples of numerical tests with answers and tune in to quiet, attentive work to solve them.
The tips to pass numerical reasoning tests
We recommend the following to prepare for numerical testing:
Review and remember the multiplication and division table.
Numerical aptitude tests are question with a strict time limit. Therefore, if you can quickly perform the operations of multiplication and division in your mind, you will save considerable time. Usually you are allowed to use a calculator. But you must be able to count single digits quickly in your mind.
Keep track of time.
You will have 60-90 seconds to solve 1 question of a numerical test. For an unprepared person, this is very little and stressful, but after a short preparation it is quite realistic to solve numerical tests in a minute or less. Do not linger too long on a question that is completely incomprehensible to you and you have no ideas for solving it. Mark the number of this test and come back to it later if you have time. Usually all questions are equal and you get the same score for each of them. Therefore, first solve simpler tasks. The only exception to this rule will be if the test rules involve subtracting the number of incorrect answers from the number of correct ones.
Review the basic math rules.
You need to know the basic formulas and concepts and quickly navigate them. This is especially useful when a long time has passed since you went to school and you did not do any mathematical calculations. If you are looking for job in the middle of your career and you are 30-50 years old, numerical tests can do you a bad favor because the last time you heard about fractions and proportions was 10-20 years ago! Just review all the basic math rules for secondary school, that’s enough. Most of this knowledge is still in your head. But you just need to update the rules in order to be able to use them quickly. If you are applying for a job at a bank or another company in the financial sector, then you will most likely need to know the basic financial terms and methods for calculating them. Numerical reasoning tests with financial formulas are more complex and you need to understand how to calculate, for example, return on investment (ROI), margin indicators and other similar indicators.
Find out what you can bring to the testing.
Are you allowed a calculator? Pencil and note paper? Find out what you are allowed to use while taking the numerical aptitude test. It would be foolish to manually calculate everything that a calculator could calculate faster and more accurately. Most employers and HR agencies allow you to use calculators for numerical tests, because they understand that this tool helps only in calculations, but not in analyzing tasks.
Is it worth it to pre-practice numerical reasoning tests?
Yes! Three times yes!!!!! We apologize for so many exclamation points, but they are appropriate here. Preliminary practice in solving numerical tests is necessary for 99% of all applicants. However, maybe you recently worked for several years as a financial analyst or assistant professor of mathematical sciences and dealt with calculations and graphs every day. Then, apparently, you enter the remaining 1% of applicants, for whom the practice is probably no more needed. If not, then definitely it is worth preparing. Only the practice of numerical and other (verbal, abstract reasoning and situational judgement) tests can give you an advantage over other job seekers. And this advantage is undoubtedly worth the time and money spent on it.
Examples of numerical reasoning tests and answers
Most numerical aptitude tests follow one rule: numbers and presentation of information are different, but the type of question itself remains the same. Therefore, work out the main types of numerical tests of the largest development companies used worldwide – SHL, Kenexa and Talent Q. For more information about them, see the article Features of the SHL, Talent Q, Saville, KENEXA tests
Below you will find several examples of numerical reasoning tests of different types. In the examples on our website, you can also take 5 numerical tests for free. And for just 1.99EUR (that is almost free) you will have access to more than 1000 of different aptitude tests.
Example of numerical test 1:
First try to solve this numerical test by yourself and only then look at the solution and answer. You will find the solution at the end of the article. You are given 60 seconds to find the answer.
Example of numerical test 2:
First try to solve this numerical test by yourself and only then look at the solution and answer. You will find the solution at the end of the article. This numerical reasoning test must be answered within 60 seconds.
We also recommend that you learn more about aptitude tests of SHL, the main developer of numerical tests for HR: Psychometric SHL tests
Understand how test questions can look, how they are usually built, and what pitfalls developers can prepare for you.
After practicing for just 4-5 days you will be able to quickly recognize the type of question, clearly understand the problem, and quickly and accurately solve it.
Attention! Numerical reasoning tests are usually not the only tests that you have to pass when applying for a job. Verbal reasoning tests, abstract reasoning tests and situational judgement tests are usually used for assessments as well. Read more about verbal reasoning, abstract reasoning and situational judgement tests in our special articles.
We urge you to start preparing right now, because it is better to spend 4-5 days solving practice tests now than to fail on real testing and regret a missed chance later.
View Free Test Examples
Answers and solution of test examples:
Numeric Test Example 1:
Numeric Test Example 2: