Test Tips

SHL psychometric tests

Psychometric aptitude tests from SHL is a tool that is widely used in the field of recruiting and enables employers to filter out unsuitable candidates for their jobs before the interview. The brand name of SHL tests is shltools and currently it is shltools versions 3 and higher that are most commonly used. The test technology was developed more than 35 years ago by Peter Seville and Roger Hodsworth. It is used by the largest international corporations, such as Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Johnson & Johnson, Philip Morris, Gazprom, IKEA, METRO, Shell, PwC, HSBC, KPMG, Deloitte, BAT and a huge number of other companies from all industries and social services. A partial list of these companies can be found in our article about test development companies.

CEB SHL test developer

The SHL was the brand started in mid-80s by Peter Saville and Roger Hodsworth (Saville and Holdsworth Limited). It used in-house and online methods of psychometric testing that proved highly accurate and efficient. In early 2000s SHL became the leading psychometric tests developer in the USA and the whole western world. Soon after that the SHL was acquired by CEB – another successful aptitude test develoment company. In 2020 CEB SHL remains the leader in psychometric tests development with more than 200 regional offices all over the world.

Peter Seville SHL Roger Hodsworth SHL

SHL tests: what they are / Examples of SHL tests

SHL tests include two main parts: verbal reasoning tests and numerical reasoning tests. Some companies may also offer you to pass an abstract reasoning tests from SHL or personality tests like situational judgement tests, they are optional while numerical reasoning and verbal reasoning tests are obligatory for any SHL assessment. The SHL test can be taken online via the link that you will be sent to your email, or in person in the employer’s office.

SHL verbal reasoning tests

SHL Verbal Reasoning Test

SHL verbal tests are usually of two major types:

  1. verbal tests “true – false – cannot say”
  2. verbal analysis tests

As it follows from their name, SHL verbal tests “true – false – cannot say” have 3 answer options: true – false – cannot say. These tests are widely used to assess verbal abilities of applicants for junior positions and they are considered not very difficult, although we strongly recommend taking at least 20-30 of such SHL verbal tests to get to know their rules and peculiar details.

Verbal analysis tests are designed to test your ability to understand facts, compare them and analyze information to solve a specific problem. These are multiple choice tests that can have up to 6-8 answer options (usually 4-5) and they can be very complex.

You will be asked to read a piece of text. Under the passage you will see a series of statements and answer options. It is necessary to analyze each statement, compare it with the text and choose one of the options. Read more about principles of verbal reasoning tests in our article Verbal reasoning tests: what are they and how to pass them.

Example SHL verbal test “true – false – cannot say”

SHL verbal test “true – false – cannot say” SHL verbal reasoning test

The correct answer and explanation of this verbal reasoning tests is available at the end of the article. Try to solve it yourself first and only then see the answer. You will have 30 seconds to find the correct answer.

Verbal reasoning test from SHL is usually pretty complicated depending on the employer and the job status. Statements and texts of SHL verbal tests are intentionally written in a complex language and contain “traps” that can lead you to the wrong answer. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you practice as many SHL verbal tests on Aptitude-Tests-Practice as possible.

Example SHL verbal analysis test (mulpitle choice verbal reasoning test)

mulpitle choice verbal reasoning test SHL

The correct answer and explanation is available at the end of the article. Try to solve the test yourself first and only then see the answer. You will have 60 seconds to find the correct answer.

The main tip for answering SHL verbal reasoning tests is to never use your own knowledge while taking a verbal test. Verbal reasoning tests assess your understanding of verbal information. You must draw conclusions only on the basis of those statements that are given in the text. If the text does not say anything, and you answer basing on your previous knowledge and assumptions, then the result will be incorrect.

Verbal tests for some jobs include questions for understanding the exact meanings of words, associations (add the missing word), definition of synonyms and antonyms.

SHL numerical reasoning test

SHL numerical reasoning test

Numerical reasoningtests is a must-have for any SHL aptitude test used for employers. Numerical tests from SHL do not have any complex numerical equations or questions from higher mathematics. A numerical test involves questions to assess your ability to think logically and quickly calculate in 2-6 steps. All SHL numerical reasoning tests have data shown in tables, charts, graphs or diagrams and sometimes this data can be very complex. Practice is needed to gain the skill of quick search of data in complex tables and charts. SHL numerical reasoning tests contain questions where you will need to find ratios, percentages, number sequences, make correct data interpretation, financial analysis and currency conversion.

Examples of SHL numerical reasoning tests

SHL numerical reasoning tests level 1

“Working as a team together, Thomas, Rich and Henry need 9 hours to paint over a 400-meter fence. Working alone, Thomas can complete the task in 18 hours. Rich cannot work so fast and needs 36 hours to paint the same fence. If Thomas and Rich dont help Henry, how long does it take for Henry to paint the fence himself?”

A) 9

B) 12

C) 18

D) 36

Try to solve the test yourself first and only then see the answer below. You will have 45-60 seconds to find the correct answer.

Explanation:

Thomas will paint ½ of the fence for 9 hours. Rich will paint ¼ of the fence for 9 hours. Henry will paint for 9 hours 1 – ½ – ¼ = 1 – ¾ = ¼ of the fence.

So Henry needs as much time as Rich: 36 hours.

The correct answer is: D).

This is an example of a fairly simple SHL numerical test, such tests are usually used to assess intellectual skills of applicants for junior positions. However, if you apply for higher-level positions or in companies that are known for complex tests (Procter and Gamble, Unilever, Mars, CITI, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, PWC and others from these areas of business and management), then numerical tests will be more difficult.

SHL numerical reasoning tests level 2

SHL numerical reasoning tests

Please see the end of the article for the full explanation and the correct answer of this test. You are given 60 seconds to find the correct answer. Try to find the correct asnwer by yourself prior to checking the correct answer.

As you will see, the solution of the test is not complicated, it takes 4-5 operations of multiplication and addition. However, just 1 minute is given to solve this SHL test. The rush, excitement and difficulty in analyzing tables or graphs can make such a test very difficult.

Lets see one more example of SHL numerical reasoning test

SHL numerical reasoning test example with explanation

See the end of the article for the full explanation and the correct answer of this test. You are given 60 seconds to find the correct answer. Try to find the correct asnwer by yourself prior to checking the correct answer.

We recommend passing all available numerical reasoning tests on our website if you have to take numerical tests at one of the companies that use SHL assessment methods. On Aptitude-Tests-Practice you will find about 200 numerical tests SHL-style, which you can take online from any device at any time convenient for you.

Read more about numerical reasoning tests in our special article Numerical Reasoning Tests: what they are, examples, solutions and tips to pass them

SHL attention tests

SHL attention tests

SHL aptitude tests also include special methods for assessing concentration in a work situation. Such tests assess divided and selective attention, alertness, filtering and reaction perception time. Attention test are used for drivers, security services, air traffic controllers, casino dealers and other positions.

During this test, you may be asked to identify something from a photo, find differences of mirror images, find spelling errors or typos, etc. There are visual and sound options of such tests as well. For example, a question might be to press enter each time you hear a certain sound.

How are SHL test results evaluated?

The principle of SHL tests evaluation is comparison of your result with the results of other candidates for the same job. First it is determined how many correct answers you gave. For example, you scored 65% correct answers of the SHL numerical test questions. Further, this result is compared with the results of other candidates for the job. If the majority answered this numerical test within 60-70%, then your result is considered ok and you are admitted to the interview. But if the rest of the test participants showed a result of 75% or higher, you failed. There also exists a cutoff threshold (for example, 30-45%), and the employer would eliminate any applicant who showed this result.

The cut-off point is calculated based on the minimum abilities necessary for successful work in this position. Naturally, testing for an associate will be simpler and the cut-off threshold will be lower compared to applicants for managerial positions.

How to prepare for shl job aptitude tests, shl tests preparation, shl tests, How to pass SHL psychometric tests

How to pass SHL psychometric tests

  1. Update your knowledge. This piece of advice applies to the numerical reasoning test. You may need knowledge of finding rarios, converting fractions to decimal numbers, analyzing tables and graphs. Make sure you remember how to do it.
  2. Take a calculator with you. A calculations and help to avoid errors in the calculations due to excitement. Most employers either provide you a calculator if you take the tests in-house, or advise you to take your own calculator if you take the tests at home.
  3. Watch the time. You will be given a certain amount of time to complete any SHL aptitude test, it is usually 60-90 seconds per 1 question or 20-25 minutes per 15-20 questions. Therefore, we recommend to first solve simpler questions that do not cause difficulties. Get back to the complex ones at the very end. Otherwise, you run the risk of being “stuck” on a difficult question and failing the entire test. SHL psychometric tests let you skip questions and go through the test from question to question.
  1. Make sure you understand everything correctly BEFORE passing the test. Some tests end when you select the wrong answer. In others, you can go to the next question only by answering the previous one. Sometimes SHL tests include more questions than it is possible to actually pass in the given time. The standard option includes a certain number of questions that can be solved in random order. Make sure that you correctly understand the rules for passing the test before it begins. Do not hesitate to ask should you have questions.
  1. Do not worry. In the setting of employers’s office and strict time limit, it’s difficult to keep calm. But intense anxiety will prevent you from concentrating and reduce your ability to think quickly. So we recommend to take as many practice tests before the resl testing as you can. And before the test get enough sleep, cheer yourself up in the morning and remain in a calm but alert condition.

The most important advice: practice as many aptitude tests in advance as you can! SHL tests are rightly considered difficult, and for a person who first sees them, they can become an insurmountable obstacle to the desired job. However, 3-4 days of practice can make all the difference: you will get acquainted with SHL test examples, find out the ways to quickly and correctly solve them, and approach the decisive testing in a calm and confident state. Statistics show that training can significantly increase your chances of successfully passing the testing phase.


Get started without delay. If you have SHL tests soon, start your practice right now. It is better to prepare now and successfully pass the tests than to regret the missed chance later.


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Correct answers and explanation of the example tests

SHL verbal reasoning tests

“True – False – Cannot say” verbal reasoning test

SHL verbal reasoning tests

SHL verbal analysis test (mulpitle choice verbal reasoning test)

SHL verbal analysis test (mulpitle choice verbal reasoning test)

SHL numerical reasoning tests

Test example 1

SHL numerical tests answer and explanation

Test example 2

SHL numerical tests answer and explanation

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