Five Tips to Help You Pass Your Next SHL Psychometric Test

By Ilana Klok on 25-11-2017
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If you must take psychometric test as part of applying for a job, you may feel nervous. This is perfectly natural—if you're like most job applicants, you may not have sat a test in years. Different employers use tests put out by various assessment companies. One of the most popular assessment companies out there is Gartner CEB SHL. I am here to give some important tips on how to excel on your SHL psychometric test.

  • Find Out which SHL Psychometric Test You Will Face
  • Understand Your Strengths and Weaknesses
  • Practise Makes Perfect
  • Learn How and When to Estimate
  • Expand Your Vocabulary

Before you begin preparing, you must find out what test you will take and understand what exactly is required of you. The most popular SHL tests are as follows:

  • SHL verbal reasoning test: This test evaluates your understanding and analysis of written information. You are presented with 30 questions which you must answer within 19 minutes. If you have an assessment centre, you may need to take a second, shorter version of this test (called the 'Verify Verification Test') which is comprised of 18 questions which must be answered within 11 minutes.
  • SHL numerical reasoning test: This test measures your ability to comprehend and use numerical information in the form of graphs, tables, and charts. You will often need to answer questions having to do with per cent and ratios. You have 25 minutes to complete this test's 18 questions. The verification version of this test has 10 questions, which you have 15 minutes to complete.
  • SHL logical/inductive reasoning test: This test assesses your logical thinking skills. You are asked to identify the pattern in a series of images and to select the image that would come next in the series based on the pattern. You will have 25 minutes to complete 24 questions. There is also a verification version of this test which includes seven questions that must answered within seven minutes.

Now that you understand how many different kinds of psychometric tests you can face during your job hunt, it is important to know your own strengths and weaknesses. Rather than starting to study right away, it is recommended that you first take a practice test without any preparation. This will allow you to identify your natural strengths and weaknesses, and allow you to focus on the areas that are most difficult for you. This is a crucial step if you want to maximise the efficiency of your study time. Target your weaknesses by drilling the question types that are most difficult for you, and read detailed question explanations which will allow you to identify the errors in your thinking that may have led you to select the wrong answer.


The most important skills to develop for SHL tests are speed and accuracy. Speed is crucial because these tests have a strict time limit, but accuracy is just as important as your answers are worthless if they are not correct. By gradually improving your accuracy in answering questions, you can also speed up the rate by which you complete the test. There are no shortcuts here—the only way to improve is to practise, practise, and practise some more.

When tackling the numerical reasoning test, there will be instances where it is preferable to estimate the answer rather than calculating it right away. This will allow you to eliminate some, if not all, of the answer choices. Since estimation is a skill that many of us have not used since primary school, it is important to review the basics of estimation as well as to understand in which question types you use it.

Did you know that you can only understand a passage if you understand upwards of 95% of the words in it? In order to achieve optimal results in the verbal reasoning test, you must have a mastery of the language that it contains. You can improve your vocabulary by reading articles from a number of sources, including highbrow publications such as The Economist and The New Yorker. For numerical reasoning tests, you will encounter financial terms such as costs, profits, revenues, stocks, and inflation. Brush up on your knowledge of these terms and more prior to your test.

Good luck candidates! I hope I gave you some valuable tips on how to ace your next psychometric test. In this competitive job market, you need to do everything in your power to get the job you want. Take a look at our partner JobTestPrep’s practice materials for all the various SHL psychometric test tailored to both level and position. Access thousands of online questions, answers, study guides, video tutorials and detailed explanations.

This article was contributed by Ilana Klok. She is a pre-employment testing expert at JobTestPrep. She specializes in writing about the use of tests in the employment hiring process. 

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