SHL Test Tips: How to Get Top Scores on Any SHL Test, Every Time.

SHL Tests: Picture associated with this article

What Is an SHL Test?

SHL is a global assessment company that is well known and recognised as a leader in pre-employment psychometric tests; the tests that SHL publishes are used by 75% of the FTSE 100 and they are available in more than 40 languages.

So if you are applying for a new role (especially for a graduate position), you are likely to come across them in the recruitment process.

In addition, the company offers consultancy and management services via its TalentCentral platform.

The SHL tests are a series of tests that can be delivered individually or in a battery, and some of them are bespoke to the company that is using them, making them an excellent way for the recruitment team to ensure that the applicants for a role have the basic competencies, personality traits, work behaviours and cognitive abilities to be successful.

While there are several different types of assessment published by SHL, you can expect that the test you are taking will be timed, taken remotely, and the questions will assess the skills and aptitudes that are needed for success in the role.


  • Realistic Job Preview (RJP)
  • Situational Judgement Test (SJT)


  • Occupational Personality Questionnaire (OPQ)
  • Motivational Questionnaire (MQ)
  • RemoteWorkQ (RMQ)


These can also be considered the SHL aptitude tests:

The company also makes an SHL mechanical comprehension test and an SHL verbal reasoning test.

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What Is Being Assessed on the SHL Test?

The type of SHL test that you will face in the recruitment process for your next role will depend on the job that you have applied for, the industry that it is in and the level of responsibility in the role.

There might be just one assessment that you need to complete, or you might be asked to take several in the process to look at different skills and competencies.

In general, the cognitive assessments are timed, and there are two different versions that are used.

The most popular is the Interactive assessment. These are tests where you are asked to drag and drop parts of the assessment to answer the question. 

The interactive assessment is also adaptive, which means that the difficulty of the next question depends on how well you have performed on the previous one – so if you struggle or get it wrong, the next one will be easier, but if you breeze through it, the next question will be more difficult.

The Non-Interactive assessment is a more standard multiple-choice version of the test. Typically you will have a longer time to complete the assessment when it is not interactive, but you will still have similar types of questions to answer.

Some more details about the most popular assessments that are published by SHL are below:

SHL Verify G+

The SHL General Ability test, as previously mentioned, is one of the most used assessments in the SHL battery. It covers questions that combine numerical, inductive and deductive reasoning.


The interactive version of the Verify G+ consists of 24 questions that must be answered in 36 minutes.

There are eight of each types of question in this assessment.

  • Numerical reasoning – The numerical reasoning questions include subjects like graphs and tables, numerical calculation and number ranges.
  • Inductive reasoning – The inductive reasoning questions cover next in series, alphanumeric sequences and rules combination.
  • Deductive reasoning – The deductive reasoning questions include scheduling tasks and ranking different things.

To answer these questions, you will have to drag and drop different parts of the questions into various answer boxes.


In the non-interactive version of the Verify G+, there are 30 questions, and you have 36 minutes to answer them.

There are 10 questions in each subject area, and you will be provided with multiple-choice options that you have to choose between:

  • Numerical reasoning – Questions are in tables and graphs.
  • Inductive Reasoning – Questions are about next in series.
  • Deductive Reasoning – Questions are about seating arrangements.

SHL Numerical Reasoning

In the numerical reasoning SHL test, you will be tasked with answering questions that are based on data in tables and charts.

To complete the questions in the short time frame, you will need to read and understand the data in the tables, then complete some basic calculations.

The Interactive version of the numerical reasoning is a drag-and-drop test, with 10 questions to be answered in 18 minutes.

The Non-Interactive version of the assessment has 16 questions to be answered in 20 minutes.

SHL Inductive Reasoning

The inductive reasoning assessment is a logical reasoning test that involves making logical conclusions based on non-verbal, abstract information.

In the SHL Inductive Reasoning Test, you will have to find the next in a series of shapes or images. Each series is in a sequence based on rules and patterns, and to find the next one, you will need to find that pattern and use it to find the one that is missing.

  • Interactive: The interactive assessment has 15 questions that must be answered in 18 minutes. The questions need to be answered by dragging items and dropping them in the right place.
  • Non-Interactive: In the non-interactive assessment, you will have to answer 18 questions in 24 minutes.

SHL Deductive Reasoning

In the SHL Deductive Reasoning test, the content of the assessment will depend on the version that you are taking.


In the interactive assessment, you will be given 18 minutes to answer 12 questions. You might have to rank people based on given criteria, work out schedules and place people in different rooms.

You will have to follow certain rules to complete each task properly and logically.


In this version of the SHL Deductive Reasoning Test, you will be given a premise or paragraph, or a series of statements that are given to be true. 

You will need to follow the logic that is given to answer the questions as they are presented, choosing from the multiple-choice responses that are available.

There are 18 questions that should be answered within 20 minutes.


This is one of the personality tests that is offered by SHL.

The SHL OPQ32 is a behaviour and personality trait assessment that is presented as a questionnaire. 

You will be provided with a block of three or four statements, and you must select the one that is most like you, and the one that is least like you out of the statements.

There are 104 statements in this questionnaire, and this test is untimed.

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SHL Assessment Example Questions

SHL Numerical Reasoning Test Example Question

The table below shows the year-on-year values of Stock A and Stock B in relation to the Benchmark. The Benchmark moves independently, while the Stocks move relative to the Benchmark. If in the next year (Y3), the values of Stock A and Stock B change in the same manner with respect to the Benchmark as in the previous years, what would be the sum of the values of Stock A and Stock B if the Benchmark moves to 750 in Y3?

  Y0 Y1 Y2
Stock A 510 186 246
Stock B 850 310 410
Benchmark 2,550 930 1,230

a) 650
b) 400
c) 300
d) 200

The correct answer is: b)  

The value of Stock A is a fifth of the Benchmark, and the value of Stock B is a third of the Benchmark. 

To calculate the value, you need to complete the following equation (750/5) + (750/3) = 150 + 250 = 300.

SHL Deductive Reasoning Test Example Question

Seven students are standing in a straight line side by side with their backs to the wall. Ginny has as many students to her left as there are to her right. Flora and Agatha are standing immediately next to Ginny on either side. Emile is standing to the left of Flora and there are two students between them. There is no one between Cindy and Flora.

If Beatrice is standing nearer to Cindy than Dale, who are the two students standing on both ends of the line?

a) Cindy and Dale
b) Emile and Beatrice
c) Emile and Agatha
d) Beatrice and Dale

The correct answer is: d) 

Beatrice and Dale because Ginny must be in the middle and, following the logic, there is only one possible way the students can be organised.

SHL Inductive Reasoning Test Example Question

Identify the next figure in the sequence from the options given below.

The correct answer is: c) 

SHL OPQ32 Example Question

Choose the statement from those given below that is most like you and the one that is least like you.

Statement Most like me Least like me
I like to work alone    
I follow all rules    
I want to be a leader    

The way you answer this question will depend on your own personality, and you should try and be honest as you answer.

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You will get access to three PrepPacks of your choice, from a database that covers all the major test providers and employers and tailored profession packs.

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What Is the Pass Mark for the SHL Test?

There are no standard pass marks in the SHL Tests. Each employer will have a specified benchmark that you must meet to be taken to the next level of the recruitment process.

Your performance in most of the assessments in the SHL battery will be compared to the scores of other test takers, known as a norm group.

The norm groups that are available for comparison include things like managers, supervisors, graduates and operational.

Your result will be graded from A to E, with A being the top scorers. You can presume that only the top scorers will be taken further in the recruitment process, so to ensure success, you want to give your best performance in the assessment – so SHL test prep is key.

How to Prepare for an SHL Assessment

1. Practice With Online Example SHL Questions

Practice SHL tests are a brilliant way to prepare – they can be used as both an introduction to the content and structure of the assessment so that you can become more confident, as well as a way of structuring any revision or study plan that you might need to use.

You can find examples of free SHL-style practice tests at JobTestPrep. Test questions are based on the real structure and content of the assessments.

The paid-for premium Prep Packs that are at JobTestPrep offer more tests, different revision resources and helpful tips that will make a difference to your score.

When you are practising with a SHL test online, make sure that you are putting yourself under exam conditions for the best results.

2. Practice Timings With SHL Test Examples

SHL Tests are designed to put you under pressure when you complete them, and you will not have long to work through the questions – so time management is important.

When you are practising, either with a full-length test or just individual examples, make sure that you are timing yourself. You want to be able to work quickly, accurately and efficiently to be successful in the real thing, so the most efficient practice will be under a time limit.

3. Learn Basic Numerical and Verbal Skills

Whether you are taking the SHL Numerical Reasoning, SHL Deductive Reasoning, or even the SHL Verify G+, you will need to have good numeracy and literacy skills.

The numerical reasoning questions test a candidate’s ability to perform simple calculations, so you don’t need to have degree-level knowledge to complete the questions.

But you should practise things like basic addition, multiplication, division and subtraction, as well as percentages, fractions, and ratios. 

While you may be allowed to use a calculator in the assessment, you do want to make sure that you have a good grasp of mental arithmetic.

Other questions in the SHL tests will require you to be able to read, understand, and analyse written information in different ways. The language used might be more formal and business-like than you are used to, so you will want to make sure that you have a good working vocabulary in business language so that you are more comfortable in the assessment.

4. Practise Checking Information to Ensure You’re Reading the Question Right

Attention to detail is very important when you are taking an SHL Test, especially as you are under pressure, thanks to the exam conditions and time limit.

Even if you have practised extensively and think you know what you are doing with the questions in the assessment, you need to make sure you read the questions properly.

A small misread might mean the difference between a right and a wrong answer.

5. Look After Your Well-Being

Your mental and physical health is important, and you will not be able to use your cognitive abilities effectively if you are not looking after yourself properly and practising good self-care.

The main things to consider include getting enough sleep – you need six to eight hours a night for optimum cognitive performance – and making sure that you eat well and stay hydrated.

6. Don’t Overdo It

While there might be a lot resting on your performance in the SHL Tests – after all, they must be passed for you to move to the next level of the recruitment process for the role you have applied for – you want to make sure that you are not doing too much.

You want to be fresh and ready for the test(s) that you are facing, so take some time to relax and don’t practise too much.

7. Be Prepared for Two Tests

This is a two-part hint.

Firstly, the SHL Tests are often combined into a battery of assessments to suit the role that you have applied for. You might be asked to complete the Verify G+ and the OPQ32 to move through the recruitment process. You’ll know which tests you are going to take beforehand.

The other thing to consider is that you might be asked to retake the assessment later in the recruitment process, perhaps at an assessment centre, so be prepared to do it all again later. 

This means that while you might be tempted to get some help when you are taking the SHL online assessment, you will have to take it again – and the recruiters will know.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the SHL assessments?

The SHL Tests are a series of assessments created by well-known test publisher SHL. They evaluate candidates for cognitive abilities, personality traits and work behaviours that are needed for success in the role that they have applied for, and the SHL tests are usually administered early in the recruitment process and success will ensure the candidate progresses to the next stage of the hiring process.

Is the SHL test hard to pass?

SHL Tests are hard to pass because they are timed tests taken under exam conditions – and while the content of the questions might not be particularly complicated, the pressure can make them much harder. 

They are designed like this to ensure that they are useful to filter candidates based on who is more likely to be successful in the role in the future.

Where can I prepare for the SHL test?

You can carry out your SHL test prep online. SHL Direct provide some example questions on their candidate website, but, for a comprehensive guide to everything you need to know about the main SHL Tests, the content at JobTestPrep is exactly what you need.

What is a good score for an SHL test?

SHL Tests do not have general ‘good scores’, because each employer that uses the tests will have their own benchmarks for success. 

Your score will be compared to other test takers – both in the same applicant cohort and previous people who have taken the test – so you need to get the highest score possible.

How many questions are on the SHL test?

The number of questions on the SHL Test depends on which assessment you are taking, but the SHL aptitude tests/cognitive tests have between 10 to 30 questions to be answered in 18 to 36 minutes.

Are the SHL tests timed?

The SHL Tests tend to be timed, specifically the cognitive ones. They range in time limit from about 18 minutes to 36 minutes. Personality tests and behaviour tests tend to be untimed.

Where can I find more SHL test examples?

You can find more sample questions for the SHL Test on the SHL Direct website, but JobTestPrep has complete guides, worked example questions, top tips and full-length SHL practice tests based on each of the SHL Tests that are used.

What is the average score for an SHL test?

SHL scoring works a bit differently from some other cognitive tests. There is no widely accepted scoring; each company has its own benchmark for scoring. To be successful in the SHL Tests, you need to score high enough to be taken further in the process when your results are compared to other test takers’ results.

How do I pass the SHL assessment test?

To pass the SHL Assessment Test, you need to answer as many questions correctly as possible within the time limit. To do this effectively, you need to prepare yourself with practice and revision, using resources like SHL Direct and JobTestPrep.

Can you fail the SHL test?

If you do not reach the benchmark score that is set by the recruitment team and the company, you will fail the SHL Test, and your application will not be taken further.

How long does it take to get SHL test results?

The recruitment team will get your SHL Test results almost immediately, but there may be some delay until you are informed about your results and what your next steps are. This is down to the recruitment team, and they will let you know when you can expect an update.

Where can I find a complete guide for the SHL test?

You can find a complete guide for the SHL Test at JobTestPrep, which is an excellent resource for both free and premium support content designed to help you ace the test. 

You can get detailed explanations of example SHL questions, SHL test examples, revision materials and helpful hints and tips to get you the best score possible.

Final Thoughts

With so many of the world’s biggest employers using SHL Tests as part of their recruitment process, especially for entry-level and graduate positions, it is likely that you will come across these challenging assessments when you are looking for a new role.

Whether you are taking the cognitive assessments or completing a personality questionnaire, the best thing you can do to ensure the score that you need to progress further is to practise and prepare – the SHL Tests encompass many different skills and aptitudes, so the more you know, the better you can perform.


  1. Keanen Chad

    best ever

  2. Frank

    “Watch it then try out a practice test here.”

    And the link goes to a blank page…

  3. Pule

    Thanks you guys for informative tips. I really appreciate the guidance. Big up. It’s my SHL test tomorrow and hopping for the best to pass, thanks.

    1. Edward Mellett

      How did you do?!

  4. John

    SHL are a bunch of idiots as they don’t have a basic understanding of the human brain.

    By artificially putting people under pressure (time limit) you DO NOT GET THEIR MAXIMUM POTENTIAL but something RANDOM. The explanation is simple: under pressure/stress, there is a common PHYSIOLOGICAL RESPONSE – stress hormones flood the body and the brain and impair the cognitive ability. The results of the SHL tests are thus RANDOM as they are TOTALLY UNCORRELATED with how people perform on the job.

    If there is pressure on the job that only shows that the managers are creating it as should be none for maximum performance – so the managers either create it by coming with unrealistic deadlines or by hiring the wrong people sometimes using RANDOM test results like SHL’s.

    Basically, that gives enough background to anyone to sue SHL for misrepresenting their TRUE abilities and causing them a loss of earnings.

    1. Sarah Packman

      As an adult educationalist of 30+ years I totally agree. I’ve just recently come across these tests and am frankly appalled! I’ve started a LinkedIn campaign but I’m also considering legal action for contravention of both the Equality Act and the UK Employment Law. Some of the questions have no obvious correct answer, one of the practice questions indicated the incorrect answer!! What a shambles and HR, who, I’m sorry to say, don’t look further than their noses, are skipping with joy at having another meaningless evaluation media!

      To me, the SHL tests your ability to contain their irritation under severe provocation. Anyone with half a brain will not be able to withstand the banality that is the SHL test. Two hours of my life I’m not going to get back.

    2. Mark deacon

      Would love to sue, Their test are not related to real life and I have no doubt That I won’t get the job I’m trained for because of it. With a doible degree and a masters I’m not stupid, but damned if i could make sense of their stupid questions

      1. Syazu Bernoulli

        Same here. A graduate with good academic standing and participated several competitions failed and someone who failed miserably passed. That’s crazy if you asked me. This test is flawed if you’re really measuring intelligence, then it should correlate with ur academic records. Pure bs if you ask me,

        1. Edward Mellett

          These types of tests are quite different to University of School exams. They don’t measure your ability to remember information or your knowledge of a certain topic. They are designed to measure types of intelligence that relate to employment. It may be frustrating to do poorly in one if your previous exam experience was positive, but it’s not uncommon. To do better you may just need to become more familiar with these types of test.

          1. Dan

            Dictionary result for intelligence
            1. the ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills.

          2. Jay

            However, the questions asked, especially in the numerical tests, often do not correlate to ANY skills needed for the particular role. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve had questions about work/time/people ratios or average yearly interest across 20 years of perpetuities with fluctuating interest rates do not at all apply to the marketing communications positions I am applying for. Add to that the fact that I earned both my MBA and MSc in Communications over 10 yrs ago and have since forgotten the majority of the formulas, which are now preset into Excel templates anyway.

  5. Nieves G. Soto

    I just failed one.
    Nieves G. Soto
    Good thing I am on Social Security.
    Wait. You say that is why I failed?

  6. Larry McDonald

    I would have to agree that SHL testing is not a realistic test. It’s like psychiatry, the analysis is set for the norm. And that’s where the fallacy occurs. Since everybody is different, they all react to different scenarios. So depending on what happens in a person life, a person can pass a test on one day and fail it on a different day.
    Between the ATS (Applicant Tracking Systems) and now utilization of the SHL testing, we will eventually turn our society into “1984”. And if you don’t think so, look at the difference of 10-15 years ago as to how long it took an individual to find a job as compared to now. It was two to four weeks and now six months to a year. Add SHL will increase that time even more.
    Getting a job now requires a pretty resume for the ATS and only test takers who can pass the SHL. Some time the employment market is going to have to turn on their windshield wipers to be able to see out of their glass stomachs before it’s too late. We have 200 to 500 people applying for an open position. Why? If you can’t see why, it’s too late.

  7. Luxi Li

    SHL still exists.

  8. Jim

    At first I was worried by how difficult I found the practice questions. Then upon reading these comments, I was somewhat relieved to see others say how difficult they were.

    Upon reading the comments further and seeing multiple people mention the idea of suing whoever’s having them take the test, I am both worried and relieved — worried about society at large, relieved about how I’ll fare on these tests and life in general.

    1. Edward Mellett

      The tests are difficult and it’s completely normal to be worried about taking them. They’re meant to be challenging, after all!

      Don’t worry about people suing about these tests I think some people on this thread are getting a bit excited!

      1. Neogen Melkorian

        I took a practice test and got every single question correct. However, I must also add, that I took my sweet time, relaxed, and thought carefully about my answers. I would say I took about a good 30 to 45 minutes to answer 6 or 7 questions, ranging from logical thinking, pattern recognition, on the job behavior, to verbal reasoning and numerical aptitude. I found it all easy, but I am guessing that in an actual test situation, I would have been given 5 or 10 minutes, which means I would have failed miserably. And considering that, I think these pressure induced tests to find speed monkeys are pathetic. But here is the thing: I understand why this is done. The modern world does not need creative, visionary men anymore in the work place. They need fast acting and fast reacting monkeys, with limited but lightning fast skills, taking orders without question, producing quick but shallow results, never having much time or energy to think about what a bunch of sad and abused wage slave chimps they all are. That is all.

  9. K EARLY

    I am an intelligent person but these questions/answers just stumped me. It’s hard to believe companies use this testing “tactic” to weed out good people. I scored 50% and found many of the Q/A to not have a definitive correct answer. Rubbish!

    1. Ryan

      I got a similar score in my practice test! I think many of the questions I failed were the difference between “false” and “cannot say” – now that is really tricky. Because the information is not present or it is not clear, does that make it “false” or “cannot say”?

  10. Michael P

    They’re doing business. Not to be blamed. I would rather blame the shallow HR professionals for adopting such tests in their recruitment process as a way to show off their ‘trendiness’. Having always been aced at the university up until my PHD degree; after 20 years of professional experience, I think my profile was discarded after having failed in these rotten assessment tests. BS at its best.

  11. Claude

    I didn’t find the practice tests THAT difficult. Maybe I expected something super hard, but that’s just me. I also took a real test a while back for a writing position and got a proficient rating (90 percent against the global population). Not sure how to feel about most people here saying it’s hard. I have a college degree and have been working for 10 years in various fields (marketing, IT, academic, communications).

  12. Frank

    I also agree! I have worked in 2 problem-solving careers for the past 30 years and I am a great worker – often going above and beyond for the companies I have worked for. I have failed most online example tests and find the passages so dry and boring and totally unrelated to the field I am trying to get into. That in and of itself makes retention difficult. Also, these tests physiologically and psychologically discriminate against older members of society since their nervous system does not synapse as fast as younger people and therefore information is slower to process and retain. I agree that there must be some testing to ascertain a degree of knowledge and skill but make it pertain to the industry one is applying for. Reading stock market passages when applying for Industrial Health and Safety inspector positions demonstrates a disconnect in the testing/hiring process.

  13. James

    Here I was feeling smart until I took this test. I earn $125k a year, in middle management, and only scored 6/9??? GRRRRRR

  14. John Mitrok

    Guys…this are really shame tests…how to do you think that a normal person, a middle management have time for such idiots things? this is an abuse of the employee..what is the relevance of the diplomas, years of study? really..this is the future? be honest ..without a training on this you can not pass the test…why is relevant? for what? again this an abuse!!!

  15. John

    I would like more free questions

  16. Dr.Ammar Noorwali

    I think the Any HR decided to filter the candidates using these tests are out of date. They need to be replaced as they are not capable to do their jobs. Most of the people now use excel sheets and another analysis software. Most of the questions are tricky, confusing, and can’t be solved in a given time.It’s against creativity, deep thinking, and teamwork.I don’t respect any employers using this type of filtration for their candidates rather than take them to the front line and test their practical experience and skills.

  17. Pauline

    The worst part is that the questions on those test had absolutely nothing to do with the job I applied for.

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