6 SHL Test Tips: How To Get Top Scores On Any Test, Every Time.

SHL Tests: Picture associated with this article

To take a practice SHL test before reading this article click here SHL tests. If you’re reading this article, then there’s a good chance you’ve just discovered you’ll be taking one of these in the next couple of days.

If you’re here and are now feeling tense about sitting down for the full exam, don’t worry..

We’ve got your back.

This article has been written specifically to help you prepare for SHL tests.

Read on, follow our tips and you’ll be set for a fantastic result.

Author Suggestion! …the best way to prepare for your SHL tests is to practice online. Click here to try a practice SHL test on JobTestPrep.com right now.

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Click the button above to take a practice test right now.


PRO TIP: Visit JobTestPrep for the best online Psychometric Test practice. Test packs start from £39 with a money back guarantee.

SHL are one of the pioneers of online psychometric testing.

Their aptitude tests and methodology are very popular within the psychometric testing industry. SHL tests include verbal reasoning, numerical reasoning, inductive reasoning and mechanical reasoning, amongst other variants. SHL tests are popular with employers because they’re an efficient and low cost way of filtering out candidates who don’t meet the minimum technical ability levels needed for a specific role.

This means that it’s likely you will come across SHL tests during recruitment processes, particularly if you’re applying for an internship or graduate scheme.

What are shl tests, and how are they made up? SHL‘s range of Psychometric Tests can be role or department specific, focusing on core skills through a library of testing questions across a range of disciplines.

Sounds daunting?

Don’t worry.

While we can’t just give you the answers to your SHL tests, we can explain how these tests work, what you can do to prepare for them and then direct you towards some practice tests, so that nothing comes as a big surprise on the day.

Prepare for the SHL Test with JobTestPrep

How Do SHL Tests Work?

SHL’s aptitude tests are a way of estimating your maximum ability level.

By taking the measure of a candidate’s potential, and then comparing that to the average level of a reference (or ‘norm) group, businesses believe they will have a better idea of who is cut out for the day to day work involved in the role.

The norm group is typically made up of individuals with similar characteristics, for example age, nationality or education level.

A candidate’s ability is calculated relative to this norm group and then compared to a pre-defined cut off point. The cut off point represents the minimum ability needed to be successful in a particular job role or department function.

How to Pass SHL Tests: 6 Top Tips

While aptitude tests aim to assess your level of ability, there are ways to develop your approach to the tests themselves.

These tips won’t make you any better at verbal or numerical reasoning, but they will help you understand the procedures, questions and techniques necessary to pass the test itself.

Top Tip #1 – Practice SHL Tests Until They’re Familiar

Psychometric tests are different to most other forms of testing.

They’re abstract, layered and littered with red herrings.

To demonstrate your true aptitude you’ll have to become familiar with the general approach, types of questions and time limits before taking the test that might make the difference between getting the job or missing out.


This video shows examples of SHL tests.

Prepare for the SHL Test with JobTestPrep

Top Tip #2 – Learn Basic Tips for Numerical and Verbal and Reasoning Tests

It’s true that you can’t truly predict which questions you’re likely to encounter in an assessment, you can prepare for them by researching the topics, formats and presentation types you’ll be presented with.

Think of it like revision.

For example, with numerical reasoning tests you may want to make sure that you’re familiar with techniques such as converting fractions to decimals (and vice versa), ratios, and interpreting graphs or trends.

This video covers some of the elements you’re likely to encounter in a numerical reasoning test.



For mechanical reasoning tests (see the video below for test examples), the topics may include devices such as pulleys, springs, circuit boards and gears.



There are a number of benefits to revising for the tests in this way.

It’ll improve your confidence, as you’ll have experience of passing the practice tests and of answering difficult, abstract questions.

Top Tip #3 – Time Management Can be the Difference Between a Pass and a Fail

SHL tests have a time limit for completion. The tests are designed to place you under maximum pressure, as the business is trying to understand your true potential.

The time limits can be challenging, so to be successful you need to work quickly and accurately.

  • Make sure you read the instructions thoroughly at the start of the assessment and understand exactly how long you have to complete it.
  • If you’re completing more than one SHL test, make sure that you understand the time available for each; it may vary.
  • Don’t get caught out spending all of your time on the first assessment at the expense of the rest. If you find yourself stuck on a particular question for too long, move on to the next one.
  • Most (but not all) of these exams allow you to move backwards and forwards through the questions, meaning you’re able to answer in an order that suits you. However if you do this, make sure to take a note of what you haven’t haven’t answered yet.

Watch the video below for some excellent time management strategies.

Top Tip #4 – Thoroughly Check the Information Given to You. Then Check It Again

Make sure you understand the instructions for the test, and then scrutinise each question. Check your workings and answer selections before moving on.

Prepare for the SHL Test with JobTestPrep

Top Tip #5 – Put Yourself in the Zone by Looking After Your Brain

You won’t perform at your best if you’re tired, hung over, distracted or interrupted. SHL tests exist to measure your maximum ability, so don’t give a false impression by attending the exam in a less than maximum mental space.

  • Work out when you’re at your most energised. Are you a morning person or a night owl? Choose a time that is good for you in terms of your energy, alertness and relaxation.
  • Make yourself comfortable. Get a drink, go to the toilet, grab some chewing gum and switch the heating on before the assessment starts.
  • Make a checklist of helpful materials that you may need. Calculator, pens and some paper are generally allowed and always useful.
  • Grab a safe, quiet spot. You don’t want to be interrupted or disturbed when you’re in the zone and tackling abstract brain teasers. Tell your family, partner, kids or friends to leave you alone for a specific amount of time.
  • Get a good night’s sleep. Sleep can be the difference between you demonstrating your real potential, and having an off day.
  • Don’t go in hungry. Eat an hour before the assessment, so that your stomach doesn’t gurgle and distract you with demands for snacks.

Top Tip #6 – It’s About More Than Just the Answers.

SHL tests are often given to candidates more than once.

Although an assessment may first be given online, it can be repeated on pencil and paper in a company’s office.

Doing just enough to pass first time round may backfire later, as might having someone help you if you’re taking the exam at home.

Chances are if you can’t pass, the job may not be right for you anyway.

Give it your best shot on your own. The best way to prepare for SHL tests is to try some Practice Psychometric Tests, like the one below, or to visit JobTestPrep.com for a range of free and paid for SHL practice tests.

Take our free practice SHL test below:


SHL Practice Reasoning Test

This is a 10 question SHL style practice test. 

Once you have given your answer to a question, you will be able to check the right answer and see a full explanation.

Topics Covered:
Verbal Reasoning, Numerical Reasoning, Inductive Reasoning, Deductive Reasoning, Checking.

Difficulty Level:


  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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