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

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

SHL assessment tests are important steps in many job interviews and career advancement opportunities. Therefore, it is essential to have a comprehensive understanding of how the different types of SHL tests work and how you can prepare for them in order to get top scores.

In this article, we will provide an overview of how SHL assessments work, sample SHL test questions, tips on improving your test performance, and strategies for prepping and succeeding with any SHL test.

What Is an SHL Assessment 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 assessment 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 SHL 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.

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 SHL 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 type of question in this SHL 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 SHL 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.


Category Personality Trait Aspects

Relationships with People


Persuasive, controlling, outspoken, independent minded


Outgoing, affiliative, socially confident


Modest, democratic, caring

Thinking Style


Data rational, evaluative, behavioural creativity


Conventional, conceptual, innovative, variety seeking

Adaptable structure

Forward thinking, detail conscious, conscientious, rule following

Feelings and Emotions


Relaxed, worrying, tough-minded, optimistic, trusting, emotionally controlled


Vigorous, competitive, achieving, decisive

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.

SHL Assessment Example Questions

SHL Numerical Reasoning Test Example Question

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

SHL Deductive Reasoning Test Example Question

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

SHL Inductive Reasoning Test Example Question

Example Question

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

SHL Inductive Reasoning Test Example Question

SHL OPQ32 Example Question

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    

If you need to prepare for a number of different employment tests and want to outsmart the competition, choose a Premium Membership from TestHQ.

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.

What Is the Passing Mark for the SHL Assessment?

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 high 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.

SHL Test Grades
SHL Test Grades

How to Prepare for your SHL Assessment

Step 1. Try SHL Practice Tests Online

SHL practice 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 TestHQ. These SHL test questions are based on the real structure and content of the assessments.

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

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

Step 2. Rehearse Timings With SHL Practice Test Examples

SHL Assessment 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.

Step 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 SHL 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 your SHL assessment.

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

Attention to detail is very important when you are taking an SHL Assessment 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.

Step 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.

Step 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 SHL test(s) that you are facing, so take some time to relax and don’t practise too much.

Step 7. Be Prepared for Two SHL 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 assessment online, you will have to take it again – and the recruiters will know.

In Summary

The SHL tests are a great way to determine your suitability for the role you have applied for. Nonetheless, failing to prepare for your SHL assessment test can reduce your chances of getting your dream job.

In order to help prepare, it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with SHL-style test questions and SHL test timings, build your basic numerical and verbal skills, pay attention to detail when reading questions, look after yourself mentally and physically, don’t overdo it and be prepared for two tests (in case you are asked to retake it).

In addition, you can also take SHL practice tests online to get an idea of the kind of questions you can expect and how best to answer them. Doing well in these SHL practice tests will give you a confidence boost that you need to succeed in the actual assessment.

To ensure you get the best possible score in your assessment, there are seven steps to follow:

  • Take an online SHL practice test from a reputable source;
  • Time yourself when using practice tests to get used to the pace of the SHL test;
  • Practice basic math skills and reading comprehension;
  • Read questions carefully and double check to ensure that you don’t miss any details;
  • Take care of yourself mentally and physically;
  • Don't over-practice as it can lead to burnout;
  • Be prepared for the possibility of needing to take the test again.

Following these steps should help improve your chances of achieving top scores in your SHL tests and help move you closer to achieving your goal of getting the job that you want. Good luck!

Frequently Asked Questions

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.

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.

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 TestHQ is exactly what you need.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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 TestHQ.

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.

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.

You can find a complete guide for the SHL Test at TestHQ, 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 SHL 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.

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