SHL is one of the most commonly used psychometric assessment companies in the world. Find out how to pass the tests...

SHL provides aptitude test batteries and assessment centres for all types of graduate employers throughout the UK market. CEB's SHL tests are extremely dominant among the top multinational corporations listed in the Forbes 500.

If you're applying for a job that utilises psychometric testing in the recruitment process, there is a good chance that the tests are from SHL.

For more information, see CEB's SHL style practice tests.

How to prepare

The key to succeeding is through tailored preparation and practice. In fact, studies show that candidates that practise the tests beforehand have a much greater chance of getting the job.

Preparation becomes easier when you know what to expect. Applicants taking aptitude tests for the first time are likely to be surprised and perplexed by the unconventional type of questions and tests. For this reason, it's essential to understand what type of tests you will be presented with, (their level and type), and what they will look like.

While SHL offers candidates a proprietary practice environment, called SHL Direct, in our experience, many job applicants find that SHL's website is not particularly helpful when it comes to preparing for their tests. The tests they provide don't include answers, explanations or tips and only allow you to see how well you performed in terms of an overall mark. They also only give a limited selection of test types.

SHL offers a variety of tests for the graduate level and their aptitude test batteries include a large number of different subjects and test types. The most common set of tests delivered for graduates are the Verify tests. Some may also be required to take one or more of the Management and Graduate Item Bank tests (MGIB). They organise these tests into tailored packages that can be used for specific types of professions and fields. In particular, they have a special group of tests that they use on graduates and other professional candidates.

Graduates applying for a professional or managerial position will receive between one and three Verify tests via email. The numerical and verbal reasoning components could be taken from SHL's MGIB. In short, there is a wide range of SHL tests that are used on graduates - either from the Verify series, or from the MGIB, or some combination of the two.

Verify tests

A major part of SHL's aptitude test service is its range of 'verify' tests. This is the name given to describe its online aptitude testing system for graduate recruitment, which comprises two stages:

  • Stage 1 - Verify Ability Test: online, unsupervised (sent via mail).
  • Stage 2 - Verification Test: optional, supervised, short.

For more information and paid-for practice tests, see CEB's SHL style Verify Tests.

The most common Verify tests are…

Verbal Reasoning test

Designed to assess verbal abilities as well as comprehension and logical skills. You will be presented with a text or paragraph accompanied by statements that must be designated either true, false or cannot say.

The answers are based on certain assumptions and premises that can be understood from the text.

The test is made up of 30 questions which candidates are given 19 minutes to complete. Candidates who are invited to attend an interview or assessment centre are often required to take a supervised shorter version of the test (called the ‘Verify Verification Test’), used to vouch for the integrity of their results. The test comprises 18 questions, for which 11 minutes are allotted.

Test your skills with a paid-for SHL style practice verbal reasoning test.

Numerical Reasoning test

Designed to assess your ability to analyse and calculate information based on graphs, tables and charts. You will be shown a source of information, such as a chart describing the earnings of different kinds of workers during different time periods, and will then be asked to work out certain facts or data, often to do with percentages or ratios.

The test is made up of 18 questions taking 25 minutes to complete. As before, candidates will likely be required to take a supervised shorter version of the test at the assessment centre in order to confirm that their original test was completed honestly. This test has 10 questions for verification, for which candidates are given 15 minutes to complete.

Practise SHL style numerical tests.

Inductive Reasoning test

Designed to assess logical abilities. Each question will present you with a series of different images made up of shapes. You need to identify the pattern behind this series and pick the image that would come next in the series from a number of possible images.

Candidates will need to answer 24 questions in 25 minutes. As with other test types, there is likely to be verification test at the assessment centre, in order to confirm that the original online test was completed honestly. For this follow-up test, candidates will have to answer seven questions in seven minutes.

For paid-for practice tests, see SHL style Inductive Reasoning tests.

Deductive Reasoning test

If you're applying for a job that involves analysis of scenarios and evaluation of arguments, there's a good chance you might be asked to sit this test. It is administered online and is made up of 20 questions - to be completed in 18 minutes.

Deductive reasoning tests are designed to measure your ability to make logical arguments and arrive at conclusions, as well as to be able to identify flaws, in a set of information.In order to perform well, practice is crucial. Applicants who are familiar with the format and structure of the test perform better.

For paid-for practice tests, see SHL style Deductive Reasoning Tests.

While each of these tests may be overwhelming to an untrained eye, you can improve your performance and response times by taking SHL practice tests a few days before applying to employers.

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