What Is an SHL Test?
SHL is not a test.
Rather, it is a test PROVIDER – namely, a company that develops and administers a variety of different tests.
However, the colloquial term “SHL Test” usually refers to one or more of the company’s cognitive tests, also known as Verify tests.
So, how do you know which SHL test/s you have?
First, take a look at your SHL test invitation.
SHL Cognitive Tests (Verify)
Most candidates taking an SHL test will take one or more of the company’s cognitive tests, also known as Verify tests.
These are the 5 most popular ones:
- SHL General Ability (Verify G+)
- SHL Numerical Reasoning
- SHL Inductive Reasoning
- SHL Deductive Reasoning
- SHL Verbal Reasoning
If your invitation mentions a “Personality Questionnaire” or a “Motivation Questionnaire”, don’t forget to check the SHL Behavioral Tests section.
Most SHL tests have two radically different versions – interactive vs. multiple-choice. After finding out which SHL test you have, find out the test version.
Read more about SHL test versions in the Test Interface section.
SHL General Ability (Verify G+)
This is probably the most common SHL test. It combines questions from 3 SHL tests – numerical, inductive, and deductive. Further below we give sample questions for all these sub-topics.
- SHL General Ability (Verify G+) – Interactive – 24 questions in 36 minutes.
- SHL General Ability (Verify G+) – Multiple-Choice – 30 questions in 36 minutes.
SHL Numerical Reasoning
The SHL Numerical Reasoning test assesses your ability to analyze and interpret numerical data, especially in the form of graphs and tables.
- SHL Numerical Reasoning – Interactive – 10 questions in 18 minutes.
- SHL Numerical Reasoning – Multiple-Choice – 16 questions in 20 minutes.
The interactive version of the SHL Numerical test will allow you nearly 2 minutes per question. That’s because it is one of the most challenging numerical tests you will come by.
Let’s go over some sample questions of both versions.
SHL Numerical Reasoning (Interactive) Sample Question
We have made you a printable PDF template for your SHL test. Download it here (no email required).
SHL Numerical Reasoning (Multiple-Choice) Sample Question
A company sells 4 products – A, B, C, and D. What was the total increase in the company’s revenue between Y1 and Y2?
SHL Inductive Reasoning
The SHL Inductive Reasoning test assesses your ability to identify rules and patterns and use them to solve problems. Questions are usually formatted as sequences of shapes, letters, or numbers.
- SHL Inductive Reasoning – Interactive – 15 questions in 18 minutes.
- SHL Inductive Reasoning – Multiple-Choice – 18 questions in 24 minutes.
While the questions on the multiple-choice SHL Inductive test are common to many other inductive tests, those on the interactive version are unique.
SHL Inductive Reasoning (Interactive) Sample Question
“Drag the lines” questions are one of 3 unique question types on the interactive SHL Inductive Reasoning Test, alongside shape sequence and shape transformation questions.
SHL Inductive Reasoning (Multiple-Choice) Sample Question
SHL Deductive Reasoning
The SHL Deductive Reasoning test assesses your ability to derive correct conclusions and solve problems based on general rules. Examples may be scheduling meetings or managing bookings according to instructions.
- SHL Deductive Reasoning – Interactive – 12 questions in 18 minutes.
- SHL Deductive Reasoning – Multiple-Choice – 18 questions in 20 minutes.
SHL Deductive Reasoning (Interactive) Sample Question
SHL Deductive Reasoning (Multiple-Choice) Sample Question
- A shift lasts 7 hours.
- Jack and Jill start their shift at the same time.
- Mark starts his shift 1 hour earlier than Nate.
- Nate starts his shift at least 3 hours after Jack.
- Nate’s shift ends at 7 p.m.
Which statement must be true?
- Nate starts his shift earlier than 10 a.m.
- Mark and Jack start working at the same time.
- Jack starts working no more than 1 hour before Mark.
- The latest Jill starts working is 9 a.m.
- The earliest Jack starts working is 8 a.m.
SHL Verbal Reasoning
The SHL Verbal Reasoning test assesses your ability to evaluate texts and draw conclusions from them. Questions contain a short text, followed by a statement. You should decide whether the statement is True, False, or that you Cannot Say based on the text.
The SHL Verbal Reasoning Test is multiple-choice only.
- SHL Verbal Reasoning – Multiple-Choice – 30 questions in 19 minutes.
SHL Verbal Reasoning Sample Question
Many companies encourage their employees to engage in leisure activities and workshops during their working day. Not only that, but many employers also fund these activities.
Some may raise an eyebrow, as it could seem counterproductive for an employer to pay twice for an employee’s time – once through the cost of the activity or workshop, and twice through lost work hours.
However, recent data shows that participation in these activities has a major positive impact on employee productivity and retention.
Employees who attend free-time activities and workshops during working hours tend to stay longer hours in the office.
- Cannot Say
SHL has recently introduced a “next generation” version of their Verify Verbal Reasoning test. It is shorter, adaptive, and formatted differently. If you take that version, contact us for more information.
The SHL Test Invitation
The SHL test invitation is the email inviting you to take the assessment. Here’s how it generally looks like:
Although the invitation says, “click here to begin your assessment”, that is hardly ever the case. Before the actual assessment, you will be able to read instructions and take some practice questions. Read more in the Test Interface section.
- The invitation will sometimes detail what assessment/s you will take, but not always.
- Most of SHL’s tests come in two versions, and it’s crucial to know which SHL test version you take.
- To know for sure, you will often need to follow the link to SHL’s testing website, TalentCentral. See all about it in The Test Interface section further down the page.
Now, let’s go over the main SHL tests you may find in your invitation.
The SHL Test Interface
Once you follow the link on your SHL test invitation to TalentCentral, SHL’s testing website, you will go through a series of screens and instructions.
Let’s walk through the SHL testing experience, step by step:
- The Main Screen
- General Instructions
- Special Instructions
- Practice Questions
- The Actual Assessment
The Main Screen
The main screen will detail all your open assessments with SHL. It includes:
- The names of the assessment/s
- Very basic information on the assessments
- Overall time for each assessment
- Whether practice is available
- What you need (calculator / pen and paper)
Once you click “Continue”, you will not start the assessment right away, rather you will be transferred to the “General Instructions” screen.
This is the first instructions screen out of two. It provides general details about your assessment, such as:
- The general purpose of the assessment
- Time limit (not always)
- How to navigate the test interface
- A “Your Responsibilities” section where you agree to the test’s terms and conditions.
The general instructions will usually reveal the version of the assessment. If your test is interactive, they will describe how you can “interact” with the questions, while multiple-choice instructions will guide you to “choose the correct answer.”
After this screen, you will be presented with the assessment’s Special Instructions.
On this screen, you will be given some more detailed instructions regarding the test. These include:
- Technical instructions
- Nitty-gritty testing tips that are often important to successfully solve questions.
It is highly recommended to carefully read these instructions and take notes of the more technical testing tips.
Yes. Take notes.
Here’s a good example for a testing tip: “in X questions, you may choose up to Y options.” This tip will not be mentioned on the actual test questions, and it is not something you want to miss.
After the special instructions, you will be able to either take some practice questions or take the actual test. Oftentimes, you will be obligated to take a practice test before the actual assessment.
The “Take Assessment” button in the Special Instructions screen is the “point of no return”. After clicking it, your assessment will start.
After reading the instructions you will be able to solve a few practice questions. These resemble the formatting of the actual test very accurately but are usually much easier than the actual test questions.
In some of the older versions of SHL tests, the practice questions will be embedded in the instructions.
If you have not been able to determine which test version you take by now, the practice questions will reveal it beyond a shadow of a doubt. You are welcome to send us a screenshot.
The Actual SHL Test
That’s it! You’ve read the instructions, took some practice questions, prepared yourself, and you are ready to take the actual assessment.
Two things that you should know about SHL tests:
- You cannot skip questions or move between questions.
- You cannot review questions you have already answered.
However, note that you should always read the Special Instructions carefully, as they may determine otherwise.
SHL Personality / Behavioral Tests
It is very likely that your SHL cognitive tests will be followed by an SHL behavioral test.
These are the 3 most common behavioral tests by SHL:
- Personality Questionnaire
- Motivation Questionnaire
- Situational Judgment (SJT)
Personality Questionnaire (OPQ32)
OPQ stands for Occupational Personality Questionnaire. It assesses your personality traits via 104 questions. Each question is comprised of 3 statements which you need to rank how well they describe you.
As you can see, all options are relatively positive. How do you choose? Well, that’s a method known as “forced choice” that makes it extra challenging to game the OPQ test.
Check out the detailed OPQ test guide on our sister website, personality-test-prep.com.
Many employers have SHL create a tailored version of the OPQ test for them. Two examples are the HSBC Values Assessment and Phase I of the ExxonMobil O&M Assessment.
The SHL Motivation Questionnaire (MQM5) is a 25-minutes test comprised of 150 questions.
Each question on the test will provide a short statement. You will be requested to determine how it affects your motivation at work.
Here’s an example:
Situational Judgment (SJT)
SHL’s situational judgment test (SJT) presents you with scenarios you may encounter at your desired job and asks you to respond.
Here’s an example to how such a question MAY look like:
Since situational judgment tests heavily depend on the job you are after, and the test’s structure, content, and correct answers may change accordingly, we recommend that you contact us if you have been invited to take an SHL SJT test.
Tips for Passing Your SHL Test
Taking all the special features of SHL tests into consideration, here are 5 tailored tips to help you ace them:
#1 – Find Out Your SHL Tests + Versions
This is, probably, THE most important tip when it comes to SHL tests.
We recommend starting to prepare only once you know at least which SHL test you have, and preferably only once you know the version as well.
Luckily, SHL is one of the most transparent test providers out there, and you can acquire all that information before taking the actual assessment, through the SHL Test Invitation and SHL Test Instructions (See in Test Interface section).
#2 – Get to Know the Finest Details
If you want to score high on your SHL test, practicing with numerical/inductive/deductive material is rarely enough.
To outperform the competition, it is highly recommended to get to know the test in and out.
- In bar graph questions, what is the difference between a graph with and without a thin grey line?
- One of the sectors in the pie chart question is empty – how am I supposed to solve it?
- On shape transformation questions, what am I supposed to do with 35 seconds to “test the buttons”?
You don’t want to find yourself struggling with these questions on the actual test. Make sure you practice properly, including with SHL’s free stuff, so you are as familiar with your SHL test structure as with its content.
#3 – Consider Using Templates
This is mostly relevant for the interactive versions of SHL tests.
Some of the question types on the interactive SHL tests have a similar format that repeats itself very often. Preparing and solving these questions with ready-made templates may be a very good way to save time and avoid errors.
Check out our printable PDF ready-made templates for various SHL test question types.
#4 – Use the Free Practice Offered by SHL (But Not Only That)
SHL offers all candidates several free practice tests on their website. In addition, you will also be able to (and often required to) complete practice questions before the actual test.
These questions will allow you to understand which test version you take and will give you a strong familiarity with the test’s appearance and structure.
However, they are significantly simpler than those on the actual test, so they cannot be considered as practice.
And speaking of practice, this gets us to our final tip.
#5 – All-Inclusive SHL Preparation Packs Are Usually Not Recommended
Many online prep sites offer an all-inclusive SHL preparation pack for candidates not sure of their SHL test (or too lazy to check 🙂
These packs usually contain dozens of different tests and hundreds of drills that cannot be realistically solved within the normal time frame you have to prepare. In addition, they often contain rather obscure SHL tests that very few candidates actually take, so you may find yourself preparing for many tests you will eventually not be taking.
The vast majority of candidates take one or more of the following tests:
- General Ability
- OPQ (Personality Questionnaire)
As such, it is much better to first find out which of these tests is detailed in your SHL test invitation, and then prepare accordingly.
Still not sure of your SHL test? Send us a screenshot of the test invitation and we’ll do our best to help!