SHL Tests – The Complete Guide [2024]

A highly detailed guide covering everything you need for your upcoming SHL test.

SHL is one of the world’s largest test providers, with a selection of dozens of different tests.

As such, it deserves a very long, comprehensive, and detailed guide.

If you have been invited to take an SHL test, this guide will provide you with everything you need to know, including information you will find nowhere else – test interface, helpful test-day templates, and tailored tips for success.

Have a question on any SHL Test? Contact Us!

Basic Details

10-30 questions
Various topics
18-36 minutes
Interactive / Multiple-Choice
SHL Test Invitation Email

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.

Pro Tip

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.

In the Preparation section, we recommend the ONLY prep course that provides authentic, full coverage for your SHL test.


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.

Test versions:

  • 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.

Test versions:

  • 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. You can find more SHL numerical samples here and here.

SHL Numerical Reasoning (Interactive) Sample Question

SHL Numerical Interactive Sample Question

Answer and Explanation

The final solution looks like this:

SHL Numerical Interactive Bar Graphs Answer

This is a bar graph question – a very common type in the interactive versions of the SHL Numerical Reasoning and General Ability tests.

We recommend solving these questions with the help of a table:

SHL Numerical Interactive Help Table

Want to try using this table yourself? Get a printable PDF template for your SHL test.

  • The bold cells are what we actually need to find.
  • Bold type numbers represent data given in the question. Regular type numbers are derived from that data.
  • The Roman numerals in parentheses (I) represent the equation used to derive that number (see below).

Formulating equations and calculations:

  1. (Stocks Ben) + 50 + (Stocks Ben) = 250 → (Stocks Ben) = 100
  2. 1050 – 700 = 350
  3. 1050 – 500 – 250 = 300
  4. 100/250 = 40%
  5. 350 x 30% = 105 (Adam manages 30% of total stocks)
  6. 350 – 100 – 105 = 145
  7. 145/500 = 29%

This is where we stop. No need to calculate further.

What’s good about this solving method is that it shows you EXACTLY the data you need to find, as well as how simple it is to calculate with the horizontal-and-vertical structure of the table.

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

SHL Numerical Multiple Choice Sample 1

A company sells 4 products – A, B, C, and D. What was the total increase in the company’s revenue between Y1 and Y2?

  1. $232
  2. $931
  3. $1,647
  4. $1,357
  5. $2,087

Answer and Explanation

The correct answer is C – $1,647.

You may want to solve it differently, but for convenience we’ll show the solution in a table.

Product A Product B Product C Product D
Y2 166 755 224 212
Y1 158 622 235 110
Y2-Y1 8 133 -11 102
Price $15 $7 $20 $8
Revenue $120 $931 -$220 $816

 

For example, the increase in revenue for Product A between Y1 and Y2 was:

(166 – 158) x $15 = 8 x $15 = $120.

The total increase in revenue is the sum of all revenue increase (all 4 products):

120 + 931 – 220 + 816 = 1,647.


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.

Test versions:

  • SHL Inductive Reasoning – Interactive – 15 questions in 18 minutes.
  • SHL Inductive Reasoning – Multiple-Choice – 18 questions in 24 minutes.
Pro Tip

While the questions on the multiple-choice SHL Inductive test are common to many other inductive tests, those on the interactive version are unique. You can find more examples of these unique question formats here.

SHL Inductive Reasoning (Interactive) Sample Question

SHL Inductive Interactive Sample Question

Answer and Explanation

The correct answer is as follows:

SHL Inductive Interactive Sample Answer

That type of question is a very common question in the interactive version of the SHL Inductive Reasoning test. It presents you with a brief sequence of numbers and/or letters, and your task is to figure out the pattern this sequence follows, and to complete it.

These patterns may get more complicated as the test progresses.

In this case, the sequence follows this pattern:

  • All characters move one place to the left.
  • The first character therefore disappears (5F3 – F4W).
  • The middle character remains as it is, only changes location (5F3 – F4W).
  • The last character increases by one (5F3 – F4W).
  • A new random character is added to the right (5F3 – F4W).

Pro Tip

“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 Inductive Reasoning Test Sample Question Multiple Choice

Answer and Explanation

The correct answer is 3.

With every step, two things happen:

  • The arrow rotates 90 degrees counterclockwise (When the arrow is horizontal, it is hidden behind the rectangle).
  • The black rectangle moves one step to the right.

Authentic preparation is especially crucial in the inductive section of the test. In the Preparation section, we recommend the ONLY prep course that provides accurate coverage of SHL inductive questions.


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.

Test versions:

  • 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 Interactive Sample Question

Answer and Explanation

The correct answer is the 26th.

After taking all constraints into account, this is how the four conventions are scheduled:

SHL Deductive Interactive Answer

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?

  1. Nate starts his shift earlier than 10 a.m.
  2. Mark and Jack start working at the same time.
  3. Jack starts working no more than 1 hour before Mark.
  4. The latest Jill starts working is 9 a.m.
  5. The earliest Jack starts working is 8 a.m.

Answer and Explanation

The correct answer is D.

Arranging the constraints provided in the question, this is how the shifts look like:

SHL Deductive Reasoning Test Sample Question Multiple-Choice - Answer

Note that Jack and Jill’s shift can start earlier than 9 a.m., but no later than 9 a.m., as this will clash with the required 3 hours between Jack’s shift and Nate’s, which necessarily starts at 12.


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.

  1. True
  2. False
  3. Cannot Say

Answer and Explanation

The correct answer is ‘Cannot Say’.

While we know that free-time activities and workshops during work has a major impact on productivity, it does not mean that this impact is acquired through longer working hours. It may be a better working atmosphere, better interpersonal relationships, motivation, etc.

Pro Tip

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:

SHL Test Invitation Email

Pro Tip

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.

The Test Overview section covers all 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

SHL Test 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.


General Instructions

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)
  • Recommendations
  • How to navigate the test interface
  • A “Your Responsibilities” section where you agree to the test’s terms and conditions.
Pro Tip

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.


Special Instructions

SHL Test 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.

Pro Tip

The “Take Assessment” button in the Special Instructions screen is the “point of no return”. After clicking it, your assessment will start.


Practice Questions

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.

Pro Tip

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.

SHL PErsonality OPQ Sample

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.

Pro Tip

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.


Motivation Questionnaire

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:

SHL Motivation MQM5 Sample


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:

SHL SJT Sample

Pro Tip

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.

For instance:

  • 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. In the Preparation section, we recommend the best prep course for your SHL test, and why.

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
  • Numerical
  • Inductive
  • Deductive
  • Verbal
  • 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!

SHL Test Preparation

While a variety of SHL test preparation are available online, we strongly recommend JobTestPrep’s SHL Tests Prep Course.

Below we will give you all the reasons why this is the ONLY prep course you should choose. All screenshots are taken from the preparation.

Full Disclosure: We are affiliated with JobTestPrep. Clicking the links helps us provide you with high-quality, ad-free content.


Tailored for the Actual Cognitive Assessment

The JobTestPrep SHL Preparation is the only one covering both the Interactive and Multiple-Choice SHL test versions. The interactive version is gradually replacing the multiple-choice version, and this is the version most candidates will take.

All other prep resources currently offer only the Multiple-Choice version – which is COMPLETELY different and will provide poor preparation for the interactive test.

Qantas Pilot JTP Test Sample Question


Additional Practice by Topic

JobTestPrep’s SHL prep course offers additional practice tests by topic, so you can focus on your weak areas, even with little prep time available.

Qantas Pilot Test JTP Additional Practice Sample


Tailored Prep for the Personality Section

The SHL Personality Questionnaire (OPQ32) is highly likely to be one of the SHL tests you are required to pass. JobTestPrep is the only source offering an authentic, tailored preparation for this section.

JobTestPrep’s SHL preparation is the only one that follows the actual test’s 3-statements structure and provides job-based recommendations and tips for success.

HSBC Values JTP Explanation Sample

HSBC Values JTP Study Guide


Personalized Score Reports

The personalized score reports will allow you to track your progress and realistically compare yourself with the competition.

JTP Raven Score Report

If you are serious about preparing for the your SHL test, start your preparation with JobTestPrep today.

Start Preparing Now

Full Disclosure: We are affiliated with JobTestPrep. Clicking the links helps us provide you with high-quality, ad-free content.

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