What is a numerical reasoning test?
A numerical reasoning test is a form of psychometric aptitude testing that is widely used by corporate employers as part of their application processes for graduate schemes and internships. If you’re applying for a role at a corporate employer, there will likely be some form of numerical testing either online or on-site at an assessment centre. The format of numerical reasoning tests varies depending on the test supplier that the company you are applying for use. Typically, you will be required to answer questions by interpreting figures/data that are presented in statistical tables & graphs. For each question, you are given several options, usually four or five, but you can choose only ONE correct answer.
What skills do you need?
- Data Interpretations
- Ratios and Proportions
- Finding out the percentage of a value
- Increasing/decreasing a value by a percentage
- Finding a percentage increase/decrease
- Word Problems
Our top tips
To prepare for these tests:
- The first step is to find out which assessment provider the company you are applying for will use. These can be SHL, Cubiks, Saville or Kenexa as well as other providers. This is a good question to ask the recruitment team as it shows you wish to prepare and are serious about the possibility of working there
- All of these test work on the basis that you are able to carry out basic GCSE level maths calculations quickly and without too much trouble. Time limits can be tough, ensure you have recapped the basics. BBC GCSE bitesize can be a good resource for this
- Practice, practice, practice! Do as many practice tests as possible to improve. There is a whole wealth of information available online
- Make sure that you choose to take the test in a quiet environment with a stable internet connection
- Don’t make any assumptions, only use the data that they give you
- To work out the answers for most questions, you will only require a portion of the data shown. Read the question first so that you know where to look and can disregard the data that isn’t relevant to the question
- Always figure out the method before beginning any calculations
- If you are struggling with a question then skip it and move on to the next question as timekeeping is very important. Try not to spend too long on any one question
- If possible, use the process of elimination to rule out answers that are definitely wrong. This will let you save time
Where can you expect to see this test used?
An employer will set a numerical reasoning test when hiring for roles in which the candidate is expected to be able to do quantitative work. These are roles that require you to analyse and make use of figures. Before hiring you they need to ensure that you have the key competencies for the job and will be able to function on a day-to-day basis. Specific employers who use numerical reasoning tests include KPMG, Deloitte, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Nomura, Hewlett-Packard, and Microsoft.
Example Question 1
|Currency Exchange Rates|
Due to slow in production in Japan the value of the Yen 7% compared with the Euro. How many Euros can you now buy for 500 Yen?
E. None of the above
Example Question 2
|Natural Resources Market Annum Statistics|
On average, how much market value in Asia would a Uranium employee create per week (52 weeks a year)?
E. Cannot Say
Example question 1:
500 Japanese Yen before the decrease were worth:
500 x 0.007 = 3.5 Euro (the 0.007 figure is taken from the data).
After a decrease of 7%, they are now worth:
3.5 x 0.93 = 3.26 Euro.
Therefore the correct answer is B – 3.26
Example question 2:
The market value of Uranium in Asia is: $427,000,000.
This sum is divided by the number of Uranium employees (1,542,000):
427,000,000/1,542,000 = $276.91
$276.91 is the market value in Asia for extracted Uranium per employee per annum. However, we wish to know how much value an employee creates per week:
276.91 / 52 = $5.30
Therefore the correct answer is A – $5.30