Numerical reasoning test

Numerical Reasoning Tests are commonly used by employers in the assessment process today. The test aims to determine the candidate's ability to come at correct inferences with the given numerical data.

What Is a Numerical Reasoning Test?

With such high competition in the job market today, more and more employers are relying heavily upon numerical reasoning tests to acquire the best talent for their organizations. However, what exactly are these psychometric tests all about?

These tests enable potential employers to quantify the candidate's numeracy aptitude. The purpose of the numerical tests is to measure your ability to interpret and process given statistical or numerical data accurately. Within the test, you have to analyze the information presented in the form of graphs, tables, text, and charts. It is a multiple-choice question type of test, which usually has 20 to 25 questions. The test has a time limit, which is typically 20 minutes and nowadays is usually taken in the online format.

What Do Numerical Tests Measure?

In a realistic workplace context of a consulting or auditing company, you will be required to work under pressure and analyze large amounts of statistical data to find correct solutions for complex problems when the time is limited. Usually, numerical reasoning tests are both tests of "speed" and tests of "power." The goal of each category is to deliberately put the candidate under pressure to assess their performance level. However, both categories apply a different methodology to do so.

The "speed" test sees how many questions the candidate can answer correctly within a given period. Had it not been for the time limit, you would perhaps manage to answer all the questions correctly after working on them at length.

The true challenge lies in how fast you can work to perform well against the racing time and complete the test.

The numerical tests of "power", on the other hand, are even trickier. This is because they test the level of difficulty the candidate can manage. The questions are complex and require quite a lot of mathematical skills.

In such types of psychometric tests, questions keep rising in the level of difficulty as you move forward. This means that you have to cope with increasing difficulty of assignments within a limited period, which poses a real challenge for many candidates.

What Level Of Math Do I Need For The Numerical Reasoning Test?

The level of the challenge per test can vary from easy to hard. You must expect to go through a very challenging test if you seek employment with consulting companies, accountancy firms, and banks. This is because such firms require competent and on-point numeracy skills and look for people who can work well under pressure.      

A typical numerical reasoning test usually requires basic mathematics skills, so you do not have to remember complex formulas or write long proofs.

These tests contain questions that assess your knowledge of ratios, percentages, number sequences, data interpretation, financial analysis, and currency conversion. You need to be familiar with the following concepts to do well on the numerical test:

  • Basic arithmetic operations    
  • Estimates
  • Ratios
  • Fractions
  • Percentages    
  • Averages
  • Currency conversion
  • Interpretation of data

If you find yourself unfamiliar with these concepts and plan to sit for an upcoming numeracy test, you must brush up on the topics first.

Which Companies are Using Numerical Reasoning Tests?

Many multi-assessment publishers, including SHL, Kenexa, Saville Assessment, Talent Q, Cubiks, and others, are developing numerical reasoning tests.

You can expect to see psychometric tests as part of the application process for most financial industry jobs. The Big Four accounting and consulting firms, such as Deloitte, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), Ernst & Young (EY), and KPMG, as well as many consulting firms and banks, are using numerical reasoning tests and similar assessments to screen their candidates. 

Apart from these, employers from other businesses and industries are increasingly turning to these tests for certain designations. Therefore, if you plan to apply for financial positions, handle accounts, or become a manager, you will most likely have to take such a test when you apply for a job.

In present times, most of the numerical reasoning tests take place online. However, some companies are still using paper-based versions. This step is one of the first stages of the recruitment process, and you typically receive an invitation for the test after you have cleared the initial screen of your resume and cover letter.

You most likely will receive a period of 7 to 10 days within which to take the test before the interview after getting a link. For this purpose, it is wise to prepare early and only apply for a job when you are confident of your preparation for the test attempt.

How to Prepare for Numerical Reasoning Tests?

It is no surprise that candidates find numerical reasoning tests intimidating, especially given their difficulty and challenging time limits. However, there is nothing to fear if you take the proper steps to prepare yourself thoroughly before you attempt the test.

Here are a few helpful ways in which you can prepare for the test:

  • Contact your potential employers in advance or their HR team to seek the details of the test. You can ask for the sort of questions you should expect in the test, the assessment type, and other details.
  • The most beneficial step for preparation is to practice as many questions as possible if you wish to ace through your numerical test. The more you practice, the more comfortable you will be with the test questions' varying levels of difficulty. Besides, you will also get used to working within a reasonable period.
  • The greatest challenge for candidates is to work within the time limit and score well. You must set yourself time goals while practicing for the test to develop time management skills and master them quickly. Ensure you practice as per the time schedule of the actual tests and not try to squeeze in a couple of minutes here and there.
  • There is a pattern to everything. Familiarize yourself with equations and common questions before the test. You must know the equations for rapidly calculating percentage changes and ratios at the tips of your fingers.

Tips for Tackling Numerical Reasoning Tests

Here are some tips to help you ace the assessment tests.

  • Do not hesitate to ask your employer what psychometric test type they have in store for you. Every job position is different, and employers design tests as per the needs of their positions. The more you know, the better you will perform in the tests.
  • Pay attention to instructions as the actual test could be slightly different from the form you got used to.
  • Read each instruction and every question thoroughly. Skimming through might cause you to miss out on important information.
  • When solving questions, you must solely depend on the information you have received and not draw assumptions on your own. So strictly stick to the data given.
  • Keep in mind that timing is crucial. If you find yourself stuck over a question, it is better to move on to the next one. The most advisable thing to do is to roughly estimate how much time you can devote to each question before you start the test and keep an eye out for the timings. Spending extra time on one question will only cause you to lose out on the others you may know.
  • Regular practice is essential for the mere fact that it dramatically enhances your skills. You may not become a genius mathematician, but you will surely perform tremendously well. Besides, regular practice will improve your speed, confidence, and accuracy up to the actual assessment day.
  • Whenever you sit down to practice, you must ensure that you create an actual numerical reasoning test-like environment setting a time limit similar to the one on the real test.
  • You should assess your weak areas whenever you undertake mock tests. The sooner you identify them, the better chances of working upon them relentlessly and refining your skills.
  • It is best to take your trusted pen and old simple calculator for the actual assessment. Your fingers plus your mind works faster and better coordination on things you have been using since long.

Final Thoughts

The numerical reasoning tests allow employers to observe your competency of providing accurate decisions and information by working out with complex statistical or numerical data relative to the job context. With regular practice and time management, you will surely manage to perform well for any numeracy test you undertake.

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