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What is a Numerical Reasoning Test?

Maths aptitude tests are a way to display your ability to use numbers. The exam cover topics such as financial analysis, data interpretation, percentages, ratios, number sequences and more. Commonly, these exams are timed to purposely put pressure on you. The extra stress factor can better inform the employer in understanding how you react in given situations.

Numerical ability tests are relevant to multiple professions and levels including senior management, graduate or managerial jobs, sales roles and administrative. Get a taste of the real thing by self-practising with our free version of the numerical aptitude test today!


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Questions & Test Types

One of the hardest parts of the preparation process is finding the right practice for yourself. As noted, practice tests that come with answers are a big help, but these questions should be appropriate for the test you're about to take.

Below is a list of the various numeracy questions you likely will encounter. By understanding what each question's goal is (whether it is to test your abilities at manipulating numerical data or at making quick estimations), you not only prepare yourself for the test, but for the job as well.

Basic numeracy tests, also known as numerical literacy tests or basic maths tests, are all about the foundations of maths. Having a good grasp of how to use the four basic operations, fractions, decimals, rounding numbers, averages, and basic geometry is important for many jobs. In fact, companies often test their candidates to make sure they possess these key skills. The questions are often simple and must be solved in limited time frames. 

For each type of question, you may encounter a variety of mathematical concepts, such as the four functions, ratios, percentages, statistics, decimals, and fractions. It is unlikely you will encounter a test that focuses on just one concept; rather, many different concepts will be needed to answer the questions.

In word problems, all of the information you need to answer the question is presented verbally, without the use of visual aids such as graphs or charts. The question is usually part of a short paragraph that sets up a situation, such as 'Sally and Jim go to the market with £20 each'. You are then given the relevant information that sets up the problem you need to solve. For example, 'Sally buys four baskets of apples at £2.50 each. Jim buys a loaf of bread for twice as much as one of Sally's apple baskets. How much did they spend together?' Your first step is to figure out what you are being asked and then to find the numbers you need to use. This is not simply adding or subtracting numbers, but rather it requires a logical understanding of the words in front of you.

Numerical or number series questions often look more complex than they really are. Each question presents an incomplete series or sequence of numbers for which you must either fill in the missing digit/s or find the next digit in the series. The digits in the series make up a numerical sequence that follows a logical or numerical rule. Your task is to find the rule that links the digits in the sequence. 

Charts in numerical reasoning questions are used to easily present data for the question and are a visual aid to help you understand the data under discussion. There are two types of charts used on numeracy tests: graphs and tables. A graph shows the relation between a number of different things or variables, which are each measured along a pair of axes at right angles. Tables, on the other hand, display a set of facts and figures according to a system designed to fit a lot of information into a small space.

These are difficult types of questions commonly seen on the GMAT and the Rust Advanced Numerical Reasoning Appraisal (RANRA). Before presenting the question, there are two statements, each offering a specific data set. Your task is to determine how sufficient these statements are to helping you answer the question: Do you need the information from both statements? Is just one of them enough? Does neither of them help you? Does each statement have enough information on its own?  

Advanced numerical reasoning tests are used when advanced maths reasoning questions, analysis and data interpretation skills are required for the job. These tests include similar maths concepts to the numerical questions seen above and are simply considered more difficult as they include numerous charts to read and more calculations to perform. You may also need to use information beyond the question, such as formulas that may or may not be provided on the test.

Numerical critical reasoning tests are a type of advanced numerical test, but these tests are difficult to characterise as each assessment company sets its own standards. One thing common to these tests is that they have very accurate and precise calculations are needed to solve the math problems.

Conversion tests of all kinds work along the same basic concept: using a formula to convert one amount into another in terms of specific units. The most common types of conversion tests are currency conversion and unit conversion tests. These are used in aptitude assessments for many different jobs. Note that you may face a test in which all the questions deal with conversions, or you may face conversion questions as part of a larger numerical reasoning test.

Some numerical tests do not allow the use of a calculator as they are an assessment of your mental mathematical ability. While it is, in general, common for there to be a time limit on aptitude tests, non-calculator tests move particularly quickly. The questions on these tests can be made up of the concepts in the regular numerical reasoning tests seen above. However, the numbers you are asked to work with are easier to calculate. Learn more about non-calculator tests and how to train yourself today.

Numerical Reasoning Questions & Answers

The best way to prepare for any test is through practising beforehand. This can be especially true when it comes to psychometric maths aptitude tests. You will often encounter many different concepts and question types that you haven’t used or seen in years. Therefore, practice is essential to your success.

Get a glimpse of different types of numerical reasoning test questions and answers that are asked on the aptitude test, by reading below:

Percentage Example 

Janet bought a packet of Smarties in the supermarket for £2. Lucy bought the same packet of smarties in the kiosk for £2.40. Lucy paid ____ more than Janet.

A. 25%

B. 20%

C. 15%

D. 10%

The correct answer is B (20%)

This question requires us to convert from fraction to percentage. This can be done by using the following formula:

Fraction x 100 = %

Note that this question also requires us to convert percentage to decimals. In order to do so, divide the percentage value by 100.


Another way to approach this question is to simply calculate: 0.4/2 = 0.2

The nominator equals the difference between the amount of money Lucy spent compared to Janet: 2.4 - 2 = 0.4

The denominator represents our 100%, which is the £2 Janet paid.


Ratio Example

There are 4/7 as many yellow jelly beans in the jar as there are red jelly beans. What is the ratio of yellow jelly beans to red jelly beans in the jar?

A. 3:7

B. 4:3

C. 7:4

D. 4:7

The correct answer is D (4:7)

To say that there are 4/7 as many yellow jelly beans as there are red jelly beans means that for every single red jelly bean there is 4/7 yellow jelly bean. Thus, the ratio of yellow to red is 4/7:1 By multiplying both sides by 7, we arrive at the ratio of 4:7. Note: you need to pay careful attention to the order of the words in the sentence. The ratio of X to Y is displayed as X:Y. That is why the correct answer is 4:7 and not 7:4.


Number Sequence Example

1 | 4 | 4 | 7 | 10 | 16 | ?

A. 19

B. 23

C. 25

D. 27

The correct answer is C (25)

The series in this question is a variation of the Fibonacci series. Each term equals the sum of its two previous terms minus 1:

1,          4,          4,              7,            10,           16,              25

                        (1+4)-1    (4+4)-1    (4+7)-1    (7+10)-1    (10+16)-1


Graph Example

Numerical Reasoning Graph Sample Question

In 2009, there were 667,284 unemployed in the Netherlands, whose population was 27.53% of the UK for that year. With a fixed annual population increase of 0.639%, approximately how many unemployed are in the UK in 2011?

A. 6,987,322

B. 4,801,138

C. 8,511,287

D. 6,895,245

E. 4,296,108

The correct answer is E (4,296,108)

While unemployment rates are measured in proportion to the labour force and not the entire population, you must answer according to the data you are given. This is why the “Cannot say” option does not appear.

Neverlands population 2009: 667,284,/0.04 = 16,682,100

UK population 2009: 16,682,100/0.2753 = 60,596,077

UK population 2011: 60,596,077 x 1.006392 = 61,372,968

UK unemployed 2011: 61,372,968 x 0.07 = 4,296,108

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Numerical Reasoning FAQ

Below are commonly asked numerical reasoning questions asked by people just like you. Read on to learn what you need before sitting the test.

  • Q: Can You use a Calculator in the Numerical Reasoning Ability Test?

A: The answer varies depending on the question you answer. While the testing agency can provide you with a calculator, it is in your best interest to bring your own. This will allow you to familiarise yourself with the device and eliminate the possibility of losing precious minutes from the mishap of not knowing where a single button is on the device. Regardless of the usage of a calculator or not, remember that it is always a good idea to know your equations before the fact in case you are asked to only use scratch paper.

  • Q: What is a Good Score?

A: A good score on a numerical psychometric test varies depending on the position you are applying for. Thus, it’s a good idea to look into your chosen company, find the average score and attempt to score higher to shine above other candidates. upon completion of our test sample, find a score report that breaks down how many questions you answered correctly and incorrectly. Furthermore, you can go back to any question that you may have scored incorrect and see how our experts answered it.

  • Q: Which Major Employers use Numerical Reasoning Tests?

A: Many large companies such as Pearson, Hewlett Packard and P&G use psychometric maths test. Taking the numerical aptitude test is also true depending on your entrée level. For example, this exam is used to test incoming management and other supervisor jobs. The purpose behind using numerical tests is to ensure management is recruiting the best and brightest individuals.

  • Q: What Other Test Types Should You Consider Getting to Know?

A: If you feel weak in other areas that you could be tested on, check out our other free pages. You can find a generic aptitude test, psychometric, verbal reasoning, Excel, inductive reasoning, and more. You also have job-specific free tests that include prison officer examples, a test for pilots and more. Navigate our website and discover additional exams that are most relevant to you.

Numerical Tests by Position Type

Numerical tests change depending on the position or field they are intended for. In this way, employers can check specific numerical knowledge. For instance, many healthcare providers such as nurses, paramedics, midwives and healthcare assistants are required to know how to calculate and administer the right amount of different medications. Thus, drug calculations tests are used to examine how quickly and accurately candidates can make calculations.

Leading banks and investment banking companies meanwhile present their candidates with statistical data in the form of graphs and/or charts to relate to the business world. The questions better display the candidate's skills in calculating and usage of critical reasoning. Topics can also include basic financial concepts and simplistic mathematical functions such as percentages, ratios, arithmetic, basic algebra, etc. Typically, the test allows a calculator and consists of 15–30 questions to be completed within a 15–35 minutes timeframe.

Our graduate and senior mgmt numerical packs offer an array of tests known to appear in the selection processes of numerous top investment banks, you can use these materials to prepare for more than one assessment. You are also welcome to explore some of our investment banking employer pages: JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch Bank of America, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse.

How to Prepare for Numerical Reasoning Tests

To truly come prepared you have to put in the effort. Acquiring control and confidence in any topic requires time and dedication. Luckily, we made most of the effort developing and assembling the study material for you.


You have on hand exclusive preparation materials, for the most common numerical reasoning test practice and maths questions likely to be encountered during a numerical ability test (available to you with full answers and simple explanations).


Seeing how the answers are broken down while having the ability to track your work is key to improving your basic numeracy abilities. Our answer explanations were designed to provide you with the logical steps and stages in answering a variety of numeracy test questions.


Try out your free test sample to become familiar with the test format, question structure and answer guidelines. To ensure that you pass your numerical skills test with flying colours, you should consider to continue your practice using the full-length, comprehensive PrepPacks™.


Read below to find a concise list of how to thoroughly prepare for your upcoming examination:

  • Practise: Practising beforehand can be the difference between passing or failing. Here we have expertly tailored packs that can assist you in adjusting to the time limits and question styles associated with the major assessors. Countless professions, such as banking and healthcare use similar tests to evaluate their job applicants. Our drug calculations test and nursing numeracy test provide you with the resources you need to be fully prepared.
  • Calculator: Become familiar with your device before the exam in case you are able to use it during the examination
  • Refresh: Brush-up on simplistic numerical methods including graphs and charts to ensure you speedily go through the exam.
  • Rest: Do not underestimate having 8-10 hours of sleep the night before. While this concept may be simplistic, it can thoroughly assist you when it comes to answering your upcoming mathematical questions that will arise during your exam.

Note: If you are looking for a higher level numerical test you may wish to try our online graduate-level numerical reasoning test and advanced numerical psychometric tests. Instead of worrying and wondering, get the scoop on these tests and some practice under your belt. Be ready to go when your test day comes.

What do you really need to tackle your employment assessments with confidence? would full-length practice tests help? what if they came complete with study guides and video tutorials? that would very likely make your life a whole lot easier.


 Simulate the real thing with more in-depth practise

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