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5 Minute Time Limit
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10 Questions included







What is the SHL Inductive Reasoning Test?

Inductive reasoning tests, sometimes known as abstract or logical reasoning tests, measure candidates’ problem-solving skills using non-verbal and non-numerical questions. These tests require candidates to recognise patterns and consistencies among sets of objects to predict a future trend.

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How to Make the Most of Your Free Sample Test

This free test is designed to give a glimpse of the types of questions you will encounter on your SHL inductive reasoning test.

To get the most out of your experience we recommend that you:

  • Make sure you have enough time to finish the test from start to finish.
  • Make sure you have a quiet place where you will be uninterrupted while completing your test.
  • Work within the time limit to simulate real conditions.
  • Review your mistakes and learn from the answer explanations provided with your score report.

SHL Inductive Reasoning Sample Questions

In the SHL inductive reasoning test, the most common question type is Next-in-Series. These questions will present a series of images, shapes, or figures that follow a pattern. The test-taker must find the correct image out of five (5) options following the same pattern to complete the series. 

Let’s look at some sample questions. Try to answer them first yourself, then click on “answer” to see the answers and explanations.


Question 1

Here is a next-in-series question. The figures in the top row follow a certain pattern. Which of the answers in the bottom row do you think comes next?


Answer: the correct answer is (C).

Let’s start by examining the different elements of the figures:

The black dot shifts between the corners of the outer square in a clockwise direction. First, it shifts one place, then two places, then one place again, and so forth. Since it moved two places between the fourth and fifth figures, in the next figure it should move one place clockwise. Thus, the correct answer must include a black dot in the bottom left corner. This leaves us with three options: B, C, and D.

The white dot shifts between the corners of the inner square in a clockwise direction, moving one place at a time. Thus, in the next figure, it should move to the bottom right corner. Of the three options left, option C is the only one to follow this pattern. Thus, option C must be the correct answer, and we do not need to further examine the series to figure out the movement pattern of the diagonal lines.

Question 2


Answer: the correct answer is (A).

The inner shape in one frame becomes the middle shape in the next frame; the middle shape becomes the outer shape in the next frame; and the outer shape becomes the inner shape two frames later. Thus, the outer shape in the missing frame should be a square (just like the middle shape in the 5th frame), the middle shape should be a triangle (like the inner shape in the 5th frame), and the inner shape should be a diamond (like the outer shape in the 4th frame).

Question 3

You may also face other types of questions on your logical reasoning test. For example, you may be presented with a matrix of shapes missing a piece. Your task would be to identify the missing piece from the available options.


Answer: the correct answer is (D).

In each row and in each column, one and only one of the shapes appears twice.

If we look at the 2nd row from the top, we can see that it already contains a shape that appears twice (the arrow pointing right). Thus, we need to look for an option that would complete this row with a shape that does not already appear in it (i.e. a shape other than an arrow pointing right, a triangle, or a pentagon). This allows us to eliminate options A, B, and C.

Now, if we look at the 1st row, we can see that none of the shapes appears twice. So, the correct answer must either include one of the shapes that already appears in this row (a triangle, a diamond, or an arrow pointing left), or it must include two identical shapes that do not yet appear in this row. Option E does not fulfill this requirement, leaving us with option D.

Popular Inductive Rules

The SHL inductive reasoning test, like many other abstract reasoning tests, uses a pool of rules and patterns. Getting to know them in advance can give you a significant advantage. While in the real test question may include more than one rule, it’s easier to understand them separately. Let’s go over some of them:


In movement questions, one or more elements move around the frames and change their location. Look at the question below and the movements of the black rectangles:


Answer: the correct answer is (A).

Examining only the black and speckled rectangles, starting from the leftmost square:

  • The upper right speckled rectangle remains in its place throughout the sequence. It is hidden by black squares.
  • The bottom right black rectangle moves one place counter-clockwise every step.

The upper left rectangle moves two places clockwise every step.

Since both black rectangles overlap in the last figure, then in the next figure we expect to find one of them one place counter-clockwise and another two places clockwise, as in answer (A).

See the drawing below for clarification:



In progression questions, one element or more makes a gradual change throughout the frames, either increasing or decreasing in number, changing its colour to darker or brighter, etc. Note the items at the top left corner of the frames, as well as the lines inside the circle:


Answer: the correct answer is (E).

Each step, the circle is divided into one more section. All sections are added clockwise and have the same size.

Each step, the number of identical items in the upper left corner of the frame decreases by one.


In frequency questions, the relationship between the certain features of the figures in the question determines other features, like their location, shape, number, etc.

Examine the way shapes change throughout the series:

shl-inductive-rule-of- frequency

Answer: the correct answer is (A).

The inner shape in one frame becomes the middle shape in the next frame; the middle shape becomes the outer shape in the next frame, and the outer shape becomes the inner shape two frames later.

Thus, the outer shape in the missing frame should be a square (just like the middle shape in the 5th frame), the middle shape should be a triangle (like the inner shape in the 5th frame), and the inner shape should be a diamond (like the outer shape in the 4th frame).


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Inductive VS Deductive: What's the Difference?

Let’s get the formal definitions out of the way first.

  • Inductive Reasoning is the act of drawing broad generalisations out of specific data.

    It goes from the specific to the general – examining details, discerning patterns, and forming a theory.

  • Deductive Reasoning is the opposite and goes “from the general to the specific”. It is the act of forming a theory and then predicting what the details should look like if the theory is correct.

Now, let’s review this again in the context of assessment tests. Inductive reasoning is usually (but not always) abstract tests, which require the test-taker to examine figural data, look for patterns, and reach a conclusion as to what the next figure in the series should be, or which part of the puzzle is missing, or which figure should replace the empty cell in the matrix.

Deductive reasoning, on the other hand, will often be verbal. The test taker is given a set of rules or premises, and then must use them to decide whether certain conclusions can be made based on them. For more information on deductive reasoning tests and sample questions, click here.

 SHL Inductive Reasoning Test tips

General Tips for Passing Your Test

  1. Practise, practise, practice! The more question types you familiarise yourself with, the easier the exam will be.
  2. Get used to the time constraint – when practising, be sure to give yourself one minute to solve each question. This will simulate the conditions of the real test and allow you to see how prepared you are.
  3. Read through the explanations – don’t just read the explanations to questions you missed. Go over questions you succeeded in as well, as they might have some useful tips!
  4. Use elimination – when you can’t seem to find the correct answer, rule out answer choices to make your estimated guess more probable.

A few more things for your consideration:

  • SHL creates specific tests for each employer, which means the number of questions and the time limit varies. Generally, though, you will have approximately one minute per question.
  • You can skip questions; however, you will not be allowed to go back to them.
  • The test is administered online, but you will be allowed to use pen and scratch paper.


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