How to Pass CEB’s SHL Numerical Tests: 7 Top Tips from Our Experts

Want to do well in your CEB’s SHL numerical test? Not sure what you need to know and how to prepare? This article offers several tips for successfully passing CEB’s SHL tests, including useful links for free preparation aids.
Practice CEB's SHL-style Numerical Tests

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1. Find out more about your test

Doing some research about the test you are about to take is the first and most important step in preparing for any aptitude test. In a sense, preparing for a test is much like preparing for a battle - you need to learn your enemy’s strengths and weaknesses. Knowing what to expect can reduce your tension, as well as your response times, thus increasing your performance. This step is especially crucial when it comes to CEB’s SHL tests, as these tests greatly differ in their characteristics and required skills according to the job you are applying to.

Therefore, we advise you to find out the exact name of the test you are about to take, and then search our website or contact us to get more details about this test: the type of questions it includes (e.g. word problems, graph/table questions), its length and duration, and whether the use of a calculator is allowed or not. You can learn more about your test by reading the information provided in the email you received from your recruiter. In addition, it is worth opening the link attached to this email, inviting you to take the test, and see whether it includes some sample questions you can practice before taking the actual test.

Once you have all that information, you can focus on sharpening the relevant numerical skills and practice appropriate materials with time limits that are similar to those of your upcoming test.

Such practice materials can be found in our online numerical preparation packs, which were specially tailored to offer you the best preparation for CEB’s SHL assessments. For that purpose, we do our best to make sure our practice tests correspond to CEB’s SHL’s tests in terms of difficulty level, types of questions, required skills and time limits.

We invite you to explore our collection of CEB’s SHL-style preparation packs and choose the pack appropriate for you. If you are not sure which package to choose, contact us and our team would be glad to help you find the preparation pack that best suits your needs.

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2. Master the basics

Even though CEB's SHL offer many different types of numerical tests, most of them are based on the same mathematical concepts. First and foremost, solving a question requires you to use the basic operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Second, in a large range of CEB's SHL's tests, you are required to have knowledge of fractions, decimals, ratios, proportions, percentages and/or currency exchange.

Reviewing and practicing these basic mathematical operations and concepts is extremely important, as it can save you a considerable amount of time and energy in the actual test and help you avoid unnecessary mistakes caused by calculation errors.

To learn about basic mathematical concepts and get free tips, check out our ratios, percentages and currency exchange dedicated pages or download our Numerical Reasoning Formulas PDF guide.

These guides are only a slight fraction of the wide collection of study aids you can find in our CEB's SHL-style numerical packs, which include video tutorials, study guides and topic-based practice drills. To learn more about our video tutorials, watch the following video:

3. Learn how to use a calculator

In a large part of CEB’s SHL’s tests, the use of a calculator is allowed. However, since there are tests where a calculator is not allowed, we recommend you to check this issue with your recruiter beforehand.

If the use of a calculator is indeed allowed, make sure you know how to use it properly and wisely. An effective use of the calculator can save you precious time and energy during the test. You can find useful tips and tricks for using a calculator in this free video tutorial.

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4. Sharpen your estimation skills

When the use of a calculator is forbidden, relying on estimations can be very helpful, if not necessary. Even when calculators are allowed, using estimations as a shortcut can be of great value. For instance, you might be able to eliminate some of the distractors (or maybe even all of them) based on rough estimations, thus saving a considerable amount of time.

In order to sharpen your estimation skills, try to practice solving several questions without performing the complete calculation and, instead, look for shortcuts and rely on estimations. Through practice, using these techniques would gradually become more and more natural.

You can find several tips and explanations on using estimations and shortcuts in our CEB’s SHL-style numerical preparation packs.

5. Master table and chart interpretation

Many of CEB’s SHL tests require you to understand and interpret data presented in a table or a chart. Even if reading tables and charts is part of your daily routine, doing it under tight time limits might be very difficult. To succeed solving CEB’s SHL-style table/graph questions, we advise you to:

  • Focus on the relevant information – begin by understanding what you need to look for, and then briefly skim through the data while ignoring the redundant details.
  • Pay attention to the units – the question may refer to different units than those presented in the table/graph.
  • Notice any additional information – such information can be provided in the headline, under the table/graph, or in an asterisk.

The complexity of the data presented in the test differs according to the job level: in operational-level tests, one simple table/graph is usually presented; in graduate/management-level tests, one or more rather complex tables and/or graphs are presented; and in senior management-level tests, the data is extremely complex and comprised of several tables and/or graphs.

If you wish to master data interpretation, you can practice these free table and graph questions, or purchase one of our level-specific packs. These packs include table/graph practice questions in the complexity appropriate to your job level: senior management level, graduate/management level or operational level.

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6. Get familiarised with basic financial concepts

Depending on the job you are applying for, you may come across CEB’s SHL tests in which you need to demonstrate basic knowledge of finance. These tests require you to analyse financial reports and to be familiar with concepts such as costs, profits, revenues, stocks, inflation, etc.

Our graduate/management and senior management packs include extensive practice of financial concepts, as well as a helpful video tutorial that elaborates on inflation and related concepts in a simple and straightforward manner. Get a free taste of our Inflation video tutorial:

7. Practice!

If you wish to do well in your CEB’s SHL test, it is quite obvious that you need to practice lots of SHL-style questions. However, remember that the key for success is effective practice: you do need to practice as much as you can, but you also need to make sure you understand where and why you went wrong and learn from your mistakes. To learn how to choose the right preparation pack for CEB’s SHL tests, you can read this article.

Before you start, why not take a look at our free CEB’s SHL-style numerical practice tests.

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JobTestPrep is not a part of CEB or SHL and is not related to these trademarks in any way. JobTestPrep offers preparation services for psychometric tests.

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