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What Is a Numerical Reasoning Test?

Numerical reasoning test is the generic term for number-based assessments that range from basic mathematics or arithmetic tests to high-level numerical critical reasoning assessments. The variety of test types corresponds to the numerous job levels these assessments are used for, including high ranking senior management positions, graduate or managerial jobs, and administrative and sales roles.

Numerical tests are the most common type of aptitude test applicants face at employers' assessment centres or during the recruitment process. Test-takers are assessed on their ability to understand and make decisions based on numerical data. 

Types of Numerical Tests

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 tests you are likely to encounter, along with the different question types seen on these assessments. 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 can not only prepare yourself for the test but for the job as well. Once you have received an invitation to complete a numerical test as part of a job assessment, your next and most important step is to determine what type of test you will face. By determining the type of test you will face, you can now learn the time limit, question type, and, most importantly, how you can prepare. 

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. Prepare for these tests with our basic numeracy test pack.

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. Prepare for number series questions by using our specially prepared PrepPack™

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? For examples and preparation of these complex questions, visit our RANRA page.

Advanced numerical reasoning tests are used when advanced maths, 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 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 on our dedicated page.

What Skills Do These Tests Measure?

Numerical reasoning tests are composed to assess the range of skills and knowledge needed to perform almost all jobs. Essential maths or computations skills such as the four basic operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division), percentages, and ratios, to name a few, are all needed everyday. The essence is to be able to understand and analyse graphs and other numerical data. If you seeking a job in the finance or banking sector then financial reasoning skills are a must. As part of the hiring process, technical jobs often wants applicants to have speed and concentration when calculating numerical data. Critical reasoning is necessary for many high-level positions, while estimation skills are also favourable in many positions.


Numerical Reasoning Test Practice 

Take advantage of hundreds of practice materials written just for you. Don't waste any more time - start your numerical reasoning test practice. Get our generic Preppack™ which gives you a great base of understanding so you won't be taken by surprise when you sit the real thing. 


Get Online Numerical Reasoning Tests with Answers

For many, the struggle when preparing for tests is not finding good practice questions, but finding those that come with answers and explanations. Without knowing whether your findings are correct or incorrect, you cannot receive the practice and skill review you need to overcome these often challenging assessments. JobTestPrep's numerical reasoning preparation packs provide you with full-length practice tests, as well as answer explanations, study guides, and video tutorials to understand your upcoming assessment from every angle. Watch the video below to get a glimpse of the vast preparation resources we offer.

Numerical Tests by Candidate's Experience Level

The job level you are applying for often determines the type or level of numeracy test you encounter. Not only is the level of difficulty different between the tests, but you may also find that the topics and contexts of the questions change, focusing on easier or more difficult concepts. Numerical tests can be tailored to specific job levels, including questions at the level of knowledge needed for the position you are applying for. The higher the job level, the more complex the questions, the numerical data, and the calculations necessary to determine the right answer. Explore our packs to find the level you need to prepare with.

Operational, Business Support, and General Staff Tests

This level of numerical tests is designated for general staff, operational, and business support roles, namely roles that do not require a lot of experience or previous training. Often, the test is geared towards the position, so, for example, tests for sales roles include questions on making a change or calculating new prices based on discounts. Note that the tables and graphs included on these tests are quite simple and do not require further analysis, but some basic arithmetic is required to answer the questions. Explore our practice tests at this level by visiting our dedicated page.

Graduate and Management Tests

Numerical tests for graduate programmes and management applicants are considered mid-level tests as they require more analysis and calculations than general staff tests, but without the complexity seen on senior management tests. Numerical tests are most commonly found at this level as this is where competition for positions with prominent companies is highest. Prepare for both basic maths questions and questions involving analysis of numerical data by trying our graduate-level tests.

Senior Management Tests

Applicants for senior management positions can expect more difficult numerical tests, often similar to advanced tests. These assessments contain more information, such as tables or graphs, calculations, statistics, or other numerical data. The information is often more complex as well, increasing both the quality and quantity of the data. Remember, as a senior manager, you are overseeing many people and projects at once, so being able to sort through lots of material is necessary for the job. If you're looking for more information on these tests, make sure to check out our senior management pack.

Numerical Tests by Position Type

Numerical tests can also change depending on the position or field they are intended for. This way, employers can check if the applicants have the specific numerical knowledge needed for the job. For instance, many healthcare providers—such as nurses, paramedics, midwives and healthcare assistants - are required to have a good working knowledge of how to calculate and administer the right amount of different medications. Thus, a drug calculations test is used to examine how quickly and accurately candidates can make these calculations.

Banking & Investment Banking Numerical Tests

Leading banks and investment banking companies worldwide use numerical reasoning tests to sift candidates in the early steps of the recruitment process. This a natural choice for such companies as the abilities reflected through a numerical reasoning test indicate part of the skills required for entry-level, graduate, and management positions.

Candidates are likely to encounter two numerical tests during the hiring process—one to be taken from home and one to sit as a verification test at the assessment centre.

Banking numerical tests present statistical data in the form of graphs and/or charts that relate to the business world. On the basis of this data, calculations and critical reasoning inferences must be made. Topics include basic financial concepts and the use of simple mathematical functions (percentages, ratios, arithmetic, basic algebra). Usually, the test allows the use of a calculator, and there are about 15–30 questions to be completed within 15–35 minutes.

JobTestPrep's testing team constantly edits and adds more items to our database to make sure our practice tests reflect up-to-date trends in banking and investment banking numerical tests. This enables candidates to improve their performance and increase their confidence.

As our graduate/mgmt 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 ChaseGoldman SachsMerrill Lynch Bank of AmericaMorgan StanleyCitigroup, Deutsche Bank, and Credit Suisse.

Major Assessment Companies

The assessment company producing your test says a lot about what you will face. Each company has a different test format, question style, time limit, and level of difficulty. While many of the concepts used on the tests are similar, the companies' tests vary in terms of question style, test format, and time frame. Read up on these test providers and how you can prepare with the help of our tailored practice packs.

Numerical Test Tips

Click on the video below to receive numerical reasoning test tips. Looking for more? Our practice packs are filled with tips to help you succeed.

Make sure to also check out our tutorials series on percentages, graphs, tables, ratios, conversions, and calculators.

Aside from full-length practice tests that simulate the same numerical tests employers use, we have a wide range of preparation resources, including: 

  • Study guides
  • Video tutorials
  • Practice drills by topic
  • Expert advice
  • Tips and solving strategies
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