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What Is a Game-Based Assessment With Shell?

The Shell game-based assessment is a collection of four short psychometric games measuring the cognitive abilities and personal characteristics of potential candidates. These games- Digit span, Flashback, PuzzlePicture, and portrait XT, provided by HireVue, are given to Graduates and internship candidates.


Shell's game-based cognitive tests - Digit span, Flashback, and PuzzlePicture, mainly measure memory, attention, and spatial reasoning. Meaning you will have to remain highly focused and remember a lot of information while also reacting quickly to new information.




In the Shell Flashback game for example, in each step you must decide if this shape is the same as the previous one displayed. Since we aim to react as quick as possible, this shape will keep changing quickly.

Each HireVue cognitive game Shell uses has several levels, so it becomes more and more difficult with each question you get right.



Going back to the Flashback game, the more advanced levels require remembering a shape with 2 colors and comparing them to the shape shown 2 (or more) steps back.


The Shell Game-Based Assessment takes about 20 minutes, with possible breaks in between the games.

Similar to other challenging game assessments like Arctic Shores, Pymetrics, and Cognify, the best way to prepare for game-based assessments is to experience the challenges ahead of you before the actual test. Knowing exactly what to expect, nothing could surprise or distract you.


So, let’s go over each HireVue game used by Shell:


The Digit Span Game

About this game- This is a classic memory game, in which you are shown a series of letters or numbers for a few seconds. Next, you have to enter the sequence in the same order.



The sequence becomes longer as you progress through the levels, and is displayed in various ways making it more difficult to memorize.

For example, it could be shown divided to sections: 



Or one by one: 


As you progress through the levels, the length of sequences grows, making it more and more difficult to remember.

From Level 30 and up, you will have to repeat the sequence backwards. So, if the sequence presented is 335611, the correct answer would be 116533. This makes retrieving the sequence a much more difficult task.


TIP:  Try to read the digits and letters out loud as they appear on the screen. Your memory performs better when you are active and not passive.

On backward sequence memorization, try repeating the sequence out loud until you have to reverse it. This makes retrieving the sequences a lot easier and more accurate.

How Can You Prepare for the Shell Assessment?

To excel in Shell's HireVue's game-based assessments, you must be familiar with the types of games, the objectives of these games, and the skills that will be tested. In addition to enhancing your readiness, reducing test-related stress, and demonstrating your true competencies effectively, you can gain from practising with similar game-based challenges.

Our Shell's HireVue Games gamified preparation course is the first and only comprehensive HireVue prep designed to prepare you for Shell game-based assessment. In addition to practice games, detailed explanations of strategies and solutions, and comprehensive score reports, this course can be purchased for just £39.

This course simulates the assessment environment and provides you with insights into your strengths and weaknesses, you will approach your assessment day with the utmost confidence and preparedness.


What's Included in Our Course?

Our Course Includes Prep for the 3 Games Shell is using as part of its recruitment process (the 4th is coming soon!):

  • Flashback - Interactive Guide, 3 Level Practices and 2 Simulations
  • Digitspan - Interactive Guide, 2 Section Practices and 1 Advanced Section 2 Practice Test
  • PortraitXT - Full Personality Test, Personality Test Guide, and 30 Single Trait Practices


Flashback Game Assessment

About this game- This game is considered as HireVue's most challenging game-based assessment by most candidates. You are presented with a sequence of shapes shown one at a time. As an image appears, you must decide if the current shape is the same as the previous one.


As we saw in the Flashback game example above, besides keeping up with the changing shapes, the more advanced levels will ask to decide if the presented shape is the same as the one shown 2, 3, or 4 steps back! 


Puzzle Picture Game Assessment

About this game- in this game you are presented with a picture to memorize. Here, you have an unlimited amount of time to remember the image. 




When ready, you are given a puzzle that you need to complete to recreate the picture.  You will have a few seconds to slide the tiles and correctly rearrange the puzzle.  




Like in the other games, as you move up the levels the image will be more and more complex making it more difficult to recreate.

The best way to prepare for the Shell game tests is by PRACTICING games in the same format and learning strategies that help solve more of the advanced levels within the allocated time. 

Our team is currently working on developing a Shell Game Based Assessment Practice simulating these interactive tests with strategies that help improve your results. 


Portrait XT

About this game- this game is in fact a personality questionnaire. You are presented with a series of 50 statements about your preferences and characteristics and then asked to rate your level of agreement with each statement- from strongly disagree to strongly agree.

For example, how would you rate the following question? 

                                     I have little interest in people  

 View Answer:

The main qualities assessed by this statement are friendliness and sociability. 

To choose the best answer, first consider- Are these qualities essential for my position? 

For positions that require working in a team and creating good interpersonal connections the best answer is disagreed or strongly disagree. This includes positions such as Human resources, sales, marketing, and also interns and graduates that are expected to learn from co-workers around them.   

For positions that are more isolated in their nature, you could also choose neutral or agree. Keep in mind that in the modern job market interpersonal skills are becoming much more important for employers and companies, even when the position requirements don’t explicitly say so. 


By practicing personality questions and going through your feedback, you can ensure you exhibit the essential qualities that make you great for the job. This is also great prep for the interviews ahead, which require similar skills. 

Start preparing for your personality questionnaire>>


What Happens After the Shell Game Assessment?

Once completing the Shell game-based assessment administered by HireVue, you can expect the results within a few days. If you passed, you will receive an invitation to schedule the stage 1 on-demand video interview (ODVI). This interview must be completed within 10 days of receiving the invitation.


Stage 1 on-demand video interview (ODVI)

This is a short pre-recorded video interview in which you are asked five pre-recorded questions and then need to record your answer. For each question, you have 30 seconds to prepare and 3 minutes to record your answer.


“We recommend you reflect on why you’re applying and your standout experiences.” (from Shell Official Site)

What Shell is really saying here is that they want to assess if you are interested in the position itself, or just in its conditions and external factors. Companies generally prefer candidates who are internally motivated- as these tend to perform better and stay longer.

Also, this is an opportunity to show you have the essential skills for the position, by sharing past experiences and examples demonstrating these skills.


Next, is Stage 2 - The final assessment

In the Shell final assessment, you will be given a case study and 48 hours to review it.

After 48 hours, on the day of the assessment, you will be asked to discuss your thoughts about the case study. Then, you will be given a specific topic relating to the case study and have 20-30 minutes to prepare a 5-minute presentation about it. Afterward, interviewers will ask questions about the presentation for 30 minutes.


Finally, Shell Connect

After successfully passing the Shell final assessment you will be invited to one of the Shell offices to a variety of the company’s employees and to learn about company’s industry and culture. 

The Shell Assessment for Operation & Maintenance Roles

The Shell online Assessment for operation and maintenance positions is composed of two different assessments for the first stage of the hiring process:

  1. The Shell cognitive test– in this test you will be required to answer questions that will demonstrate your skills in verbal, numerical and abstract reasoning.
  2. The Shell Working style assessment– this test is a personality test that is designed to assess you across the ‘big five’ personality factors: drive, adaptability, supportiveness, assertiveness, and creativity.


If you have any more questions about the Shell game-based assessment, please feel free to contact us and we will do our best to help. 

Shell, HireVue, and other trademarks are the property of their respective trademark holders. None of the trademark holders are affiliated with JobTestPrep or this website.
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