CEB's SHL reading comprehension tests measure a person's ability to read and comprehend written materials in English and in other languages. Reading comprehension tests are given at many different industries and job levels. This test is very important in almost any industry, especially in those which require employees to read, understand, follow instructions, or use written material for the completion of a particular job. Although the questions in this test are rather easy and straightforward in comparison to other CEB SHL tests, the strict time frames turn it into a quite challenging test.


Test Characteristics

The greatest obstacle of these tests is their limited time frames. Each question is timed individually, and you cannot return to unanswered questions.

  • Average testing time: 10-30 minutes
  • Average number of questions: 10-30 questions
  • Question format: Multiple-choice, randomised, adaptive
  • Abilities measured: Measures a candidate's ability to read and understand written materials

Test Content

CEB's SHL Reading Comprehension Tests are comprised of written passages followed by questions. Usually, each paragraph is related to one question only, which means there is more to read and less time to digest the passage's content. The answers may come in multiple-choice form or require the candidate to write a short written answer. The test requires no prior knowledge, with candidates instructed to use only information given in the passage to answer questions. The types of questions asked may be specific or general. Questions asking for dates, names, or places are all specific questions which the reader can find inside the passage. In contrast, the answer to general questions can only be determined by fully absorbing the meaning of the whole passage. 


Practice Samples

Example 1

Although Britain would not use African troops in Europe, as this would "undermine the dignity of the white man", to Britain’s horror and disapproval, France used some 160,000 Africans from its west African colonies in Europe, with another 65,000 used elsewhere. Britain used some 50,000 African troops and about one million ‘carriers’ in the African campaigns and some 1,000 were used in Mesopotamia. The death rates were high: in the east African campaigns, over 11,000 African soldiers and around 100,000 carriers died; some 22,000 were wounded and/or missing-in-action.


As opposed to Britain, where did France use African soldiers?

  1. in Europe
  2. in Mesopotamia
  3. in the African campaigns
  4. in India

The answer is a.

Example 2

Germany’s GDP grew at a mere 0.1% in the second quarter of 2011, compared with 1.3% in the first. The national statistics office said that whereas exports continued to be strong, consumer spending and construction activity were notably weak. The slowdown in Germany, the euro zone's largest economy, brought the growth figure for the whole euro area down to 0.2% in the second quarter, compared with 0.8% in the first quarter. The disappointing news on Germany came a few days after new figures showed France's economy flattening in the second quarter.


Low Consumer spending contributes to:

  1. growth
  2. stagnation
  3. slowdown
  4. cannot say

The answer is c. 

To sharpen your verbal abilities, you are welcome to use our CEB SHL-Style Verbal practice packs


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