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How Are SHL Tests Scored?

SHL aptitude tests are usually comprised of multiple-choice questions. The possible marks for each question are correct, incorrect, and unanswered. When you submit an SHL aptitude test, your answers are first measured against the correct answers. Then, your correct answers are counted, and the rate of correct answers is calculated.

What can you learn from this?

Don't leave questions unanswered. In SHL tests, guessing is beneficial (unless you are told otherwise on a specific test).

How Are SHL Scores Interpreted?

Your own rate of correct answers is compared to the average achievement of a norm group. The most relevant norm group is chosen by the employer out of several options offered by SHL.
A candidate's normed score is then transformed into a percentile, which tells the employer where the candidate is ranked relatively to the norm group (see graph). For example, if you are in the 75th percentile, it means you scored higher than 75% of the people in the norm group.

What can you learn from this?

Your absolute score does not matter. Since you are graded relative to people of similar educational backgrounds, you should practise as much as you can to gain an advantage.

Most candidates try to increase their odds of getting the job by buying practice packs and putting effort into their preparation. Don't get left behind! You can practise the whole battery of SHL tests. Learn more…

Don't panic if practice tests are difficult—they may be difficult for everyone. On the other hand, don't rely on a subjective feeling of confidence. You don't know how good other people are.


What Is a SHL Norm Group?

SHL results are collected from thousands of test takers. This data is divided into norm groups so employers can compare a candidate's results to relevant candidates in the employment market. These groups are defined according to two factors: industry and job level.

The industries that SHL offers to employers are:
IT Accountancy & Financial Public Service
Telecom & Media Consulting Retail
Industry & Manufacturing Law & Legal Pharma, Science & Healthcare

The job level groupings available to employers are:
Managerial & Professional Junior Management Junior Customer Contact
Graduates Senior Customer Contact Administrator
Skilled Technology Skilled Technical Semi-Skilled Technical

What can you learn from this?

You may guess your norm group from the character of the position you are applying for. This will offer a clue into the effort you need to put in to preparing for the tests. For example, taking a numerical test against the Finance and Banking group would require a higher absolute score (to achieve a high normed score) than taking it against the Public Sector group.

If you apply for an operational position, your scores on reading comprehension tests, checking tests, deductive reasoning tests and spatial reasoning tests, and calculation tests will be compared to the General Population norm group.

Taking an industry-relevant test will probably require a relatively high score. For example, a candidate applying for a lawyer position and taking an SHL verbal reasoning test must score higher than a finance candidate of the same job level taking this test, since verbal reasoning is more relevant to law than to finance. Learn more…

You should make your practice as job level and industry-specific as you can, rather than using generic practice materials. Learn more…

How Are SHL Scores Reported?

The employer is given an SHL report which includes the normalised score on each test you took. However, the candidate cannot obtain this report. Rather, he or she may only be able to receive an SHL feedback report. On that report, the candidate's abilities are marked A–E according to the following method:

Grade Meaning Percentile
A Well above average 99-92
B Above average 90-73
C Average 69-31
D Below average 27-10
E Well below average 8-1


Candidates likely to pass the  SHL test


How to read the normal distribution graph

On the normal distribution graph, the 50th percentile represents both the mean and the median score. The absolute mean and median score changes between different tests and different norm groups. Therefore, absolute scores cannot be displayed on this graph. The different sections of the bell curve represent different groups of scores in relation to the mean score. For example, if you had X correct out of Y questions in a certain test, and your score falls in the 80th percentile of the scores achieved by the members of your norm group, your grade is B (above average). In total, 20% of your norm group is graded B.

What can you learn from this?

Obtaining this report is extremely important for future SHL assessments, especially if you failed the current assessment. The report will provide you information about your 'real-time' achievements and a general idea of your normed scores.
You can now choose to focus your future practice on weaknesses spotted in the SHL report.

How Can You Find Your SHL Test Results?

If the employer decides to provide you with SHL feedback, it will be linked to feedback reports on your 'Assessment Home Page'. The feedback will be provided only after you have completed your last online assessment. If you have not received an automatically generated SHL feedback report through your SHL online account, you may ask for it directly from the employer.

What Is the SHL Pass Score?

The SHL pass score, also referred to as the SHL cut score or SHL pass mark, is a score pre-determined by the employer which you must pass in order to continue to other parts of the assessment. SHL enables the use of pass scores, but employers do not always choose to use them.

There is no general answer to the above question as pass marks and average scores depend on the norm group and on the requirements of each employer.

Cut scores are used differently on SHL Verify tests (tests administered online, before the assessment centre) and on assessment centre aptitude tests. SHL Verify tests are used to sift candidates before an assessment centre to save money. Therefore, most of these tests have cut scores. It is rather safe to say that candidates below SHL grade C will be disqualified (see chart).


What can you learn from this?

You should put real effort into preparing for your SHL Verify tests, since failing to make the cut scores will end your chances of getting the job, as you will not be invited to attend an assessment centre.

If you know that demand is high for the position you have applied for, cut scores may be higher than usual.

What Is the Average Score for SHL Tests?

There is no such thing as a uniform SHL average score. Rather, the average score depends on the type of test (numerical reasoning, verbal reasoning, etc.) and the norm group. Nevertheless, we have included a few examples of average scores from some SHL tests, just to give you a hint about the range of SHL average scores:

In a series of surveys conducted on graduates in Australia, the following SHL test scores were collected (published in 2006):

  • The averages of correct answers on the numerical reasoning test for graduates (NMG2) ranged from 10 to 21 correct answers out of 35.
  • Amongst the same candidates, the average number of correct answers on the verbal reasoning test (VMG2) ranged from 19 to 36 correct answers out of 48 questions.

In a series of SHL surveys conducted on supervisors taking the CRTB (Critical Reasoning Test Battery) in Australia (published in 2006):

  • The averages of correct answers on the numerical reasoning test for supervisors and junior managers (NC 2) ranged from 18 to 30 correct answers out of 40 questions.
  • The averages of correct answers on the verbal reasoning test for supervisors and junior managers (VC 1) ranged from 37 to 43 correct answers out of 60 questions.

What Is Considered a Good Score on SHL Tests?

There is no conclusive answer to this question since SHL test scores are normalised and a good SHL score depends greatly on the norm group and possibly on a pass score determined by specific employers. However, in general, a good score on SHL tests is a score that will enable you to move on to the next stage of the assessment. On SHL verify tests, this would mean scoring above the pass score. We can safely say that getting a grade A is a great score which will help you 'stand out from the crowd'. Getting a grade B is a good score. Note that you can only assume the number of questions you need to get right in order to receive these grades as this rate changes between norm groups.

Do SHL Results Include Speed and Accuracy?

SHL does not include speed and accuracy in its standardised ability scores, which only consider the number of correct answers. However, SHL provides the employer with precision scores as additional information:

  • Work Rate – refers to the candidate's speed. Calculated as the number of attempted items (i.e. the number of questions answered + the number of questions clicked through without answering) divided by the total number of questions in the test.
  • Hit Rate – refers to the candidate's accuracy. Calculated as the number of correct answers divided by the number of attempted items.

SHL advises employers to regard this data with a degree of caution since there is no evidence to support that higher speed and accuracy correlate with better work performance. C

Come Prepared For Your SHL- Style Tests

SHL test results are normalised, i.e. your score is compared to other candidates of your job level and industry. Therefore, practising will help you stand out from your norm group and increase your odds of getting the job. There is no way to tell exactly what score is required to pass. Nevertheless, information about the job level, the job industry, and the specific employer may provide you with a clue about the level of the norm group and the amount of practice you need to put in to get a good SHL test score.


Tailored Practice for SHL–Style Tests

You can get the best-tailored practice tests for SHL assessments with JobTestPrep. JobTestPrep's practice packs provide a comprehensive preparatory experience, offering full-length tests, answer explanations, score reports, tutorials, and PDF guides. We provide tailored company-specific preparation packs, such as the Macquarie psychometric assessment, or comprehensive all-purpose -SHL-style kits. Start practising today and increase your chances of landing the job.

  • Access the largest online database of SHL–style practice tests. Learn more…
  • Choose a pack that is tailored to your job level and test type. Learn more…

JobTestPrep's Leading SHL Preparation Packs :

Tests by Position/Level Tests by Topic
Graduate & Management Numerical Reasoning
Administrative & Clerical Verbal Reasoning
Supervisory & Junior Managerial Logical Reasoning
Senior MGMT & Executives OPQ32 Personality Test
IT & Computer Support Situational Judgement Test
Technical Roles Diagrammatic Reasoning

More Information and Tips on SHL Tests

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