A 2020 Guide to Numerical Reasoning Tests

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2020 will always be remembered as the year the world turned upside down; when staying home became the new normal, family gatherings took place over the phone and loo roll became the most precious commodity around. And while the positives of the coronavirus may be in short supply, there is at least one thing to celebrate – that extra time at home is just the thing you need to hone your numerical reasoning skills and ensure you’re interview ready.

What is a numerical reasoning test?

Numerical reasoning tests assess your ability to deal with mathematical problems quickly and accurately. The questions on the test could cover anything and everything from graphs and fractions, to equations and sums. Numerical reasoning tests are designed to be challenging, even for those who excel at maths, but trying numerical reasoning tests before having to take one for a job will help you get to grips with the test format and the kind of questions you’re likely to face. 

What is the format of a numerical reasoning test?

The test can vary, but usually you’ll have around one minute to answer each question on the test. The questions are multiple choice, but the problems are designed to be challenging so relying on guess work is certainly not advisable. The best way to get to grips with the different questions and the speed at which you’ll need to work through the test is to practice, practice, practice. 

Why do employers use numerical reasoning tests?

Employers use numerical reasoning tests when hiring for job roles that require comprehensive numerical skills, such as companies in the financial and technology industries. In an increasingly competitive job market, these tests help employers to compare a large pool of candidates who may have similar levels of experience and skill sets on paper. With a clearer idea of each individual’s strengths and weaknesses, it’s easier to hire the best person for the job in question. 

How can I prepare?

As always, we recommend practising the tests in conditions similar to those in which you’d take a test. Try to find a quiet space, make sure you have a glass of water to hand and time yourself so you get an accurate idea of how quickly you answer the questions.

So although it might be tempting to use your lockdown time to bake another banana bread, we highly recommend putting down the recipe book and picking up your laptop.

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