SHL Verbal Reasoning: Tips and Guide 2023
Updated March 30, 2023
- What Are SHL Tests?
- SHL Verbal Reasoning Test
- SHL Verbal Reasoning Practice Test Example Questions (2023)
- How Is the SHL Verbal Test Scored?
- How to Prepare for the SHL Verbal Reasoning Assessment in March 2023
- How to Do Well in the SHL Verbal Test in 2023
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Final Thoughts
SHL is one of the world’s largest psychometric test publishers, with tests available in more than 40 languages and in 150 countries.
Specializing in technological assessments based on organizational psychology, SHL focuses on talent acquisition for thousands of companies globally – which means if you are looking for a role as a graduate or in a management position in industries like banking, IT and manufacturing, you are likely to face an SHL assessment as part of the recruitment process.
In this article we will focus on the SHL Verbal Reasoning assessment, including what to expect from the test, how long it will take and how many questions there are.
We will also discuss SHL Verbal Assessment Reasoning Test tips, like how best to prepare for the assessment and what to do on the day for the best results.
You can find out about how the SHL assessment is scored and what the employers will be looking for in candidates taking the test.
As part of its resources for talent acquisition and management, SHL provides what it describes as ‘targeted candidate assessments’.
- Behavioral assessments
- Personality assessments
- Cognitive assessments
- Skills assessments
- Job-focused assessments
The SHL Verbal Reasoning assessment is part of the cognitive assessments group, and almost 2,500 companies use this type of assessment from SHL to test possible candidates in a variety of roles.
The SHL cognitive assessments are used by many companies in their recruitment processes, including:
- Marks and Spencer
- Time Warner Cable
Most often used for recruiting candidates for positions that are graduate level and above, the SHL tests are trusted by over 75% of the companies in the FTSE 100 and are well-regarded as useful indicators of future success in applicants.
The cognitive assessments are known as Verify tests and there are several different types of assessment in this category:
The G+ assessment is all about general mental ability, including problem solving and critical reasoning.
In this assessment, a wide range of concepts can be evaluated so the candidate can demonstrate their mental capacity.
In the deductive reasoning test, the candidate needs to draw logical conclusions about a statement to be able to decide if it is definitely true or definitely not true.
Each inductive reasoning question is based on a series of shapes or images, and the candidate needs to be able to spot patterns to demonstrate that they can draw inferences from, and detect relationships between, different pieces of information.
The numerical reasoning assessment is about the candidate’s ability to apply mathematical knowledge to solve a problem.
This assessment is usually related to the industry or role that has been applied for, and the candidate will need to use basic math operations to answer a question.
More specific than the numerical reasoning assessment, the numerical calculation test from SHL allows a candidate to demonstrate that they can use and manipulate numbers quickly and efficiently, performing basic math calculations and operations.
In almost all cases, if you are taking the SHL Verbal Reasoning assessment you will be taking the SHL Verify version.
This is a computer-based assessment.
Some companies may still be using the CEB SHL Verbal Reasoning assessment. The only difference between this and the Verify assessment is that the Verify version is newer and more up to date in terms of content.
In the SHL Verbal Reasoning assessment, you will have to answer 30 questions in a maximum time of 19 minutes.
Each question is presented as a statement with multiple-choice options; you must decide if the statement is true, false or cannot say.
The information that you will need to answer this question correctly is provided in a passage of text.
This might be a paragraph or something a bit longer and is usually written in business-level language, while the content is usually relevant to the role and industry that you have applied for.
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You will need to quickly read and understand the information in the passage so that you can analyze it for the details you need to answer the question.
Some people taking this test prefer to read the passage thoroughly before looking at the statements, while others look at the statement before skim reading the passage to find the necessary details.
Both ways are completely valid, and the one you choose will be the one that is most suitable for you personally.
What is important to note in this case is that there is no need to have any previous knowledge to be able to answer the questions correctly. All the details you need to answer the questions are provided in the passage of text; you just need to be able to identify them.
The SHL Verbal Reasoning test is similar to many other verbal reasoning assessments in both structure and layout, so you can extend your practice using other test types and formats too.
Below you'll find a series of free SHL Verbal Reasoning practice test questions and answers.
Statement: Temporary staff who are employed during the summer period get the same benefits as the permanent employees.
c) Cannot say
Many companies in the UK employ temporary personnel during summer months to help. Permanent staff take vacation breaks during this time. During the summer, the workload also increases which leads to the hiring of more personnel. Temporary staff are paid a fixed rate without bonus schemes and holiday time-off.
Statement: It is possible that temporary personnel get to do work left behind by the permanent staff on vacation.
c) Cannot say
Statement: Temporary staff save the companies that use them money during the summer months.
c) Cannot say
Like other SHL psychometric tests, the SHL Verbal Reasoning test is positively marked.
What this means for the test taker is that you will not be penalized for wrong SHL Verbal Reasoning Test answers.
Your raw score (total marks of all your SHL Verbal Reasoning Test answers) on the SHL Verbal Reasoning test is compared to other test takers with a similar background to you.
SHL have several norm groups to use for this, and the employer will choose the one that is most appropriate for the job role they are hiring for.
These norm groups include sections like:
- Skilled technical
- Managerial and professional
When your score is compared against these norms, it is presented as a percentile. Your percentile score shows where your score sits in terms of the achievement of the norm group.
This means that you might answer 72% of the questions correctly, but you may only be in the 54th percentile. Your 72% wasn’t that high a score in comparison to other test takers, and in fact you have only scored a little bit above average (getting a higher score than 54% of the norm group).
It is difficult to state what mark you need to get to pass the SHL Verbal Reasoning assessment. Not only does SHL not publish its pass marks or average scores, but different organizations will have different requirements.
Some, for example, might only take those who are in the top 5% of test takers forward, while others will look at those in the 80th percentile.
For the best results in your SHL Verbal Reasoning assessment, you need to score as highly as you can so that you can beat the other applicants and get more of a chance to be taken further in the recruitment process.
If you do not reach the required percentile to pass, you will be dropped from the application process.
In some cases, you may be allowed to reapply for the role at a later date, in which case you will be expected to retake the SHL Verbal Reasoning assessment.
How to Prepare for the SHL Verbal Reasoning Assessment in March 2023
One of the best things you can do to prepare yourself for the SHL Verbal Reasoning test is knowing what the test is asking you to do, and what the official guidelines are for passing.
You can find out more about the SHL Verbal Reasoning assessment on the official SHL website, which is a useful resource.
It is also a good idea to consider what the company you have applied for will be looking for in its candidates and employees as this will help you in your practice and revision.
Taking a practice SHL Verbal Reasoning test has many benefits:
- You will know what to expect from the test itself in terms of the content of the questions, the tight time limit and the way you will be expected to answer.
- You will be able to see if there are any areas you might need to brush up on.
- If you take multiple tests, you will be able to see your score improve as you become more confident answering the questions and getting used to the structure and layout.
You can find many practice tests for the SHL Verbal Reasoning test online, like this one at JobTestPrep. You can use your SHL Verbal Reasoning practice test answers to determine which areas you need to focus your study on.
Verbal reasoning is all about being able to read, understand and analyze written information to pull out the details that you need to make a logical and reasoned conclusion.
To do this effectively, you need to ensure that you are a confident reader, especially when it comes to texts written in formal or business language.
Get familiar with different sources of information, such as broadsheet newspapers, industry journals and other sources of non-fiction. Online sources are just as good; it doesn’t need to be printed to offer useful experience for you.
When you are reading, think about the details that you could use to answer a true/false question.
The SHL Verbal Reasoning assessment has a very tight time limit. Answering 30 questions in just 19 minutes means you have a little over 30 seconds for each – so time management is your friend.
As you practice, make sure that you are using a timer for the tests so that you can get a feel for how long each question should take you – if you don’t answer all the questions, you could be missing valuable marks.
Although this assessment has a tight time limit, rushing through the test could lead to disaster if you misread a question.
Take your time to read the statements given as well as the passage of text; the answers you need are in front of you if you pace yourself and can find them.
Although it might be tempting to try and extrapolate from the given information to find the answer, you really don’t need to.
The option of cannot say is as valid as the true and false answers, so if you cannot find the answer in the text then don’t add information to make it true or false.
The SHL Verbal Reasoning assessment, like most other aptitude or psychometric tests, is not about what you know, but about how well you can learn and apply new knowledge to answer questions.
This means that you do not have to have any knowledge about the role or the industry to answer the questions correctly.
If the passage of text happens to be relevant to something you already know or some experience you already have, don’t be tempted to answer based on your own opinions. Just use the information that is in front of you.
Some of the information given in the passage might be quite specific, while other parts might be generalizations. Look out for these when you are answering, as a generalization is by nature only mostly true or mostly false – so you cannot answer true (or false) to a generalization.
As the SHL Verbal Reasoning assessment is not negatively marked, you have nothing to lose by guessing if you get stuck on an answer. What this means is that no points are taken away for wrong SHL Verbal Reasoning answers.
You will have a one in three chance of choosing the right answer and have more time to attempt the rest of the questions in the assessment.
The SHL Verbal Reasoning test is a pre-employment screening test used in a variety of industries when recruiting for different roles.
The assessment is based on passages of text that the candidate must read, understand and analyze quickly to decide if the following statement is true, false or if you cannot say for sure.
The content of the SHL Verbal Reasoning test is straightforward. Most of the content might be written in more formal language but all the answers you need to pass the assessment are provided in the passage.
The tight time limit and unfamiliar structure and layout might make it more challenging for those who are not used to it, however.
There is no official passing score for the SHL Verbal Reasoning test; the score you will need to move to the next stage of the recruitment process will depend on the industry you are in, the role you have applied for and the needs of the organization. Your score will be compared to similar test takers and the recruiters will only take the candidates who meet the minimum percentile requirements.
The most effective way to ensure that you can pass the SHL Verbal Reasoning test is to practice online. The test content is not too challenging but the unfamiliar structure and tight time limit will put candidates under extra pressure.
You can find resources to help you prepare on the JobTestPrep website.
If you fail the SHL Verbal Reasoning test, your job application will not be taken further, and you will no longer be in the running for the role you have applied for.
All is not necessarily lost, however, as you may be allowed to reapply for the role at a later date and retake the test as part of the process – but you would need to speak to the recruitment team to see if this is an option for you.
You will not usually be allowed to retake the SHL Verbal Reasoning test if you have taken it as part of the recruitment process for a new job.
However, if you fail you may be allowed to retake the assessment if the recruiters say you can reapply for the role at a later date.
There are sample questions for the SHL Verbal Reasoning test available on the SHL website, where you can also find a practice test.
If you want more practice as well as useful resources to help improve your score, then you will find tests and revision information on JobTestPrep that is aimed at those facing the SHL Verbal Reasoning test.
As the SHL Verbal Reasoning test is taken online and in your own time, you could feasibly cheat by getting someone else to take the test for you. However, this is not a good idea as not only are test publishers and businesses adept at finding out if you have cheated but you may also have to take the test again in an assessment center or as part of the interview and are very likely to be found out.
The SHL Verbal Reasoning test is mostly used for recruiting upper-level staff and graduates and you will be required to pass if you are looking for a role in an IT company, in finance or even in manufacturing.
Some of the companies that use the SHL suite of assessments as part of their talent acquisition program include Vodafone, Marks and Spencer, Xerox and Microsoft.
Everything you need to help you pass your SHL Verbal Reasoning test is available at JobTestPrep. There are many free resources including practice questions and more details about what to expect.
The paid-for PrepPack is specially designed to help those facing the SHL Verbal Reasoning test, with information about the types of questions, multiple practice tests and revision materials.
The SHL Verbal Reasoning test has 30 questions that must be answered in 19 minutes.
Graduates and upper-level applicants applying for a role in most industries are likely to face an SHL cognitive test as part of the recruitment process, especially if they are applying to work at one of the FTSE 100 companies.
The SHL Verbal Reasoning test is an online assessment that demonstrates a candidate’s potential to be successful. It measures the candidate on their ability to quickly read, understand and analyze data presented as unfamiliar text, and how the candidate can use that knowledge to reach a reasoned and logical conclusion.
The content of the SHL Verbal Reasoning test is not that difficult, but the tight time limit, unfamiliar structure and the pressure of the exam environment can make it challenging, which is why practicing the test can help candidates perform better and be much more likely to be taken further into the recruitment process for the role they have applied for.