How to Practice Numerical Reasoning Tests

Written by andrew morris
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How to Practice Numerical Reasoning Tests
Numerical reasoning is a chance to show you can work well under pressure. (taking test image by Petro Feketa from

A numerical reasoning test is designed to show the math aptitude of an applicant for a job. Numerical reasoning tests are usually part of the first stage of the selection process for jobs in financial companies, such as accountancy or investment banks. Numerical reasoning tests have strict time limits, normally a maximum of 30 minutes. Scrap paper is permitted during numerical reasoning tests so applicants can write out problems. Some tests may allow calculators, but others may not; it varies from employer to employer.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Practice book
  • Practice website
  • Stopwatch
  • Calculator

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  1. 1

    Understand graphs. In a numerical reasoning test the information given to answer a question is given in the form of statistic tables or graphs. Know how to read and interpret bar graphs, line graphs, scatter graphs and pie charts before taking a numerical reasoning test. This boosts your chances of completing the questions quickly.

  2. 2

    Practice with old tests. Because of the increased popularity of numerical reasoning tests, websites and educational books have been released containing pointers and sample tests for prospective test-takers to use for practice. Take advantage of these resources as much as you can, especially if you don't have a strong mathematics background.

  3. 3

    Avoid using the calculator. Even if your prospective employer will permit you to use a calculator, try to use it as little as possible. This is good practice if you have to take another test without a calculator. If you cannot use a calculator in the test you are practicing for, then use a pen and scrap paper to write out calculations long hand to help you solve questions. Check with the company who is interviewing you to see if they allow calculators during tests.

  4. 4

    Practice, practice, practice. Thirty minutes is not as big a length of time as it sounds. Work fast and accurately in order to be at your best in these tests. One question can eat away at the time you have left. If you don't know the answer to the question, go on to the next question and come back to it if you have time. The more you practice, the better you will be at working under strict time limits.

Tips and warnings

  • Most tests are made by a small number of companies. You may encounter the same tests again and again when you go to job interviews. If you have a good memory, this can work to your advantage.

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