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Numerical Reasoning Test Guide: Our Top Tips

I already have the Kindle version. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed. Skip to primary navigation Skip to main content Skip to primary sidebar Skip to footer Dr. Like this: Like Loading Comments I already have the Kindle version. The print version has paper. Leave a Reply Cancel reply. The difficulty of these tests does not lie in the types of calculations you are required to perform; numerical critical-reasoning tests are still based around the seven basic maths skills described above.

Their difficulty is the result of the complexity of the numerical data the questions are based upon and the nature of the problems you are required to solve. Numerical critical reasoning is the ability to analyse and manipulate numerical information in order to draw inferences, determine underlying relationships and make decisions. These high-level tests are different from those you might be expected to complete for entry-level or mid-level roles because you are expected to demonstrated abilities that are above and beyond simply understanding numerical data and answering questions about it.

Instead you will need to work in a more complex way to arrive at correct answers. What this means in reality is that to answer a numerical critical-reasoning test you are often required to perform multiple calculations. In other words there may be several stages of calculation you need to complete to reach an answer.

Forms of Instrumental Reasoning

Sometimes this even involves a degree of estimation or dealing with ambiguities, as you sometimes would at work. If this sounds a little daunting, don't worry. The calculations are still based on basic maths skills.

ABSTRACT REASONING TESTS Questions, Tips and Tricks!

You can maximise your score by developing effective test-taking technique. You can complete some practice questions to get a preview of the demands presented by critical reasoning questions; they may not be as bad as you think!

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Differences we see in people's test scores are often down to factors unrelated to their numerical ability, such as:. Candidates with high scores tend to posses high levels of numerical ability combined with effective test-taking strategies. These test-taking black belts know that when you're taking a numerical test, it's not all about maximum effort; it's about the right kind of effort in the right places.

This section introduces you to the advanced test-taking strategies you will develop to ensure that your test score is not dragged down by errors, slips and poor technique. Test-taking black-belts achieve their high scores by applying the numerical abilities they have developed through practice using the sharpest strategies. This section describes the winning strategies that can make a real difference to your numerical test performance.

For many of us the worse part of taking a numerical test is the waiting beforehand. The nerves and anxiety we can experience before the test session can spill into the early stages of the test itself, affecting your focus and concentration.


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You need to maintain maximum concentration during the test session in order to perform at your best. Nerves and anxiety must be minimised before they cause mistakes and a dip in performance. And breathe If you're feeling nervous then move your attention to your breathing. Ensure you are taking long, slow breaths and focus your mind on counting slowly down from 10 with each breath.

Each time your mind wanders from breathing this countdown you should gently move the distracting thought to one side and begin the count again from This focusing exercise reduces your stress levels and enables the parts of your mind devoted to concentration and reasoning to marshal its energies ready for the test itself. Feel the fear and do it anyway Sometimes our nerves and anxiety can cause distracting physical and mental symptoms of stress.

A racing heart, sweaty palms and a mind full of chattering monkeys are common stress-related sensations, which make concentration and peak performance much harder to achieve. Rather than try to fight against these feelings you should use the 'acceptance and commitment technique' to move past them. Quiet your mind by moving around your body to notice, label and accept each of the stress related sensation you identify. Do not try to counteract them; simply acknowledge that they are there.

Next you must work on your commitment; remind yourself of your objectives and then rehearse exactly what you are going to do when the test session begins. Acceptance and commitment technique helps you to feel the fear and do it anyway. Ensuring that you are focused and calm will help you to employ the effective test-taking strategies during the test session itself that will give you the edge.

If you practise some psychometric aptitude tests, you will see for yourself how easy it is to be caught out by not reading the question properly. This includes not recognising the units, not seeing the applicability of a graph or table e. It is worth re-reading the question after you have answered it to check you have understood it since this will take a split second but will prevent you from throwing away the time spent on that question. If you are sitting your numerical reasoning test at an assessment centre, the chances are you will be told you have to use the calculator they provide to you.

However take your own just in case. You will be familiar with the functions of yours and the locations of buttons will be instinctive, enabling you to save a few vital seconds over the other candidates. If your psychometric test is online, obviously you can use your own calculator. If you are allowed to use your own calculator often not the case at assessment centres , or you are sitting your numerical reasoning tests online, make sure your calculator is both familiar to you and has large buttons and a clear screen.

This will all help save time and will reduce the chances of calculator entry mistakes.

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Numerical Reasoning Test Guide (Including our Top 12 Tips)

Also, make sure you are familiar with all the useful features of your calculator. But as a minimum make sure you know:. In most psychometric aptitude tests you will be allowed to use rough paper for your working. Sensible use of this will cut down mistakes and save you time if you have to go back to a mid-point in a calculation.

The extent to which you write down your working obviously has to be balanced with taking too long on each question; you will get a feel for how much you need to write down when practicing some aptitude tests for yourself. Writing things down also helps you spot mistakes with units, which are all too common if you do all the work on your calculator. This applies to numerical reasoning tests only, since the most common form of verbal reasoning tests only ever have three options; True, False and Cannot say.

In some numerical questions you can immediately discount some of the available options using deduction or common sense. In ratio questions particularly e. If you've calculated A and B and you can see that only one of the options available is your answer for A:B then click that one and move on! This is a good time-saving technique. For numerical reasoning questions, have a quick look ahead at the next few questions to see how many questions a figure applies to.

It is common for one figure to apply to three or four questions, in which case it is worth investing time to absorb what the data is telling you before launching into the first question. Then on each question, you can refer back to the data but at least you know where to look and what you are looking at. A typical example of time allocation for a set of three questions might be:. It's important to be able to quickly digest and interpret presented data such as graphs, histograms and tables. One of the ways you can improve your speed in an aptitude test is by reducing the time it takes you to take in the information presented in the numerical reasoning questions.

You will soon find it second nature to check what the axes are and in what scale, check if the graph has been rebased or not, check if numbers are given in different units, and check what is an estimated projection compared with what are recorded values. All these things help you to quickly answer numerical reasoning questions, and you can improve your data interpretation skills by reading figure-based news in for example The Economist or the Financial Times.

You can also use the data in the pages of these publications to practice converting from one currency to another, which is commonly comes up. It is easy to misread your scribbles.