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How To Pass Numerical Reasoning Tests? Explained!

How To Pass Numerical Reasoning Tests

Numerical reasoning tests assess a candidate’s ability to handle and interpret data. Your ability to deal with numbers is judged based on your knowledge of ratios, percentages, number sequences, data interpretation, financial analysis and currency conversion. Understanding how to pass a numerical reasoning test may seem tricky initially, but following our numerical test tips can make you feel confident about your ability. 

In this blog, understand numerical tests and how to solve them with pace and precision!

What Are Numerical Tests?

Numerical tests differ fundamentally from traditional math exams because they are designed to measure different skills. Instead of assessing your understanding and application of a math syllabus (such as GCSE or A-Level), numerical tests evaluate your ability to correctly interpret numerical information and use it to solve problems and make decisions. 

  • These tests are based on real-life numerical data you would encounter in the workplace, requiring only the type of numerical analysis expected in a job setting.
  • This distinction means people’s scores on math exams and numerical tests can vary. Employers often encounter candidates with excellent math qualifications but need more numerical test results. 
  • This discrepancy usually arises because good exam techniques, extensive revision, and strong memory skills can boost math qualifications. In contrast, numerical test scores are influenced by effective analysis, problem-solving, and good test-taking techniques. 

This is encouraging for those who have struggled with math exams. Numerical tests measure different skills in different ways, often resulting in strong performance from candidates with lower or mediocre math qualifications who excel in job-relevant numerical tests.

Numerical tests also share several common characteristics, ensuring you know what to expect:

Understanding how numerical tests work, how they differ from math exams, and their common characteristics should help alleviate the fear of the unknown. Any remaining anxiety can be addressed by developing a deeper understanding of these tests and, in section 2 of this guide, learning the most effective test-taking techniques based on this understanding.

How Does A Numerical Reasoning Test Work? 

Numerical reasoning tests differ from traditional math exams. While they involve numbers and calculations, their purpose is not to assess your math skills like school exams do. This is reassuring for those who have struggled with complex math topics such as algebra, trigonometry, and probabilities. Numerical reasoning tests do not require writing detailed answers or using uncommon formulas and theories.

Essential Math Skills To Pass Numerical Tests

Numerical tests differ from traditional math exams, but you’ll still need basic math skills since these tests involve numbers-based problems. Fortunately, the required skills are more straightforward than those needed for a maths GCSE.

how to pass a numerical reasoning test

Maths for Numerical Tests

Here are the key math calculations commonly used in numerical tests:

  • Addition
  • Subtraction
  • Multiplication
  • Division
  • Averages
  • Percentages
  • Ratios

If you need more confidence in these skills, focus your practice on questions requiring specific calculations. You can also use primary math study aids to supplement your learning. Remember, you’ll be allowed to use a calculator during the test.

High-Level Critical Reasoning in Numerical Tests

Graduate and professional numerical tests are more challenging and require advanced numerical critical reasoning skills. While the calculations remain basic, the difficulty lies in the complexity of the numerical data and the nature of the problems to be solved.

What Is Critical Reasoning?

Numerical critical reasoning involves analysing and manipulating numerical information to draw inferences, determine relationships, and make decisions. These tests go beyond basic understanding of numerical data and require complex problem-solving abilities.

In reality, answering numerical critical reasoning tests often involves multiple calculations and sometimes estimation or handling ambiguities, similar to real-world scenarios at work. However, you can maximise your score with effective test-taking techniques and practice. Practice questions can familiarise you with the demands of critical reasoning questions and alleviate any apprehension.

How Will Numerical Reasoning Test Guide Benefit?

Numerical Reasoning Tests are a means for employers to decide whether or not you have the potential to suit the requirements of that particular job. The questions posed in these tests are based on the particulars of a given job function, such as determining profit margin or estimating material quantities. 

  • Numerical reasoning tests are also a good measure of how well an individual works under pressure. 
  • With our tips on how to pass a numerical reasoning test, you can up your number game and ace your test.  
  • Employers want to know that you can perform well in any given circumstance. Since these assessments are timed, they demonstrate your ability to interpret data and draw accurate conclusions at speed. 
  • One can easily crack a numerical reasoning test with help.

Many universities look at a student’s statement of purpose and their ability to receive scholarships before considering them eligible enough to get through. Likewise, employers consider these tests to be a significant eligibility criterion before recruitment.

Numerical Reasoning Test Tips and Tricks

Anyone applying for a numerical reasoning test must practice and prepare well in advance. Thus, managing the dedicated set of questions and applying what they have learned while practicing is important. Here is how one can do that. 

#1 Brush Up Your Arithmetic Skills

Numerical Reasoning Tests are not the same as those scary math exams one had during school days. If you have a good grip on your basic math skills, how to pass a numerical reasoning test will be a cakewalk for you. As per our numerical reasoning tips, some of the most widely used mathematical calculations for this test include:

  • Addition
  • Subtraction
  • Multiplication
  • Division
  • Averages
  • Percentages
  • Ratios

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#2 In Numerical Reasoning, Test Calculator Is IMP!!!

Most numerical tests permit using a calculator, either provided by the test centres or your own. If you’re getting a calculator of your own, acquaint yourself with every function so that you don’t land up in a pool of frustration during your test as time passes. If you know your calculator well, you can work faster. If you work fast, you can crack how to pass a numerical reasoning test with help.

# 3 Do Not Miss Out On The Details

With time restrictions, you will be working under pressure. However, employees will also assess you on how well you handle it. More often than not, working in haste tends to scale up your pressure levels, and you miss out on minute details. Do not get carried away by that. Read the question thoroughly and manage your time well enough to check, cross-check, and double-check your answer sheet once it consists of several units, measurements, and currencies.

# 4 Pay Attention To Distractors

One of the finest numerical reasoning tips and tricks for how to pass a numerical reasoning test would be to pay close attention to distractors. When the answer options are very similar and may vary only by a few decimal points or are just a minus plus away from each other, you should understand that it is a mind game to mislead you. If you systematically solve your question by approaching it logically, then focus on what’s relevant and dismiss any red herrings.

 # 5 Do Not Stick To A Particular Problem

Problems can be challenging at times, especially when you haven’t practised enough. Do not get stuck there. Move on to other questions and answer them first. Approach the tough ones last; otherwise, you will not be able to complete the challenging ones or do justice to the ones you know. 

# 6 Practice, Practice, And Practice

That’s the key! The more practice papers you solve, the better you will understand how to pass a numerical reasoning test. Ensure you give yourself enough time to solve at least 10 to 15 practice papers. Moreover, at the beginning of every numerical test, you will be given one or two practice problems to provide you with a rough idea of the structure of the paper. Make sure to use them wisely and study them well. 

How to Pass Your Numerical Reasoning Test?

The following section will help you understand numerical reasoning tests and give you strategies to succeed in section-by-section format, roping in all test elements. Check them out: 

Key Points:

Time is crucial: These tests have short time limits (45-75 seconds per question) so focus on quick, accurate calculations.Estimation is key: Often, close enough is good enough. Use estimation to eliminate answer choices.Practice is essential: Numerical reasoning improves with practice. The more you practice, the better you’ll become.

Identifying Methods:

This 4-step method helps you solve most questions:

Detect: What is the question asking?Observe: Separate relevant from irrelevant information.Focus: Focus on relevant information and perform calculations.Eliminate and Solve: Use estimation to eliminate wrong answers and solve the question.

Solving Techniques Without A Calculator:

Multiplication by 5: Divide the number by 2 and then multiply by 10. (e.g. 168 x 5 = (168 / 2) x 10 = 840)Multiplication using the Last Digit: Look at the last digits of the numbers being multiplied to estimate the answer’s last digit. (e.g. 123 x 429: the last digit of the answer must be 7 because 3 x 9 = 27)Estimate Compound Growth: Use a two-step estimation process to approximate growth/decrease.

Expert Tricks To Avoid Unnecessary Calculations:

Ignore multiplication factors that divide by the same number. (e.g. monthly expense to annual expense calculation)Use the “-1” trick for percentage change: Take the ratio values and subtract one to find the percentage change. (convert the decimal to a percentage by moving the decimal two places to the right)Create a calculation template: Develop a framework to organise your calculations and minimise repetitive work.

Tips Based On Type Of Questions 

Numerical reasoning assessments are crafted to evaluate candidates’ mathematical proficiency, typically focusing on various targeted areas. These tests are commonly administered to applicants vying for sales, managerial, or supervisory roles and positions requiring decision-making and inference skills based on numerical data.

Table and Graph Queries

Numerous numerical reasoning assessments incorporate tables and graphs displaying diverse sets of numerical data. These tests often present a variety of table formats, covering topics such as financial statements, demographic statistics, or survey results. The objective is to assess your ability to analyse evolving data sets swiftly.

Tables come in diverse forms, testing your arithmetic skills and capacity to calculate ratios or percentages rapidly. Those taking tests for financial service firms might encounter multiple data sets, including questions requiring the calculation of financial ratios or higher-level analytical skills.

Non-Calculator Numerical Tests

Certain numerical reasoning tests prohibit calculator use. These assessments feature a mix of questions, each requiring prompt responses without calculation aids.

Word Problems

Word problems necessitate rapid mental arithmetic to derive solutions, particularly in subtraction and division. Practising these questions can enhance your speed in real test scenarios.

Number Series

Number series questions entail identifying logical patterns in numerical sequences and predicting subsequent numbers based on established rules.

Numerical Reasoning Test Practice With Worked Solutions

For effective preparation for numerical reasoning tests, it’s crucial to practice various question types, and review worked solutions to understand the underlying concepts. Here’s a selection of numerical reasoning questions with detailed solutions:

Question 1:

A company produced 500 product units in January and 600 units in February. If the production increased by 20% in March, how many units were made in March?

Question 2:

What is the ratio of red balls to blue balls if a bag contains 24 red balls and 36 blue balls?

Question 3:

In a survey of 200 people, 120 preferred coffee, and the rest preferred tea. What percentage of people preferred tea?

Question 4:

A company’s revenue increased from $500,000 in 2019 to $600,000 in 2020. What was the percentage increase in revenue from 2019 to 2020?

Question 5:

What is its area if a rectangle has a length of 10 cm and a width of 5 cm?

Question 6:

Take a look at the graph below depicting the unemployment levels in different cities of the UK for 3 consecutive years.

Source: Practice Aptitude Tests

Now that you have studied the graph, we will ask you a question for which you will have to choose an option as your answer. The question goes by – 

If there were 50,000 people employed in Blackpool in 2021, what is the ratio of employed to unemployed people in that year?
A) 25:1
B) 12.5:1
C) 10:1
D) 8.33:1
If you have chosen option C, i.e. 10:1 as your answer, then I think you are getting the hang of how to crack a numerical reasoning test.

Practice questions like these, and review the worked solutions to enhance your numerical reasoning skills and confidence for your upcoming test.


What are numerical reasoning tests?

Numerical reasoning tests evaluate a candidate’s ability to manipulate and interpret data. Your numerical aptitude is assessed based on your understanding of ratios, percentages, number sequences, data interpretation, financial analysis, and currency conversion. 

How do you pass a numerical reasoning test?

Employers use Numerical Reasoning Tests to determine whether you have the potential to meet the requirements of a specific job. To pass a numerical reasoning test, you must brush up your arithmetic skills, make the numerical reasoning test your BFF, and avoid missing minute details. 

Are numerical reasoning tests hard?

The difficulty level of numerical reasoning tests is determined by two major factors: job levels and occupations. Aptitude testing companies create numerical reasoning tests with varying difficulty levels and use corresponding benchmarks. 

What is a good score in numerical reasoning tests?

A numerical reasoning test will have a distinct perspective of a good score based on the test providers and the company. In most cases, a good score is between the 73 and 90 percentile scores.

How do you prepare for numerical reasoning tests?

As you can see, numerical reasoning test questions require a strong understanding of basic math operations and how to apply them. So, one of the best ways to prepare for the test is to ensure that you are familiar with and confident in all numerical concepts.

We hope this blog on How To Pass A Numerical Reasoning Test was useful to you. If you find tips, tricks, and guides helpful, make sure to read these blogs:

If you need financial assistance for your further education, UniScholars has a plethora of scholarships that you can apply for. 

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How To Pass Numerical Reasoning Tests

How To Pass Numerical Reasoning Tests? Explained!

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