Numerical reasoning: tables and graphs

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What are tables and graphs?

Tables and graphs are often knowna as simply numerical reasoning. This form of numerical reasoning is very popular in assessments. The advantage is that different skills are tested. You must not only be able to perform calculations, but you must also be able to process information and draw logical conclusions. The following should always be done with a table or graph:

  • Determine what needs to be calculated.
  • Determine which data is relevant.
  • Perform the calculation.

The calculation in this case is secondary to the correct interpretation of the information. The disadvantage of assessments is that only the outcome counts. Even if you have reasoned correctly, you may have the answer wrong and you get zero points for that question.

The actual calculations that you must perform are:

  • additions,
  • subtractions,
  • multiplying,
  • divisions,
  • fractions,
  • percentages,
  • decimals,
  • exchange rates,
  • index numbers,
  • estimations.

In principle, any sort of table is possible. But tables that you often encounter are:

  • Stock market figures,
  • annual figures,
  • production / productivity,
  • exchange rates.

Common tables and graphs

SHL style financial table

Financial table

A table with financial data from one or more companies.

SHL style bar chart

Bar chart

A bar chart that shows the differences between, for example, genders.

SHL style stack chart

Stack chart

A stack chart showing, for example, information about two time points

SHL style line chart

Line graph

A line graph that displays certain values over a number of years.

Saville style numerical reasoning

Saville Assessment uses tables to test the numerical skills of the candidate. Saville Assessment differs from other agencies because you have to answer fewer questions. On the other hand, you don’t get much time.

The tricky thing about the tables of Saville is that several tables and graphs are combined. For example, you can get a bar chart and a table with financial data. You must then select the correct data from both tables.

In addition to the difficulty of the questions, it is important to beat the norm group. Depending on the company you are applying to, you must defeat at least 50% of the norm group.

Saville style numerical reasoning
SHL style numerical reasoning

SHL style numerical reasoning

The tables of SHL are, rightly so, feared by many candidates. If you do not have a business / economic background, these are very tough. SHL has a huge variety in the tables and graphs.

For SHL you will have to spend a lot of time preparing tables. Mastering the math skills is not enough. It is important to also practice many different types of tables. What makes SHL even more difficult is the “not to judge” answer option. Therefore you have to reason logically for a question whether a conclusion can be drawn.

Good practice ensures that you know the different types of tables. In addition, selection procedures often require the score to be higher than the norm group. With more practice, the chance of beating the norm group is greater.

Talent Q elements numerical

The element test of Talent Q consists of three parts: verbal, logical and numerical. The numerical part consists of many different types of tables. However, you mainly get tables and no other graphs or bar charts.

The tricky thing about the Talent Q tables is that two or more tables are often shown. As a result, you must be able to quickly estimate what information is needed to perform the calculations.

In addition to the difficulty of the tables, it is important to beat the norm group. Depending on the company you are applying to, you must defeat at least 50% of the norm group.

Talent Q elements numerical


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Our aim is to help you get your dream job. Aptitude tests are used by most employers nowadays and are a major hurdle to candidates. As many as 50% of the candidates do not pass their aptitude test. We find this unfair.

By preparing for your aptitude test you can easily pass the test. You are not cheating, you are getting prepared. If you have never solved number sequences or never even seen a figure sequence you will not get a high score on your test. You may even fail. By practicing, you will be familiar with such types of questions. Now, you can actually take the test.

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