SHL cognitive ability assessment

SHL is one of the largest assessment companies worldwide and used by major companies as a selection tool. SHL has a multitude of aptitude tests to use. Most often, you will have to take one of two tests:

  1. General ability test.
  2. On demand test.

Both tests consist of abstract, numerical and verbal questions. Hellotest offers unique, custom made, practice materials to optimally prepare you for the SHL cognitive ability tests. With our practice package you can prepare for each test individually or for both tests. This way, you will be sure to achieve your highest score possible.

Start practicing SHL style tests

Start practicing for SHL with our custom made practice package:

  • Clear lessons with explanation.
  • Test quizzes that resemble true aptitude tests.
Corstiaan Smit Aptitude Test Trainer for Hellotest

Practicing for aptitude tests leads to a higher score.

A higher score helps you stand out and improves your chances at getting your dream job.

  • Corstiaan Smit – aptitude trainer since 2012

Hellotest is not affiliated with, or endorsed by SHL or CEB Talent Assessment. All practice materials are developed independently by Hellotest to support candidates preparing for their job application and not for selection purposes.

About the SHL cognitive ability tests

SHL uses the assessment centre method to assess candidates for both selecting talent and developing talent. If you are applying for a job this means you may have to take a SHL aptitude test.

SHL uses two aptitude tests: General Ability and On Demand. Both tests have abstract, numerical and verbal categories. These broad categories consist of the following types of questions:

  • Figure sequences / Inductive reasoning – abstract.
  • Calculation – numerical.
  • Tables and graphs – numerical.
  • Reading comprehension – verbal.
  • Verbal reasoning – verbal.

Deductive reasoning


A syllogism is a classical form of verbal reasoning. You must choose the correct conclusion for given statements. An example is that all cows are mammals. If all mammals have four legs, a cow will also have four legs. The cows belong to the collection of mammals. For the collection of mammals it applies that they all have four legs. Syllogisms often deviate from reality, which makes it very difficult. You therefore need to prepare very well to prevent errors during the real assessment.

Syllogism type A
Raven's progressive matrices

Inductive reasoning

Figure sequences

This measures how good you are at completing logical reasoning. The exercises consist of four figures that logically follow each other. On this basis, you must determine what the fifth figure will be. You will see several figures at the same time, each with their own logical connections. If you solve the elements separately, you can always exclude incorrect answers until you choose one correct answer.


Matrices measure whether you can analyze a complex relationship quickly and properly and determine the missing answer. The matrices always consist of nine squares: three columns by three rows. You must determine the ninth square. You can use information from both the column and the row to arrive at your answer. The interesting thing about matrices is that the columns and rows influence each other. With some practice this quickly becomes clear.

Numerical reasoning

Arithmetic ability

Relatively simple calculations must be solved during the assessment. In general, this is an equation with three parts, one of which is unknown. These can be simple additions, multiplications or variations of fractions. Do not start this part unprepared. Make sure you have refreshed the calculation rules. For example, how to divide by a fraction, or multiply by decimal places.

Tables and graphs

You will see a table or graph about which business administration questions are asked. To find the right answer. you have to get the right information from the table and make a short calculation. Common calculations are growth rates, exchange rates, and index numbers. Because few people work with similar issues on a daily basis, preparation is very important.

Word problems

Word problems are a combination of verbal and numerical reasoning. You will be given one or more sentences containing information. Based on the information you have to perform the right calculation to find the asnwer. The difficult part is knowing what to calculate and which calculations to use.

SHL style numerical reasoning
Reading comprehension

Verbal reasoning

Reading comprehension

You get to see a sample text with a statement or a question. Depending on the question you will have to answer the statement as “true”, “not true” or “can not say”. With an open question you will have to say something about the text. You must assess the statement or question based on the information in the text. It is important to limit yourself to the information in the text and not to make assumptions.

Preparing for SHL cognitive ability tests

Prepare for the test

SHL has its own practice website. Make sure you set the language of the site to you native language, otherwise you will not be presented with representative questions. You can retake this test, so you can prepare well. Please note that the practice materials on SHL’s website may not be the same as the real test. Especially the difficulty differs greatly.


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Frequently asked questions

How is the Hellotest practice material developed?

We have been active as assessment trainers since 2012. In the first instance you could only come to us for personal training:

  • one on one training,
  • group training,
  • workshops and training at universities and career fairs.

In 2015 we decided to put our developed training material online so that our candidates could practice after training.
Thanks to our many years of experience as an assessment trainer, we know exactly which variations exist for a component. We have developed questions about these components for each variation.
We have combined that knowledge with the parts that certain agencies require. We have been able to determine which variations are used by which agency. Then you will find the right variations in your training package.

How often can I retake the lessons / quizzes?

You can take our lessons and practice tests as often as you want during your subscription. If you want to retake a lesson or practice test, you can reset the lesson or quiz yourself via a button.

Can I practice with a timer?

All our practice tests are provided with a timer. The duration of the practice tests corresponds to the time that you get on the real test.

Our lessons are not provided with a timer. In this way you can become comfortable with all the questions and take as long as you want.

Where can I use the practice package?

All the training material is available online. So you can use it everywhere, as long as you have a working internet connection.

Our training material can be used on all modern devices (mobile, tablet, laptop and desktop) and in all modern browsers (IE, Edge, Chrome, Firefox, Safari etc.).

In which languages is the practice material available?

Click here for Dutch.

Can I get help if I get stuck with the material?

If you have questions about the exercise material you can always ask them here. We try to get back to you in two business days.

How do I know if I am ready for the assessment?

In our e-learning system, the recommended score is indicated for each practice test. That way you can estimate whether your score is good enough to start the real test.

You can do the practice tests until your score is good enough.

Who are we

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.

Start preparing for your aptitude test