Numerical ability tests are used by employers to measure your ability to perform tasks involving numbers. The questions range from simple arithmetic operations like addition and subtraction to more complex questions where you need to interpret numerical information presented as tables, diagrams, and graphs.
Numerical ability tests are popular with employers because many
jobs require you to work with numbers at least some of the time.
Obviously, if you are applying for a job which involves working
with figures on a day-to-day basis, then the employer will regard
your numerical ability as a valuable predictor of your performance
on the job.
Numerical ability tests from different suppliers vary in both the number and difficulty of the questions that they contain and there are several hundred of these tests on the market. The duration of any numerical ability test you are asked to take will depend on several factors including how many other tests you are taking on the day. However, most tests last about 30-40 minutes and have about 30-40 questions.
Even though there are literally hundreds of numerical ability
tests available to employers, the questions used in these tests
can be classified into four basic types: numerical computation,
numerical estimation, numerical reasoning and data interpretation.
These questions involve the basic principles of arithmetic including: addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, percentages, ratios, fractions and decimals. To score well on these questions you will need to be able to make quick and accurate calculations without using a calculator. Download Numerical Ability Tests - Computation
Numerical estimation is key in many technical jobs where you need to quickly and accurately make estimates of material quantities etc. These questions require you to make quick estimates of the answers to straightforward numerical questions. You do not have time to actually calculate these answers because this will take up too much time and prevent you from answering enough questions to get a good score. Download Numerical Ability Tests - Estimation
These questions test your reasoning ability rather than your ability to do calculations. In other words, you need to work out how to get the answer rather than simply being told what calculations to apply. They invariably include some number series questions where you need to work out which number or numbers are missing from the series. They also include text based questions where a mathematical problem is posed in words and your task is to apply the necessary logic to find the answer. Download Numerical Ability Tests - Reasoning
Most management and supervisory jobs require you to interpret data presented in charts, tables and graphs in order to make day-to-day decisions. These tests commonly use: pie charts, line graphs, scatter-plots and tables of data which you need to interpret to answer the questions. The more complex questions may show the data in one format, for example a table, and a subset of this data in another format, for example a pie chart. To answer the questions you need to be able to cross reference these two elements in a logical way. Download Numerical Ability Tests - Data Interpretation
Numerical ability tests can be divided into tests of simple
numeracy, where it is obvious which arithmetic operations you need
to apply, and numerical reasoning tests where you are presented
with data and questions but the method required to answer the
questions is not obvious. In all cases you need to prepare by
practicing your mental arithmetic until you are both quick and
confident. Your score in the simple speed tests will be very much
influenced by your ability to add, subtract, multiply and divide
quickly and accurately.
Even though you will need to do fewer arithmetic operations in the reasoning tests, there is no point in working out how to arrive at the answer if you make a simple mistake when calculating it. Although you are allowed to use a calculator for some questions, you should make a habit of mentally estimating your answers as a way of checking them.
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Where can I get sample numerical ability questions?
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Where can I get sample data interpretation questions?