Numerical Reasoning Tests

The term ‘numerical reasoning test’ is often used interchangeably with ‘numerical ability test’ and ‘numerical aptitude test’. There is no widely accepted definition of the difference between numerical ability and numerical aptitude and as far as psychometric tests are concerned the two terms are interchangeable. However the same does not apply to the term ‘numerical reasoning’ which does have a specific meaning. The term ‘numerical reasoning test’ should really only be used to describe a specific type of numerical test.

This is best explained as follows: there are basically two types of numerical questions that appear in psychometric tests. Speed questions are so easy that with unlimited time most people taking the test could answer them all successfully. However, the time allowed to complete the test is so short that even the most able person is not expected to finish. This means that the result depends on the number of correct answers made in the relatively short time allowed.


In contrast, a power test contains questions that vary in difficulty and no one is expected to get all of the answers correct even with unlimited time. In practice, a definite but ample time is set for power tests.

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 computationnumerical estimationnumerical reasoning and data interpretation.

Numerical Speed Tests – Computation and Estimation
Numerical computation and numerical estimation are ‘speed’ questions. These questions involve basic 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.

Numerical Power Tests – Numerical Reasoning and Data Interpretation
A numerical reasoning test is a power test rather than a speed test because the questions require you to interpret the information provided and then apply the appropriate logic to answer them. In other words, you need to work out how to get the answer, rather than just doing the necessary calculations. 

Preparing for a Numerical Reasoning Test
If you are told that you need to sit a numerical reasoning test as part of the job selection process and you want to prepare for it properly, then you should ask which type of questions it contains. Specifically, is it just numerical reasoning or does it also contain data interpretationcomputation or estimation questions. Once you have the answer to this question you can run through the free downloadable practice papers on this website to give yourself the best chance of success in the real test.

Sample Numerical Reasoning Test 

Identify the missing number at the end of the series.

1) 3, 11, 19, 27, ?

  • A) 33

  • B) 35

  • C) 37

  • D) 39

  • E) 41

2) 3, 6, 11, 18, ?

  • A) 24

  • B) 25

  • C) 26

  • D) 27

  • E) 28

3) 516, 497, 478, 459, ?

  • A) 436

  • B) 440

  • C) 438

  • D) 452

  • E) 442

Identify the missing number within the series.

4) 33, ?, 19, 12, 5

  • A) 31

  • B) 26

  • C) 29

  • D) 27

  • E) 24

5) 11, 19, ?, 41, 55

  • A) 31

  • B) 29

  • C) 26

  • D) 39

  • E) 34

6) 98, 94, ?, 70, 38

  • A) 89

  • B) 85

  • C) 86

  • D) 87

  • E) 88

7) Identify the missing number: 7&5, 6&4, 49&25, 16&?

  • A) 41

  • B) 36

  • C) 35

  • D) 18

  • E) 37

8) Identify the missing number: 4&35, 14&26, 11&73, 34&?

  • A) 51

  • B) 56

  • C) 45

  • D) 55

  • E) 52

9) It costs a manufacturer X dollars per component to make the first 1,000 components. All subsequent components cost X÷3 each. When X = $1.50 How much will it cost to manufacture 4,000 components?

  • A) $3,500

  • B) $3,000

  • C) $4,000

  • D) $3,250

  • E) $4,500

10) A train traveling at 60 mph enters a tunnel that is 5 miles long. The train is one mile long. How many minutes does it take for the whole train to pass through the tunnel?

  • A) 7

  • B) 4

  • C) 10

  • D) 5

  • E) 6

11) In the Shelbyville election, the Republican candidate received one and a half times as many votes as the Democrat candidate. The Democrat candidate received one third more votes than the Independent candidate. 900 votes were cast for the Independent candidate. How many votes were cast for the Republican candidate?

  • A) 900

  • B) 1,400

  • C) 1,600

  • D) 1,000

  • E) 1,800

12) Anna and John both drive to their new home 400 miles away. Anna drives the family car at an average speed of 60 mph. John drives the removal truck at an average speed of 50 mph. During the journey, Anna stops for a total of 1 hour and 20 minutes, John stops for half as long. What is the difference in minutes between their arrival times?

  • A) 60

  • B) 55

  • C) 40

  • D) 90

  • E) 80

Preparing for a Numerical Reasoning Test
Numerical reasoning tests are an increasingly popular way of assessing candidates during the job selection process. Many people who have been out of the education system for a while or who don’t use maths on a day-to-day basis feel intimidated by these types of test. The important thing to remember is that you don’t need to have studied mathematics to a high level to succeed. These are primarily tests of reasoning ability and the math needed is invariably straightforward. Although you may need to get back up to speed with percentages, ratios, proportions, fractions and decimals. 

You will usually be allowed to use a calculator for these types of question and investing in one which can handle fractions and percentages is a good idea. You should also try to work through a few numerical computation practice papers to get back into swing of these types of calculation. 

These sample question papers each contain 22 questions and have a suggested time limit of 20 minutes. The questions are presented in Letter/A4 format for easy printing and self-marking. 

Download Numerical Reasoning Test - Practice Test 1

Answers to Numerical Reasoning Questions 

  • 1) B

  • 2) D

  • 3) D

  • 4) B

  • 5) B

  • 6) C

  • 7) B

  • 8) D

  • 9) B

  • 10) E

  • 11) E

  • 12) C

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