SHL vs Kenexa reasoning tests: what are the differences?

Kenexa (formerly PSL) and SHL are two very similar aptitude tests you are very likely to encounter if you apply for a graduate job, with more and more companies turning towards them to find the strongest candidates imaginable from the pool.

As an applicant there is nothing to be scared of, but it is always very important to be fully prepared for what lies ahead of you as your knowledge and skills will be put to test.

Generally, online aptitude tests come after the initial screening such as the application stage once the company weeds out the candidates which are surely not suitable, and aims to assess the individual’s maximum ability in the attributes that have been identified as important for a success role. Many companies are fielding SHL and Kenexa aptitude tests, and even if they have been created by different companies they have very few differences between each other.

Both SHL and Kenexa tests are, in practical terms, extremely similar as companies use them for the same purpose and using the same methods. They are relatively simple aptitude tests, which assess the necessary skills of an applicant.

SHL is a leading brand when it comes to not only aptitude tests but also different types of psychometric tests, and they are widely used by many different organisations. In terms of aptitude tests, SHL offers a wide range of different models but the main ones consist of numerical, verbal and logical abstract reasoning – the very same tests Kenexa offers. Kenexa on the other hand is a major provider focused on assessment tools which is also a very popular choice for a multitude of brands looking to hire new employees.

Both Kenexa and SHL are equally popular, yet have their differences which we will cover below.

A format overview

Generally speaking, both companies create tests split in three main categories. Others may be added  for specific jobs, but these are guaranteed to be there.

  • Numerical reasoning: This is designed to test your ability to understand and use numerical data, usually displayed in a graph or table. Here the candidate uses the information available to proceed and answer the questions. Kenexa gives its clients a bank of 174 different numerical type questions from which 20 are drawn and will be given to the candidate, who has a time margin of 20 minutes to answer all of them. SHL offers 18 questions which take 17 to 25 minutes to complete, as well as another 10 questions for verification purposes (at the Assessment Centre) which require another 14 to 15 minutes to complete.
  • Verbal reasoning: this is another type of test which both companies have to offer. Verbal reasoning tests evaluate the candidate’s ability to understand and critically evaluate passages of written information. Kenexa gives 20 minutes for the candidate to answer 24 questions, as there will be a paragraph of information followed by a statement. The statements will either be false, true or unable to say depending on the situation. SHL gives 30 questions first with 17 to 19 minutes to complete, then a second part of 18 questions with 11 minutes to complete.
  • Logical abstract reasoning: Here Kenexa gives applicants a series of shapes and symbols, where you will need to select the missing pattern in the sequence. They test a candidate’s ability to make correct conclusions and assumptions using the information which is provided. These are becoming more popular in the job application process. SHL also does these kind of tests, but theirs is made up of 24 questions with a total of 25 minutes to complete. Afterwards an additional 7 are given with a time limit of seven minutes.

The verdict

Although being extremely similar, you have probably noticed that Kenexa is fond of throwing an enormous amount of questions at its applicants. On top of that, the time given for applicants to answer Kenexa questions is markedly smaller. Having said that, if you face a Kenexa test, you will have the benefit of going back and forth as needed. Make use of this whenever possible to ensure all your answers are correct before moving on.

Numerous online tests are available from different sources including Kenexa and SHL themselves. However, if you want a proper test preparation packs with ebooks and tutorial videos then you can try Graduatemonkey.com. Graduates and professional job applicants recommend it.

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