Category Archives: shl test

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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How to prepare for SHL reasoning tests

Being unemployed for a long period of time degrades the morale, especially if you are qualified and deserving. Coping up with the feeling of being unemployed is very difficult and a lot of candidates find it as a strenuous process.  You need to move in the right direction to let an opportunity to knock at your door. And, the first toward a dream job is preparing for the SHL aptitude tests. Did you know that more than 50% of job applicants are rejected at aptitude tests stage?

Three main test categories, namely, SHL numerical, verbal and logical reasoning tests are most commonly used by some of the largest companies in the world to compare the most relevant abilities in a candidate. If you are a graduate looking for a job opportunity, then you need to seriously devote time and prepare for the SHL tests because you need to achieve a desired level of performance to progress in the job recruitment process. The SHL tests include numerical reasoning, inductive reasoning, verbal reasoning, mechanical comprehension and spatial awareness. Coming out with flying colors in these tests is essential as it determines your capability in a given attribute, which is important for a job. Therefore, you need to thoroughly prepare for the reasoning tests. Hard work and practice should sail you to the next level.

  1. Understanding the test

Before starting the practice test, you need to understand the basic structure of the test and the number of questions in each category. Accordingly, you can maintain your speed and ensure that the majority of the questions are answered accurately.

Verbal reasoning test is used to assess the critical thinking and comprehension skills along with verbal abilities. A short text passage is followed by a statement and you need to evaluate it based upon the content of the passage. The time limit is usually 19 minutes for the set of 30 questions.

Numerical reasoning test is used to assess your comfort level with numbers. It assesses your ability to read and deduce answers from numerical, graphical, financial and statistical data. The test is made up of 18 questions and 25 minute time limit. You need to primarily focus on percentage, ratios, balance sheets, statistical analysis and graphical data.

Inductive (logical) reasoning test is used to assess the ability of an individual to draw conclusions and inferences based on a sequence of shapes and diagrams. You are given a set of 24 logical reasoning problems that must be answered within the 25 minute time limit.

Spatial Ability test is used to assess the ability to read, understand and manipulate 2 and 3 dimensional figures.

Mechanical Comprehension test is used to assess the ability to understand the basic mechanical principles.

You have now become well familiar with the SHL test. The next step of preparation is mastering the basics.

  1. Master the basics

If the foundation of a building is strong, the building will last for a long time, the same rule applies when preparing for SHL tests. Instead of memorizing the concepts, you need to thoroughly understand the concepts and master the basics. If the concepts are clear, you will save time and energy while answering the questions. Additionally, you will be able to understand the twists in the question and work accordingly. Apart from mastering the basics, you also need to focus on learning shortcuts to the solutions. Questions requiring intensive mathematical calculation can be answered accurately within fractions of second using shortcut methods. You also need to focus on interpretation of graphs as you might come across some similar questions. Other questions relating to mirror images, perspective, spatial reasoning cubes and organizing two dimensional shapes. Most mechanical reasoning questions are based on Newtonian mechanics and the calculation required in each is comparatively less. Focus on your weak areas and enhance your chances of clearing the initial round of a job recruitment process.

  1. Never spend too much time on a single question

Note that, on average, it takes half of the allocated time to understand each question, and the remaining half is spent on calculations. During the exam, if you are not able to understand a particular question, then move on to the next as soon as possible. It is futile to spend a lot of time on a single question when you are unable to crack it. You need to keep a track of the time because once if the time elapses, the test will cut-off and the remaining questions will be left unanswered. Therefore, never dwell too much time on a single question. Work and focus on answering the questions without distractions from others. A balance of speed and accuracy is the key to success. Read the question carefully before attempting because certain questions are tricky and requires careful analysis. Devote time on every answer and check before marking an option.

  1. Practice

Practice makes it perfect. The same applies when preparing for the SHL test. Practice as many as possible practice tests as possible to develop speed and accuracy. The sample question sets and the practice test material by Graduatemonkey.com are close approximations to actual SHL tests and will serve to prepare you for the real test. The video tutorials will help you understand the concepts, so that you will avoid making any mistakes while attempting the question paper. It is extremely important to practice in order to clear the test with a top score.

On the assessment day, go with a positive frame of mind because lack of confidence could have a detrimental effect on the way your brain will function during the test. The more you practice, the easier it will become to accurately answer the questions in the given span of time. Focus and believe in your abilities, you will surely clear the online test!