A Guide to the SHL Calculation Test - With Practice Questions
Shlomik Silbiger

Shlomik, SHL Test Expert at JobTestPrep.

Have a question? Contact me at: ask_the_team@jobtestprep.com

What Is a Calculation Test?

A Calculation Test is any numerical assessment that requires performing quick and efficient mental arithmetic. The math itself is typically nothing more complex than basic operations, but the challenge is keeping up with the time constraint.

Performing calculations without digital assistance requires mapping out the path to a solution and using mathematical tricks and shortcuts, without which it becomes very difficult to finish each question in time. Therefore, the test measures your problem-solving ability, numerical intuition, accuracy, and performance under pressure.

💡 Besides SHL, a math calculation test is provided by Optiver, TestGorilla, Procter and Gamble's Digit Challenge,  and others.

What Is the SHL Calculation Test?

The SHL Calculation Test is a multiple-choice mental math test provided by SHL and is often used to assess candidates for positions in industries such as nursing, police, and more.

Below, you can find an in-depth look at the assessment, including free SHL Calculation Test Examples. Here is a rundown of the important aspects of this test.

  • The test is brief: it contains 20 questions to be solved in 6 minutes.
  • Each question is timed individually, with 18 seconds per question (!)
  • The questions are multiple-choice, with 5 options each. This allows for elimination and other methods.
  • You cannot go back once a question is solved or the timer runs out.
  • Calculators are not allowed on the exam.
  • The test is sometimes referred to as the SHL Verify Calculation Test.

SHL Calculation Test Practice

The questions on the assessment are all structured as a single-variable equation. The variable is marked using a question mark (?), and you must choose its value from five possibilities.

The questions on this particular SHL numerical reasoning test are usually limited to basic math operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division). They focus on the candidate's ability to strategize and cope with the strict time limits rather than on knowledge of complex math.

Below, we will explore free sample problems. More are available on our pack.

Gain Access to SHL-Style Online Mathematics Calculation Questions, With Full Solutions and Explanations

Excelling at this type of assessment requires practice. Our SHL PrepPack allows you to solve numerous questions.

Additionally, each question features a solution that reveals shortcuts and tricks you may have missed. By the course's completion, our goal is for numerical proficiency and intuition to become second nature.

The pack covers the Calculation Test, as well as all other SHL tests - including the SHL Personality Test.

Learn about the SHL Prep Course

SHL Calculation Test - Example Questions and Answers

Let’s dive into sample questions and answers for the SHL Calculation Test.

Sample Question #1

Solve the following equation:

132 × 8 : ? = 88

A. 6
B. 8
C. 10
D. 12
E. 16
Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

Let’s divide the solution into discrete steps.

Step #1: we observe that ? must be greater than 8. This is because the phrase [8:?] must be less than 1. If it is higher than 1, multiplying it by 132 will produce a higher number, but 88 is lower than 132. For [8:?] to be less than 1, the denominator must be larger than the numerator. Hence, ? > 8.

This allows us to rule out A and B.

Step #2: With three options remaining, we realize plugging the middle one into the equation is all we actually need to do.

The middle option is D (12), as it is higher than C (10) and lower than E (16). Once we solve for 12, one of three things can happen:

  • The result is exactly 88, indicating that D is the correct answer.
  • The result is lower than 88. This means [8:12] is too low. To be higher, the denominator must be lower, which only leaves C (10).
  • The result is higher than 88. This means [8:12] is too high. To be lower, the denominator must be higher. This only leaves E (16).

Step #3: plugging option D into the equation will give us 132 x 8 : 12. [8:12] can easily be simplified to [2:3]. The fact that this plug gives us a “clean” fraction indicates we are on the right path.

132 x 2 : 3 = 88

Since the result is exactly 88, we know that the answer is D!

Tip: The solution here requires you to be comfortable enough with fractions to immediately notice shortcuts. This is achievable with a bit of theory, and a lot of practice. Brush up on your fractions. If possible, memorize the multiplication table so you can quickly recognize when numbers are easily divisible, streamlining the path to a solution.

Sample Question #2

Solve the following equation:

48 x 15 – 60 + ? = 778

A. 50
B. 52
C. 54
D. 56
E. 58
Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

Solving for 48 x 15 can take quite some time, most candidates will find they are unable to do this within 18 seconds.]

Let us use a shortcut to arrive at the correct answer: the Last Digit Method.

This method involves figuring out the first digit (the “ones” place) of the answer. In an open-ended math question, that won’t be enough. However, looking at the options here reveals that each answer option ends in a different digit, which means knowing the last digit of the answer will only leave one possible solution.

  1. Start with the multiplication. The product of 48 and 15 will necessarily end in the digit 0, because 8 x 5 are 40.
  2. Moving on to the subtraction: a number ending in 0 minus 60 will necessarily end in 0 too, because 0 – 0 is 0.
  3. We now know that a number ending in 0 plus ? will give us 778. Therefore, ? must end in 8.

This means the only possible answer is E (58).

Tip: Time is the most stressful aspect of this test. Not only because it forces you to find resourceful ways of solving the questions, but also because the very pressure can stunt you. It is crucial to familiarize yourself with the assessment, thus reducing test anxiety.

Preparing for Other SHL Assessments

SHL is a major provider of common aptitude tests for employers. This page focuses on their calculation test. However, they also provide a longer, more comprehensive SHL Numerical Reasoning Assessment. Other Cognitive Assessments include the SHL Mechanical Reasoning Test, the SHL Checking Test, and the SHL Verbal Reasoning Test. SHL is also the owner of the AMCAT Employability Test.

SHL also provides a personality test known as the Occupational Personality Questionnaire.

SHL test scores are unique in that they employ percentile scores rather than absolute scores. Thus, your grade represents your rank amongst other test takers.

You can learn more about your SHL Assessment or take a free SHL practice test online.

Play SHL Explainer Video
SHL Explainer Video

Pass the SHL Numerical Calculation Test

If you are concerned about the 18-second time limit, you can use our practice pack to ensure preparedness. It includes:

  • Both timed and untimed practice tests, so you can start stress-free and build on the pressure when you feel ready.
  • Guides and explanations covering ratios, percentages, division, and more.
  • Video tutorials and written study guides – filling you in on the theory behind the test and ensuring you have the knowledge required.
  • Practice tests by topic – allowing you to isolate specific math skills that need improvement.
  • Full solutions – including tips, hacks, and shortcuts to help you minimize your response time.
  • Full simulations – mimicking the real testing conditions and familiarizing you with the assessment.

Learn to perform calculations with ease. Ace your hiring process and land that job!

Read about the SHL Prep Course


Can you use a calculator on the SHL Calculation Test?

The test does not allow the use of a calculator, as that would negate the point of assessing your mental math skills.

What is a good score on the SHL Calculation Test?

Like all SHL assessments, you are ranked against a norm group and given a score based on your percentile. You get an A for being in the top 10% of test-takers. This is considered a very good score.

How do I pass the SHL Calculation Test?

Practice. Knowing the math is not enough. Success on this test is dependent on your ability to swiftly identify and utilize shortcuts. This is a skill that can be acquired by doing.

SHL and any other trademarks mentioned on this page are the property of their respective trademark owners. The use of their name here is for educational purposes and is not intended to suggest endorsement or affiliation.
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