SHL Verbal Reasoning Practice Guide 2024
Shlomik Silbiger

Shlomik, SHL Test Expert at JobTestPrep.

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What Does the SHL Verbal Reasoning Test Entail?

The SHL Verbal Reasoning Test is an evaluation designed for individuals at the graduate level and beyond. It assesses your capacity to grasp written content and assess arguments presented within it. The assessment involves short passages conveying information, accompanied by statements offering three potential responses: true, false, or cannot say, often referred to as TFC.

Don’t have time to read? Watch this short video to see the exam’s highlights:

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💡 The SHL Verbal Test is one component of the SHL Verify G+ (Gnereal Ability Test), along with the SHL Numerical, SHL Inductive, and SHL Deductive tests.

How Do You Pass the SHL Verbal Reasoning Tests?

The three main difficulties candidates face when taking the SHL Verbal tests are:

It is a time-limited exam - you have to answer 30 questions in 19 minutes. Each question will take about 40 seconds.

Making assumptions based on your own knowledge instead of sticking only to what's stated in the passage.

As the texts are not easily digestible and include advanced vocabulary, you might find this test more challenging if English is your second language.

The following example reflects the format and difficulty level of the actual Verbal Reasoning test:

The European Commission [EC], the executive body of the EU, has re-adopted a decision to fine Mitsubishi Electric Corporation, together with Toshiba Corporation, for their participation in a cartel on the markets for gas-insulated switchgears. This was after part of the original decision was annulled by the European General Court [EGC] for a breach of equal treatment in the setting of the two companies' fines. The EGC had annulled the fines even though the Commission’s findings were upheld because in setting the fines the Commission had used sales figures for a different reference year than for other cartelists. Today's decision ensures that Mitsubishi and Toshiba receive an appropriate fine for their participation in the cartel; the newly imposed fines are calculated on the basis of the same parameters as in the original decision, with the exception of the reference year. 

The European Commission revised its original decision, once the EGC gave its ruling.

A. True

B. False

C. Cannot Say.

Answer and explanation:

The text states that the EGC annulled the part of the original EC decision regarding fines. As a result, while the EC re-adopted the original decision, it changed the fines imposed on the companies.
Thus, the statement is TRUE.

What Types of Questions Can I Be Expecting on The Test?

The test is available in two versions: CEB SHL Verbal Reasoning Test and SHL Verify Verbal Reasoning Test.

In spite of CEB being an older version, they both use the same type of questions (TFC), have the same time limit, and have the same number of questions. In reality, they don't differ much.

An overview of True/False/Cannot Say questions:

  1. TRUE statements are logically deduced from the facts and ideas presented in the passage.
  2. In a FALSE statement, information or opinions are logically incorrect.
  3. CANNOT SAY should be selected if the statement cannot be determined from the text.

The following is an example of a TFC question:

Founded in 2002 in Petaluma, 65 kilometers north of San Francisco, HydroPoint has engineered what appears to be the most sophisticated weather-based irrigation system among a growing list of competitors. The company built its primary climate-modeling center outside of Salt Lake City, programming a supercomputer to simulate local weather for every square kilometer across North America—all just to water the grass. The center communicates via a two-way satellite link with control boxes that operate distinct zones of a client's irrigation system. Wires running underground from the outdoor boxes open and close valves in the water lines. Every night the climate center broadcasts local weather-related data to a microprocessor inside each controller, which runs software that uses the information to compute precisely how much and when to water its zones, customized to one of 18 plant types as well as other factors like soil type and ground slope.

HydroPoint's computerized irrigation system is based on theoretical climate-modelling data and not on live weather broadcasts.

Is the statement:

1. True
2. False
3. Cannot say

Answer and explanation:

The climate centre in: "Every night the climate centre broadcasts local weather-related data," relates to the "climate-modelling centre outside of Salt Lake City" which succeeded in "programming a supercomputer to simulate local weather". We can infer that HydroPoint's irrigation system uses the simulated data from the supercomputer rather than live weather reports. The fact that microprocessors receive the data the night before, further supports the statement.

Therefore the answer is TRUE.

Would you like to see more sample questions? Take our free SHL-style Verbal Reasoning test.  

Passing the SHL Verbal Reasoning Test

By practicing beforehand, you'll have a better chance of passing the test.

You can prepare for the test by practicing reading and analyzing text at advanced levels (under immense time pressure).

It will also get you more used to the idea of counting only on facts provided by the text, rather than your own knowledge (even in situations when the stated facts are wrong).

As a result, you will be able to manage your time effectively and avoid simple mistakes.

To practice the SHL Verbal Reasoning Test accurately, there are two options available today:

  • SHL's Direct Verbal Reasoning practice tests.
  • Complete JobTestPrep SHL Verbal Practice Preparation

What Are the Drawbacks of Relying only On SHL for Practice?

SHL Direct, Candidates usually find the official SHL practice site attached to their assessment invitation email as the first practice option.

It offers a limited number of example questions (without answers and explanations) and 1 practice test. This practice option, however, comes with three immediate problems:

  1. The practice test's time limit and difficulty level do not simulate the real test (SHL even mentions that the difficulty level is different). Thus, you can't really rely on that to predict your performance on the real test.
  2. The score report you get is useless since it just shows how many questions you answered correctly or incorrectly, without specifying which ones.

  3. Neither feedback nor explanations are provided on how to improve your skills moving forward. This means that you cannot learn how to correctly answer the questions correctly or why you answered some questions incorrectly. 

For a practice plan that is modeled after the actual test and demonstrates proven approaches to solving TFC questions, here is a good option:

JobTestPrep’s Complete SHL Verbal Reasoning Preparation

Only JobTestPrep offers a comprehensive and accurate preparation for the SHL Verbal Reasoning test.

After you sign up, you'll receive:

  1. We provide you with 270 SHL-style Verbal Reasoning questions that follow the exact difficulty level, time limits, and format of the actual test.
  2. Answers with step-by-step solutions, study guides, and video tutorials explain how to solve TFC questions quickly and accurately.
  3. To boost your chances of reaching the top percentiles, we have included 10 extra TFC practice tests.

As part of the complete SHL Preparation, you'll also get practice tests for the Numerical, Inductive, and Deductive SHL Tests. 

Instant Access & Money-back guarantee

SHL’s Verbal Reasoning Test Scores Explained

Verbal reasoning scores on the SHL are comparative. Essentially, they are compared to a group of candidates who have similar educational backgrounds and have previously taken the test.

The employer uses these comparative scores to determine where you rank among that group based on your percentile result.

For example, if you score in the 70th percentile, that means that your score is higher than 70% of the applicants in the group.

Now, you might wonder how you can calculate your average or pass mark on the verbal SHL reasoning test.

Pass marks and average scores for SHL are kept secret, and they differ between positions and employers.

However, experience tells us that getting a score in the 80th percentile will be enough to pass.

Upon completing the test, some candidates receive a feedback report from SHL. Your score is broken down into grades and percentiles, and its meaning is shown:

Grade Meaning Percentile
A Well above the norm 90-100
B Above the norm 70-89
C Average 30-69
D Below the norm 10-29
E Well below norm 0-9

SHL Verbal Reasoning Test Tips, Tricks, and Techniques

The most important thing to remember is that personal general knowledge and ideas should not be taken into account when answering questions.

Only the information in the text should be used to answer the questions. To bypass your bias, imagine the phrase 'according to the passage' before each statement.

Beware of generalizations.

The process of generalizing involves taking an idea stated in the text and making it a "general rule".

For example, if the passage mentions that some lawyers quit their jobs because they are dissatisfied, and the statement reads, ‘Lawyers leave their jobs out of dissatisfaction’, the answer would be ‘Cannot Say’;

The reason is that the passage only discusses 'some' lawyers, whereas the statement generalizes all lawyers.

Keep details to a minimum.

A generalization is the exact opposite of this. General statements should not be used to support specific ideas.

For example, if the sentence is "lawyers left their job at the company because they were unhappy" and the statement is "the lawyers who resigned their job at the company were unhappy because they worked long hours," the correct answer would be ‘Cannot Say’.

The passage didn't provide you with any details regarding whether the statement is true. It is possible that those lawyers did not have a problem with the long hours but rather with another issue, such as workload.

Do not assume causality.

The text contains statements that are not necessarily cause-and-effect related. This is one of the most common tricks used to get you to choose ‘True’ over ‘Cannot Say’.

Just because some of the lawyers are unhappy, and some of them quit their jobs, it does not mean the two are related. Consequently, the answer would be 'Cannot Say' if the statement were 'Some lawyers quit their jobs because they are unhappy'.

Relationship keywords are important.

It is often more important to analyze the relationships between text parts than the content itself in TFC questions. Exclusion, inclusion, negation, etc., are examples of these words.

Qualifiers are important.

As with relationship keywords, qualifiers provide information about the context of a statement. As an example, they can indicate whether generalizations are possible (all/none, always/never) or not (few/some, many/most).

SHL only counts your correct answers.

Wrong answers do not carry penalties (unless otherwise stated in the test instructions). Therefore, it is crucial that you answer all questions. If you don't know the answer, try to guess it.

Preparing for Other SHL Assessments

SHL is a leading publisher of pre-employment aptitude tests worldwide. Its tests, including the SHL Numerical Reasoning Assessment,  SHL Mechanical Reasoning Test, the SHL Calculation Test, and the SHL Checking Test, have been shown to have high validity.

SHL tests are not limited to cognitive assessments but also offer a personality assessment called the Occupational Personality Questionnaire.

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

SHL, CEB, and other trademarks are the property of their respective trademark holders. None of the trademark holders are affiliated with JobTestPrep or this website.
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