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As a physics student who studied Further Maths at A-level, I thought that the numerical reasoning test – which you have to take as part of the NAO’s online application form – would be a breeze for me! I quickly learnt, though, that even on a subject I am comfortable with, aptitude tests have their own […]

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How to prepare for the numerical reasoning test

Posted on November 14, 2014 by

NumbersAs a physics student who studied Further Maths at A-level, I thought that the numerical reasoning test – which you have to take as part of the NAO’s online application form – would be a breeze for me! I quickly learnt, though, that even on a subject I am comfortable with, aptitude tests have their own set of rules; luckily I found this out by failing one for a company that wasn’t the NAO.

After this setback, I quickly made my way down to the careers department at my university to see if they had any useful material. I was in luck as there was a whole shelf of books related to aptitude tests. My favourites, as I recall them, were:

  • The Numeracy Test Workbook: Everything You Need for a Successful Programme of Self Study Including Quick Tests and Full-length Realistic Mock-ups (Testing Series) by Mike Bryon.
  • Brilliant Numeracy Tests: Everything You Need to Know to Pass Numeracy Tests (Brilliant Business) by Rob Williams.

I found these useful as I like to practise questions from a book, though there are many similar books available and most will contain appropriate questions. Many of my colleagues used online practice reasoning tests they found on the internet and they are adamant they are preferable to the books I used.

There are a couple of practice questions before you do the actual timed test, and there is also a free practice test offered by the NAO, my advice would be to take this opportunity. Most companies use similar questions for their aptitude tests so the more you do the easier you will find them.

Before you start panicking that many hours of practice will be needed, I merely used these as resources to dip into a few questions. After all, time for me was limited as I applied towards the end of November amid a flurry of university assignments and pre-Christmas deadlines.

I will summarise this blog in one line (so apologies to those who have read the whole thing), my top tip: a little practice goes a long way!


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3 responses to “How to prepare for the numerical reasoning test”

  1. Tim says:

    Yes the numerical reasoning tests can be tricky at times. I think when you first start doing them, they seem hard. As with anything, the more you practice, the more comfortable you will become. Take as many free practice tests as possible. There’s a good one at gradtests.com.au

  2. Ed says:

    In addition to the brilliant paperback books suggested in this article there are also a number of useful websites offering free information, practice tests and videos on various topics which will help with your preparation for taking employer tests.

    Practice Reasoning Tests – http://practicereasoningtests.com – offers comprehensive articles on Cubiks and SHL tests as well as more specific information on numerical, verbal and inductive reasoning tests. In-tray information is also available.

  3. Oscar says:

    Not sure if this will help but there is a good numerical reasoning test here: http://www.testdome.com/Aptitude-Tests
    It’s mostly used for screening purpuses when hiring candidates for a job.

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