Understanding Numerical Reasoning Tests
Numerical reasoning tests are not meant to test your mathematical skills. For that purpose, there are quantitative aptitude tests. These tests measure a candidate’s ability to analyze, interpret and draw logical conclusions that are based on the numerical data given. Thus, understanding numerical reasoning tests is important
In today’s world, all organisations are privy to huge amount of data that, if analyzed properly, can help achieve better business goals. Thus, companies are looking for people who have good analytical skills and ability to analyze data—both numerical and subjective.
In such Tests, candidates are provided with information in the form of graphs and tables that project different situations. Each situation is followed by a number of questions relating to the information given. The candidates are required to decide the correct answer to each question solely on the basis of the given numerical information.
A crucial point to be noted here is that these tests have time limits and are designed in such a way that only about two to three per cent of the test-takers can correctly answer all the questions in the given time.
Since these are not maths test, calculators are allowed to be used. However, it is advised to check before taking the exam if use of calculator is allowed.
Numerical Reasoning Tests are used by recruiting agencies/employees to find if the candidate is:
- capable of efficiently and effectively identifying critical business-related issues based on logically drawn conclusions from the given numerical data;
- capable of efficiently monitoring performance and progress based on numerical metrics;
- capable of clearly presenting issues in forms of charts and tables to the higher management and clients.
The level of these exams is set on the basis of benchmarks set for different jobs. For example, candidates applying for a post-graduate role are expected to have stronger numerical capabilities than those applying for a graduate job. Similarly, level of such Tests will be easier for marketing executive jobs vis-à-vis Engineering or managerial jobs.
The level of difficulty is generally defined using three dimensions – amount of data (some questions only offer the data you need to get to the answer, but others have much more data that is used to distract your attention and consume time), time limitation (a test at a higher level of difficulty will allow you less time for each test question) and complexity of data (number of transformations or calculations you need to do to find the answer).
The only way to prepare for such Tests is to practice, practice, and more practice. Your being good at maths will be an advantage but you will still encounter a number of hurdles that you would be able to tackle only if you have practiced well.
To practice, you can take online tests on offer as also use various reasoning test books.
In most cases, there is no ‘passing’ marks for such tests. A candidate’s result is calculated relative to that of other people in similar roles. This means that even if you correctly answered most of the questions, your result may still be lower than that of other people in similar roles. For example, a candidate correctly answers 24 of 30 questions. However, other people in similar roles, on average, answer correctly 26 of 30 questions. This means that your ‘good result’ is actually a ‘bad result’ because it’s lower than the average result.
Point to remember: Such tests are not something that you can learn by reading a book or simply taking tuition classes. To master these tests requires a combination of practice, concentration and knowledge of test-taking strategies.