How to Pass SHL Inductive Reasoning Test?

As one of the most popular aptitude test providers, SHL inductive reasoning test is frequently used as a crucial part of the assessment process by recruiters to determine candidates’ suitability for required positions.

In this article, you will go through an overview of the SHL inductive reasoning test, along with examples, tips and tricks to pass the test with flying colors.

What is SHL inductive reasoning test?

SHL inductive reasoning test is a psychometric assessment tool powered by SHL to measure the candidates' ability to draw inferences and understand the relationships among abstract pieces of information (images, non-verbal information, etc.)

This test predicts the candidate’s future potential to work flexibly and find solutions to unfamiliar situations. Successful test takers of the inductive reasoning test often possess a better capacity to think conceptually and analytically.


When do you have to take SHL inductive reasoning test?

SHL inductive reasoning test is used to select candidates who own the ability to solve complex and unfamiliar problems and think conceptually. Therefore, it could be seen in the assessment process for positions in different levels, especially the managerial positions, in various industries: engineering, e-commerce, banking & finance, law & legal, consulting, etc.

Numerous companies use the SHL inductive reasoning test in their pre-interview assessment, such as Generali, Lazada, Deloitte, Bayer, Microsoft, etc. 


SHL inductive test formats

SHL currently provides 2 types of test formats for the inductive reasoning test, which are:

  • SHL Verify G+ inductive reasoning test (Interactive)
  • SHL Verify G+ inductive reasoning test (Non-Interactive)

The types of format which you would encounter in your aptitude assessment varies from company to company. Since this kind of information is not public, you should ask some previous candidates for some references. But it’s best to prepare for both types.


SHL inductive test vs. SHL deductive test

These two tests are sometimes confused by the test takers since they are both used to assess logical reasoning ability. Let’s look at the comparison below


Common question types in SHL inductive reasoning test

In SHL inductive reasoning test, some common types of questions you would likely encounter are: Complete the non-verbal series, Identify the feature in common, and Complete non-verbal matrix.

Complete the non-verbal series

This type of question requires you first to identify the common rule shared by a series of shapes. Then, you must decide which of the suggested answers is the next step or the missing step in the series with that logic. This is the most prevalent type of question in the SHL inductive reasoning, included in both versions, Interactive and Non-interactive.

There are common types of logic to create these patterns, such as rotation, mirroring, flipping, replacement, swapping, side/shape changing (by division, multiplication, addition, subtraction), and trends (constant, increasing, decreasing). etc.

Let’s look at the examples of a Complete non-verbal series question in the Non-interactive and Interactive Version.

Source: SHL Direct

Correct answer: A



There are three elements: triangle, circle, and cross.


All elements follow the movement rule.
1. The triangle moves along the diagonal line of the square with an upward trend.
2. The circle moves to the right of the square.
3. The cross moves to the left of the square.
Then the missing answer is A.

Identify the feature in common

The question requires you first to identify the feature sample shapes have in common and then choose from the suggested answer shapes the answer that shares that feature. This type of question only appears in the Non-interactive version of the SHL inductive test.

Source: SHL Direct

Correct answer: D



Four different colors are filled in the shapes. Then we consider these as four elements of the questions.


The black rectangle is the center. The color is reflected symmetrically through the black one. 
Then the question mark is D.

Complete the non-verbal matrix

This type of question requires you to identify the missing shape in the whole matrix. The shape of the matrix can be varied (square, rectangle, circle, star, polygonal, etc). Non-verbal matrix questions appear mainly in the Non-interactive/Standard Multiple-Choice Question version of SHL inductive test.

Source: SHL Direct

Correct answer: B



There are six elements: black square, black triangle, white triangle, white circle, black circle and asterisk.


The elements share the same rule: the sum of the same shapes equals to 6.
The missing answer is B.

Letter & Number series

This question type requires test takers deduce the pattern in a number/letter sequence and drag the line to make the sequence. Letter & Number series only appear in the Interactive Version of the test.. Here is an example of Letter & Number series question.

Source: SHL Direct

Correct answer: 6776 - 7887 - 8998 - 9009 - 0110 - 1221


The two middle digit plus 1 after each bubbles, and the same to the two digits at both ends. 
When it reaches 9, it plus 1 to become 0 (as in 9 + 1 = 10)
So we can see that the correct sequence: 6776 - 7887 - 8998 - 9009 - 0110 - 1221


Tips and tricks for inductive reasoning questions

Learn the most common patterns

In the inductive reasoning test, test makers frequently use some common patterns. The trick for you is to familiarize yourself with as many types of patterns as possible.

Only look at one aspect of a shape (or one sub-pattern) at a time

Within any logical reasoning question, there will normally be numerous objects with distinct patterns. You should focus on figuring out the pattern of one object at a time, following it through to the end, and eliminating any answer options that don’t fit.

Use the elimination method

In the elimination method, you can rule out one answer option at a time until only one is left, so it must be the correct answer. This could work when you are confused between two answers or have a hard time figuring out the pattern.


Is SHL inductive reasoning test hard?

One of the comments from test takers about the inductive reasoning test is the test complexity and the time pressure. It is easy to understand since you haven’t been taught how to solve these in high school, and some questions look like they have no logic behind them. Here are some of the reasons that make the inductive reasoning test challenging.

Tricky elements in the abstract patterns

Commonly, the elements in the abstract pattern will determine the test difficulty. Test makers often confuse the candidates by “making diversion” - one set of elements can lead to a different logic, but only one logic is correct.

Next, the quantity of elements in the pattern also affects the difficulty level: the more element types there are, the more time you have to spend to find the logic.

Source: SHL Direct

Pressure while taking the test

SHL inductive reasoning test, like every test of SHL, used the percentile scoring system to determine the candidate’s performance in the test. The passing percentile varies based on the performance of those who take the test with you. Typically, the passing percentile from most employers is 80%. You need to be of the very best candidates to pass this round.

Time limit also contributes significantly to the candidates' performance. To finish the question on time, you need to finish within 70 seconds per question. (ABOUT ONE MINUTE TO CRACK A COMPLICATED LOGIC TEST).


How to prepare for SHL inductive reasoning test?

Practice with SHL’s sample practice site

When you have passed the initial CV/resume screening round, you will receive an email from the recruiters about the SHL test. SHL provides a link to SHL Direct - SHL’s practice site containing several sample tests. However, there are some disadvantages of this feature

  • The invitation email doesn’t inform you which version of SHL you should prepare for the aptitude test (interactive or non-interactive)
  • Only for the non-interactive version returns the score and does not specify the right or wrong answer in your test, as well as there are no explanations for the questions.
  • SHL Direct’s practice tests include only a small fraction of the actual question types. Some of the questions’ difficulty level is easier than the real test. SHL even mentions that on their page by saying that the practice tests’ level may not reflect the real thing.

This is hard for you to learn from your mistakes and grasp a basic understanding of how to solve the inductive reasoning Question. Therefore, it is advisable you seek sources or prep with adequate guidance and various question types.

Master SHL inductive reasoning test with MConsultingPrep

MConsultingPrep offers the inductive reasoning test package with 400+ questions with a detailed explanation of the logic behind it, accompanied by a thorough Study Guide to introducing you to the most common logic patterns of inductive reasoning among the prevalent test providers and how to master each of them.

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