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Practice SHL Verbal Reasoning: Test Sample & Guide

Oct 13, 2022

Practising SHL verbal reasoning can help you prepare for exams and improve your performance.

The SHL verbal reasoning test sample questions and guide offered by TestHQ provide an overview of the types of questions you can expect to see on the exam.

This guide includes tips and strategies for answering the questions, along with all the info you need to know.

This will help you become familiar with the format of the exam and the types of questions you will be asked.

If you’re applying for a position that requires verbal reasoning skills, you may be asked to take the SHL verbal reasoning test as part of the recruitment process.

Typically, companies that require this type of assessment interview only candidates who scored highly on the test.

This reduces time wasted on sorting out candidates, and the applicants can evaluate their verbal reasoning skills even if they won't or can't continue the application process.

If you’ve been asked to take the SHL verbal reasoning test, TestHQ can help with that.

This article provides plenty of practical advice, as well as several handy example questions to help you score highly on the SHL verbal reasoning test.


What Is the SHL Verbal Reasoning Test?

The SHL verbal reasoning test is a psychometric assessment used by companies that want to evaluate prospective employees according to their ability to comprehend written information.

Candidates are asked to read a short section of text and evaluate arguments based on it to see how well they understood the information they have read.

The arguments are presented as short statements, which the candidates must label as 'true', 'false' or 'cannot tell'.

The candidates must use their critical thinking skills to pick the correct answer.

When doing this, candidates must remember that the statements are always based on the text. Therefore, no outside knowledge should be used or is needed.


SHL Verbal Reasoning Test Example Questions

Here are some examples of the SHL verbal reasoning test, along with the correct resolutions for each one.

After trying these, access more sample questions on TestHQ.

Question 1:

Many companies benefit from hiring a temporary workforce during the in-demand seasons, such as the Christmas holidays. This allows permanent employers to go on vacation or at least be relieved of the increased workload.

Temporary employees get paid the same rate as regular staff, except for bonuses.

Statement 1: Temporary employees may finish the work the permanent staff started before going on a vacation.

a) True
Cannot say

Statement 2: During the holidays, temporary employees can enjoy the same benefits as the permanent staff.

a) True
Cannot say

The correct answers are:

Statement 1: True – When permanent employees take time off during the holidays, the leftover workload may contain unfinished projects. These may be given to temporary employees.

Statement 2: False – While temporary employees may be given the same responsibilities as the permanent staff, but are only paid a fixed rate. They don't get the benefits as the permanent staff.


Question 2:

Global events can affect the economy of all countries, regardless of their status of development. However, changes that become effective during these times may help revolutionize some industries, creating roles and practices, some of which may remain in use even after the events have passed.

Statement 1: Global events can have a strong impact on businesses across the globe.

a) True
b) False
c) Cannot say

Statement 2: Companies always choose to adopt beneficial practices they've developed during the events.

a) True
b) False
c) Cannot say

The correct answers are:

Statement 1: True – Global events can affect a variety of businesses across the globe.

Statement 2: Cannot Say – While businesses can adopt measures to remain afloat during the event, this doesn't mean they'll continue with this trend. Some companies may evolve and stick with their practices, while others may revert to their old strategies.


Question 3:

Climate change brought on by global warming is an enormous problem that many governments and companies need to address. Global environmental pollution, such as the high emission of greenhouse gasses, causes the melting of the ice sheets on the poles.

This can potentially endanger the human population, wildlife, and life on Earth as we know it. Companies worldwide can help prevent this by reducing their greenhouse gas emissions.

Statement 1: Lowering the production of greenhouse gasses is an efficient way of reducing the effects of global warming.

a) True
b) False
c) Cannot say

Statement 2: The ice around the poles is melting only because there is more production of greenhouse gases in these areas.

a) True
b) False
c) Cannot say

The correct answers are:

Statement 1: True – Greenhouse gas emissions are a major contributor to global warming, which means reducing them could slow down the process.

Statement 2: False – Gas emissions represent a problem on a global level. They lead to the rise in temperatures all over the world, and not just on the poles.

You can practise the SHL verbal reasoning test on TestHQ.


Access Practice Material With TestHQ

How did you do with the example questions? If you were stronger at some sections over others, focus your practice on where you need it most.

For a huge range of practice material, take advantage of the TestHQ  SHL verbal reasoning practice tests to access more than 800 questions and answers.

The package includes full solutions and explanations, so you can understand how to get to the correct answer and avoid those dreaded point deductions.


Why Is the SHL Verbal Reasoning Test Hard to Pass?

It’s a common belief that the SHL verbal reasoning test is hard to pass. However, there are several reasons that candidates might score low on the test to help you beat the odds:


Unique Skills

There are particular skills required to answer the questions correctly. Unfortunately, these skills aren't always the most obvious.

Many candidates think they have these skills when their understanding of verbal communication might actually be lacking.

Others may possess the necessary skills but fail to apply them appropriately when tested.

In either case, if candidates don't prepare for the test by practising it, they'll have a hard time obtaining a score high enough to compete with the other applicants.

Having the skills and simply sitting for the test hoping for the best won’t be enough to pass the SHL verbal reasoning test.

To give yourself the best chance of success, you need to practice. TestHQ has several practice tests for you to try out – why not take a look?



While there are several versions of the SHL verbal reasoning test, they all have a strict time limit.

Whether you have 30 questions that you have to answer in 19 minutes or 15 questions you need to resolve in 10 minutes, this puts enormous pressure on the candidates.

With no more than 45 seconds per question, many applicants will rush through the questions and answers, which inevitably leads to mistakes.

Others may try to avoid making mistakes, working too slowly and leaving too many questions unanswered on the test. While there is no penalty for wrong answers, each question left unanswered lowers the score drastically.

Once again, this is an issue of not practising enough, as the time limit is one of the most crucial aspects of practice.

So why not practice your verbal reasoning skills on TestHQ?


Using Prior Knowledge

Candidates often try to answer the questions based on their own knowledge rather than the information presented within the content.

One common issue is when candidates try to find references to information that isn't contained in the provided text.

Another problem candidates may encounter is that knowledge the candidates may think they have is entirely false.

Either way, this leads to misinterpretation of the texts, which makes it difficult to label the statements correctly. This is why the answers should only be based on the information provided in the texts.


Language Barrier

While not having English as the first language doesn't preclude candidates from taking the test, it certainly makes it harder for them to pass.

To select the correct statement, applicants must read the text and analyze it carefully, which isn't the easiest thing to do if they don't understand the text.

Some candidates will understand the main text but don't know how to draw their conclusions or summarize the facts so they can confirm or debunk the statements.

These are the mean reasons why those who do not speak English as their first language can sometimes struggle with these types of tests.


Types of SHL Verbal Reasoning Test

There are two types of SHL verbal reasoning tests. These are:

  • CEB SHL Verbal Reasoning Test
  • SHL Verify Verbal Reasoning Test

Both of these tests have a similar style and the same time limits.

The number and format of the questions may also be the same for both types. The only difference is that CEB SHL is an older version, often used to apply for in-person testing. Whereas SHL Verify Verbal Reasoning is more convenient for online testing.

That said, when it comes to scores and performance, it doesn't make a difference which test you get.

For both tests, your score will be compared to the results of other applicants.

Your eligibility will be decided based on how much better you did than your competition.

The second one is also more commonly applied within the SHL All Inclusive Aptitude Test package provided for companies that require a full-on evaluation of candidates for leadership-level positions.

Whichever test you need to take, you can practise the SHL verbal reasoning test on TestHQ.


How to Prepare for the SHL Verbal Reasoning Test

There are several ways that candidates can prepare for their SHL verbal reasoning test.

These include the following:


Practice with Online Samples

Online SHL verbal reasoning practice tests allow you to familiarize yourself with the type of questions and answers you can expect on real-life tests.

SHL verbal reasoning practice test answers will show you where you need to improve.

There are plenty of online sources for this test, and some even have the SHL verbal reasoning test free and a helpful guide on how to pass the test.

Others provide paid samples or even complete packages of different forms of questions. While these are more expensive, they can be a great investment in your professional development.

Why not take a look at some of the sample questions and packages TestHQ offers?

We provide passages of different lengths, so you can learn how to get through them efficiently, regardless of difficulty. 

Since the information you'll be using will come from these passages, knowing the type of texts you may expect can help you learn how to extract this information.

Plus, if English isn't your first language, going through the practice tests will help you perfect your understanding of it to the level required for passing the test.


Practice Timing 

SHL verbal reasoning practice is a good start for your preparation, but you'll also need to consider the strict time limit you'll be facing.

In most cases, you'll have 19 minutes to read all the passages, analyze them and correctly label the statements under them.

With less than a minute per question, the time for coming up with the right answers is extremely limited, especially considering that some texts will have extremely long paragraphs.

This means that when practising via the online samples, you'll also need to work on improving your speed and not just getting the SHL verbal reasoning answers.

Practising sticking to the given time limit is recommended for all candidates. This could mean a huge difference between passing the test or failing because you made too many mistakes or left too many questions unanswered.

If you have trouble managing your time within those 19 minutes during a mock test, you can start practising by giving yourself a slightly longer time limit. 

After that, you can slowly reduce your time frame as you gain more confidence in answering the question under the pressure of a time limit.


Forego Prior Knowledge

To avoid falling into the trap of using prior information, you should simply try to forget any prior knowledge of the subject you're reading about on the SHL verify verbal reasoning test.

Instead of trying to find references from your knowledge, you should concentrate only on the information you can discern in the snippets of text in front of you.

Remember, these tests aren't devised to test any knowledge you may possess.

Employers aren't interested in what you know about the topic presented on the test. They want to know how you apply your skills and knowledge in the grand scheme of things.

By using only the evidence in front of you to resolve a question correctly, you demonstrate your ability to comprehend verbal information.

This way, prospective employers will ensure you'll be able to employ your verbal reasoning skills in any given situation.


Physical and Mental Preparation

Being tired, hungry or thirsty can significantly reduce your performance on an aptitude test. This is because you rely on your best cognitive skills on these assessments.

To do that, you'll need to ensure your mind and body can perform at their best.

Make sure that you're well rested by sleeping at least seven hours the night before sitting for the test.

Also, avoid drinking alcohol for at least 24 hours before the test, as even small quantities are known to decrease cognitive functions. 

Drink plenty of water before the test so that you won't get thirsty during it. Eat a filling and nutritious meal about two hours before taking the exam.

This way, your blood sugar will be at optimal levels so that you won't be distracted by digestion or hunger.

All these healthy lifestyle choices are recommended not only for the preparation for the test. They are also good to implement in the long run because they can ensure your mind and body stays healthy and your cognitive functions remain optimal.


Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I prepare for the SHL verbal reasoning test?

You can receive information about preparing for the test in assessment centres and on the official SHL website.

You can also prepare with an SHL verbal reasoning practice test on other sites, try the ones on TestHQ.


How many questions are on the SHL verbal reasoning test?

The number of questions varies depending on the company policy and the skills that are being evaluated. The test can have as few as 18 questions and as many as 30. 

The time allocated according to the number of questions also ranges from 10 to 45 minutes.


What is the purpose of the SHL verbal reasoning test?

The SHL verbal reasoning test is part of the recruitment process for companies who want to assess their future employees' aptitude in understanding, comprehension, and evaluation of the written text.

The score is compared to the results of other applicants, so the second purpose of the test is to find the best applicants for the company.


What companies require taking the SHL verbal reasoning test?

SHL verbal and numerical reasoning tests are applied by companies who want to ensure their employees have adequate verbal comprehension skills to help grow the company. 

The brands that use it can evaluate where a candidate may need slight improvement even after hiring them, recruit candidates faster, and find the right fit for customer service roles.


Where can I find more sample questions for the SHL verbal reasoning test?

TestHQ offers plenty of options for sample questions for every type of aptitude test, including verbal reasoning. It has the largest selection of tests and provides a way to invest in your future.


What is a good score for the SHL verbal reasoning test?

The average score on this test is around 80%, but keep in mind that your score will be compared to the result of other candidates. You'll likely have to score 95% or upwards to better your competition.


What is the next step after taking the SHL verbal reasoning test?

If your score on the test is high enough compared to other candidates, and the hiring manager is satisfied with the rest of your application, you will likely be invited to a formal interview at an assessment centre. 

If you fail to score high, you'll not continue the application process, but depending on the company policy, you may reapply later.


Where can I find a complete guide for the SHL verbal reasoning test?

You can find a complete guide for the SHL verbal reasoning test on several test preparation websites, including Practice Reasoning, Assessment Center HQ and TestHQ

The Official SHL site also offers guides for all their assessment tests.


Final Thoughts

Despite its challenging nature, everyone can achieve a high score on the SHL verbal reasoning test. However, sitting for it won't be enough, even if you have developed verbal reasoning skills.

You'll need to prepare for taking the assessment within a restricted time limit and remain focused to score high.

Preparation includes taking online mock tests and mentally and physically preparing for the examination by getting enough rest and implementing healthy lifestyle habits.

 Related Reading - How to Prepare For SHL Numerical Reasoning Test

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