Barclays Verbal Reasoning Test

Barclays looks for employees with a high verbal ability. Applicants have to pass a verbal test before being offered a position.

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Barclays use the following tests in their selection process:

  • Verbal reasoning test
  • Numerical reasoning test
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About Barclays Verbal Reasoning Tests

To ensure quality of its workforce, Barclays uses numerical and verbal ability testing in its recruitment process, testing objectively and fairly for abilities essential to career success in banking. Barclays’ graduate programs are open to all graduates, and numerical/verbal reasoning tests are a highly effective tool for testing ability, particularly when candidates do not have significant work experience, or have graduated with a non-relevant degree subject.

Barclays uses SHL for both their numerical and verbal tests. The function of the tests is to screen out candidates without adequate numerical and verbal ability, ensuring that only those suited to a career in banking progress with their application.

Verbal reasoning tests are a fair and objective way for Barclays to assess a wide range of applicants, each having different experiences and different qualifications. By analysing the results of a standardised verbal reasoning test, Barclays are able to quickly see which candidates are suitable for the role and which are not. This sort of information about candidates’ skills is difficult to glean from interviews and qualifications alone, so they use professional psychometric tests.

Often, Barclays will ask applicants to take a verbal test online, which you can take from home. When the verbal test is used early on in the application process like this you will have to achieve a minimum score before you progress to the next round (typically a score in the top 50% of applicants is required however this does vary role to role). Further along in the selection process you might be asked to attend an assessment centre or interview where you will be asked to sit a verbal test again. This is so Barclays can verify the person scoring highly in the test is indeed the person applying for the job.

Barclays Application Process Stages

Here is the typical process for your application to Barclays.

Stage 1


Applicants will be required to provide their contact details, education and work experience. Similarly, a CV will need to be uploaded as well; this is to ensure that the candidate meets the minimum entry requirements for their selected role.

Stage 2


Candidates will then need to undertake both a numerical and verbal reasoning test; both these tests are produced by SHL. Candidates will be informed upon completion if they have not met the entry requirements for the test they have undertaken.

Stage 3

Telephone Interview

Candidates that are successful in the testing stage then undertake a telephone interview, which will be competency based, and will assess your knowledge of the role and the organisation.

Stage 4

Assessment Centre

The final stage is at an assessment centre, in which candidates will undertake role play exercises, presentations and in-tray exercises to gage the candidate’s ability. Successful applications at stage 4 will be given an offer of employment from Barclays.

Buy Practice Verbal Tests

Our verbal practice test pack is suitable for preparing for the Barclays verbal reasoning exercise.

Verbal Test Pack (suitable for preparing for Barclays)

Prepare for all verbal tests including the Barclays verbal test. Includes 23 practice tests covering all major test publishers.

Excellent variety of practice tests ranging in difficulty levels. Really helped me feel prepared for, and pass, my actual online tests.

Barclays Verbal Reasoning Test Questions

Like most verbal tests, the one used by Barclays looks at your ability to interpret written information and answer questions which require verbal analysis of the content provided. The verbal test will be assessing your speed and accuracy. The answers are multiple choice and you should try to work quickly within the time limit, but also accurately. Negative marking is unlikely to be used but do not guess answers, as this will show up in your accuracy score. Sometimes you will find that you can make a best guess estimate by deducing that some of the answer options are incorrect. This approach to verbal tests will come with practice, and you will become familiar with the type of verbal tests used by companies such as Barclays.

Companies are using verbal reasoning test more and more in their application process that candidates must go through. verbal reasoning tests are favoured when the role being recruited for requires assessment and generation of written content on a regular basis. A person's score in a verbal reasoning test is a good indicator of their ability to work well with written information. This is very important in a variety of roles, especially those in which communication with colleagues and clients is routine.

Barclays use verbal reasoning tests as part of their recruitment process to help them select the best candidates for a particular role.

So as a graduate or senior candidate applying for a job at Barclays you might feel like the verbal reasoning test is an unnecessary hoop to jump through. But you should bear in mind that Barclays are asking you to complete the verbal test as much for your own benefit as theirs; if you are not suitable for the role, a psychometric test will usually identify this. Research has shown that psychometric tests, such as those used by Barclays, are a better predictor of job performance than traditional selection metrics such as level of degree achieved.

The passage of text given to you in a verbal reasoning test will contain the necessary information to answer the questions accompanying it. The passages are usually brief, often a paragraph, or two at most, made up of a few short sentences. Take the time to read the passage well. Skim-reading can lead to missing out details. The passage will be short enough that you can read it comfortably in the time limit given. You don't need to be a super-fast reader to pass a verbal reasoning test. One of the most important things to remember is that the test will not assume that you have specialist knowledge. All questions can be answered from the information given in the passage.

Most questions in most verbal reasoning tests follow a standard format displaying written information, the question and answer options on screen. These can be arranged differently, but each test will stick to the same layout throughout. The written information will be a blurb of text, but might not be adapted to suit a particular style. The language may be technical and succinct, or colloquial and informal, or may appear to be more like a section of prose. The question text may contain extra information which adds to what's already given, which might also be necessary to answer the question correctly. Lastly, the answer options are almost always a multiple choice of True / False / Cannot say. Multiple choice answers can vary, however. You may have 5 options to pick from, which include the standard 3, but with a Probably False and Probably True added. The more answer options to pick from, the slimmer the chances are that you can obtain the correct answer by guessing.

Some publishers will have less subtle variations in their test from what's described here. Cappfinity for example, will ask you to rank the answer options by a particular criteria, or categorise different passages of text according to the style. Sometimes, in Saville Assessment tests, you may be asked to select which phrase from the options is true, or false, or referred to in the passage.

Answered questions

Yes. Barclays use verbal reasoning tests to assess applicants in the recruitment process. The practice tests we provide have been designed to mimic the verbal reasoning test's style to create an environment similar to the real assessment. This provides you with confidence that the questions you practice with us now are an accurate reflection of the real assessment.

The same difficulty as real tests. Generally real employer selection tests don't differ that much in terms of difficulty which is why they compare your score against norm groups. Our practice tests are pitched roughly at graduate level, but this means they are actually suitable for preparing for all levels of job: entry; apprentice; graduate; senior; director.

Yes, and PC, and Linux and smartphone and Android and...everything. Our practice tests will run on all systems and they are responsive so they will work well on tablets and smartphones too!

How many times can I take the tests?

Unlimited. You can take our practice tests as many times as you like; there is no limit. But to be honest, after taking the same test a few times you start to remember the answers, so that’s why we have lots of tests.

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