KPMG Verbal Reasoning Test

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Ben Hopgood Updated:

About KPMG verbal reasoning tests

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

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KPMG use the following tests in their selection process:

  • Verbal reasoning test
  • Numerical reasoning test
  • Logical reasoning test

As the third largest audit company in the UK, employment opportunities and places on KPMG’s graduate schemes are highly sought after. This requires KPMG to implement a comprehensive selection process, ensuring that only the most suitable candidates progress successfully and a high calibre of workforce is maintained throughout the firm. Psychometric testing is adopted from the beginning of the recruitment process, as a means of screening out candidates who lack the abilities necessary for a career in this area. Candidates are asked to complete a situational judgement test and if successful, they will then be instructed to complete verbal and numerical reasoning tests. This is typical of graduate level positions, although further tests may be required for higher level roles. Candidates are informed in advance as to which tests they will be required to take.

KPMG tests are provided by Cubiks and are specifically formulated for their use. KPMG also use SHL for their reasoning tests. The 10 key competencies KPMG look for in potential employees are: Business Focus, Delivers Quality, Drives Collaboration and Inclusion, Career Motivation, Strives for Continual Improvement, Exercises Professional Judgement, Makes an Impact, Seizes Business Opportunities, Demonstrates Innovation and Curiosity, and Resilience; so be sure to demonstrate these throughout the application and assessment process.

Verbal reasoning tests are a fair and objective way for KPMG to assess a wide range of applicants, each having different experiences and different qualifications. By analysing the results of a standardised verbal reasoning test, KPMG 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, KPMG 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 KPMG can verify the person scoring highly in the test is indeed the person applying for the job.

KPMG Application Process Stages

Stage 1


The whole application process will vary depending on the KPMG region you are applying to. Some of the stages may not apply, and some may appear in a different sequence. However, all will require that you complete an application form.

Stage 2


The online assessments include, situational judgement (SJT), numerical and verbal reasoning tests, which must all be completed within a week of them being sent to you. Ths SJT is expected to take half an hour to complete. Upon successfully passing the SJT will the numerical and verbal reasoning tests be sent to you. These are slightly shorter in length, lasting around 20 minutes each.

Stage 3

Telephone Interview

Successful candidates will then be telephoned for an interview, which typically lasts around 45 minutes. The interviewer will be looking to hear about situations in the past few years in which the candidate has demonstrated their skills and how various problems and challenges were tackled.

Stage 4

Assessment Centre

The final interview is more in-depth than the previous interview and will be conducted by partner or director from the applicant’s chosen area. It is during this interview that candidates are encouraged to ask questions about the company and learn more about the role for which they are applying. Some Candidates will be required to make a presentation during this stage, depending on the nature of the role applied for. Successful applicants at this stage will be offered employment or a place on one of the Graduate schemes provided by KPMG.

Stage 5

Final Interview

The assessment centre day will involve three exercises. Two of these are laptop-based to evaluate your office skills with everyday tasks, such as responding to e-mails and voicemails. The second of these is designed to evaluate analytical skills as candidates will be asked to review given information and form a written response. Both of these assessments are under timed conditions.

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KPMG Verbal Reasoning Test Questions

Like most verbal tests, the one used by KPMG 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 KPMG.

Verbal reasoning tests and who uses them

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.

KPMG 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 KPMG you might feel like the verbal reasoning test is an unnecessary hoop to jump through. But you should bear in mind that KPMG 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 KPMG, are a better predictor of job performance than traditional selection metrics such as level of degree achieved.

What you should know before taking your verbal reasoning test

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.

Different types of verbal tests

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

How difficult are your tests?

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.

Are they compatible with my Mac / Tablet / Phone?

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.