M&S Numerical Reasoning Test

M&S looks for employees with a high numerical ability. Applicants have to pass a numerical test before being offered a position.

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M&S use the following tests in their selection process:

  • Verbal reasoning test
  • Numerical reasoning test
  • Practice numerical reasoning test pack
  • Prepare for: M&S numerical test
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About M&S Numerical Reasoning Tests

Marks and Spencer is a major British multinational retailer with headquarters in London. Specialising in home products, luxury food and clothing, there is a broad variety of roles available with the company. Applications are generally made online and psychometric testing is adopted throughout the recruitment process, as a means of screening out candidates who lack the abilities necessary for a career in this area. Typically, candidates are asked to complete numerical reasoning, verbal reasoning and personality questionnaires, although further tests may be used for some positions. Candidates are informed in advance as to which tests they will be required to take.

Marks and Spencer use tests and assessments provided by SHL. The function of these tests is to screen out candidates without adequate numerical, verbal ability, although different combinations of tests could be required depending on the level of role applied for.

Numerical reasoning tests are a fair and objective way for M&S to assess a wide range of applicants, each having different experiences and different qualifications. By analysing the results of a standardised numerical reasoning test, M&S 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, M&S will ask applicants to take a numerical test online, which you can take from home. When the numerical 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 numerical test again. This is so M&S can verify the person scoring highly in the test is indeed the person applying for the job.

M&S Application Process Stages

Here is the typical process for your application to M&S.

Stage 1


Applications are made online and require candidates to provide their contact details, education and work experience. Applicants are also instructed to complete psychometric tests at this time, as a means of sifting out candidates who lack the necessary requirements. The online psychometric tests can include some or all of the following; numerical reasoning, verbal reasoning and a personality questionnaire. All of which have strict time limits and last approximately 20 minutes each, meaning that practice tests are recommended.

Stage 2


Selected candidates will be invited to an interview, at which it is not uncommon for applicants to take part in a role play exercise before being asked situational questions. This may be followed by a further interview with the manager, which usually lasts around 10 minutes.

Stage 3

Assessment Centre

The final stage of the graduate selection process is attendance at an assessment centre, during which candidates will be asked to complete a variety of assessment exercises such as a presentation, group discussion, role play or simulation exercises and a competency based interview. Marks and Spencer look for their candidates to demonstrate clear communication skills, teamwork achievements, problem solving abilities and business awareness.

Buy Practice Numerical Tests

Our numerical practice test pack is suitable for preparing for the M&S numerical reasoning exercise.

Numerical Test Pack (suitable for preparing for M&S)

Prepare for all numerical tests including the M&S numerical 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.

M&S Numerical Reasoning Test Questions

Like most numerical tests, the one used by M&S looks at your ability to interpret numerical and graphical data and answer questions which require numerical analysis of the data provided. The numerical 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 M&S.

Companies are using numerical reasoning test more and more in their application process that candidates must go through. Numerical reasoning tests are favoured when the role being recruited for requires interpretation and manipulation of numerical data on a regular basis. A person's score in a numerical reasoning test is a good indicator of their ability to work well with numbers. This is very important in finance, accounting and actuarial positions.

M&S use numerical 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 M&S you might feel like the numerical reasoning test is an unnecessary hoop to jump through. But you should bear in mind that M&S are asking you to complete the numericall 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 M&S, are a better predictor of job performance than traditional selection metrics such as level of degree achieved.

The numerical operations required in standardised numerical tests are of a level which most applicants can achieve. The difficult aspect comes with carrying out the calculations quickly and accurately within the time limit. You will be allowed a calculator for your numerical test at M&S, so make sure you know how to perform these basic operations. Percentage increases and decreases are the most common questions which catch out candidates. Here is a list of the most common operations you can expect in your numerical test:

  • Addition
  • Subtraction
  • Multiplication
  • Division
  • Percentages (including percentage changes)
  • Ratios
  • Most questions in most numerical reasoning tests follow a standard format displaying numerical data, the question and answer options on screen. These can be arranged differently, but each test will stick to the same layout throughout. The numerical data may be a graph, table, chart or other visual form. The question text may contain extra information which adds to what's given in the table, this might also be necessary to answer the question correctly. Lastly, the answer options are almost always multiple choice. Multiple choice answers can vary, however. You may have 4 options to pick from, 5, maybe 10, or more. 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. Capp for example, will ask you to rank the answer options by a particular criteria. Sometimes, in TalentQ tests, the question may have more than one answer, and you will be told to select two, or possibly more answer options from those availble. Test types by different publishers are explained here in more detail.

    Answered questions

    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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