NHS Numerical Reasoning Test

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

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NHS use the following tests in their selection process:

  • Verbal reasoning test
  • Numerical reasoning test
  • E-Tray
  • Situational Judgement
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About NHS Numerical Reasoning Tests

The NHS is the world’s largest publicly funded health service, offering a broad range of careers from allied health professionals to administrative and clerical positions. The selection process for the NHS can vary depending on the nature of the role but will generally involve psychometric testing in the early stages, which helps to maintain a high calibre of staff through assessing candidates’ abilities. This stage of the process can require successful completion of up to four psychometric tests consisting of Aptitude Tests, Situational Judgement Tests and Personality Questionnaires. Initially the tests are administered online, but there may be further psychometric tests to be completed in person at the assessment centre stage. Candidates are informed in advance as to which tests they will be required to take.

The NHS look for a number of key skills in candidates, they are as follows: motivation to join the NHS, improving services, setting direction, working with others, managing services, analytical thinking and numerical ability.

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

NHS Application Process Stages

Here is the typical process for your application to NHS.

Stage 1

Application

Applicants will be required to provide their contact details, education and work experience. This is to ensure that the candidate meets the entry requirements for their selected role. Applications are made online, allowing candidates to check the status using registered login details.

Stage 2

Testing

Candidates will then need to undertake up to four psychometric tests; which can include Numerical Reasoning, Verbal Reasoning, Situational Judgement and Personality Questionnaires. The tests used have strict time limits, so practice tests are recommended.

Stage 3

Interview

Candidates that are successful in the testing stage then undertake an interview which should last approximately 30 minutes. The interviews are competency based and are likely to be conducted by senior NHS staff.

Stage 4

Assessment Centre

The final stage is at an assessment centre, in which candidates will undertake exercises such as role plays, presentations, group exercises and e-tray exercises to gauge the candidate’s ability. Successful applications at stage 4 will be given an offer of employment, or a place on one of the Student & Graduate Programmes offered by the NHS.

Buy Practice Numerical Tests

Our numerical practice test pack is suitable for preparing for the NHS numerical reasoning exercise.

Numerical Test Pack (suitable for preparing for NHS)

Prepare for all numerical tests including the NHS 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.

NHS Numerical Reasoning Test Questions

Like most numerical tests, the one used by NHS 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 NHS.

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.

NHS 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 NHS you might feel like the numerical reasoning test is an unnecessary hoop to jump through. But you should bear in mind that NHS 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 NHS, are a better predictor of job performance than traditional selection metrics such as level of degree achieved. For more information, check out our numerical reasoning test guide.

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 NHS, 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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