Online Testing Tips

Almost all applications will have some sort of online testing element to it. If you do enough applications, you'll eventually do so many of these tests that they will become pretty standard by the end of it. There's all sorts of tests which you could face but the most common ones that I'll be focusing on are:

  • Numerical Reasoning Tests

  • Verbal/Critical Reasoning Tests

  • Situational Judgement Tests

There are additional tests that can be done, some examples are; logical tests which judge your ability to spot patterns, personality questionnaires that judge your fit with the company, and "immersive tests" which combine the above tests into a slightly more engaging combined test.

Numerical Reasoning Tests

These require no real explanation. It's a maths test against the clock. Given if you're a Warwick maths student I would like to think you wouldn't fail one of these. However, if you are applying to a trading company such as one of our sponsors Flow Traders, Jane Street etc, then these tests will be very hard even for a good maths degree student. If you apply to a similar place then do some additional research and practice beforehand. Here are some general tips for the numerical tests:

  • These tests usually test similar knowledge, all of which are GCSE level most of the time. Before your first test make sure you remember how to handle percentage increases and decreases, currency conversions and switching between fractions, decimals and percentages.

  • Most of the questions will also be based on data given in tables or on charts so like with all questions you should avoid any disasters just by reading the question carefully.

  • Dust off your old calculator from A-levels (or 1st year Mechanics). It's good to have as a sanity check and you can do a lot faster on a calculator than in your head.

  • Like any maths exam, keep an eye on the clock. Most tests will have equal weighting for all questions so you'll want to get through as many as you can.

  • Check the small-print. Watch out for any tiny labels saying for example that all data in a table is in £millions etc. The employer will be testing your attention to detail so beware of tricks like this.

Verbal/Critical Reasoning Tests

The verbal/critical reasoning test exists to test your ability to work with written information. The style of these vary a lot, but on the most part consist of judging how true statements are based entirely on a passage of text.


  • Compared to the other tests, this one requires a little more concentration and focus. Therefore choosing where to do your test is important. You will need to read a lot and take in a lot of information in a very short space of time so go somewhere where there will be minimal background noise.

  • Verbal reasoning will likely be harder for maths students than the numerical test. The more you do of these tests, the better you'll get. Practice tests made in the same format as all major test providers can be accessed online. Do a few of these before starting just to get up to speed with the format.

  • Once again, manage your time wisely. The clock will be ticking so it is important to go in with a strategy about how long you can afford to read each passage before moving on.

  • Do not fall into the classic trap of making assumptions about the question. Say the text you are being asked about is about the food people eat in Italy for example. You may have lived in Italy before and know a lot about the food but you need to forget about all prior knowledge you have in the test. Most questions are assessed on drawing conclusions on only the information provided so don't think that you can predict the answer because it's on a familiar theme.

  • Find alternative ways to practice. If you need extra work at it before you're ready try reading business articles and summarising the most important information. This will sharpen the skills you use when doing a verbal reasoning test.

  • Most questions when asking you to determine how truthful a statement is will ask you to mark it as True, False or Cannot Say. The Cannot Say button is there for a reason so don't be afraid to use it. If the statement cannot be verified from the text with absolute certainty then use Cannot Say.

Situational Judgement Tests

The Situational Judgement Test is designed to assess how you would react in a variety of business situations. You will be presented with a series of scenarios and be asked to determine which of a set of given responses are most/least appropriate for the situation. Unlike the other tests it is a test of personality more than your skills.


  • Be ethical. If you're evil at heart then you'll need to leave that behind going into this test. Always choose options that suggest that you're kind, team-oriented, play by the rules, collaborative and organised.

  • Company research will help this test as well. Specifically look for the company values. These describe the sort of people they want working in their company so ensure that your answers fit your personality to these values.

  • As the test does measure whether you and the company are a good fit for each other, if you are unsuccessful at this stage then the company is not right for you so do not be disheartened by the result. See it as a lucky escape instead.


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