The SHL abilities assessment

What is the SHL Verify Abilities Assessment?

The SHL Verify Abilities Assessment measures your learning potential, unlike attainment tests which measure what you have learnt or is able to do now. The SHL assessment battery, which comprises three individual tests, measures your ability to solve predictable as well as more novel, complex problems, make decisions, use sound reasoning, and work with numerical information at managerial level. For admission to USB’s MBA and PhD degrees, the SHL includes the Occupational Personality Questionnaire (OPQ) on behavioural preferences.

Why is USB using the SHL Verify Abilities Assessment for admission?

Solving complex problems, making decisions and using sound reasoning are some of the critical competencies for leadership success. The early identification of growth areas allows you to plan accordingly, prepare yourself well and focus your efforts in order to ensure academic success. The SHL Verify Abilities Assessment is therefore not about failing or passing. It is about determining your strengths and growth areas. As a responsible institution, USB needs to ensure that all students admitted are provided with the best possible chance to succeed in their studies and careers.

What do the various assessments measure?

  • Inductive Reasoning Test: This test measures your ability to recognise reoccurring patterns in a group of images. The test determines your ability to identify underlying patterns in information and predict outcomes using that information.
  • Numerical Reasoning Test: This test consists of a set of mathematical problems based on typical work activities relevant to the modules to be completed. The test assesses your understanding of numerical data and your ability to make logical deductions from the data.
  • Verbal Reasoning Test: This test measures your ability to extract relevant information from written sources and make objective judgements based on that information. It indicates how you will perform when working with reports, correspondence, instructions, and research information.

For the MBA and PhD degrees, the SHL battery of tests includes the Occupational Personality Questionnaire (OPQ) which determines behavioural preferences related to the world of work.

What is the purpose of the SHL Verify Abilities Assessment?

The purpose of the numerical, verbal and inductive reasoning tests and the OPQ is to provide USB with information about an applicant’s abilities and to define key focus areas in order to help ensure the student succeeds during their academic journey. Once growth areas have been identified, students are invited for interviews and presented with guidance and development opportunities to optimise their academic success.

Depending on the test results, it may vary from guidance and advice focused on specific aspects of assignments to recommendations to complete online courses. No costs are associated with the recommended actions; the intent is to optimise the student’s chances of academic and career success.

How are the SHL abilities assessments used?

The SHL abilities tests are never used in isolation. Although a score for each ability is obtained from SHL, this is used in combination with the essay(s) required as part of the application process (or dissertation pre-proposal in the case of the PhD), prior academic results and work experience. A thorough and fair process is followed to review all the information, including the abilities assessment, in order to form a clear picture on which to base admission and development decisions.

What happens to my SHL tests results?

The test results are kept on your confidential academic record. Once admitted to the programme of your choice, you can make an appointment with the Career Leadership Office to discuss your results.

Where can I find more information on the assessments?

More information is available on SHL’s website at, or from USB’s industrial psychologist, Janine Truter, at [email protected].

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