Financial Reasoning Tests

Financial reasoning tests involve looking at graphs, tables and other numerical problems.

  • What are Financial Reasoning Tests?

    A financial reasoning test is typically given to candidates applying for roles at financial firms such as accountancies or banks. They are also commonly used for in-house financial roles such as an accountant or tax advisor.

    The financial reasoning test requires the test-taker to have experience and qualifications within finance as you will need to understand the test's terminology and how to analyse documentation and extract key information.

    The tests are typically sent to candidates during the early stages of the recruitment process to help shortlist applicants (usually those who achieve a score within the top 50%).

    Financial reasoning tests will often be packaged with other aptitude tests such as numerical reasoning, logical reasoning and diagrammatic reasoning. In HR these are referred to as pre-screening tests which help employers reduce bias in their hiring process and ensure they recruit the best talent.

  • Why Are Financial Reasoning Tests Used?

    Pre-employment tests like financial reasoning are being commonly used by HR managers as part of their recruitment process to easily eliminate unqualified or uncommitted candidates.

    It also is an efficient way to identify top performers and remove bias from the shortlisting process as the selection is based on data. Some systems even use a method called “blind hiring”; which refers to not being able to see details about a candidate such as their name or university.

    When HR teams receive applications, it is difficult to know from just reading a CV or application form whether or not a candidate has the actual skills required for the role. Not only does a test help identify candidates who are most suited for the position, but it also saves teams time and money

    This is why it is so important to practice pre-employment tests and understand a company's recruitment process beforehand. Financial roles in particular, commonly use financial reasoning tests and other pre-employment assessments to assess their talent pool.

  • How are Financial Reasoning Tests Formatted?

    Financial reasoning tests follow a multiple-choice format. You will be given 4 answers - 1 correct answer and 3 distractors that you must select within a minute time period per question.

    The questions describe a scenario that contains extracts of different numerical data (text passages are typically 150-300 words). To find the correct answer you must use your reasoning skills to filter and extract the financial information quickly and effectively.

    The test is timed so not only are you being tested on your financial reasoning skills but it also helps employers get a sense of how you work under pressure - although you are typically given more time to answer than a numerical reasoning test and the questions are longer and account for longer reading time.

    What can make these tests particularly challenging is the terminology used within the text passages. Words like “market capitalisation” and “profit margin” are typically used within the finance industry and might make the test more challenging if you don't know what they mean.

    Financial reasoning tests will also assess your skills and abilities to calculate elaborate mathematical problems in the context of finance compared to what is expected within a numerical reasoning test.

  • What Companies Use Financial Reasoning Tests?

    Accounting firms and banks are the most common types of companies that use financial reasoning tests although any company that requires in-house financial skills might use financial reasoning tests.

    Some popular companies you might have heard of that use financial reasoning tests include:

    These top companies will require you to take a range of aptitude tests to ensure they are fairly shortlisting candidates and that applicants have the skills necessary to succeed in the different roles.

  • Top Five Tips to Prepare and Pass Your Financial Reasoning Test

    Tip 1: Research the publisher of your test

    It can be helpful to know who the publisher of your financial reasoning test is to help understand more detail and information about your test format and how to best prepare. It is recommended to email the company you're applying for to get this information.

    Tip 2: Revise your financial terminology

    Financial reasoning tests use lots of financial terminologies. To reduce the complexity of the questions it can be an advantage to revise different financial phrases and terms that might be related to your role so you can go into the test with confidence.

    Tip 3: Practice lots of financial reasoning tests

    One of the best ways to build confidence and improve your test score is to practice lots of financial reasoning tests. This will help you get used to the format and structure of the test and help you prepare to answer the questions effectively.

    It's also a good indicator of what your skill level is as you will get test mark scores back which you can use to improve on.

    Tip 4: Use timed conditions

    Financial reasoning tests are timed assessments, so it's important that any practice tests you do are sat under timed conditions - you need to become comfortable with the time pressures and get used to answering questions quickly.

    Tip 5: Sharpen your maths skills

    Financial reasonings tests can require calculations to be made using quick maths. It is therefore important to sharpen your math skills to ensure you are as prepared as possible.

  • Financial Reasoning Example Questions

    Q1) What was the total expenditure of mining and logistics in Year 1?

    Year 1: £3,400,000

    Year 2: £4,000,000

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    A) £1,258,000

    B) £1,292,000

    C) £1,326,000

    D) £1,462,000

    Q2) Approximately, how many extra Canadian Dollars would you get if you swapped 350 UK Pounds rather than 200 US Dollars?

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    A) 478

    B) 488

    C) 498

    D) 508

    Solutions

    Q1)

    Mining + Logistics = 19% + 18% = 37% 37% = 0.37 0.37 × 3,400,000 = ​A) £1,258,000

    Q2)

    1 Canadian Dollars = 0.5 UK Pound 350 / 0.5 = 700 We need to find 350 UK Pounds so multiply both sides by 700 700 Canadian Dollars = 350 UK Pound

    1 Canadian Dollars = 0.94 US Dollars 200 / 0.94 = 212 We need to find 200 US Dollars so multiply both sides by 212 212 Canadian Dollars = 200 US Dollars

    Difference: 700 – 212 = B) 488

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Financial Reasoning Tests FAQs

How do financial reasoning tests differ from numerical reasoning tests?

Financial reasoning tests use specific financial terminology compared to numerical reasoning tests which are more generic mathematical questions. You are also given more time to complete financial reasoning tests as the calculations and reading are complex than numerical reasoning tests.

How are financial reasoning tests scored?

You will be given a total score that represents the number of correct answers you give.

How you are scored can vary depending on which test publisher is being used, although most employers are happy to tell you which test provider they use before you take the test.

Financial aptitude tests do not typically allow for negative marking. Typically you need to score within the top 50% of test applicants to be considered for shortlisting.

Can I use a calculator in a financial reasoning test?

Some financial reasoning tests do not permit the use of calculators so it's best to check with your specific employer. If your test is online, you are most likely allowed a calculator and there is no way to prevent you from using one.

Tests where calculators are not permitted typically contain a mix of verbal, mental arithmetic and other various calculations which are typically sat in person such as during an assessment centre or interview.

It's advised to practice with and without a calculator to feel fully prepared.

Will I take my test online?

Yes, most pre-screening or early-stage assessment tests will be taken online.

Occasionally you might be asked to attend an assessment centre where you might be monitored during the test. You may also be asked to re-sit your pre-screening tests in person to ensure you didn't cheat.

Where can I practice financial reasoning tests?

You can practice as many tests as you need on Fintest. Not only will practising similar papers help you get faster and more accurate, you’ll also pick up handy tips and tricks to make things easier.

Which employers use financial reasoning tests?

Big finamical employers such as Ernst & Young and Goldman Sachs will use these tests to hire the most promising candidates out of a competitive pool of applicants. Although the test is obviously most used by the financial sector, it’s also common in other industries where finance still plays a big part in many job roles.