Can you cheat a numerical reasoning test?

The temptation to cheat on an online numerical reasoning test is understandable; a lot can ride on the results and there’s no test administrator to keep an eye on what you’re doing. The potential for candidate cheating is often a source of anxiety for employers who use online tests for what can often be a high-stakes assessment.

Below are a couple of the most common forms of cheating on online numerical tests:

Asking a friend to take the test for you

You might know someone who has a much higher level of numerical competence than you, whom you could ask to take the test on your behalf.

Finding the correct answers to the test online

If you know the precise name of the numerical test you could try to search for the answers online. There are a few websites providing ‘cheat sheets’ which contain the supposed correct answers.


Warning! If you decide to use any of the above methods you should be warned that test publishers have become very adept at detecting and preventing efforts to cheat – you WILL be found out!


If you do decide to cheat, here’s some of what you’ll be up against…


Randomised questions

Most online tests today contain a degree of randomisation that means the numerical questions and information you’re presented with are drawn from a large pool. This means if you take the test more than once you will be unlikely to see the same questions. This also helps to stop people trying to use ‘cheat sheets’ that contain the answers from other candidates who have taken the test.


Secure scoring

Where ‘cheat sheets’ do exist they are almost always based upon other people’s beliefs about what the correct answers actually are. The correct answers to a test are never made public, so cheat sheets may not actually display any of the right answers. Widely used numerical reasoning tests are updated regularly to stay one step ahead of any would-be cheaters.


Validation of identity

Nearly all online tests will provide a passcode or unique link to enter the test platform, which are typically only good for one go. This means if you try to complete the test for practice then you will be locked out and not be able to retake the test again. Online tests can take further measures to verify your identity – to ensure it is you taking the test and not someone else on your behalf.


Verification of results

If your test is done online, there are many employers who will simply ask you to resit some part of the test again in person while under supervision to verify the results. If your results have been inflated through cheating then you will at this point be found out (and have to embarrassingly explain why you scored so poorly compared to your previous test results).


Scores can go up as well as down

If you do somehow manage to fool an online test into letting you take the assessment more than once you should be aware that not everyone’s score increases with each subsequent attempt! Research into the effects of multiple completions of the same test indicates that for many candidates, scores stay the same and can even go down in some cases!


Warning! If you try to cheat at an online test one or all of these above measures will find you out!


Test developers can also make use of several other methods not mentioned in this post to deter and detect efforts to cheat, so on balance our advice would be don’t try your luck – it’s just not worth the risk!

Remember should you get hired, that your new employer will expect to see you demonstrate the same level of numerical ability in your performance at work as your test score.


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