Our shortlisting procedure

How do we shortlist?

All candidates with Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership and the minimum English language and residency requirements will be invited to take part in our screening procedure.

Lancaster is one of a number of programmes who use the same online general mental ability (GMA) tests. If you have applied to one or more of these other programmes, you will only be asked to do the tests once and your results will be shared with the programmes you have applied to.

Shortlisting test window

Applications arrive: 31st January 2021
Testing window opens:
8th February 2021, 10:00AM
Testing window closes: 22nd February 2021, 23:59PM

Practising the shortlisting test

Practising the tests beforehand can help ensure that all applicants, regardless of background, can demonstrate their ability.

Please visit the SHL website to complete their practice tests - you only need to do the verbal and deductive reasoning tests for the Lancaster programme. SHL practice tests are only examples of the type of questions you will be given and do not indicate the difficulty level as this changes dynamically in the live test based on your responses. The live test system has some visual differences from the practice tests and includes additional support to allow for zooming and changing text/background colours. A wide variety of practice tests from other sources are available online, many of which are free of charge.

IMPORTANT: The deductive reasoning test is a new interactive version which has recently been released by SHL and there is no practice test available on their site at present. However, practice questions are provided in the live test for you to familiarise yourself with the style of questions and how to interact with the test. It is very important you take the opportunity to do these practice questions before trying to complete the test itself.

This is adaptive testing so the questions get harder if you keep getting them correct!

As a result ALL candidates find the test extremely challenging regardless of how well they do and all candidates are likely to get questions wrong. Although our approach encourages applicants with a wide range of abilty, our standards for entry remain very high and require applicants to demonstrate doctoral level standards.

How the shortlisting works

Candidates will be invited via an email from SHL to take the online tests at a time and place convenient to them. Candidates must complete these tests during the screening window noted above using the invitation link. Candidates who do not receive an email on the day the window opens should contact the programme urgently to resolve the issue.

Unfortunately it is not possible to reschedule the screening test due to any individual circumstances. However, the window to complete the test online is sufficient to allow for flexibility in when candidates choose to complete the tests. Please note that we cannot provide technical support outside of office hours. Candidates should leave sufficient time to allow for them to deal with any difficulties that may arise.

Each test (verbal and deductive reasoning) will take approximately 30 minutes to complete (including time to read instructions etc). There is a standard time limit of 18 minutes for the deductive test which has 12 items and 19 minutes for the verbal test which has 30 items. You do not have to complete both tests at the same sitting if you prefer to have a break between them.

We will invite approximately 80 candidates with the top scores to our selection event in May. If you are an applicant with a disability, please contact Programme Administrator Katherine Thackeray as soon as possible stating the nature of your disability, how this may impact on your participation in the screening and selection day, and any specific support you may feel you need. Please contact Katherine via email or phone: k.thackeray@lancaster.ac.uk / 01524 592970.

The programme monitors the professional behaviour of all applicants throughout the application processes and use this information in making short listing decisions when required.

Candidates who receive a provisional offer are required to take the tests again under supervision in order to verify their performance. Offers to candidates who cannot successfully verify their screening scores may be withdrawn at this point.

Shortlisting introductory video

Using the test system

Tab Content: Log in to SHL

The email you receive from SHL is a generic email which all candidates receive although the link in it is unique. It contains expected times required to complete tests. These are not your individual test time limits. Click on the link in the email to get to the SHL login page.

When you first use the link from the invitation email you may need to register to use the system. If you have used SHL to complete tests previously you may already have an account. You can reset your password if required in order to login if this is the case. Just follow the instructions on the appropriate tab.

Tab Content: Starting a test

When you are logged in and have agreed to any terms and conditions, you will see the following screen. You can click on the blue Start buttons to begin any test when you are ready. You can do them in any order you prefer. You are also given the opportunity to complete practise questions after clicking on a start button. Don't worry about clicking on the start button - it doesn't mean you have to complete the live test by doing so. See the practise questions tab for more information.

You should have a pen and paper on hand when doing the tests. You can use any pointing device such as a touchpad - you don't specifically need a mouse.

The expected time shown on this screen is set by SHL and does not vary regardless of any extra time you have been awarded due to a disability. The actual assessment time you have been allocated appears on the page - the time limit shown will already have been increased from the standard timings described above if you have declared a disability.

Tab Content: Accessibility

If you have a disability which will affect your performance on the screening test, you should contact us as soon as possible before the screening window. Extra time is available (usually 20%) for candidates who require additional support although we will look at individual circumstances to ensure that no applicant is unfairly disadvantaged. If you have a report from an educational psychologist with a recommendation for reasonable adjustments, please supply this.

The test system provides a function to change the colours of the display and supports zooming using the standard browser controls (use CTRL + / -). Please note that these functions are currently NOT available on the practice tests SHL provide, only on the live test system.

Tab Content: Practise questions

If you click on the start button for a test, you will be able to access practise questions. This does not oblige you to complete the live test at this time. Read through the instruction pages and you will be given the option to go back to the previous page, start the practise questions or start the live assessment.

To exit the practise questions without completing them, click on the exit button in the top right. You will be able to come back and do them again when you are ready and leaving at this point will not affect your live assessment.

About the deductive test


  • Background on the deductive test

    The deductive test you will complete is SHL's Verify Interactive deductive test. Practise questions are only available for this test within the live testing site - this test is not the same as the deductive test available on their candidate practise site. We have included a brief overview of the question types below. Please ensure you use the opportunity to take the practise questions in the live testing site before undertaking the assessment so that you understand how to use the system for each question type.

    As you will see, the questions use common workplace tasks which require you to formulate a solution using a limited set of information from which the correct answer can be deduced.

  • Grouping style questions

    This question asks you to place a number of markers into the outlined boxes to indicate which meeting room they should be assigned to in order to match all the requirements. You simply drag the green pin icons into the boxes you want to assign them to. Note the blue reset button which will move all pins back to their original positions. These type of questions can be about grouping based on various requirements and may have more than two groups.

  • Ranking style questions

    This question requires you to identify the order of the individuals based on the textual descriptions of their performance. You need to drag the numbers onto the appropriate position next to each name (identified by the dashed circle containing a # symbol). Again, note the blue reset button which will move all numbers back to their original positions.

  • Comparing schedules style questions

    In this question you are shown a number of schedules. Based on the requirements explained in the text, you need to identify a period of time and mark this on your calendar by clicking on the appropriate blocks which will change colour to show your chosen answer. You only interact with your calendar and do not need to do anything to those above.

  • Scheduling tasks style questions

    This question again uses a schedule but asks you to fit a number of tasks into your free slots based on some requirements for ordering and their length. You need to drag each row containing a task and drop it into your schedule on the appropriate free slot. This will then change to that colour to indicate your answer. Do this for all tasks you need to assign.

  • Calendar style questions

    This question asks you to identify a particular day based on a number of restrictions which mean that only one meets your requirements. You need to click on the day in the calendar to choose your answer. Questions of this type may require you to select multiple days depending on the particular requirements described.

Our policy on technical issues during screening

A generous window is provided in which to complete the tests so that technical issues can be identified and resolved without causing undue anxiety and stress. We expect candidates to complete the tests as soon as they are able. While we make every effort to resolve issues, delay may mean candidates are not able to complete the screening. If in our opinion, a significant issue caused by ourselves or our testing partner has impacted on a candidate then we reserve the right to review the status of the application. However, we will not routinely extend any deadline due to technical issues.