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Could you answer these ‘difficult’ questions from banks’ numerical tests?

Numerical test investment banks

No calculators, no more than 5 minutes (preferably less)

If you want to work for an investment bank, you’ll need to be mathematically agile. It’s not just a question of estimating the number of times a ball gets hit in an average game of tennis during your investment banking interview, it’s also a question of calculating the answers to some very specific mathematical questions during the numerical tests that precede those interviews. And doing so in a short period of time, typically 60 seconds or less.

If you think you’re up to it, we’ve taken some of the more difficult sample questions from finance firms’ test providers and posted them below. Without using a calculator, you should be able to answer all the questions below in well under five minutes. You think that’s easy? The actual tests are reportedly a lot harder.

Add your answers to the comments box at the bottom of this page. We will provide you with the correct responses on Monday.

Question 1:

Country C’s consumer goods exports were projected to rise at 20% per annum from 1996 onwards. Approximately how much more would country C’s consumer goods exports have been worth in 1999, compared to the actual 1999 figure, if this had been correct?

Is the answer:

A: 20m

B: 35m

C: 75m

D: 80m

E: 155m

Question 1


Source: Cubiks

Question 2:

How many miles did Mr Chan travel for his journey to Reading to meet OD&D?

Is the answer:

A: 35

B: 49

C: 70

D: 98

E: Cannot say

Expenses claim form

Source: Kenexa

Question 3:

Betty paints twice as fast as Dan. Working together, Dan and Betty can paint 2,400 square feet in four hours. Another employee, Sue, joins the team. Working together, Dan, Betty and Sue can paint 3,600 square feet in three hours.

If Sue works alone, how many square feet can she paint in four hours and 27 minutes?

Is the answer:

A: 600

B: 1,570

C: 1,700

D: 2,530

E: 2,670

Source: SHL

Question 4:

Three bags of wheat, two bags of corn, and one bag of oats weigh the same as one bag of wheat, one bag of corn and five bags of oats. If two bags of corn and one bag of oats weighs 26 pounds and one bag of corn weighs 10 pounds, how much does one bag of wheat weigh?

Is the answer:

A: 4

B: 5

C: 6

D: 7

E: 8

Source: “Question 1” by Virtual EyeSee is licensed under CC BY 2.0</em>

Comments (10)

  1. 1.C

  2. these were easy

  3. 1.C

  4. 1E

  5. Could you someone please explain how to go about solving Q3?

    These labour timing questions are the bane of these exams.

  6. C, A, E, D

  7. This is how is how I understood it xtreemneo:

    Fist, understand the info given:

    Betty = B
    Dan = D
    Sue = S


    1) 4(B+D) = 2400
    2) 3(B+D+S) = 3600

    Second, divide by hours worked:

    1) 2400/4=600 ∴ B+D = 600 Ft/Hr
    2) 3600/3=1200 ∴ B+D+S = 1200 Ft/Hr

    Third, subtract 1 from 2:

    3) S = 600 Ft/Hr

    Forth, calculate per minute:

    3) 600/60 =10 Ft/Min

    Fifth, calculate feet painted;

    4) 600 * 4 = 2400
    5) 10 * 27 = 270
    6) 2400 + 270 = 2670 (E)

    Hope this helps.

  8. 1. C
    2. A
    3. E
    4. D

  9. 1) D
    2) E
    3) E
    4) D

  10. 1C

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