This number sequence test is a great way to prepare for number sequence questions found on your upcoming aptitude test. Number sequence questions are also great for puzzle fanatics and others looking a way to challenge their minds.
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Number Sequence Test Questions
Number sequence questions are featured on a wide range of aptitude tests such as the GCSE and Wonderlic. Luckily, many questions follow numerical patterns that you can identify with practice. You can keep these number patterns in the back of your head, which will make it easier to identify the number sequence and solve the problems faster.
The following are some number sequence examples that commonly appear on aptitude tests, going from simplest to more complicated.
Addition & Subtraction Series
These are one of the simplest and easiest to identify in a number series, where numbers are added or subtracted in a set order. Here are a few examples.
Question: What number comes next? 11, 21, 31, 41.
Answer: 51. Each number in the sequence increases by 10
Question: What number comes next? 48, 42, 36, 30.
Answer: 24 – Each number in the sequence is reduced by 6
Division & Multiplication Series
Numbers may be divided or multiplied in a set or alternating series. Here are a few examples.
Question: What number comes next? 3, 9, 27, 81
Answer: 243. Each number in the sequence is divided by 3.
Question: What number comes next? 2, 8, 4, 16, 8
Answer: 32. Each number is multiplied by 4 then divided by 2.
Quite often a series will switch between adding, subtracting, multiplying or dividing by a given number. For example, the first number may be added by 5, then divided by 2, then added by 5, then divided by 2, and so on.
Question: What number comes next in the sequence? 249, 254, 127, 132
Answer: 66. This is an alternating addition then division series. First add by 5 then divide by 2.
Question: What number should be included in the gap in this number sequence? 32, 20, 40, 28, ___, 44.
Answer: 56. This is an alternating subtraction then multiplication sequence. First subtract by 12 then multiply by 2.
Irrelevant Number Series
Sometimes numbers in a series are included in a sequence for no purpose at all.
Question: What number comes next in the series? 8, 15, 12, 15, 16, 15
Answer: 20. This is an addition sequence of 4 with 15 being an irrelevant number in the sequence.
Question: What number should be included in this sequence? 22, 2, 22, 4, 22, 8, 22
Answer: 16. This is a multiplication sequence of 2 with 15 being an irrelevant number in the sequence.
Number Sequence Test Tips
There are a few strategies that you can utilize when taking a number sequence test.
Identify the type of number sequence
As outlined above, there are a number of sequences that are common on standardized tests, and identifying the sequence in play is often the hardest part of number sequence questions. This is where experience plays a big factor, which can only be obtained by answering practice test questions and reviewing the answers.
While taking the test, try to eliminate obvious pattern sequences – for example, if the numbers are changing exponentially, you can rule out a simple addition or subtraction sequence and consider whether the sequence is a multiplication/division sequence, an alternating sequence with multiplication/division and addition/subtraction, or if it incorporates other patterns like a multiplication sequence with an irrelevant number.
Look at the numbers in reverse
Sometimes a simple change of perspective can make a complicated number sequence question appear obvious. Certain people are often stronger suited at multiplication or addition sequences, but cannot answer division or subtraction sequences as quickly.
This is often the case when numbers towards the end of the sequence are smaller than at the beginning. Our brains are better at processing smaller numbers and can recognize sequences easier.
When practicing, avoid using a calculator
Even if you are allowed to use a calculator on your test, you’ll be doing yourself a favor by answering practice questions without a calculator. Getting used to quickly answering basic math problems in your head like 134 – 56 will save you time and allow you to focus on the type of number sequence instead of the basic math involved.