Maersk PLI Test – Your Success Guide for the 2018-19 Recruitment Season

Hi There,

In the past few weeks, a few users have contacted me via the chat widget on the website and asked what to do in order to prepare for the Maersk PLI test. They were confused and frustrated about a few issues and I would like to take this opportunity and share with you some information that will help put order into this mess. 


Maersk PLI Test vs PILI Test: Same Same, Not Different


Firstly, to avoid any confusion, if you are applying for a job at Maersk, there’s a high likelihood that you will be asked to take two online tests:

  1. Predictive Index Behavioural assessment. This is a personality test. You take this test only once.
  2. Predictive Index Learning Indicator, formerly known as the Professional Learning Indicator, the PLI test, or the PI cognitive assessment. This is a cognitive ability test that lasts 12 minutes and has 50 questions in areas of numerical, verbal, and abstract reasoning. The average amount of correct answers candidates get on this test is between 17 and 23. You are likely to take this test twice, for verification purposes.


Maersk PLI test as indicator of job performance

Image: Candidate performance indicators according to Maersk’s press release


Why Is Maersk Using the PLI Test?

I was able to put my hands on a Maersk press release from February 2012, which announces the launch of a new selection procedure that will include the PLI test. The title of this press release was New Online Tests Will Secure Standardised Global Handling.

Here are the highlights of this article:

  1. The Global Service Centres received and reviewed more than 50,000 applications yearly! They were looking for ways to improve their hiring procedures, and to save precious time and money that were wasted on paper-based assessments.
  2. Maersk revealed that the Predictive Index behavioural assessment is already in use and that they’re working on a new online system for the Professional Learning Indicator (PLI).
  3. According to Maersk, personality traits count for 10% of a candidate’s job performance,  cognitive ability count for 25%,  and other factors such as leadership will count for the remaining 65%. This basically tells you how your test score would affect your application profile and how important your PLI test score is.
  4. The new online tests will be available in 46 languages. This is very important. Why? Because when it comes to the PLI test, you must do everything you can to take the test in your mother tongue language.
  5. Candidates may still be invited for an on-site test for verification purposes. As I always say, cheating on a cognitive ability test would do no good, since a verification test will prevent you from cheating again and can only get you into trouble.


* The press release is still found on Google (just search for Maersk PLI test and you’ll find it). The URL is not active anymore, however, Google automatically generates HTML versions of documents they index, so there’s still an HTML version of this article. You simply need to look for the cached version of the URL.


Stress Factor: You Can Handle It, It’s All about Grit!

As for the users who contacted me via the chat widget about Maersk PLI test, one thing was obvious: they were stressed out. To quote one of them:

“I don’t like these tests, these tests shouldn’t determine if you get a job or not”

I totally identified with their feelings. I don’t like taking tests either, especially not when I’m pushed to the corner and being asked to answer questions so quickly (~25-30 seconds per question). BUT…since we cannot change Maersk’s hiring process, we simply have to find a way to cope with this. So here are a few tips to help you out:


  1. It is a FACT that preparing for a cognitive ability test maximises your score potential. To quote an official Predictive Index document that is given to HR professionals: 

    “…if someone is used to these types of assessments, he or she will be able to get consistently closer to his or her ‘capacity’ or maximum score… is actually ideal when an assessment taker is trained or familiar with the PI Learning Indicator item types, as it gives the company the best possible insight into the candidate’s true potential.”

  2. Your feelings of apprehension and stress are strongly connected to the fact that the test requires you to get back to basic math and logical principles that you haven’t seen for years. For example, the fact that a calculator is not allowed on this test makes it very difficult for some people. Here again, only adequate preparation and practice will solve the problem. Put aside enough hours to prepare for the test in advance and that will already set you on the right path.
  3. The Maersk PLI test score is not the only factor that affects your qualification chances. As seen in the image above,  75% of the factors that make up your candidate profile have nothing to do with how well you score on this test. Remember that and make sure to do your best on the other steps (CV, interview).
  4. It’s all about grit! Grit is (quote) “a powerful motivation to achieve an objective”. You should watch Angela Lee’s 6-minute lecture on TED to get you motivated and ready for the test. 

Now What? It’s Practice Time!

Check my preparation course for the Predictive Index Learning Indicator, which is the same cognitive ability test used by Maersk. There are 9 lessons in this course, and they will help you improve your score potential, for only $29.

I hope this helps :). Please leave a comment below if you found this article useful.


  1. jimmy nkungula
      October 11, 2018 at 12:13 PM

    The course is fine

    1. Tinotenda Chivese
        January 11, 2019 at 6:47 PM

      More beneficial and act as a guideline in our dreams to succeed

  2. Krishna bagulia
      November 26, 2018 at 5:50 AM

    Does maersk PLI test has negative marking.

  3. Vincent
      January 12, 2019 at 10:23 AM

    Please what’s my fate, after clicking on the begin button during my Test, the test loaded and as I was about answering the questions that follow it went off. Will still continue with the process or is it end of the road for me. I’m really worried.

  4. Mintu
      January 25, 2019 at 5:19 AM


  5. ROP
      February 28, 2019 at 3:00 PM

    What will happen when you get a system error while attempting the PIL test and you get a re invite link? Do I redo all the 50 questions again? Or the previously answered questions will be counted?

    1. Gideon
        March 6, 2019 at 10:09 AM

      You’ll redo the test with newly shuffled questions.

  6. ROPP
      March 6, 2019 at 4:08 PM

    Thanks. Then how do I know the results of what I attempted??

    1. Gideon
        March 8, 2019 at 9:16 PM

      Well, you will not necessarily know as this depends on the employer. Most employers prefer not to share exact scores and instead, they simply provide feedback in the form of “you did well on the test” etc.

  7. Srinath Rajagopalan
      April 24, 2019 at 3:39 AM

    Very neatly explained and approach is reasonable. Thank you for your time and details.

    1. Gideon
        April 24, 2019 at 8:35 AM

      Thank you, Srinath!
      Wishing you the best of luck with your Maersk application process.


  8. Mahmoud
      May 2, 2019 at 5:59 PM

    I had taken PLI Test ,but I only answered 26 questions and i’m So worried whether passed or failed so please advice what minimum score they consider when for PLI test?

    1. Gideon
        May 2, 2019 at 6:25 PM

      Dear Mahmoud,

      Gideon here. I wish to help.

      Firstly, remember that the test alone does not disqualify you from the application. You should expect a second-round test as part of the face-to-face interview step, which means you still have a chance to improve your score! Moreover, if you’re unsatisfied with your performance and you think you could have done better, don’t hesitate to contact the HR team and share with them those feelings. If you prepare for the second round and score well, the first score will not be looked at.

      So there’s still hope 🙂

      If you sign up to my prep course, I’ll be able to help further.



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