Maersk PLI Test – Your Success Guide for the 2020 Recruitment Season

Hi There,

Ever since this website aired, many 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. Please also note the comments at the end of the article, which are my responses to Maersk candidates’ questions. 


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. If you wish to learn more about it and get important tips for success, check out my blog article here.
  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.

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  1. Hi
    PLI done! and i ve been invite to take The Predictive Index…To give an impression of my personality with
    regards to workplace behaviours and drivers…
    What do you think about the next step?

    1. Hi Aljohn,

      Crossing fingers it went well! Remembers there’s high likelihood you’ll have a second round of testing at Maersk’s offices for verification purposes.
      As for the personality part, don’t miss out my A-Z guide to taking the PI behavioral assessment



  2. After test, when result will be come .?? How many days will take time to get result ??

    1. Hi Neha,

      Good question! There’s no fixed date for receiving the results. This depends on the HR team and candidates I’ve spoken with got the results anywhere between 4 days to almost two weeks after test completion.
      Just be patient and I’m sure you’ll get a response from Maersk about your PLI test.

      Hope this helps, don’t hesitate to ask more questions.


  3. 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. 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.



    2. I cleared pli test for Maersk lines last year(2018), but couldn’t make it in tech round,so next time if I get a chance to take part in Maersk interview do I need to re do pli or will I get direct tech round?pls reply.

      1. Hi Sarun,

        It is likely that you’ll be asked to take the test again, especially if it’s been more than a year since your last attempt. Do you recall if you took it once or twice last time?
        Feel free to use the website’s chat widget to ask me more questions.



      2. Hiii…I want to give this test…this year…I am pursuing marine Engineering final year …I am not getting anything…when this test could be conducted…in which month…what is precisely the website to attend this test or apply for it….plzzz help me…

        Plzz email me….

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

    1. Hi… I did my PLI this month and was at page 4 (i.e 20 questions) what the pegged 12 minutes go exhausted. And I am very sure of correct15 answers. Do I still have any hope to scaling to the next stage of the recruitment process ?

      1. Hi there!

        Firstly, 15 correct answers on the cognitive assessment is below the global average, which is around 20/50.

        Secondly, while the this score is factored into your candidate profile together with other assessments and data points, it’s hard to say for sure whether it would disqualify you or not. I would say it is likely that in comparison to other candidates with average/above average scores, it will be more difficult to get you qualified for the next step.

        Have you prepared properly for the cognitive assessment?

        I hope this helps and looking forward to hearing from you.


        1. There was
          Internet fluctuation which affected me to properly use the allocated 12 minutes. Is it possible to request to rewrite the exam?

          1. I see, that’s a shame.
            You should definitely ask for a second chance. Tell them what happened and that you believe you can do much better. Hopefully, they will accept your request.

    1. 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.

  5. 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?

  6. 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.