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, Gideon hope this finds you well.

    Am Abit stressed out, I have recently completed the PLI test on the 6 of August. And I haven’t heard anything from Maersk since. I just wanted to know, if you know perhaps. Does Maersk Inform you if you didn’t do well on tests, more or less rejection latter and what’s the turn over time to get a response after completing the test.
    Not that i feel like I have failed, am sure I have passed 20 questions answered correctly, cause I managed to answer 46 questions out of 50, making calculated guesses on the rest of the questions, due to time. Thank you.

    1. Hi Teboho,

      I totally understand why you’re stressed! I don’t have a clear cut answer to this question, unfortunately. You’re usually not shared the exact score, and they only inform on whether you made it to the next step or not. In any event, as you can see in this article I wrote, the cognitive assessment is not the only factor in their decision making.

      Crossing fingers for you that you get a positive response from Maersk soon.


  2. Good day Gideon!
    I will be writing the PLI test in less than 24 hours, i am thinking, can i skip pages to answer the questions i find most easy and then come back to the ones i don’t?

    1. Hi Julius,

      Thanks for your message. Focusing on the questions you find most easy is a possible strategy on the test, but (!) take into account that the test includes 10 pages and there’s no way to flag a question you haven’t answered. Thus, jumping back and forth between 10 pages will cost you in precious time.

      Therefore, it is best to try and answer each question, and the ones that you find too difficult – to make an educated guess, mark an answer, and move on to the next one.

      I hope this helps.

      1. hello gideon,
        i receive messge on which they tol to e i was going to pass a PLI test but ow am ready realise the was no linked associate to it .

  3. Hello,

    I took the last 2020 pili test Feb.15th ,pls has anyone receive any commucation from maersk since then?

  4. Hi Gideon,
    Thanks for replying
    It only mentioned a note that the test should be done within three days after wich the application will be fully reviewed

    1. Got it.

      I’d reply to this email or send an email to the HR team, asking about the how-and-when those test links should be sent over. Just in case…

      1. Many thanks Gideon for your following and such efforts really I’m more than grateful

  5. Hi Gideon,
    Firstly thanks for such article its great
    I wanna ask you, I filled up the application & yesterday I received an invitation mail for both tests but without any links to run through them should I be expecting a mail with the links and instructions or ?

    1. Hi Abdel-Rhman,

      Yes, if the first email did not include any links to the tests, then they should be coming in separately. Check your Spam folder just in case…
      Did the first email mention anything about due dates?