Round 1 – Zap-N test

What Is The Optiver Zap-N Test?

After you pass the Optiver 80 in 8 math test and the NumberLogic test, you’ll be challenged with the Zap-N games. As described earlier in our First Round – Overview topic, this assessment spans roughly 1.5 hours (or 2, if you take some time between the tests) and features nine games. These games are designed to evaluate a range of cognitive skills and competencies.

It’s wise to approach the Zap-N with the same level of seriousness as any other segment of the Optiver Online Assessment. While the games offer a more engaging and lighter experience compared to the Optiver math test, their relevance to trading roles can be unclear. This often leads to candidate frustration, especially if they are disqualified based on what seems like an inconsequential game. Choose a time to complete it when you are at your cognitive best and fully alert.

It’s advisable to use a computer with a mouse for optimal performance. However, the system will inquire about your control method—be it touchscreen, trackpad, or mouse—and factor this into your final score.

Zap-N Grill Master

This is a nice and challenging cooking game, in which your multi-tasking abilities will be assessed. Have you ever played the game Overcooked on the PlayStation? Then this game will come familiar.

The purpose of the game is to grill the meat and take it off the grill when it’s ready. When you see the meat on the grill, a progress bar will circle around the meat.

  • When the progress bar is blue, the meat is still raw and you should not take it off the grill.
  • When the indicator turns orange, the meat is ready and you must take it off the grill by clicking on it.
  • If you wait too long, the progress bar turns red. The meat burns and you’re too late.

You goal is to take the meat off the grill when it’s ready (orange). The game takes about two minutes. At the start, you will have just a few meat on the grill, but the number of meat and the speed at which they are added to the grill increases over time.

This game takes you roughly 5 minutes.

Zap-n grill master
Zap-N Grill Master

Zap-N Balloon

The Balloons game measures the candidate’s risks appetite. The player will come across several balloons which they must pump with air. You earn more money with every successful pump. However, if the balloon pops before you stop pumping, you will now be able to collect your reward.

This game is played in two parts:

  • In the first part, you earn 10 cent per click. When the balloon explodes, you won’t be able to collect your reward. There will not be any additional penalty.
  • In the second part, you earn 20 cent per click. When the balloon explodes, you get a penalty. Every pump the penalty increases with 10 cent. If the balloon explodes, the penalty will be taken from the total.

Every balloon has a different explosion level. You need to analyze the explosion pattern and play accordingly. The goal is to earn as much as possible money. Think of the explosion levels like a price chart of an asset: it evolves over time, so you need to discover where the asset is approximately trading and then it depends on your risk appetite how far you want to push it.

General tips:

  • In your first attempt, there is no reason to stop. You need to continue until the balloon pops, because otherwise you have no idea at which values the balloon is exploding. In trading this is called ‘price discovery’. You keep raising your ‘bid’, until someone sells to you. This will give you an idea at which price a product is trading.
  • Write down the explosion levels, and the levels at which you successfully collected the money. Try to deduct a price pattern from these numbers. Not only about the mean of the price, but also about the standard deviation. This doesn’t mean you need to calculate this accurately, but you need to have a rough idea in order to decide at which levels you will not push it and just collect the money.

This game takes you roughly 20 minutes.

Zap-n balloon
Zap-N Balloon

Zap-N Skyscraper

You’ll be presented with “towers,” essentially stacks of differently colored “floors.” Your task is to match the towers in the example, by rearranging the floors in the bottom part of the assignment.

The rules are straightforward: you can only shift the topmost floor of any tower, and it can only be placed atop another tower (if there is no tower/ floor, it will become the new ground floor). Optiver designed this game to assess your strategic thinking. Plan your moves carefully to complete the challenge in the fewest steps possible.

The goal of this game is to rebuild the towers in the example as fast and with as few steps as possible. Take a look at the screenshot below to get an idea of how it looks like.

This game takes you roughly 5 minutes.

Zap-n skyscraper
Zap-N Skyscraper

You can exercise this game by playing phone games, such as Ball Sort. Another website that resembles this game very accurately can be found here.

Zap-N Shapeshift

In this Optiver Zap-N game, you’ll be tested on your reaction speed. Circles and squares will briefly appear on the screen in succession. Your task is to hit the right arrow key for circles and the left arrow key for squares.

The circles are not always shown on the right, and the circles not always on the left. These can show up at any side. Your task is not to get confused and keep your accuracy high. Purely focus on the shape, not on which side they appear!

Zap-n shapeshift
Zap-N Shapeshift

The real test lies in finding the optimal balance between speed and accuracy. Avoid rushing; begin at a moderate pace and gradually increase your speed once you’re comfortable with the mechanics.

This game takes 2.5 minutes.

Zap-N Pincode

This is a memory game. The goal is to remember the numbers that are shown and replicate them after you can’t see the number anymore.

A set of number will be shown, one digit at the time. For example, of the code would be 498, you would see in your screen:

  • 4 . .
  • . 9 .
  • . . 8

Memorize the numbers. Enter the numbers in the same order as they’re shown. Using pen and paper is not allowed. The instructions state that Optiver is able to detect when you cheat with pen and paper.

  • The first round starts easy, with just 3 digits, but as the game progresses you need to remember 10 digits at some point.
  • In the second round, you need to enter the numbers shown in the reversed order. So if the code would be 498, you need to enter 894. It starts with just 2 digits, but again this increases significantly over time to 10 digits.
  • In the last round, you need to enter the numbers shown by sorting them from low to high. If the same digit appears multiple times, you also have to enter it twice. For example, if the code is 5465, you need to enter 4556. This round starts easy with 3 digits, but again this increases significantly over time, even up to 12 digits.

This game takes roughly 12-15 minutes to complete.

Zap-n pincode
Zap-N Pincode

Zap-N The Switch

This game evaluates your proficiency in task-switching, a cognitive psychology concept that measures your ability to alternate between different kinds of tasks. Essentially, the game tests your skill in seamlessly transitioning between mathematical and visual tasks.

In each round, you’ll encounter two prompts: a basic addition equation and two sets of arrows. You’ll then be asked a question related to just one of these elements. For instance, you might be asked whether the sum of the equation is odd or even, or if the two sets of arrows are identical. Your task is to answer the question based on the relevant prompt, while disregarding the other.

This game takes 1.5 minutes.

Zap-n the switch
Zap-N The Switch

Zap-N NumberBox

The Zap-N Number Box presents you with a screen featuring four numbers and an additional “target” number. Your objective is to use these four numbers, along with the four basic arithmetic operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division), to reach the target number. You’re required to utilize all four numbers in your calculations. This game aims to assess your mathematical prowess and problem-solving skills.

This game takes roughly 3 minutes and you can exercise it at this website.

Zap-n numberbox
Zap-N NumberBox

Zap-N CodeCompare

The goal of this game is to match the code on top with the boxes below. You are asked to respond before the time runs out. After selecting a box, a new code appears and the next round starts. A timer will start when a new code appears. When the timer runs out, the boxes disappear and you can’t answer anymore.

This game takes around 1.5 minutes.

Zap-n codecompare
Zap-N CodeCompare

Zap-N Figure It Out

This game is a mix of Mastermind and Set. The game’s title cleverly hints at a figure that varies each round. This figure is initially represented by a face-down card, which is flipped over only at the round’s conclusion to unveil the actual figure.

Your task is to construct an identical replica of this hidden figure. You’ll have options to select various attributes for your duplicate, such as its shape, color, and pattern. After creating your figure, you can hit a button to check your accuracy. The game will indicate how many attributes you’ve matched correctly and how many are incorrect, guiding your subsequent attempts.

The objective is to accurately guess the hidden figure in the fewest moves, with the complexity increasing as you progress through rounds. Optiver employs this game to assess your strategic planning and problem-solving skills. Take your time and carefully consider your approach.

This game take approximately 15-20 minutes.

Zap-n figure it out

Zap-N Figure It Out


In all sections above, examples have been shared if possible. To excel in the Optiver assessments, it’s crucial to be at your cognitive best. Here are some recommendations to ensure you’re well-prepared:

  • Good Night’s Sleep: A well-rested mind is a sharp mind. Aim for at least 7-8 hours of quality sleep the night before your test.
  • Quiet Environment: Choose a setting where you can focus without distractions. Interruptions can break your concentration and affect your performance.
  • Time Management: Ensure you have a clear block of at least 3 hours to complete the tests. You don’t want to rush through these assessments. You also want to have the opportunity to take a rest in-between the tests.
  • Neighborly Courtesy: If you live in a noisy environment, consider giving your neighbors a heads-up to keep the noise level down during your test time.

By taking these steps, you’ll be better prepared to perform optimally in the Optiver tests.