We performed simulations with the numerical CUDI-CICC code on a typical short ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor) conductor test sample of dual leg configuration, as usually tested in the SULTAN test facility, and made a comparison with the new EFDA-Dipole test facility offering a larger applied DC field region. The new EFDA-Dipole test facility, designed for short sample testing of conductors for ITER, has a homogeneous high field region of 1.2 m, while in the SULTAN facility this region is three times shorter. The inevitable non-uniformity of the current distribution in the cable, introduced by the joints at both ends, has a degrading effect on voltage–current (VI) and voltage–temperature (VT) characteristics, particularly for these short samples. This can easily result in an underestimation or overestimation of the actual conductor performance. A longer applied DC high field region along a conductor suppresses the current non-uniformity by increasing the overall longitudinal cable electric field when reaching the current sharing mode. The numerical interpretation study presented here gives a quantitative analysis for a relevant practical case of a test of a short sample poloidal field coil insert (PFCI) conductor in SULTAN. The simulation includes the results of current distribution analysis from self-field measurements with Hall sensor arrays, current sharing measurements and inter-petal resistance measurements. The outcome of the simulations confirms that the current uniformity improves with a longer high field region but the 'measured' VI transition is barely affected, though the local peak voltages become somewhat suppressed. It appears that the location of the high field region and voltage taps has practically no influence on the VI curve as long as the transverse voltage components are adequately cancelled. In particular, for a thin conduit wall, the voltage taps should be connected to the conduit in the form of an (open) azimuthally soldered wire, averaging the transverse conduit surface potentials initiated in the joints.