Not content with relying on CVs, cover letters, application forms or other written application methods, many recruiters of graduates put further hurdles in between you and your dream job; by using a variety of online assessments before or after an interview, or as part of an assessment centre activity. They do this to ensure you have the skills and abilities to do the role, so don’t let this put you off from applying. You are going through the same as the other candidates, and it’s OK to feel nervous about these tests and assessments. So, what can you do to prepare and get ready for these selection exercises?

^^’ Oh no, not another test

Recruiters use a variety of tests and exercises, depending on what they are looking for. They are likely to be online, and you are likely to have a set amount of time to complete the test(s), so you could feel under pressure. As soon as possible after being invited to take a test, make sure you understand any deadlines for completing the test. If you have a disability, then consider the impact this may have and whether or not you want to ask for any adjustments to the test – give employers time to arrange this for you.

⭐ Practice makes perfect

Well, maybe not perfect, but it is likely to help your approach to the test if you can practice, and also brush up on skills that may seem a little rusty. Common types of test include numerical reasoning, verbal reasoning, situational judgement and others. Questions are often multiple choice, or you may be asked to give answers in a preference order – make sure you understand what you are being asked to do. Take advantage of example tests freely available online and through our Engage and Engage Plus resources (see links below).

Ready, steady, go ❗

Make sure you are in the best possible surroundings for taking any online tests – with good wifi connection, sufficient power for your device, and peace and quiet, and have a notebook and pen to hand as well. If you face an unforeseen technical failure mid-way through the test, let the employer know immediately.

😎 Playing the game – gamification in graduate recruitment

As an alternative to some of the tests traditionally encountered, some employers use an approach to tests called gamification or game-based assessments. The aim is that the test is more like a game. It’s difficult to prepare for this type of test, other than ensuring your technology works, making sure you understand the instructions, and then really engaging with the game. You do not need to be a pro-gamer to succeed! The PwC employability hub has some further advice on game-based assessments and there is a good guide on the TargetJobs web site.

🙄 Still not confident?

If you have tests coming up, and want further advice, check out the following resources or get in touch with one of our team.

⭐ Engage resources

☞ Big thanks to Tracey Wells, our Careers and Employability Service manager, for writing this blog post. We hope you find it useful when applying to jobs.

Please be reminder that if you need careers support, your Careers Team is only an email / a message away!

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