My day at the assessment centre; PwC

The first term has reached an end and what a term it has been. I have achieved so much in this short space of time. I created an Accounting and Finance society, participated in my first assessment centre at PwC and promoted ICAEWs USS scheme.

As I said before, on Friday I attended an assessment centre at PwC in order to compete for an internship place. The assessment centre was very nerve wracking, I have never been to one before but it was an amazing experience. My assessment day was located in Manchester. I live quite close to Manchester so went home for Christmas on the Thursday ready to set off on the Friday. I arrived at the centre an hour early. I was directed towards the PwC floor (floor 6) where I sat on a comfy orange chair and was offered a range of beverages which calmed my nerves slightly. I was the first candidate there; it is very important to get there early!! You don’t have to be there as early as I was but it is best to get there at least 20 minutes before. This emphasizes how much you want to work with PwC or the company your attending the assessment centre for.

Top tip: Arrive early!

This is my experience of my trip to the PWC assessment centre, it may be assessed differently depending on which company you’re applying for.

Report

At first I had to write a report within 30 minutes. They mark you on your structure and layout of your answer. I was given a pack of information with an introduction to the client and a few projects they are looking to undertake. Try and scan this for the main information. I was given a few projects and I had to pick the best one. I laid my report out as introduction, Main body with each project as a sub-heading. I then concluded this with my recommendation of the best project. I tried to include points from the graphs and diagrams included in the pack to get a broad range of ideas. I found using bullet points for advantages and disadvantages of each project made it easier to decide which one was most suitable. This is time pressured so try to work as efficiently and accurately as possible.

Psychometric tests

The group of candidates was then split up into two groups, group 1 went to participate in the group discussion and group 2 (my group) went to undertake the assessment tests. This involved a logical reasoning test and a numerical test. This is extremely time pressured as you have 20 minutes to answer 20 numerical questions for the numerical tests and 20 minutes to answer 40 questions for the logical reasoning test. This involves interpreting the diagrams and graphs to answer many of the questions given. Try not to panic. I panicked at one point as the time pressure can be daunting. I bought a psychometric test pack online which is useful for preparation. These help you to grasp the layout of the tests and how the way a question is structured. If you practice these in advance, they will become easier and you can do them in a faster time. Logical reasoning tests can be quite tricky at first but once you practice a few and understand the certain patterns, you will easily be able to spot this in further questions as they are usually similar. However, the assessment tests are done on paper as you are given a booklet, I was under the impression they would be on computers but this is not the case.

Top tip: Practice the psychometric tests in advance, practice makes perfect

Group Discussion

Lastly, I was led into a room with my group and told to sit around a table. We each were given an information pack and an individual sheet. We were given 20 minutes to read our information and carry out a few simple calculations such as the revenue. My friend was at an assessment centre the week before and told me that the experienced graduates took the time and told the group when the time was up. Each assessment centre is different so don’t rely on what your friends who have also done the centres experience as it may be different. As it was everyone’s first time I kept checking the time and a few minutes before the 20 minutes were up I said “there is only a few minutes left” and was told no talking during the individual readings. Make sure you listen to the instructions as even though at another PwC centre you had to keep track of time yourself as a group during the group discussion, it’s not the same in other branches so beware of this.

Top tip: Listen to instructions, all branches conduct the assessments in different ways so don’t always follow what your friends say about the assessment if they went to a different location

As you can tell, my first assessment centre didn’t go too well, but the experience has allowed me to know exactly what to do for next time. NEVER GIVE UP!!!! Hopefully these tips will help you ace yours so you won’t make the same mistakes I did.

GOOD LUCK EVERYONE and have a Merry Christmas