In the consultancy recruitment process, assessments are common. They can take the form of online tests, an assessment centre or both. While these tests can seem very daunting, it is important to remember that they are not put in place to trip you up. Companies use assessments as a way of seeing what you can do and how capable you are.
What are online tests?
Online testing usually happens near the beginning of the consultancy application process, after the application form has been submitted. Some of the consultancy firms that ask you to complete online tests before an interview include PwC, Deloitte and Bain & Company.
Make sure that you have given yourself enough time to complete the test, that you have any suggested equipment and that you have asked friends or family to avoid disturbing you while you are taking the tests.
Occasionally companies will ask you to visit their offices to complete tests; these could be in either a written or on-screen format. Written tests are used by Hymans Robertson, McKinsey and Nera. PwC asks candidates to complete their online tests before and during the interview process.
Here we will look at the three types of test that are usually used by consultancy firms. You may take all or only some of these tests and they may be sent to you in a different order. The same tests are sometimes used in assessment centres.
These are used to identify the key aspects of a candidate’s character, their personal characteristics and personality traits. They help employers to see how well a candidate will fit in to the company framework and give an insight into your behaviour and level of competence. Hymans Robertson and PwC both employ personality questionnaires.
Verbal reasoning tests
Verbal reasoning tests asses your ability to understand written information and make logical conclusions. They are used for consultancy assessments as it is important for a consultant to be able to interpret and understand written information. Verbal reasoning tests usually involve a written passage followed by a statement. You must then decide if the statement is true, false or not possible to say without further information. These tests are used by PwC and KPMG.
Take two verbal reasoning practice tests to help you prepare.
Numerical reasoning tests
Numerical reasoning tests are the most popular online test amongst consultancy firms. They measure your numerical potential and your ability to work with data rather than your learned mathematical knowledge. This is because, while qualifications like your degree or A level results show your hard work and ability to learn facts, they may not reflect how well you will actually perform in the workplace. Some firms will also test numeracy in the case study interview. These tests may cover extracting information from graphs, rates of growth and ratio and percentages.
If you are concerned about numerical reasoning, why not take our practice tests?
Preparation for online tests
The scariest part of online testing for the majority of people is not knowing what to expect in each test. While it is not possible for you to know the questions in advance, you can attempt practice tests online. This will help you to get used to the format of the questions, the types of questions you may be asked and the amount of time you will have.
Tests vary across different companies, but if you can start with a good idea of what is to be expected, you will find yourself more likely to succeed.