Applications / Assessment centres

How to prepare for an assessment centre

Understanding assessment centres and different exercises they entail is very important, however preparation is also a key aspect in ensuring you succeed. Assessment centres are often the last step in the application process but also considered the most difficult. If the thought of an assessment centre fills you with dread, don’t worry. Follow these 10 tips about how to prepare beforehand and you will be successful:

Before the assessment centre…

Research the company

Ensure you revisit the research you did about the company when you applied. Check the employer’s social media profiles to find out any new initiatives such as a business plan or annual report. Also, consider having a look at the companies’ values, this is helpful as your knowledge of what the company seeks could affect your approach in the assessment exercise.

Practice, practice, practice

As always, this is a key factor in ensuring success at an assessment centre. Ensure to practice with friends and family, brushing up on your interview technique and communication skills. Consider rehearsing an elevator pitch, this is essentially how you introduce yourself at assessment centres and networking events, and it is useful when someone asks, “tell me a bit about you.” This also includes practicing any psychometric tests you were asked to take in earlier stages of the application process, such as a numerical reasoning test – as you could be asked to complete these again on the day.

You can start to exercise and improve your assessment centre exercise and psychometric skills for your upcoming assessment centre by registering with your University of Warwick email on the GF platform.

Read carefully all the information you have been given

Read everything the employer sends you before the day of the assessment. For example, practical information such as date, start time and location as well as information about how the day will be structured. The employer may have sent you details about undergoing a presentation exercise on the day, you may need to put this together beforehand.

Plan for the practicalities

Plan your route

This may be obvious, but plan how long it will take you to find the destination of the assessment centre and factor in any delays. It is good practice to arrive at the assessment centre 10 or 15 minutes early. If you’re driving, look into parking and potential charges just in case you need to take money. If the assessment centre is far away, you might need to book a hotel or the train. Remember, often the company you are applying for will cover these costs, so keep an eye out.

Consider any resources you may need

Consider bringing your CV and a copy of your application if needed. You may need your laptop and charger, your phone charger, a pad of paper or even a pencil case. Also, a good tip is to log your assessors’ contact details on your phone, just in case something happens and you are running late on the day.

Plan your outfit

Dress as smart as possible to an assessment centre to ensure a good impression on the company. However, make sure you are comfortable.

Preparation in the morning

Listen to music

If you find yourself being nervous for the assessment centre try and keep calm. Listening to music can help get your body energized and will allow your brain to start processing and remembering information.

Get enough sleep

Your mind might be racing the night before the test but get in bed early to relax your mind and body. Try and aim to get at least 7 hours sleep. Reading a book or listening to your favorite podcast can help you fall asleep.

Eat a good breakfast

Make sure your breakfast is healthy and filling, you don’t need hunger to be a distraction. Your breakfast should have the necessary vitamins to help you keep up the energy.

Warm up your brain

While you’re eating your breakfast and getting ready for the morning, try to read something short. Reading something you are already interested in will help to focus you, but ensure you avoid any materials related to the test, this might make you stressed and anxious about the exam which could slow your brain down.

Assessment centres are very common. By following these steps and having good preparation, you will perform successfully at the assessment centre and fly through it with ease! Prepare for Assessment Centre Exercises and over 100 job assessments on GF. Register with your University of Warwick email address via the Warwick Welcome page

Written by Fern McCann LLB and Peter Thornton BA MA, Consultants at Graduates First in collaboration with the University of Warwick Careers team

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