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Are you a recruiter or hiring manager looking for candidate pre-employment assessment tests and tools including aptitude tests?

We invite you to visit our Assess Candidates website.

What are written exercises? How are written exercises assessed? How to pass written exercises? If these are questions on your mind, then look no further than this guide to accelerate your assessment centre practice.

In this article, we go into depth about written assessments, including what a written exercise is, detail the necessary skills needed to ace a written exercise with a written assessment test example and describe how written exercises are evaluated.

Our website provides assessment centre practice exercises that can be used in preparation for your written exercise in the recruitment process. Start your practice to prepare for a written assessment test.

Did you know? Around one third of employers use assessment centres in their application process.

Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD, 2020)


  1. What is a Written Exercise?
  2. What are the Different Types of Written Exercises?
  3. What Skills are Assessed in Written Exercises?
  4. Written Assessment Example
  5. What Industries use Written Assessment Tests?
  6. How are Written Exercises Assessed?
  7. Top 7 Tips to Ace a Written Exercise
  8. Written Exercises FAQs

Without further ado, let’s jump in!

What is a Written Exercise?

Written exercises in assessment centres are assessment centre tests used during the recruitment process by an employer to evaluate a candidate’s writing ability. The writing exercise is commonly used by employers in measuring the candidate’s skills, competencies, and job knowledge, and is usually done on a particular assessment centre day.

Good to know: For example in marketing, a potential candidate is expected to write a report or an email. A written exercise will provide employers with an understanding of the candidate’s verbal comprehension, job knowledge, and communication skills needed to carry out specific activities required in the role.

What will a written exercise involve?

The written exercise is mostly specific to jobs where communication is essential. Some areas of these roles include; public relations, marketing, content creation and law. Candidates can be asked to proofread, write letters, emails, report, or a summary. 

In reference to the marketing example above, the recruiter may be particularly looking for copywriting skills.

What happens during a written exercise?

Written Exercises in an Assessment Centre use the same principles as other assessments and look at competencies that are relevant for the job that an individual is applying for.

In an assessment context, the candidate will be seated in a room with other candidates. This number is unlikely to exceed 6 individuals. An administrator will present the task and each candidate will be given a ‘Candidate Brief’ which will outline the task at hand along with timescales.

The task will be timed and completed under ‘exam’ conditions so no talking or discussion will be allowed. The difficulty of the task could vary, however in the context of graduate and professional jobs the task is likely to prove somewhat challenging.

Good to know: Written assessments can also be carried out in virtual assessment centres, where candidates are provided with written exercise sample questions and given a specified time frame. 

Online written assessment
Online Written Assessment
Source: FreePik

At GF, we provide practice written assessment exercises designed by former-SHL consultants to help prepare you for your upcoming assessment centre. Gain real experience with our Assessment Centre practice bundle using the candidate briefs and assessor marking guides to help you know what assessors look for.

What are the Different Types of Written Exercises?

The type of written exercise to expect during a written assessment depends majorly on the job role. The written assessment questions usually reflect written exercise challenges you may encounter during a real-life time in the job position. 

What are the most common types of written exercises?

Here are the 6 mostly commonly used types of written exercises:

  1. Letters

Letters are considered as the longer and more formal versions of an email. This form of written exercises are used to assess your ability to communicate in a formal and professional manner. 

Example: Write a formal letter to your managerial supervisor and include the current situation of the project as a team lead, highlighting the challenges you have encountered.

  1. Emails

Writing an email might sound easy, but requires specific rules when writing for an organisation. For example, if you are applying for the role of a copywriter, you may be given an assessment that requires you to write a promotional mail to the company’s website subscribers. 

Example: you are expected to carefully read and follow all the instructions and information provided. Write a specific subject title, include a professional greeting and close the email professionally.

  1. Press release

A press release is an official message that is announced to the public regarding a company’s new product or service. This form of written exercise is usually given in public relations or marketing roles. 

The aim of a press release is to inform the public about a new product or service, therefore you are likely to be required to write a clear, brief message that passes the message clearly across to the audience. 

  1. Report or essay

A report or essay carries information on a specific topic in your field. This exercise is sometimes given before an interview, and requires you to do an extensive research to yield an in-depth report on the topic given. It most times requires a specified word count or key word, which should be followed strictly.

  1. Summary

This will likely be a summary of a much longer text. You may be given a longer text of information, which requires you to summarise in your words. The assessor evaluates your ability to summarise the text whilst still including all of the essential information.

  1. Proofreading

Proofreading involves carefully checking out for spelling and grammar errors in a text. You could be given an email, letter, or report, and asked to proofread. Remember to read through carefully to identify errors that can be easily missed.

Written exercise tip: It is important to read and understand instructions carefully. Understanding a question will take you one step closer to giving an accurate answer.

What Skills are Assessed in Written Exercises?

Written exercises look at various skills and competencies depending on the job position you are applying for. Some of broad skills can include:

  • Grammar: Hiring managers or recruiters can be particular about your grammar in your written assessment tests. This helps them know if you meet their standards, and anything below that will earn you a low score.
  • Spelling: Spelling is a critical skill needed in a writing exercise. This shows the recruiter your writing skills and how well you can avoid spelling errors if you were to be hired for the position.
  • Comprehension: Understanding the candidate’s brief is essential to providing the right information. Therefore, a written exercise assesses the candidate’s ability to understand and follow instructions. 
  • Communication: As the saying goes, ‘communication is key.’ In a written exercise, this is no difference as you are assessed based on how fluent and direct your writeup is.
  • Attention to detail: Comprehension works in line with attention to details. A recruiter assesses your attention to details and necessary information provided during the assessment test.
  • Job Industry Knowledge: You can display this skill to your recruiter by providing necessary information related to the role applied for in the questions asked. This shows your level of the job industry knowledge. 

Good to know: For the specific competencies that you are likely to be assessed on during your written assessment, check out the section below and discover the tips you can use to display key areas looked at by assessors.

Kickstart your written exercise practice with our free example question below!

Written Assessment Example

Written assessments are likely to be specific on the job position you’re applying for, and may involve case studies or real examples previously encountered by the company.

Written Exercise Question and Answer

Below is an example report or essay written exercise that we’ve developed to provide insight into what you might receive at your assessment centre:


You have been given a case file regarding a lawsuit, and your manager has asked you to write a report on this case. 

  • Your report should be no more than 500 words and should provide a detailed analysis of the case, highlighting the most relevant information.
  • Your report should also include any recommendations or conclusions that you draw from your analysis.
  • You will have no longer than 60 minutes to complete this task

The report should contain the following sections:

  1. Introduction
  2. Summary of Key Facts
  3. Legal Issues
  4. Arguments
  5. Recommendations
  6. Conclusion

You may use your judgement in deciding which topics are most relevant and important to include in your report.

  • Grammar and Spelling: Your report should be free of any spelling and grammatical errors.
  • Communication: The report should be written in a clear and understandable manner, using the appropriate language and tone.
  • Attention to Detail: Your report should demonstrate high attention to detail, with accurate and thorough analysis of the case file.
  • Analysis and Recommendations: Your report should provide a detailed analysis of the legal issues raised by the case and should include sound and well-reasoned recommendations.
Written assessment test example
Written Assessment Test Example
Source: FreePik

What Industries use Written Assessment Tests?

Written exercises are commonly used as part of the assessment centre process by several industries. Some of the most common examples of industries that rely on written exercises for testing their candidates would include:

  • Law firms
  • Marketing
  • Retail
  • Health Services
  • Customer service

Which companies use written exercises?

Under these industries, there are several companies that employ written exercises in assessment centres. They include:

Civil ServiceGSKJP Morgan

Written assessments are essential tools in the assessment centre process commonly used by these industries to evaluate the candidate’s competencies such as, communication, comprehension, attention to detail, and job industry knowledge.

Did you know? Assessment centre exercises are most commonly used for candidates applying to graduate and internship positions.

How do these recruiters assess our written assessments during assessment centres? Continue reading as we cover all you will need to know.

How are Written Exercises Assessed?

Recruiters will most likely assess your written assessment using a set number of competencies, which are often specific to the requirements of the job role. For example, below are the competencies that are typically assessed in a report and how you can demonstrate these:

  1. Communication – Ensure your written language is clear and flows well. Read through what you have written and write how you would speak.
  1. Learning and Research – Use specific examples from the candidate brief to support your arguments
  1. Decision Making – Conclude with a clear conclusion summarising the arguments you have made. Provide a logical recommendation or solution.
  1. Planning and Organisation – Ensure to use a structure that flows well and logically, ending with a conclusion and recommendations. Watch the time and make sure to complete the report on time.

Good to know: Although the neatness of your writing is not assessed, always keep your writing clear and understandable so that your assessor can read what you have written so that they can assess you fairly.

So how do we prepare for our written assessments? Keep reading below to find out!

Top 7 Tips to Ace a Written Exercise

Here are 7 tips to help you prepare and pass  your next assessment centre written assessment

  1. Research the company and the role: Researching about a company before an assessment is crucial, as it provides you with the essential knowledge about the role and the key skills required.
  1. Learn the industry language: Every job has its specific terminologies used to communicate. Understanding these industry terms will help in better understanding of the candidate brief and can also show level of competency when used in your written assessment test.
  1. Practice: Practice makes perfect. Ensure you engage in written exercises provided online to get yourself familiarised with the tasks you may encounter during the written exercise.
  1. Keep an eye on the time: Keep a check on the time as you progress and spread your time appropriately across the tasks. There is nothing worse than running out of time and having no or little time to write the report.
  1. Proper comprehension and communication: Clear writing is still vital as there is no guarantee of an assessor’s objectivity if they have to spend a significant part of their time trying to understand what you have written. 
  1. Stay calm and focused: Written assessments are known to make candidates nervous. Stay calm and remember how well-prepared you are for the assessment.
  1. Re-read before you submit: After you have completed your written assessment, make sure to check for any grammatical errors or spellings. It is common for candidates to make a minor mistake, so it is very important to go over your work before submitting.

Did you know? You can improve your chances at performance success if you practise before a job assessment. Our assessment centre package contains written case study exercises to help you familiarise yourself with written tests and the best tips you can use to get ahead.

Discover more answers to burning questions with these written assessment frequently asked questions!

Written Exercise FAQs

How long is a written exercise?

Written exercises in an assessment centre usually lasts for about 40 to 60 minutes depending on the role or the participant.

How do I prepare for a written assessment?

Here are some tips to prepare for your written test:

  1. Research the company
  2. Refresh your knowledge
  3. Practice example case studies
  4. Develop a method or approach
  5. Read the prompt ahead of time

Where can you practise written exercises?

Our website provides you with assessment centre practice exercises to prepare for your written assessments. Use our candidate and assessor briefs to know what best performance looks like.

What is the purpose of a written exercise in an assessment centre?

Written exercises are beneficial to both the employers and the candidates in the recruitment process, as it provides better understanding of each candidate’s competency to the employer, and provides scenarios to help candidates understand their roles better.

Practice and Register with GF to ace your written exercises first time

Do you want to pass your written assessments, first time? Sign up for tools offered by GF, the only assessment practice test experts that provide tests to over 100 UK universities and their students, and also across Asia and continental Europe.

Go to GF now and select from the range of products we offer at no risk. We offer a comprehensive premium package with a full set of assessment tools for candidates (numerical, logical, verbal reasoning, situational judgement tests, assessment centre tests and more). Buy with peace of mind without commitment to a full 100% money back guarantee if you do not pass your assessment tests.