Project Description

ibm assessment tests

If you are looking for a job with IBM, we have prepared a 4 steps guide that explains their candidate assessment and recruitment process. You will get tips and examples of the IBM assessment tests and exercises. Read carefully and prepare yourself for IBM’s job assessment steps.

International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) is an American multinational technology company operating in more than 170 countries. IBM offer a multitude of different roles and positions in various lines of its business, and use a mixture of bespoke and Kenexa assessments in their recruitment process.

Access latest and largest portfolio of IBM UK jobs here.

Despite the number of different areas and levels within IBM, the IBM recruitment process follows a very similar path.

These are the four steps of the IBM job application process:

  1. IBM Online application
  2. IBM IPAT Test
  3. IBM Assessment centre
  4. IBM Final interview

Read carefully. Take notes. Practice. We wish you best of luck!


IBM Online application

When you have decided on the programme you wish to apply for:

  1. You need to complete the online application form which includes:
  • Personal details
  • Your education, e.g. A-Level results and schools that you have attended
  • Relevant work experience

2. You also need to complete the application template with:

  • A personal statement and a short essay demonstrating the eight core competencies sought after by IBM recruiters, which are: adaptability, communication, client focus, creative problem solving, drive, teamwork, passion for IBM, and taking ownership.
  • In this section, make sure to refer to particular experiences and skills that match the eight competencies outlined above

3. You need to make sure you have provided accurate information before your submission. You should never leave this until the last minute.

4. Tip: apply as early as possible, as this increases your chances of being reviewed on a rolling basis. Check your email frequently in case IBM’s HR department should require any clarification or further details.


IBM Cognitive Assessment Test – IPAT Test

IBM’s Cognitive Assessment measures candidates’ innate ability using a mixture of online recruitment tools, including online aptitude tests, and gamified solutions. 

Cognitive Assessments are constantly evolving, and have now moved onto different platforms, such as game-based assessments. However, the types of skills and competencies that are being tested are similar to those that the standard aptitude and psychometric assessments test for.

IBM’s Cognitive Assessment will assess candidates and their innate abilities against common types of skills and competencies required in the workplace, such as critical reasoning, problem solving, verbal communication, and numerical skills.

Every candidate applying to IBM is required to take the IBM Cognitive Assessment Test, referred to as the IPAT Test, which is unique to IBM; meaning that questions asked will probably be very different to what you have experienced when applying to other companies.
With the IBM IPAT Test, you will have seven days to complete two out of three sections. These will measure how quickly candidates can analyse information and reason logically, under time pressure. The areas that the IBM IPAT Test focuses on are:

  • IBM Numerical series; you will be presented with a sequence of numbers or symbols and will have to identify patterns to choose the next item in the sequence.
  • IBM Numerical reasoning test; this is made up of 20 questions and will present you with a longer problem, that will require a number of steps to arrive at the right answer.
  • Candidates who applied for the ‘Graduate Strategic Analytics Consultant’ role will also need to complete an SHL Test . This test is split into 2 sections, and will assess both your verbal and numerical skills. Candidates who have applied for the ‘Software Developer’ role will be asked to complete an additional personality questionnaire.
  • The difficulty level of the IBM IPAT Test is much harder than other online aptitude assessments carried out by other companies. This is why it is crucial to familiarize yourself with the types of questions it will ask, and their level of difficulty, beforehand.

Tip: Prepare for the IPAT test by practicing. Use fewer tests but delve into them and understand the logic behind them. Our research indicates that deliberate practice may double your score. You can practice IPAT tests with GF.


IBM Assessment Centre

If you have successfully passed the online tests stage, you will be invited to an IBM assessment centre. The most important skill tested by IBM recruiters during the assessment centre will be your ability to work in a team and collaborate with others.

You will need to demonstrate confidence, but it is important to remember that you cannot take too much control, or sit back and restrain from sharing your ideas. Check out our assessment centre page for more do’s and don’ts . Remember – you are only given one chance to impress IBM recruiters.

During the IBM Assessment Centre, you will be required to take part in a number of activities, including:

  • IPAT Verification Test

You will need to sit the IBM IPAT Test again, so cheating in the online test will be of no help to you!

  • IBM Pre-prepared presentation;

You might be asked to prepare an under-10-minute presentation on a given topic, eg. technology, and deliver it at some point during the assessment centre. Make sure to check all emails carefully to include the relevant points.

This test will ask you to write a case-study-prompted essay regarding one of the business areas.

In this task you will be assessed on your ability to communicate and reach decisions as part of a team. You will be observed by IBM recruiters throughout the exercise, so make sure to demonstrate your strengths; share your ideas, but also be ready to appreciate others’ input and develop on their points, and try to persuade others to your ideas and ask interesting questions. Most importantly – remain calm and speak clearly.

You will be given around 20 minutes to work in a pair and analyse a set of information. You and your partner will then need to prepare your response. In the second part, your interviewer will play the role of a client and you will be representing IBM. In this task, you will need to prove your negotiation skills, teamwork and analytical thinking.

In this exercise, you will work on your own to prepare a response to a case study problem, in the candidate brief provided to you. You will need to develop your arguments fully, and will need to persuade the recipient towards your team’s recommendations. The best practice is to start by analysing all the information and planning your response; only then should you start writing your response. Be sure to check your grammar and spellings throughout the essay, and be cautious of the time that you have been allocated – sometimes it might be better to skip some points in order to finish in time.


IBM Final Interview

If you successfully passed the IBM Assessment Centre, you will be invited to an interview with a senior manager, which can take over an hour. As it is the last stage of the recruitment process, you need to prove that you are not only suitable, but also motivated and enthusiastic to work for IBM.

Crucial tips to pass the IBM job interview:

  • This interview will be competency based  and will be focused around your CV and personal motivations; so review your CV and prepare examples of situations where you demonstrated the eight core competencies sought after by IBM. Want to know what questions could come up in your interview? Graduates First can help with the Question Identifier Tool (QIT). You can buy it by following this link.
  • Be prepared to answer some commercial awareness questions: recent developments in the industry, main competitors and big projects that IBM are working on.
  • Prepare interesting and thoughtful questions beforehand – this way you can impress your recruiters, and also learn more about IBM. It is also a chance for you to see if this role suits you.
  • You should prepare some ideas of examples that you could use during your interview. Base your examples on the most common types of interview questions.
  • Register with GraduatesFirst and select from the range of products we offer at no risk. We offer IPAT practice tests so you can increase your chances of getting the job first, first time. We also offer a comprehensive premium package with a full set of assessment tools for job candidates (numerical, logical, verbal reasoning, situational judgment tests, assessment centre exercises and more). Buy with peace of mind and without commitment; we offer a full 100% money back guarantee if you do not pass your assessment tests.


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