Want to work at PwC? You’re not the only one. And the numbers are clear: the PwC psychometric test pass rate is less than 40%.PwC aptitude tests are the second stage in the recruitment process and are used to sift applications.
Getting a job at PwC is not easy. But if you prepare in the right way, you can SIGNIFICANTLY increase your chances of success. Our step-by-step 2020 Definitive Guide to the PwC candidate assessment process will tell you how. Read insider tips, take practice tests and try assessment center exercises created by our team of top organisational psychologists and recruiters – today.
Getting a Job at PwC
Why is it so challenging?
As one of the largest professional services firms in the world, PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) is widely seen as one of the top places to work. In fact, in 2018 PwC was voted the UK’s number 1 graduate employer in The Times Top 100 Graduate Employers survey for the 15th year in a row. That means FIERCE competition for jobs and places on their graduate schemes.
Each year, PwC receives over 100,000 job applications in the UK alone. To find the best candidates, PwC has broken the recruitment process down into 5 stages:
You may be a highly qualified and capable candidate but that’s no guarantee of getting though the PwC application process. To avoid rejection and increase your chances of being selected, you need to be prepared and you need to perform your best at each and every stage.
How to Pass PwC Online Assessment, Interviews, Game-Based Tests and Video Interviews – BEST TIPS:
There are 6 key strategies that will help you improve your chances of success throughout the recruitment process with PwC:
Get to know PwC. Do a TON of research about the company’s business model, corporate culture, its traditions, recent developments, financial situation and main competitors. Use the PwC website, Wikipedia, Glassdoor, Reddit and Quora as starting points.
Understand the role.Make sure you understand the requirements for the job you are applying for. Make a list of the top 5 job requirements (including skills and experience).
Match your skills with these 5 requirements. Think of and select experiences from the past 3-5 years to demonstrate that you can offer what PwC is looking for. This is not limited to professional experience; it can also include voluntary work and other extracurricular activities. You need to prove that your candidate profile is a close match to the PwC job post.
Build a simple table:
Short Description of My Experience
Write a short text with an example of your experience (1 experience per line):
e.g. ‘Prepared a quarterly sales report based on data from finance and commercial systems for a group of senior managers that highlighted key issues and areas of opportunity for the District A sales team.’Provide 1-2 lines of description using the star model. Keep it very succinct in your CV. You are not writing a book.
S – Situation
T – Task I was asked to perform
A – Actions I have taken
R – Results that my work produced
Write your CV with these 5 key requirements in mind. The recruiter needs to see, within 30 seconds, that your experience meets their requirements. Use punchy wording, action verbs and describe the result sof your actions.
Prepare for aptitude tests with practice, practice, and more practice! Try Graduates First online practice aptitude tests with our video interview technology and gamified assessment solutions. This is THE single most useful step you can take to increase your chances of getting hired.
Before the interview: talk and engage with PwC employees. Speak with people who work or have previously worked for PwC. Find them on LinkedIn or social media and search for interviews. Use Quora to ask questions. Ask them what PwC look for in their employees.
What Are the Stages of the PwC Recruitment Process?
PwC Online Job Application
So you’ve done your research on PwC and decided which programme you want to apply for. What next?
First, complete their online form, which includes:
Your A-Level results
The schools and/or universities you attended
Relevant work experience
Motivational questions (depending on which business area you apply to)
You MUST make sure you have provided accurate information before your submission. Don’t leave this until the last minute.
PwC Job Application Tip: apply as EARLY as possible. PwC reviews job applications on a rolling basis, so the sooner you apply, the higher the chances of your application being reviewed. Check your email regularly in case PwC’s HR department contacts you for more details.
PwC Situational Judgement Test
Every candidate applying to PwC has to take the PwC Situational Judgement Test (SJT):
This is an aptitude test that assesses how you deal with typical workplace situations and evaluates your competencies. You will be presented with a video scenario and asked how you would tackle a problem. Your task is to identify and select the “best” and “worst” course of action, based on what you think a PwC employee should do.
Sounds scary, right?
It is, but only if you are unprepared and you have never practised a similar test before. Practicing the tests is the proven way to improve your results.
PwC Situational Judgement Tests are tailored according to which business area and position you apply for, so remember to carefully read all the information in your test invite email from PwC.
Practice various tests available online; this will help you not only with PwC testsbutalso those from other employers.Remember there are commonalities between the job types, i.e., the SJT for an auditor job at PwC may be very similar at KPMG.
Be yourself. SJT tests are a two-way process. PwC want to ensure you’ll be a good fit as much as you want to ensure you’ll enjoy working there.
Answer questions honestly. Do not attempt to look for the ‘right’ answer for the question. These tests are designed to find inconsistencies in your answers. If cheating is detected, your application will be rejected.
Learn what to expect in a Situational Judgement Test
Experience the structure and format of a typical test
See the best ways to react and answer the questions
PwC Aptitude Tests and Game-Based Assessments
If you pass the PwC Situational Judgement Test, you’ll be invited to take the PwC Game-Based Assessment. This consists of 11 games, which can be taken on iOS, Android, Windows or Mac.
You’re probably wondering: what on earth is a game-based assessment?
Don’t panic. We’ve got a super detailed guide to ALL 11 game tests used by PwC, so you can find out exactly what kind of thing to expect.
Firstly, let’s focus on the 2 key PwC psychometric tests included in the games:
The PwC Numerical Reasoning Test
The PwC Logical Reasoning Test
PwC Numerical Reasoning Test
This is similar to traditional online aptitude assessment tests. You will get:
Less than one minute to answer each question
Been a while since you did maths?
Don’t worry. You don’t need to be a world-class mathematician to pass this test but you DO need to be prepared! We’ve got 3 key tips to help you pass PwC Numerical Reasoning Tests:
Revise basic GCSE-level calculations. This includes ratios, percentages and reading data from charts.
Practise dealing with time pressure. What makes the PwC Numerical Reasoning Test difficult is not the level of maths, but how you reason with the information in the time allocated. The only way to prepare for this is by practising numerical reasoning tests.
Practise coping with stress. Again, the main challenge is not mathematical knowledge, but performing under pressure.By practising tests at home, in a relaxed environment, you’ll be able to perform better in your actual test.
Here’s an example of a typical PwC-style Numerical Reasoning Test question:
Worked it out? Check out the correct answer at the bottom of the page.
For more FREE numerical tests questions similar to PwC assessment tests, register with Graduates First and take your FREE or Premium Numerical Reasoning Tests now!
PwC Logical Reasoning Test
Unlike the other tests, the PwC Logical Reasoning Test does not examine any particular area. You will get:
45 seconds per question
A series of 5 diagrams with varying shapes and spatial arrangements. Your task is to recognise the pattern and identify what comes next in the sequence.
It’s actually not as difficult as it seems, as long as you bear in mind a few key things:
It can be quite random. The fact that no prior knowledge is required is exactly what makes this test difficult, so the only way to prepare is by practising similar tests.
You need to be comfortable with the format. There’s no limit to how abstract the patterns and trends can be. The size, arrangement, movement and colours of 2 and 3-dimensional shapes will change, so you need to be ready for anything.
The test assesses your speed. As with the Numerical Reasoning Test, you need to be able to think calmly under pressure. By taking practice tests you can increase your accuracy and reaction times.
Here’s what a typical PwC-Style logical reasoning question looks like:
In this example, you’d have just 45 seconds to notice that:
The arrow rotates clockwise around the diagram
The sequence of shapes is triangle-circle-square
The long line alternates between horizontal and vertical
…and to identify the correct answer!
Have you cracked it? Check out the answer at the bottom of the page.
Take your FREE or Premium PwC style Logical Reasoning Test now!
Look at worked solutions to explain how you get the answer
Get professional score reports with personalised tips based on your performance
We’ve got it all covered here at GF.
PwC Game-Based Assessments and best tips to pass
Alongside the numerical and logical reasoning tests, PwC will ask you to complete a further 9 game-based tests developed by . They have different instructions and are designed to measure skills and competencies including:
Your reaction times
Whether you persist with a task after failing or missing a point
How you switch strategies
TOP TIP to pass PwC game-based tests: These tests collect “data points” according to how you perform on each task, but you must try to not let a low score distract or demotivate you! The test measures your behaviour as well as your actual ‘score’.
Read our full article on gamified assessments, how to prepare for and practice them, here:
Let’s take an in-depth look at each of the 9 games:
1.Balloons. Your goal is to inflate different sized balloons and ‘bank’ them before they pop. The more you pump a balloon, the more points you get. If you pop a balloon, you gain zero points. Each balloon constitutes a round.
Arctic Shores ‘Balloons’ game
Source: Arctic Shores
Balloons game tip: This game measures risk-taking so try to strike a balance between pumping and banking!
2.Power Generators. This game involves using 4 different generators to reach a desired power level. Some of the generators start to deduct power once too much is used and your task is to work out how to gain as much power as possible.
3. Leaflets. This is a memory game requiring you to remember the order in which a grid of leafletsis stamped. The second level is more complex: there is a secondary stamp that’s not part of the sequence and should be ignored.
Leaflets game tip:Classic memory games like this are available online and you should practice to improve your performance in this game.
4. Bulbs and Spanners. This game tests your reaction times. An image of a bulb or spanner appears at the top of your screen and you need to click on thecorresponding button at the bottom of the screen.
5.Arrows. This game tests your ability to compute multiple sources of information. You focus on an arrow in the centre of the screen. If it’s surrounded by other arrows or dashes, you need to press a button corresponding to the direction of the centre arrow.
Arrows game tip: Practising similar online brain training games can help you improve your performance.
6. Moving Numbers. This game also assesses your ability to process multiple sources of information. Shapes with numbers appear on a split screen. If the shape enters the top half of the screen, you have to focus on the number, clicking the left button for even numbers, and the right button for odd numbers. When the shape enters the bottom half, you need to focus on the shape rather than the number. For rounded corners, click the left button, for pointed edges click the right. The game gets faster and switches between the two halves to make it trickier.
Moving numbers game tip: this game looks at the effect of interferenceon your reaction times – something psychologists term ‘The Stroop Effect’. Look it up to help you understand this phenomenon and how you can improve your performance.
7. Team Selling. This game looks at how you can balance risk-taking with teamwork. You are on one of two teams, selling electronic devices to make money for PwC. You must decide whether to sell them for $50 or $300. The aim is to raise as much money as possible. You’re unable to see the other team’s decision – which takes around 10 seconds. If both teams decide to sell a tablet for $50, they are each awarded that amount and $100 goes into the PwC pot. If one team decides to sell for $300 and the other for $50, then the latter team receives $300. If both teams go for $300, both teams receive nothing.
8.Emotions. This game tests your emotional recognition when looking at facial expressions.You will see an animated picture of a face and have to identify which emotion it displays. You will be shown a series of approximately 50 faces in total and choose from a range of 7-8 different emotions.
Emotions game tip:You can practise this using Google Images – jot down a list of common emotions (e.g. happy) and look at the pictures that come up when you search for that word plus “face”.
9.Open the Safe. This also measures your reaction times. You will see a coded safe in the centre of the screen, with numbers around it, like a clock face. To reveal the code, you must press a designated button when the correct digit is highlighted. If you make a mistake you will need to start again from round one. Each round gets progressively faster.
Open the safe game tip:Believe it or not, first-person shooter (FPS) video games can help you improve your reaction time. Hazard perception tests and “reaction time” online games can also help.
PwC Career Conversation:
If you successfully pass the online tests and gamified-assessment stage, you’ll be invited to a Video Interview.
This is THE opportunity for you to demonstrate your interest and show that your skills make you suitable for the role you’ve applied for, so you really need to get it right. Here’s how to get through a PwC Video Interview successfully:
Dress smartly. Make sure you’re well presented and dressed as if you are going to work – not chilling out in your PJs at home!
Get the room ready. Position your camera at eye-level and make sure your microphone is working. Make sure you are in a quiet space with no distractions in the background. You don’t want an unexpected videobomb from your flatmate or pet cat!
Have a pen and paper ready. Before you record your answer to each question you will be given 30-60 seconds of prep time to analyse what is being asked. Take this time to plan your response and write down some bullet points, but…
Maintain eye contact. During the recording it’s important to look up and keep your eyes focussed on the camera, so try not to rely on your notes too much.
Practice your answers. Pick up some questions and practice in front of the mirror or use GF;sAI-powered Video Interview technology to mimic the experience, analyse your recorded answers and get feedback.When answering skills/ job experience related questions use the STAR framework.
Want to know what type of questions may come up in the PwC Video Interview?
Aptitude tests. You’ll be asked to RETAKE some of the aptitude tests you previously took online. A reminder: it’s not worth getting friends to help you cheat with the online tests, because you’ll get caught out!
Individual or group PwC In-tray Exercise. This is a paper-based test looking at your ability to prioritise tasks and your time-management skills. Take a look at GF’s in-tray Exercise guide
Presentation Exercise. This exercise does not require any preparation and the format will depend on what role you’re applying for. You might be given a brief and asked to prepare and deliver a presentation. Find out more about what to expect from Presentation Exercises
Final PwC Interview. Hoorah!The final stage is a one-to-one interview with the partner or director from the business area you want to join. Stay calm. They may ask questions relating to your experiencebutmost people who have got through to this stagehave proven they have enoughskills and experience. This conversation is primarily to check how you will fit with the company culture and the team. Just be yourself.
TOP TIP for passing PwC Assessment Centre: Make a good impression. Ask questions and interact with PwC employees. They want to see if you are a good fit for the company and if you’re the type of person they’d enjoy working with: open and confident, but polite and kind.
So, you’ve now got the low-down on the whole PwC application process and it’s time to apply…
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