Want to work at PwC but don’t know where to start? 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 2021 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 6 stages:

  1. PwC Online Application
  2. Career Evaluation: PwC Situational Judgement Test (online)
  3. PwC Aptitude Tests and Game-Based Assessments
  4. Career conversation: PwC Video and Telephone Interviews
  5. Career focus: PwC Assessment Centre 2021 – 2022
  6. Final PwC Interview

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.

Master your PwC Assessments and Interviews – enjoy this short video guide:

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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), link them to PwC values, mission and vision
  3. Match your skills with these 5 job 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:

Skills RequiredShort Description of My ExperienceSTAR Model
Analytical ThinkingWrite 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 – SituationT – Task I was asked to performA – Actions I have takenR – Results that my work produced
  1. 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 results of your actions. Use the key words from the job description, company values, mission, leadership traits. Employers use automated software to screen for words, experiences that match the job posting. Make sure you CV does not include gaps. The software detects these.
  2. 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.
  3. 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?

1. PwC Online Application

So you’ve done your research on PwC and decided which programme you want to apply for. What next?

  1. 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)
  1. You MUST make sure you have provided accurate information before your submission. Don’t leave this until the last minute.
    • You may be asked questions regarding your work permit, current salary, salary expectations, qualifications, etc.
  2. Your CV MUST link to PwC values, mission, vision and leadership traits. This gives your CV a better chance of getting through the automated screening software.

PwC Values:

  • Act with integrity
  • Make a difference
  • Care
  • Work together
  • Reimagine the possible

PwC Mission statement: “to provide an unrivalled level of service and to contribute to the sustained growth of the economy through the execution of vigorous, fair and high-quality audits based on clear leadership and creative teamwork.”

PwC Vision statement: “Our purpose is to build trust in society and solve important problems.”

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.

2. Career Evaluation: PwC Situational Judgement Test (online)

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.

If you want to better understandhow companies use SJTs in their assessment and what they measure, go to our dedicated Situational Judgement Tests page.

Or watch this short video:

Video: What is a Situational Judgement Test (SJT)? | Guide for Job Hunters (PwC, Deloitte, Accenture)

PwC Situational Judgment Test Tips:

  • 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 tests but also 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, instead, look for the option that SOLVES the given problem. These tests are designed to find inconsistencies in your answers. If cheating is detected, your application will be rejected.

PwC Situational Judgement question example

Now test these tips on the question below, what would your response be to the given situation:

Question: You supervise a team that is responsible for auditing internal departments in order to ensure they comply with company policy and external regulations. You are heavily under-resourced as one of your original team members has recently left the company and today another member of your team has called in sick. To make matters complex, your second-line supervisor has approached you with a high priority request that needs urgent attention. You are aware that you will not be able to deliver on this alone. What do you do?

Options:

A: Be assertive and push back on the request, explaining to your second-line supervisor that your team is extremely overworked, given you are now two people down.

B: Take on the request, explaining to your second-line supervisor that the workload is very high with limited resources, but that you will find a way to get this high priority work done. Also explain that if you run into any problems with delivering on time, you may need to reach out for their support in getting temporary help.

C: Take on the task and assure your second-line supervisor that you will have this done on time, even though you know that this might be unlikely. If you don’t deliver, at least you will have a good reason, and management will then support you in getting additional resources.

D: Explain your circumstances to the second-line supervisor and let them know you are willing to oversee the task if they can help by providing you with some resources to do this.

So, what was your approach? This is not it, you can get access to many such questions with GF’s practice Situational Judgement Tests  so that nothing catches you by surprise.

You will:

  • 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
  • Gain confidence

Need more help/ Check out these short videos:

Video: How to Fail a Situational Judgement Test (SJT)

Video: What are Situational Judgement Tests? (SJTs Explained)

3. PwC Aptitude Tests and Game-Based Assessments

If you pass the PwC Situational Judgement Test, you’ll be most probably invited to take the PwC Game-Based Assessment. This consists of 11 games, which can be taken on iOS, Android, Windows or Mac. Sometimes you may also receive an invitation to take a PwC online logical reasoning and numerical reasoning tests, which will be again given to you on your assessment day (this checks if you have not cheated).

For specific positions, PwC conducts technical tests. For example, if you have applied for an accountant’s position, you can expect an accounts test. So, brush up your basic knowledge. 

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:

  1. The PwC Numerical Reasoning Test
  2. The PwC Logical Reasoning Test

PwC Numerical Reasoning Test

This is similar to traditional online aptitude assessment tests. You will get:

  • 18 questions
  • 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! These tests seem difficult because of the limited time to answer and the level of stress in that specific moment.

We’ve got 3 key tips to help you pass PwC Numerical Reasoning Tests:

  1. Revise basic GCSE-level calculations. This includes ratios, percentages and reading data from charts.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

More numerical reasoning tests resources:

  • FREE numerical tests questions similar to PwC assessment tests, sign up with us and practise FREE Numerical Reasoning Tests
  • Learn more about numerical reasoning tests
  • Numerical reasoning example questions, answers and worked solutions (for PwC) --> these 5 questions cover 70-80% of typical numerical reasoning assessment questions
Video: Numerical Reasoning Test Practice Questions and Answers | 5 Worked Solutions & Tutorial!

Video: How to optimize numerical reasoning practice | Get your High Score

PwC Logical Reasoning Test

Unlike the other tests, the PwC Logical Reasoning Test does not examine any particular area. You will get:

  • 18 questions
  • 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.

Sounds complex?

It’s actually not as difficult as it seems, as long as you bear in mind a few key things:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

For more questions similar to those in the PwC logical reasoning tests, sign up with us and:

  • Practise FREE 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.

More logical reasoning tests resources:

  • Learn more about logical reasoning tests
  • Logical reasoning example questions, answers and worked solutions (for PwC) --> these 5 questions cover 70-80% of typical logical reasoning assessment questions
Video: Logical Reasoning Test Questions and Answers | 5 FULL Examples & Worked Solutions | Practice

Video: What is a Logical Reasoning Test?

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
  • Decision-making skills
  • 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.

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 for PwC
Source: Arctic Shores

Balloons game tip: This game measures risk-taking so try to strike a balance between pumping and banking!

To get a better idea of what the Balloons game looks like, we provide a practice version called BART (Balloon Analogue Risk Task). It is in line with the algorithm used behind the Pymetrics or Arctic Shored game. Prepare and practise for PwC Balloon game assessment. 

skyrise-city-balloon-practice
Balloon Game Practice

Fed up with reading? Take a break and watch our video to find out what the Balloon game-based assessment from Arctic Shores and Pymetrics really measures.

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.

We offer a memory practice game called: Cognition-M ™

Learn more about memory games and how to pass them in this video:

Video: What are Memory Game Assessments by Arctic Shores, Pymetrics, HireVue? | Ace PwC, Unilever Games

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 the corresponding 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 interference on 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.

Get better at reading emotions.

Practice emotions game assessment with GF i-EQ game here.

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”.

Learn more about emotions games and how to pass them in this video:

Video: What are Emotify & Emotions Game Assessments | Pymetrics, Arctic Shores, Revelian Games | PwC, RBS

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.

4. Career Conversation: PwC Video and Telephone Interviews

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:

  • Access the link send ahead of time, test that everything works well. DO NOT leave this task till 5 min before the start of your interview!
  • 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!
    • Make sure you choose a background with minimum distractions or even a plain background if you may.
  • Prepare your interview questions. Check out our page on common interview questions and prepare some examples you can use.
  • 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 focused on the camera, so try not to rely on your notes too much. Answer with confidence.
  • Practice your answers several days in advance. Pick up some questions and practice in front of the mirror or use GF’s AI-powered Video Interview technology to mimic the experience, answer pre-defined questions for consultancy interviews, analyse your recorded answers and get feedback. When answering skills/ job experience related questions use the STAR framework. Practicing the perfect answer to the question “Tell me about yourself” should be your first priority though. And, no they are not looking to hear the history of your family here. The interviewer wants to understand what are your experiences that match the job you applied for and why you think you fit.

Want to know what type of questions may come up in the PwC Video Interview?

Graduates First can help with our Interview Question Identifier Tool (QIT) and AI-powered Video Practice technology.

Use GF’s AI powered Video Interviews to record yourself, practice your answers, observe your behaviour and improve as you go – prepare yourself to make the best impression during your video interview.

video-interview-free-graduate-questions
Video Interview Free Graduate Questions

5. Career Focus: PwC Assessment Centre 2021 – 2022

OK, so you’ve made it this far and you’re through to the FINAL stage of the recruitment process. Congrats! But – don’t relax just yet…

You’ll be invited to a PwC office to complete a number of tasks and to meet PwC employees.

It’s important that you try to stay calm and focussed: the HR assessors will be observing your behaviour throughout the WHOLE day at the PwC Assessment Centre, not just your performance in the tests and compare your performance with the other candidates.

So what exactly happens at the PwC Assessment Day? There are 5 stages:

  1. Written communication exercise. Take a look at our Written exercises guide
  • Written communication exercises may involve you answering some mails, where they mix-up the important mails with the junk mails. Therefore, you have to prioritize the most important mails so that you don’t waste too much time on the junk mails.

2. Aptitude tests. You’ll be asked to RETAKE some of the aptitude tests you previously took online (typically numerical or logical reasoning tests).

  • These tests are given to check your speed as well as your accuracy. You need much more practice than the online tests you took. And these aptitude tests can be more challenging than the online tests because here the environment will be much more stressful and you can get through only if you have practiced enough.
  • A reminder: it’s not worth getting friends to help you cheat with the online tests, because you’ll get caught out!

3. 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

  • They can expect you to read and comprehend a fictional case study and write down what you think is the best approach to tackle a particular problem.

4. 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

  • Show enthusiasm by volunteering to present
  • Show time-management by discussing all your listed points in the given time
  • Get feedback from your fellow candidates
  • Talk in terms of ‘We’ and not ‘I’ or ‘You’
  • Make eye contact with your audience
  • Remember the names of your teammates

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.

Practice assessment centre exercises for PwC.

assessment-centre-exercises-example
Assessment Centre Exercises Example
6. Final PwC Interview

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 experience but most people who have got through to this stage have proven they have enough skills and experience. This conversation is primarily to check how you will fit with the company culture and the team. Just be yourself.

The PwC interview consists of 3 Rounds:

1.    HR Round

This round scans for all communicational skills, overall personality scanning, etc. In this round you may be asked questions such as, How do you go about prioritizing, Proudest moments in life, How you dealt with an unresponsive team mate, etc.  

2.    Technical Round

This round measures your technical abilities. This is very important and difficult to crack, so make sure you keep your calm, take a deep breath and then answer the question asked to you. The trick lies in explaining your answers well and using the correct keywords. The questions in this round could go like, What is SOAP, Define OOPS concepts, What is view state, etc.

3.    Partner Round

This round is quite simple as compared to the technical round. Here they test if the candidate can handle pressure. They will give you situations, tasks and ask questions, during which they’ll assist you on your prioritization and time management skills.

At this stage it all really comes down to your personality and if they like you. Because, by this point they are interested in you, they know you’re good at what you do and you’re a good fit for the job and that’s why they called for an interview. So, here are few tips:

  • Keep it conversational
  • Make jokes, show personality.
  • Find ways to insert your skills and accomplishments subtly
  • Know your resume inside-out
  • Prepare a set of questions. Be it regarding the job or asking their views on the trends in the industry (this will show your research)
  • Prepare your answers to certain behavioural questions. Use the STAR approach. Most important, always keep the answers to the behavioural questions which include you telling about the time when you showed:

1.     Leadership

2.     Managerial skills

3.     Relationship building

Don’t pretend to be a person that you’re not.

Strike the balance. Don’t stress too much and don’t relax too much because there’s a job at stake

Find out more how to prepare for your PwC interviews.

So, you’ve now got the low-down on the whole PwC application process and it’s time to apply…

Want to Pass Your PwC Psychometric Tests, Game-Based Assessment and Video Interviews First Time?

Unlock your career! Sign up for tools offered by GF, the ONLY practice aptitude test experts to provide a range of candidate assessment solutions to over 100 top UK universities and others across continental Europe and Asia.

We’ve got first-hand experience of designing SHL and IBM Kenexa aptitude tests to help you with all the preparation required for your PwC assessment process.

Go to Graduates First now and select from the range of products we offer to:

  • INCREASE your chances of getting your dream job first time with our FREE aptitude tests. No risk, no strings attached.
  • BEAT other candidates with our comprehensive PREMIUM package: a full set of assessment tools (numerical, logical, verbal reasoning, situational judgement tests, assessment centre exercises, video interviews, game based assessments and more).
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Correct answers to example questions:

Numerical Reasoning Test: D

Logical Reasoning Test: C

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