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.
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:
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:
There are 6 key strategies that will help you improve your chances of success throughout the recruitment process with PwC:
Build a simple table:
So you’ve done your research on PwC and decided which programme you want to apply for. What next?
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.
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:
PwC Situational Judgment Test Tips:
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?
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.
Need more help/ Check out these short videos:
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:
This is similar to traditional online aptitude assessment tests. You will get:
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:
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:
Unlike the other tests, the PwC Logical Reasoning Test does not examine any particular area. You will get:
It’s actually not as difficult as it seems, as long as you bear in mind a few key things:
Here’s what a typical PwC-Style logical reasoning question looks like:
In this example, you’d have just 45 seconds to notice that:
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:
We’ve got it all covered here at GF.
More logical reasoning tests resources:
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:
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:
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.
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:
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:
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.
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:
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.
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:
2. Aptitude tests. You’ll be asked to RETAKE some of the aptitude tests you previously took online (typically numerical or logical reasoning tests).
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
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
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.
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:
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…
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.
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Correct answers to example questions:
Numerical Reasoning Test: D
Logical Reasoning Test: C
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