Assessment centres


What is an assessment centre?

Assessment centres are usually day-long events that allow recruiters to see you perform in simulated work situations.

The activities may include; group exercises and case studies, psychometric tests, interviews, presentations and e-tray/in-tray exercises.

Due to the pandemic, many employers are running virtual assessment centres, but your preparation should be the same.



  • Read everything you have been sent about the day and understand what tasks and activities you will be getting involved in.
  • Re-read your application as it may contain tips on what the employer is looking for.
  • Re-read the job description and related documents to refresh your memory on what the company is looking for.
  • If an interview forms part of the day, be sure to follow our advice on interview preparation.
  • If the assessment centre will be run online, make sure you have a good internet connection, a suitably quiet environment without distractions and a neutral background behind you.

At the assessment centre

  • Speak up and get involved. If you don't the recruiter can't see what you have to offer!
  • Don't worry if you don't do so well in one aspect. Employers rarely expect perfection in every area.
  • Manage your time. Understand what each task is and how long you have to do it. Split tasks up. Try to agree with the group how you might split the tasks between you.
  • Enjoy it! Most students we talk to say assessment centre activities are mostly good fun.


  • Think about how you and others performed in the assessment centre. What did you do well? What could be improved? Come and talk it over with us at a Quick Query appointment.

What next?

  1. On the Careers & Employability Moodle watch the assessment centres videos. The videos follow students through a real assessment centre and include feedback from the recruiters.
  2. Check our events page to see if there are any approaching assessment centre events.
  3. On Moodle take a look at the helpsheets provided on assessment centres (includes presentations, written & e.tray exercises and group exercises), interviews, and psychometric tests.
  4. Read more about e-tray/in-tray exercises.

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Psychometric tests


What are psychometric tests?

Psychometric tests are structured exercises, usually online, used to measure various aspects of aptitude, competence, skill, sensitivity, memory, intelligence and personality.


  • Understand the instructions. You will be given some practice questions to complete before you start on the real thing.

  • Avoid interruptions. Make sure you are in a quiet room and will not be disturbed.

  • Sit in a comfortable chair with a well-positioned table and adopt a relaxed posture.

  • It is also very important to make sure your computer connection is reliable.

  • Read the instructions carefully.

  • Work quickly and if you're unsure of the answer, make a decision and move on.

  • Use the practice tests below to increase your confidence for the real thing.

Verbal reasoning

Verbal reasoning tests are designed to assess your ability to understand, interpret and use written information.

  • Practice reading complicated texts about subjects you do not understand.

  • Try extracting the main points from passages of information and summarising their meaning.

  • Use the practice tests below to increase your confidence for the real thing.


Numerical (or "numerical reasoning") tests are designed to assess your numerical capability.

  • Brush up on your mental arithmetic

  • Go over your times tables.

  • Remind yourself of some fundamental calculations such as percentages and fractions.

  • Check that you can do long multiplication.

  • Practise estimating answers; even with a calculator this can help make sure you are on the right track.

  • Questions are often based on your ability to interpret data presented in tables - get hold of a copy of the Financial Times, or a similar journal, and spend time becoming familiar with reading tables of information.

  • Do not worry about more advanced maths such as algebra or equations. These will not be tested unless the employer tells you explicitly that this is the case.

  • Use the practice tests below to increase your confidence for the real thing.


Personality tests are occassionally used to help an employer understand what kind of personality you have and how that might match with the orgnaisation's culture.

  • Be yourself. be honest. There are no 'right or wrong' answers with personality tests.

  • Don't attempt to guess the "right" answer

  • Use the practice tests below to increase your confidence for the real thing.

What next?

  1. Use the practice online psychometric tests and e-tray exercises available in the “Psychometric/employer tests” section of the Careers & Employability Moodle 

  2. Practice full length numerical, verbal, inductive, logical and diagrammatic tests online, with downloadable answer sheets that explain the solutions to each question. Register with your Royal Holloway E-Mail Address. (Must be in the following format: (example:

  3. Read the psychometric tests helpsheet on Moodle

Practice tests

The Careers & Employability Service offers a full, free range of practice psychometric tests, accessible via the Careers & Employability Moodle course (look for the "Psychometric/employer tests" section).

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