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Business exercises

Business exercises

Business exercises

What should you expect?

These exercises are usually closely related to the role and will assess the skills required for the job. They are usually based on real business situations and will test skills such as organisation, problem solving, data analysis, planning and decision making. You will usually have to complete these tasks within a time limit and may be asked to discuss your decisions.

In-tray (or e-tray) exercises

You will usually be given a mixture of letters, telephone messages, emails with attachments, requests for information, spreadsheets and a diary or calendar. You will be asked to respond to and action these. To do this you will need to prioritise and explain your decisions. You can use this in-tray exercise or e-tray exercise to practise.

Case studies

You may be given a case study as an individual or for a group exercise. You could be given a business issue or scenario and asked to review it and come up with a solution, or reach a decision if it is a group exercise. Be prepared to justify your answers to the panel.

Written exercises

These can differ widely depending on the role. You may be asked to summarise complex data or a long report or to write a press release or a formal letter. You can inform the organisation in advance if you need them to make any reasonable adjustments, such as extra time if you are dyslexic.

How can you prepare?

Be familiar with the job description and the skills required.  

  • Read the instructions carefully and make sure you understand the task
  • Approach the task calmly and logically
  • Read all the information carefully before you start the task
  • Watch the time 
  • Check and double check your spelling and grammar when you have finished

Help from the Careers Centre

You can use the drop-in service for advice on any of these tasks.  You can download Your Assessment Centre leaflet here.