Oral and written exercises

Oral presentations

Presentations are a common feature of assessment centres and are used by employers to assess how well you can structure and communicate information. You may be asked to present a prepared presentation or, more often, you will be asked to produce a presentation on the day.

Presentations are generally quite short (5 - 15mins) and you may be asked to deliver it to an audience made up of your fellow candidates and the recruiters themselves.

You may be invited to use PowerPoint or similar presentation software and you must be prepared for questions.

When giving a presentation:

  • Have a clear structure - begin by introducing yourself and giving an outline of your presentation, followed by 2 or 3 main headings and a clear conclusion
  • Consider your audience – is your content at an appropriate level
  • Use appropriate amounts of data to support your arguments and no more - limit the number of facts and figures you use
  • Restrict yourself to no more than six key messages
  • Aim for a conversational style, engage the audience with eye contact and body language
  • Speak clearly at a reasonable pace (consider taping yourself as practice).
  • Be clear and concise and do not cram too much onto your slides
  • Use technology appropriately; don’t allow it to detract from your message (you are showcasing your communication skills rather than your IT skills)
  • Do not go over the allocated time

Written exercises

Employers use written exercises to test your ability to logically process and analyse information, think clearly and take decisive action (examining how you justify this).

When completing a written exercise:

  • Make sure you properly understand have captured the essence of the task before you write anything
  • Use your allocated time efficiently: work swiftly, but don’t panic
  • Provide a brief indication of the main points and the reasons for your thinking and decisions

Types of written exercise

E-tray and in-tray exercises

Information can be found on our e-tray & in-tray exercise |pages.

Case studies

Information can be found on our case study| pages.

Drafting exercise

You will often be given a number of facts about a sensitive issue and asked to express them tactically, concisely and accurately. This could be in the form of a sensitive or difficult customer complaint or query. Employers are looking at your ability to choose the right facts and how you present them, demonstrate this by

  • Showing your knowledge of relevant business issues
  • Effectively arguing your case, using relevant facts
  • Emphasising the benefits of your chosen course of action, being firm but sensitive
  • Considering your readers, both the recipient of the letter and the employer testing you

Useful links