Assessment Centre Group Exercises: Examples and Tips for Success

Group exercises are an important part of assessment centre events for a wide variety of roles and companies.

Many people find it difficult to perform well in a group, but with the right practice and preparation, you can stand out from the rest and make a strong impression on recruiters.

In this free assessment centre group exercises guide we will show you:

  • 3 common types of group exercises you could face at an assessment centre
  • 2 real-world assessment centre group exercise examples
  • 5 expert tips to help you stand out on the day

You can find our recommended assessment centre group practice exercises here.


What is an assessment centre group exercise?

The group exercise is one of several assessment centre exercises you may have to take part in on your assessment day.

You’ll be placed in a random group of 8-10 candidates and must work together to complete an activity in front of assessors.

The exercise measures your ability to work in a team, contribute, delegate and solve problems.

Each candidate is assessed individually on skills required for the role they are applying for, such as leadership, communication, influence, creativity, problem solving and commercial awareness.

Compared to other assessment centre activities like aptitude tests and interviews, the group exercise tends to be one of the most challenging because of its competitive nature.

You’ll be working with a mixture of personality types, and everyone wants to make a great impression.

Luckily, we’ve got plenty of tips, info and advice to help you approach the group exercise with the right attitude. Keep reading to prep yourself for success!

What to expect at assessment centre group exercises

There are three common types of group exercises you could face at an assessment centre:

  1. Case study or role play

Where you play out an imaginary scenario to try to overcome its particular challenges and get to an outcome that the majority of the group is happy with.

  1. Debate

Where you must discuss and come to a conclusion about a work-related issue. You may also have to present your solution back to the assessors as a group.

  1. Discussion

A more informal exercise where you discuss a general topic, usually related to news or current affairs.

No matter which type of group activity you take part in, the format will be largely the same.

Before you start the exercise, you’ll get a short amount of time to read the brief.

Everyone in the group will be working with the same general information and scenario, but you’ll usually also be assigned a specific position to take or given some unique extra information to guide your interactions.

Then, you’ll join the other candidates to complete the activity in front of your assessors.

The exercise itself will normally go for about 10-20 minutes.


Assessment centre group exercise examples

Now let’s take a look at some examples of real assessment centre group exercises. Try these at home with some friends – it’s a great way to practise!

Here’s a general case study group exercise from JobTestPrep:

Group Exercise 1

And here’s a more in-depth, business-related group exercise from AssessmentDay:

Group Exercise 2

Get even more examples and the best assessment centre group practice exercises here!

Group exercises top tips video

Have a watch of this video from Career & Skills, these are some top tips from their graduate recruitment team…

5 pro tips to stand out at assessment centre group exercises

#1: Contribute but don’t dominate

It’s very important that you speak up and make your voice heard during the group activity.

Recruiters are assessing your contribution to the group, so if you stay in the background and let others lead the discussion, you won’t get the marks.

But at the same time, no employer is looking for someone who’s loud, overbearing and dominates the conversation.

Make sure everyone is included equally and gets a chance to speak, and if you notice someone sitting quietly and not saying anything, encourage them to contribute.

Be aware of your personality and be mindful of others in the group. If you’re naturally quite shy, or tend to be more aggressive, then you need to adjust your communication style to find a balance between the two.

#2: Follow instructions carefully

Read the brief thoroughly before you start and make sure you’re clear on the instructions. Ask for clarification if you’re unsure about anything.

During the exercise, try not to let the discussion get carried away or off topic.

You’ll want to stay totally on track with the brief you were given, so prioritise what topics or discussion points need to be worked through, and stick to them. Keep the time limit in mind!


#3: Do your research beforehand

Get more marks for your commercial awareness by finding out about the employer and role you’re applying for.

Show that you understand the company, what they do and what they value by using that information during the exercise and relating it to the task at hand.

Assessors are looking for people who not only understand the business and industry, but who also act appropriately for the role.

Make sure you offer suggestions and recommendations that make sense for the company and for its specific business environment.

#4: Don’t be afraid to take the lead

While it’s essential to not dominate the group or boss people around, you should still try to show your leadership skills in natural and positive ways.

For example, offer to keep track of the time at the beginning of the exercise, or proactively include other group members in the conversation by asking them what they think.

This shows you have initiative and don’t mind taking on responsibility, which can make you more memorable to assessors and give you a valuable leg-up over the competition.

#5: Practice, practice, practice!

And of course, the best thing you can do to prepare yourself for your assessment centre group exercise and stand out from the crowd is to practice.

Gather some friends together and work through the group exercise examples above, and then find even more practice exercises here.

You’ll get more confident, calm and comfortable with the exercise, which in turn will help you perform better on the day.

Good luck!

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