PwC Assessment Centre Preparation Guide
Congratulations on being invited to the PwC assessment centre! This is the final stage of recruitment for many graduate roles within the company, and also the most notoriously challenging.
Luckily, we’ve got everything you need to know to make a great impression on your assessment day and secure a job offer.
In this free PwC assessment centre guide we will show you:
- 5 tests and exercises you’ll complete on the day (with examples)
- How you are scored and what you need to pass
- 4 pro tips to help you stand out at the assessment centre and get a great result
You can find our top recommended PwC practice tests and exercises here.
PwC and the recruitment process
PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) is one of the leading “Big Four” accounting and professional services firms, and the second largest in the world just after Deloitte.
The company employs over 22,000 people in the UK alone, including over 1,500 graduates through its various student and graduate programs each year.
There are many career opportunities at PwC in a wide range of business areas. But be prepared for a lengthy and rigorous recruitment process in order to find the very best candidates for the job.
There are five main stages in the PwC recruitment process:
- Online Application
First, you’ll need to apply online for the job you want. The application will ask you for your education and work experience, and some basic motivational questions such as why you want to work at PwC.
- Situational Judgement Test
After applying, you’ll take an online situational judgement test which is designed to give you a preview of the job you applied for. It includes video scenarios and asks how you would handle certain situations at work.
- Games-based Psychometric Assessments
If you pass the situational judgement test, you’ll move on to another round of psychometric testing. This consists of 11 online games designed to test your numerical reasoning and logical reasoning skills.
- Video Interview
Next, you must record your responses to a range of questions and case studies related to the particular job you applied for. You’ll be assessed on the behaviours, skills and qualities you can bring to the role.
- Assessment Centre
If your video interview is successful, you’ll be invited to attend a PwC assessment day at one of their offices. We’ll cover more about this stage of the process in the rest of this article.
What to expect at the PwC assessment centre
The PwC assessment centre is a half or full-day event where you’ll complete a range of exercises and activities, depending on which job role you applied for.
It is designed as an immersive “day in the life” experience made up of tasks you might complete during a typical working day at PwC.
You’ll be required to work both individually and in small groups, while assessors look on.
The PwC assessment day includes five main activities:
- Psychometric Testing
You will complete another round of psychometric tests to verify your initial online test results. These are paper-based and typically longer and more difficult than the games-based psychometric tests.
Here’s an example numerical reasoning test question from JobTestPrep:
If Chinese Insurance Stocks comprise 3.5% of all Insurance securities (globally), approximately how many insurance bonds are Chinese?
- Written Communication Exercise
You’ll have 30 minutes to read a brief and write a report on it, which must be clear and logically structured. You will then present your conclusions to an assessor, who may ask you further questions.
- Group Exercise
You’ll be split into small groups of 4-6 and everyone will receive a brief on an imaginary work-related scenario. You must discuss as a group and come to an agreed conclusion.
Check out our guide to assessment centre group exercises for more information and some examples to try at home.
- E-tray/In-tray Exercise
You will sort through a number of emails and answer questions about them, then write an email to a fictional colleague outlining what you did and what they should do next.
Here’s an example from AssessmentDay:
- Coaching Interview
The day will usually end with an interview with a partner or director from the business area you applied for. This is a relatively informal interview where you’ll reflect on how the day went and see if you’re a good fit for the team and company culture.
Have you been invited to a PwC interview or assessment centre? We always recommend these practice tests.
PwC assessment centre results and next steps
For each exercise at the assessment centre, assessors will give you a score between 1 and 5.
To be automatically considered a perfect fit for PwC, you need to score the full 5 marks for every exercise you complete.
This, however, is very rare. In fact, the pass rate for the PwC assessment centre is only around 10%, which means the large majority of candidates fail this stage of the recruitment process.
Fortunately, it’s not the end of the road for you. If you don’t pass the assessment centre, PwC welcomes and encourages you to reapply (either for the same position or a different one), but you are restricted to one application every six months.
If you do pass the assessment centre stage, congratulations! You’ll get an official offer shortly after, and once you accept, you’ll move through to pre-employment checks and onboarding.
Advice on your PwC assessment day
Have a close watch of this video from PwC UK Careers, two of the recruitment team answer some great questions…
4 pro tips to pass the PwC assessment centre
#1: Do your research
The activities at the assessment centre simulate real work scenarios that you could come across in your role at PwC.
So it’s important to have a good understanding of the company, its values and current market environment. You should be able to speak confidently about PwC and the business world in general.
Spend some time thoroughly researching the company and memorise some key facts and figures to discuss at the assessment day. Look at:
- The company website, social media pages, brochures and other marketing material
- Their latest annual report
- Financial media outlets
#2: Know what skills they’re looking for
PwC is looking for professionals who can show they have five key attributes: leadership, technical capabilities, business knowledge and awareness, global knowledge and awareness, and relationship building.
Make sure you can demonstrate each of these attributes with real examples from your past experience.
#3: Practice all the tests and exercises
There’s no better preparation than practice! Give yourself the best chance of success by reading up on all the exercises and doing some serious practice for each one.
We have lots of free, useful guides on our website to help you prepare for your PwC assessment day. They come with everything you’ll need including detailed explanations, examples, practice questions and expert tips. You can check them out here:
- Numerical reasoning test guide
- Logical reasoning test guide
- Situational judgement test guide
- Assessment centre group exercises guide
- Interview preparation guide
- In-tray exercises guide
- E-tray exercises guide
- Assessment centre tips and preparation guide
You can find our top recommended PwC assessment centre practice tests here.
#4: Dress to impress
While there’s no official dress code for the PwC assessment centre, we highly recommend that you dress smartly – like you would for a job interview or if you were meeting with a PwC manager.
Competition is stiff for a role at PwC so it’s essential to stand out and make a great impression, and that starts with your personal presentation.
Some more guides to help you succeed…
- Numerical Reasoning: Numerical Reasoning Test Guide: 5 Proven Tips to Succeed
- Verbal Reasoning: Verbal Reasoning Test: What You Need to Know to Pass
- UKCAT: UKCAT Test Guide: 4 Secrets to UKCAT Success 2020
- Watson-Glaser: Watson-Glaser Test: Everything You Need to Know to Pass
- Mechanical Comprehension: Mechanical Comprehension Test Guide 2020