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Assessment Centre Secrets

Which exercises are more important than others?

With so many books on the market and plenty of forums to browse, it is increasingly difficult for candidates to get accurate advice regarding the police assessment centre.

The difficulty you face as a candidate is knowing what is good accurate advice and what is not? Believe it or not, the worse people to ask about how to join the job is police officers!  The current recruitment process was only introduced in 2004, therefore the chance of you speaking to an police officer who joined since then is slim. Even if they have joined since, the feedback reports you receive as candidates do NOT tell you what you said or wrote that enabled you to be successful – a successful candidate would merely be guessing or speculating if they told you how to pass. The same is true for forums…Avoid these like the plague!!! They are populated by candidates, most of which are unsuccessful (remember 70% fail assessment centre).

I actually worked in recruitment…there is no better person to speak to about how to join than myself.

So which exercises are more important than others? Well for sure the role-plays are the most important exercises, with 57% of all marks being available from these. Next, is the written proposals with 26%, followed by the interview with 12%. I’m afraid all you candidates who have been practicing hard with your maths, this accounts for just 2.5% of the marks – the same can be said for the verbal logical reasoning test.

STOP PRESS: There is NO pass mark for the maths exercise (AKA Numerical Reasoning).

As mentioned the Maths exam only accounts for 2.5% of all marks, that’s 3 out of 123 marks available. The maths test forms part of the Problem Solving competency, which is tested 7 times at present – 21 marks available. There is no pass mark for problem solving, hence no pass mark for the maths.

The only core competency that actually has a pass mark is Race and Diversity. There is 21 marks available for Diversity, of which you have to score 50%, 55% or 60% – depending on which force you apply for. If the pass mark is 60%, you must achieve 13 marks or more to reach the standard. You are not allowed to obtain a grade D in Race and Diversity. In other words you must give an example in your interview that fits with Race and Diversity, or the examiner will only be able to award you a grade D. During the role-plays, of course you have to remain impartial, and suggesting that all youths should be banned from the centre, would clearly be prejudice towards a persons age and would get you a grade D score.

The same applies when you are in the holding room, having just completed your role-plays, if you say “blimey I had a blonde moment in that exercise” then a grade D is on your way!!!

So in order, the most important exercises are:

  • Role-Plays 57% of all marks available (72 marks out of 123)
  • Written 26% (30 marks out of 123)
  • Interview 12% (15 marks out of 123)
  • Verbal Logical Reasoning 2.5% (3 marks out of 123)
  • Maths 2.5% (3 marks out of 123)

To be succesful with a force there a four pass marks that must be achieved:

  • Overall 50%, 55% or 60% (depending on which force you apply for – see my blog post on 50% or 60%)
  • Race and Diversity 50%, 55% or 60% (as above)
  • Oral Communication 50%, 55% or 60% (as above)
  • Written Communication 44% (same for all forces)

Overall there are 123 marks available, therfore if you applying for a force that requires 60% or more, you would need to obtain 78 or more marks to reach the standard.

As mentioned, for Race and Diversity there are 21 marks available. A 60% standard would require you to score 13 marks or more.

Oral Communications has 15 marks available. A 60% standard would require you to achieve 9 marks or more.

Finally, Written Communication has just 9 marks available. The 44% standard requires you to obtain 4 marks or more. Written Communication is assessed just 3 times – the Verbal Logical Reasoning Test carries a weighting of 3 marks, finally your spelling and grammar in your written proposals carries 3 marks for each (total 6 marks). You must not exceed more than 5 spelling or 4 grammatical errors in each proposal.

If you’ve recently been unsuccessful with an assessment centre and you would like to know where you went wrong, please do call ‘David’ the Recruitment Director on 07890 607967 (have your assessment results in front of you).

When I teach police recruitment training, all of this is explained along with a score matrix. A score matrix is a document that tells you which competencies are tested in which exercises. This is very useful, because it enables you to focus on particular competency skills in particular exercises. For example: Personal Responsibility is tested in 3 out of the 4 role-plays, I’ll tell you which ones and how to evidence your understanding of this competency.

The police assessment centre is a tick box process, they are looking for you to ask particular questions and state particular things…If you fail to do this, you will be rejected. Find out more about a group police assessment centre training course or to have a one to one police assessment training course.

By David Vidgen

This article has been written by former police recruitment manager. David was responsible for overseeing all police recruitment marketing including assessment centre practice days, recruitment website, adverts and recruitment fairs