Analysis Exercises

Analysis Exercises are commonly used in assessment centres, and often are unique to each company.

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What is an analysis exercise?

Analysis exercises are a common component of assessment centers, designed to evaluate your ability to analyse information, think critically, and make sound decisions. These exercises simulate real-world scenarios where you must assess data, identify problems, and propose solutions.

Analysis exercises are most commonly used at assessment centres, as opposed to online, as they involve lots of pieces of paper. The candidate is presented with lots of information from various different sources, relating to a business problem. Some documents may not be related at all but are simply there as red herrings.

How are analysis exercises structured?

Analysis exercises will come in various formats and the tasks required can vary wildly, however they normally follow a similar structured format to this:

  • Introduction: You receive a brief introduction to the exercise, including the scenario, objectives, and any relevant background information.
  • Data / Information: You are provided with data, documents, or information related to the scenario. This could include reports, financial statements, emails, or other materials.
  • Task: You are given a specific task or set of questions to address based on the provided information. This task can vary widely, from identifying trends to recommending a course of action.
  • Time limit: There is usually a time limit within which you must complete the exercise, adding a time pressure element to assess your ability to work under constraints.
  • Presentation: In some cases, you may be required to present your findings or recommendations to assessors or a panel.

For example the candidate might be asked to write a briefing note (no more than one A4 page) on how to proceed after a hostile take-over approach. In this example the candidate might be given information on the fictional company being approached, company reports, analysts’ reports, internal memos, proposed legislation changes, market research results, news articles. The task is then to weigh up the facts, make a decision, and justify the reasoning behind it.

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Did You Know

Analysis exercises are popular with employers because they lend themselves to being used as a presentation exercise. For example the candidate might be asked to present their recommendations to an interview panel.

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What skills do analysis exercises assess?

Analysis exercises assess a range of skills and competencies, here are some of the most common skills they are used to assess:

  • Analytical skills: Your ability to dissect complex information, identify key patterns or trends, and draw meaningful conclusions.
  • Critical thinking: Your capacity to think logically, evaluate options, and make reasoned decisions.
  • Problem solving: Your aptitude for identifying problems or challenges within a given scenario and proposing viable solutions.
  • Communication: In exercises with presentation components, your skill in conveying your analysis and recommendations effectively to others.
  • Time management: Your capability to prioritise tasks and manage time efficiently, especially when there are time constraints.
  • Attention to detail: Your ability to spot important details within a sea of information and use them to inform your analysis.

Analysis exercises are common because they are a good way of predicting how a candidate might perform in the work-place; analysis exercises bare a close resemblance to the challenging decisions many people face at work. As with all assessment centre exercises the idea is to simulate as closely as possible the stresses and strains of the role, to see how the candidate might react in real life. Analysis exercises will be tailored to the company you are applying to, to make them relevant. Whilst companies can buy off-the-shelf analysis exercises, many companies will design their own bespoke exercises to closely reflect the decisions employees have to tackle.

For more information on assessment centres, visit our assessment centre guide which is full of helpful tips for all the types of exercises you might encounter.