NHS E-Tray Test

ben author icon
Ben Hopgood Updated:

About NHS E-Tray Tests

NHS looks for employees with a high ability to appropriately prioritise work and handle day-to-day tasks via e-mail. Applicants have to pass an e-tray test before being offered a position.

NHS logo

The NHS use the following tests in their selection process:

  • Verbal reasoning test
  • Numerical reasoning test
  • E-Tray
  • Situational Judgement

The NHS is the world’s largest publicly funded health service, offering a broad range of careers from allied health professionals to administrative and clerical positions. The selection process for the NHS can vary depending on the nature of the role but will generally involve psychometric testing in the early stages, which helps to maintain a high calibre of staff through assessing candidates’ abilities. This stage of the process can require successful completion of up to four psychometric tests consisting of Aptitude Tests, Situational Judgement Tests and Personality Questionnaires. Initially the tests are administered online, but there may be further psychometric tests to be completed in person at the assessment centre stage. Candidates are informed in advance as to which tests they will be required to take.

The NHS look for a number of key skills in candidates, they are as follows: motivation to join the NHS, improving services, setting direction, working with others, managing services, analytical thinking and numerical ability.

E-tray tests are a fair and objective way for the NHS to assess a wide range of applicants, each having different experiences and different qualifications. By analysing the results of a standardised E-tray test, the NHS are able to quickly see which candidates are suitable for the role and which are not. This sort of information about candidates’ skills is difficult to glean from interviews and qualifications alone, so they use professional psychometric tests.

Often, the NHS will ask applicants to take a E-tray test online, which you can take from home. When the E-tray test is used early on in the application process like this you will have to achieve a minimum score before you progress to the next round (typically a score in the top 50% of applicants is required however this does vary role to role). Further along in the selection process you might be asked to attend an assessment centre or interview where you will be asked to sit a E-tray test again. This is so the NHS can verify the person scoring highly in the test is indeed the person applying for the job.

NHS Application Process Stages

Stage 1


Applicants will be required to provide their contact details, education and work experience. This is to ensure that the candidate meets the entry requirements for their selected role. Applications are made online, allowing candidates to check the status using registered login details.

Stage 2


Candidates will then need to undertake up to four psychometric tests; which can include Numerical Reasoning, Verbal Reasoning, Situational Judgement and Personality Questionnaires. The tests used have strict time limits, so practice tests are recommended.

Stage 3


Candidates that are successful in the testing stage then undertake an interview which should last approximately 30 minutes. The interviews are competency based and are likely to be conducted by senior NHS staff.

Stage 4

Assessment Centre

The final stage is at an assessment centre, in which candidates will undertake exercises such as role plays, presentations, group exercises and e-tray exercises to gauge the candidate’s ability. Successful applications at stage 4 will be given an offer of employment, or a place on one of the Student & Graduate Programmes offered by the NHS.

Join those now working at top companies

Don't settle for 'try again next year'. Let us help you pass employer tests first time.

Try now for free
logos of top companies

The NHS E-tray Test Questions

Like most e-tray tests, the one used by the NHS looks at how you would handle and respond to typical, and rare, e-mails from colleagues and people from external organisations. The e-tray test will be assessing your speed and accuracy. The answers are multiple choice and you should try to work quickly within the time limit, but also accurately. Negative marking is unlikely to be used but do not guess answers, as this will show up in your accuracy score. With practice you will become familiar with the type of e-tray tests used by organisations such as the NHS.

E-tray tests and who uses them

Companies are using e-tray tests more and more in their application process that candidates must go through. A person's score in a e-tray test is a good indicator of how closely their attitudes and approach to work mimics those of the company they've applied to. This is important in any sector or position.

The NHS use e-tray tests as part of their recruitment process to help them select the best candidates for a particular role.

So as a graduate or senior candidate applying for a job at the NHS you might feel like the e-tray test is an unnecessary hoop to jump through. But you should bear in mind that the NHS are asking you to complete the e-tray test as much for your own benefit as theirs; if you are not suitable for the role, a psychometric test will usually identify this. Research has shown that psychometric tests, such as those used by the NHS, are a better predictor of job performance than traditional selection metrics such as level of degree achieved.

What you should know before taking your e-tray test

The e-mails presented to you in a standardised e-tray tests are ones which applicants can expect to encounter whilst on the job they've applied for. The difficult aspect comes with identifying the details in the situation, which would help you to choose the appropriate response to take, quickly and accurately within the time limit. Here are a few examples of the most common situations you can expect in your e-tray test:

  • Prioritise the e-mails according to importance and urgency
  • To read relevant information in an attachment or another supporting document to respond to the e-mail correctly

Different types of e-tray tests

Most questions in most e-tray tests follow a standard format displaying a passage of text, and the answer options on screen. These can be arranged differently, but each test will stick to the same layout throughout. There may be an attachment or supporting documents which contain extra information which adds to what's given in the e-mail, and this might be necessary to answer the question correctly. Lastly, the answer options are almost always multiple choice. Multiple choice answers can vary, however. You may have 2 options to pick from, 4, maybe 5, and these will have to be ranked too. The more answer options to pick from, the slimmer the chances are that you can obtain the correct answer by guessing.

Some publishers will have less subtle variations in their test from what's described here. Be sure to know the varying test types by different publishers.

Answered questions

Are these tests suitable for the NHS?

Yes. the NHS use Cubiks's reasoning tests to assess applicants in the recruitment process. The practice tests we provide have been designed to mimic Cubiks's style to create an environment similar to the real assessment. This provides you with confidence that the questions you practice with us now are an accurate reflection of the real assessment.

How difficult are your tests?

The same difficulty as real tests. Generally real employer selection tests don't differ that much in terms of difficulty which is why they compare your score against norm groups. Our practice tests are pitched roughly at graduate level, but this means they are actually suitable for preparing for all levels of job: entry; apprentice; graduate; senior; director.

Are they compatible with my Mac / Tablet / Phone?

Yes, and PC, and Linux and smartphone and Android and...everything. Our practice tests will run on all systems and they are responsive so they will work well on tablets and smartphones too!

How many times can I take the tests?

Unlimited. You can take our practice tests as many times as you like; there is no limit. But to be honest, after taking the same test a few times you start to remember the answers, so that’s why we have lots of tests.