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Assessment exercise examples

Case Study Exercise

For our training contract and summer vacation scheme assessment centres, we’ll ask you to complete a case study exercise. A case study exercise typically involves:

  • 45 – 60 minutes of reading and preparation time
  • 10 - 15 minutes of presenting time
  • 10 – 15 minutes of questioning time

We’ll provide you with an information pack. You’ll need to review the information contained within the pack to complete the task. The following is a real-life example of the type of case study exercise task you can expect in one of our assessment centres:

Case study exercise: example candidate brief


EDISONS, an international real estate investment trust, has grown rapidly to become one of the leading players in its field. EDISONS is largely focussed on the management and development of shopping centres and currently owns four different shopping centre brands, which aim to cater for different segments of the retail market. This growth has come as a result of EDISONS buying existing shopping centre chains, as well as growing organically through the launch of new boutique retail parks.

In light of its 2020 Annual Report, EDISONS is once again looking to grow and is aiming to do this by purchasing existing real estate. EDISONS’ Managing Directors recently approached you, as a consultant in this area, to advise them on a suitable acquisition target for their consideration.

Your task is to review the shortlisted acquisition targets and present to EDISONS which one company you would recommend for acquisition. You should refer to the information provided in the attached candidate brief.

Your objective

You need to consider:

  • The key risks and opportunities for EDISONS associated with each possible target.
  • Which one of the acquisition targets should be recommended.

You are responsible for ensuring that the pros and cons of all companies are highlighted and the most appropriate decision is reached. It is essential that your presentation considers the risks and opportunities of your chosen target.

What are we looking for?

You’ll need to provide an excellent analysis of the pros and cons of each option, presenting your final decision to the assessor in the form of a clear, structured and well-thought through argument. Show the assessor how and why you reached your recommendation. Explain why you discounted other options.

Top tips

  • Find the right balance between presenting enough information - not too little or too much.
  • Case study exercises are designed for you to make a decision and show conviction.
  • Don’t forget the positive body language!
  • Make sure you’ve thought about a ‘plan B’ option.

Written Exercise

For our training contract and summer vacation scheme assessment centres, we’ll ask you to complete a written exercise. These exercises are usually done in ‘exam’ style conditions and they’re always an individual exercise. The written exercise represents an accurate picture of the type of work that a trainee at Browne Jacobson will undertake. Timings of these exercises can vary, but typically a candidate will have approximately one hour to complete the task.

What are we looking for?

  • You’ll be assessed on your ability to identify a problem and provide a suitable solution.
  • The assessor will be looking to see that you’re acting in the very best interest of your client and that any recommendations you make are clear, sensible and add value.
  • Your lateral thinking will be assessed.
  • Your written communication and influencing skills will also be assessed.

The following is a real-life example of the type of written exercise task you can expect in one of our assessment centres:

Written exercise: example candidate brief


Hampton Drago is an international law firm based in the UK. For the purposes of this exercise, you should imagine that you have recently joined their 2-year trainee programme and that you are working in the Property Retail department.

The firm regularly receives requests from clients asking for advice and, as a trainee, you are often asked to look into these and provide some preliminary advice. This involves you doing some research into a problem and then producing a set of written recommendations which the partner will check, edit and then send to the client.

The task

One of the partners has forwarded you some information. Your job is to:

  1. Analyse the information you have been sent and decide what actions should be taken.

  2. Produce a written response for the client, in which you answer their questions and outline your conclusions and recommendations for action.

  3. Suggest (for the benefit of the partner) what additional information they should gather from the client in order to be able to offer them the best possible advice.

The written recommendations which you create need to be suitable to send to the client (after they have been checked by the partner), so they should be addressed to the client and they must be clear and comprehensive. The suggestions for additional information which you send to the partner should be in a separate document and these also need to be clear and specific in terms of what he/she should try to find out.

Group Exercise

For our training contract and summer vacation scheme assessment centres, we’ll ask you to complete a group exercise. A group exercise typically involves:

  • 10 – 15 minutes of reading and preparation time
  • 30 - 40 minutes of discussion time
  • 5 - 10 minutes of summarising your conclusions for the assessors

Group exercises are designed to assess your ability to interact with and collaborate with others. This doesn’t mean you need to shout the loudest or speak for the longest; fewer, well-thought through contributions can have more impact than dominating the discussion. If you do take on a leadership role, encourage quieter members of the group to offer their opinions and actively seek out their views.

What are we looking for?

We want to see how you can bring out the best in yourself and others so that you and your team can operate at your full potential.

Top tips

  • Remember, whether virtually or in-person, body language is important.
  • Maintain eye contact with your peers.
  • Demonstrate active listening by, for example, nodding your head to acknowledge others’ points of view.