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PWC online aptitute test

#1 PWC online aptitute test
10/12/2010 13:01


Has anyone done PWC's online aptitute test?

I just did it and found it to be a complete load of b*llocks.

The questions were ambiguous and, frankly, you could have given any number of answers depending on how you interpreted the question.

The verbal reasoning was so badly structured that it would be very difficult to score above average, simply because the test was so cr*p. I couldn't understand what they actually wanted me to do with most of the questions. Not because I'm dim, but because they were so badly written. And I don't think this was a deliberate part of the test either.

As the for the numerical part... well, I'm well aware of my own limitations, but there was one particular question where I'm 100% sure THEY got their answer wrong, not me! I have a first in maths and this was a very, VERY simple question about percentages. I know my own limitations, but I also know when I'm right about something like that.

So anyway, I just got the results back. Despite having a PhD in mathematical astrophysics and a Cambridge double first in pure maths and econometrics, it ranks my numerical ability as "average". Well take that Cambridge University - PWC knows best!!

Can someone help me calm down over this? I can't believe I'm being dinged and having my career prospects hampered because of some cr*p online test.

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#2 RE: PWC online aptitute test
10/12/2010 13:38

rc to Anon (#1)

you are overqualified for PWC (or rather you have skills which most others will lack but which will not give you any competitive advantage over them in the work you will be doing, so you're not leveraging your USP) - I'd say play to your strengths and join an investment bank

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#3 RE: PWC online aptitute test
10/12/2010 13:52

Anon to rc (#2)

Thanks, rc.

Give me a competent headhunter to do the recruiting any day! At least the headhunters are professional enough to leave the ability tests to the organisations that are experienced in that area, such as the universities.

I just can't believe that such a "good" company would use such a cr*p selection methodology. But I guess that's what happens when you get bean counters trying to measure/assess matters that relate to people rather than the latest set of company financials.

What I want to know is, who runs recruitment at that place and why do they choose to use that cr*p?

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#4 RE: PWC online aptitute test
10/12/2010 14:04

anon to Anon (#1)

Painful though it may be, a First in Maths does not mean you have any applied numerical ability or innate common sense, which are what these tests are designed to assess.

Rude awakening, I'm sure, but if you can't even get into PwC good luck finding anywhere with even lower entry standards.

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#5 RE: PWC online aptitute test
10/12/2010 14:19

Happy to anon (#4)

My two cents, which undoubtedly you will not welcome, are that it is unlikely a 'crap test', and more likely any, or most probably a mix, of:

a) You didn't read the questions carefully enough

b) Your verbal reasoning is not as hot as you think it is

c) You don't have the skillset that the test is designed to identify

Get over it and move on - you are unlikely to get any sympathy, perhaps other than from your parents, with an "I'm too clever for the test" argument

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#6 RE: PWC online aptitute test
10/12/2010 14:34

Anon to deleted (#0)

"Painful though it may be, a First in Maths does not mean you have any applied numerical ability"

Well yeah, I guess I'm just sh*t with numbers! I mean, those mathematicians and econometrics grads hey... what would THEY know about about applying numerical matters to the real world!

FFS. It is deeply reassuring to read HH's response, though.

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#7 RE: PWC online aptitute test
10/12/2010 14:36

Shoe Polisher to deleted (#0)

The tests are bastardised SHL assessments. They will deny it but I know that it's true because I refused to sign off on them.

I know the tests you are referring to very very well indeed. The truth is actually a mixture of your experience and some of what the others are thinking.

I have to say, if you spell aptitude the way you have in the OP line, then I think we know what went wrong.

Attention to detail anyone?

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#8 RE: PWC online aptitute test
10/12/2010 14:59

Anon to Shoe Polisher (#7)

LOL... Interesting point. The first sentence used an edited copy and paste of the subject line because I bashed out the post so fast. I actually have good attention to detail but bashed that message out as fast as I could without being too bothered about typos and suchlike. I took a lot more care with the online test.

What are these SHL tests you mention? And what do you mean by saying you refused to sign off on them? This is interesting!

Many thanks.

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#9 RE: PWC online aptitute test
10/12/2010 15:09

Shoe Polisher to Anon (#8)

Crap advice above, both posts. If you base your strategy on responding to adverts, you'll be wasting your time, the jobs already gone mate.

The best candidates come to me via:

1. Sitting down and working out exactly what you want to do (based on what you CAN do of course)

2. Write a compelling two page CV that highlights why you have chosen your path and a sample of successes therein.

3. Research the companies/practices that use skills like yours, find a senior contact in each.

4. Reach out to that person via email, its fine to do that now, telling them that you would be keen to get involved with ABC plc blah blah and would like to speak them personally about their own experiences and needs.

5. If they send you to HR you have failed. Fact.

You make it interesting, they will be interested.

Absolutely forget going through websites you stand no chance. That's nothing to do with you or your abilities, just that your CV is read by CHUFF NUTS in the first place who have half your ambition, a quarter of your intelligence and no perceptive skill whatsoever. They cannot be trusted with your future.

If you want a job, invent it and sell it.


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#10 RE: PWC online aptitute test
10/12/2010 15:28

wimpy to Anon (#8)

OP anon,

suck it up! you blew it on the day. move on.

Maybe, just maybe, there IS an individual error on the test, but liklihood of there being sufficient erros in BOTH the numerical and logical reasoning tests to make your results significantly different?

You're the maths genius - what's the probability of that?

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#11 RE: PWC online aptitute test
10/12/2010 19:34

Can't say to wimpy (#10)

I recently took the online tests and agree they're a pile of crap. Made up to focus on bean counters but applied to every role.

It's worth noting that they class average as between 30% and 70%.

I rated as average with 67% in numerical and above with 72% in reasoning.

The whole recruitment process is bollix though. I now need to go to a play pen and prove to people with clip boards I can write a report and talk to people in a group. Obviously not something I could possibly do in my last 6 years as a consultant at a major competitor.

If I fail this I won't know whether to laugh or cry.........

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#12 RE: PWC online aptitute test
11/12/2010 15:07

OB to Can't say (#11)

I recently took E&Y online aptitude test, and I believe it is also administered by the SHL and frankly I couldn't care less how I do. I did OK, they called me for an interview but the entire process, the people I spoke to, the way they handled my application, moved me around from one position to another, from business consulting to technology consulting, with no regard for my actual CV, background and skills, the time it all took - disappointed and disgusted and have no desire to work for them at all. I will go and do this interview but will laugh at their faces. I don't know if I should be bothered at applying to PwC and Deloitte, if they are the same as E&Y. The first HR person that got in touch with me said that they are very interested in my appication and that students from my school are their primary target. However, the worst thing is that they have hundreds of low life achievers working in their HR and who have enough liberty to handle people'a applications with zero effort and interest. Simply awful.

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#13 RE: PWC online aptitute test
11/12/2010 15:36

Ong to OB (#12)

Not to take sides here, but the "low achievers" you refer to are exactly the calibre of colleague you and expect (and think exactly as little of you).

The classic Big4 recruiting problem - both candidates and firms think they're too good for each other. Thus, paradoxically, they are perfect for each other.

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#14 RE: PWC online aptitute test
11/12/2010 18:45

Simbo to Ong (#13)

Sorry Dude, but if you have all that academic stuff relating to numbers, you have something seriously wrong with you if you cant get above average in an online numeracy test - I don't care what anybody thinks of SHL, the reality is they give you a question of which one answer is correct. I mean, they are even multiple choice which allows you to discount at least one answer very quickly.

I have a grade C in maths at GCSE which, I will admit is rubbish, and haven't studied maths since. My weakest point but have never failed an online numeracy test. Scored 16/20 in the PwC one.

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#15 RE: PWC online aptitute test
11/12/2010 18:53

Fury to Ong (#13)

It's quite well known that PwC hires SHL to perform tests. Doesn't take much effort to go to the SHL website and actually practice a bit now does it? I'm terribad at math but still passed the test easily, as you only need to score better than the worst 50% of the test population to make it to the interview. I scored better than 99% verbal, 88% logical, and 60% numerical, which actually describes my skills quite well.

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#16 RE: PWC online aptitute test
12/12/2010 02:39

Reasonably Numerical to Fury (#15)

One of the good things about these tests is that they look for more than mathematical ability in an academic sense. The math is extremely basic after all. They test speed of assimilating data, composure under pressure, practicality, logic, common sense, spacial ability, etc. All important in day-to-day business.

I also got a C at A-Level Maths. So, if you ask me how to do integration, I will look at you blankly. However, I recently took an SHL numerical test and scored in the 99th percentile, benchmarked against a peer group of chartered accountants - not exactly bad with numbers, one would imagine.

Suck it up mate. You've proven yourself good at memorising formulae and procedures at Cambridge. Welcome to the real world. I'm not suggesting you lack ability. If you apply yourself, I'm sure you'll get 100% in the next test. I simply suspect you've been a bit cocky.

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#17 RE: PWC online aptitute test
14/12/2010 09:13

HH to Reasonably Numerical (#16)

Reassuring to see my post was deleted and not for the first time I might add. Why is it that some people may post what they like whilst others can't? Pathetic.

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#18 RE: PWC online aptitute test
14/12/2010 11:45

Wiley to Anon (#1)

I have to agree – many of these interview tests are simply deplorable.

Last year while interviewing at a well known strategy firm I was presented with an exercise based on the play “MacBeth”. There was a synopsis of the characters and we were all asked to complete a stakeholder analysis assuming the aim of the engagement was to “return the rightful king to the throne”.

Fortunately I have a first class honours degree in Scottish History and a Masters in Tudor Literature. I was able to provide a searing rebuttal of the entire premise of the case study, showing that MacBeth was in historical fact an extremely successful monarch, with a strong claim to the Scottish crown on the basis of the accepted premises of the time of conquest and election by peers. I then brilliantly argued that Shakespeare’s version of events was Tudor propaganda designed to promote monarchic rule.

Afterwards I talked to some little red-brick twerp who got a 2:1 in Marketing who had slavishly filled in the Stakeholder Matrix saying things like “Banquo – strong dissenter”.

Can you believe it!! He got invited back for second interview and I didn’t!!

Honestly – these tests are just codswallop.

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#19 RE: PWC online aptitute test
14/12/2010 12:12

Dan to Wiley (#18)

Wiley, that's hilarious.

Not the fact that you didn't get invited back, but the fact that you believed you deserved to be.

The point wasn't to take apart Shakespeare's work - they want you to answer the question, which was using the synopsus of the characters to do this.

Your essay was likely of no interest whatsoever to them.

I have an MSc in Corporate Finance, but if asked a simple question on a hypothetical firm's approach to debt I would tailor my response to the interviewer/situation. If I were in a group of peers with a range of backgrounds, no way would I start scribbling down lengthy formulae, I would frame it in straightforward language - how they want it framed (admittedly with some reference to my expertise to win the group around to my way of thinking, but not to the point of showing off).

And seriously, Scottish Literature followed up by a masters in Tudor Literature? I think I'd rather see someone with media studies...

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#20 RE: PWC online aptitute test
14/12/2010 12:17

Dave to Dan (#19)


And who said MC's don't understand satire?

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#21 RE: PWC online aptitute test
14/12/2010 12:20

Wiley to Dan (#19)

Dan, I love, love, love you. Really – I want your kids.

I thought I’d kick this thread along a little with some light parody. Instead I suspect that it will be your response that takes this past the fifty comments mark! Now be a sport – no backtracking with a “oh… I knew it was a wind up and was just playing along with it…” response.

Back of the net.

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#22 RE: PWC online aptitute test
14/12/2010 13:30

ABC to Wiley (#21)

Wiley, in Dan's defence, there are people so obnoxiously full of themselves in Mgt Consulting (and other arenas, of course) as to think and say the things in your post.

In my opinion, if he believed your story, it's probably as much a reflection on the existence of such plebs as on his own ingeniousness.

I was also 50/50 on your story, until I got to the "I then brilliantly argued" part :-)

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#23 RE: PWC online aptitute test
14/12/2010 13:35

ABC to ABC (#22)

... wonderful stuff, by the way.

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#24 RE: PWC online aptitute test
14/12/2010 14:58

Wiley to ABC (#23)


Shucks almost got you too!! For the record, I was gently ribbing Dan, not seriously giving him a hard time. Hey, what’s a joke if no one falls for it? I’ve certainly fallen for a few wind ups along the way.

Glad you liked the tale…

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#25 RE: PWC online aptitute test
06/04/2016 00:15

urtimeon11 to Anon (#1)

Need help with your SHL test? contact me at I am a retired account lecturer. Guaranteed High percentile in any test including Numerical reasoning, Verbal reasoning, etc.

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#26 RE: PWC online aptitute test
06/04/2016 10:09

Frio to urtimeon11 (#25)

I may have said this before on the forum, I messed up my A-Levels, got a good degree but found it difficult to find a graduate position due to my A-Level results.

I found a senior HR person in my target companies and made sure I met them. I convinced one of them to let me attend an assessment centre.

I had to do a verbal, maths and logical reasoning test - it was absolutely brilliant and I did better than almost everyone in that years graduate intake. It enabled me to convince the company that the A-Level results were genuinely a blip and I joined.

I do find it quite bizarre that as an experienced hire that companies require me to do these tests however, I did the SHL assessments around 2011/12 and I got 100% for verbal reasoning and 80% for the maths - I took one practice test.

If a recent grad couldn't pass them, then that would be a genuine concern for me.

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#27 RE: PWC online aptitute test
06/04/2016 11:44

marsday to Anon (#1)

To the OP:

I'll tell you what is cr*p. It's your attitude.

You flunked the test. So what? PwC isn't the be all and end all, but your response to failing the test is. No awareness that maybe you were even partially responsible, oh no...the test must be deeply flawed because you didn't pass.

I'd say the test has accomplished more than was intended, if it has spared PwC potentially hiring this level of immaturity.

Grow up, take responsibility. And no I don't care about how lauded you were at Cambridge, this is the real world, and it eats Cambridge every meal of the day.

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