With more than 9,000 applications for 800 graduate level positions in the UK, getting through the KPMG application process is undoubtedly a tricky business.
This process involves a series of psychometric tests, role-plays, exercises and interviews.
Highlighted below, this post provides lots of tips on how to pass KPMG’s Psychometric Tests.
KPMG 2017 recruitment process – Adapted from KPMG
While no doubt challenging, there’s no need to panic just yet.
The good news is that, with a little prior research and preparation, there will be relatively few surprises in store for candidates who have done their homework, practiced, and taken the necessary steps in order to prepare for each of the various stages.
This is especially true with regards to the KPMG psychometric tests, which, since 2000, has been outsourced to an HR consultancy firm called Cubiks.
This stage consists of two separate tests: the verbal reasoning test and the numerical reasoning test, which are taken back to back.
How to Complete KPMG’s Psychometric Tests
Even if your online test is only a few days away, these still leaves you with plenty of time to get to grips with the tests, plan your strategy and start practising.
To help you, here is a breakdown of each test, together with advice for how to approach them and to secure yourself the best possible outcome from the initial assessment stage.
The Purpose of KPMG’s Verbal Reasoning Test:
Cubik’s verbal reasoning for business test is by KPMG to test the ability of KPMG graduates to digest, analyse and interpret written information.
The test seeks to replicate the kind of tasks that might come your way during a typical workday in the form of emails, reports and other sources of information.
KPMG’s verbal reasoning test lasts 20 minutes and includes 44 different questions, which are based on a series of source texts. For each question, candidates must choose from the following options: ‘true’, ‘false’ or ‘cannot determine’.
Tips for KPMG Verbal Reasoning Test:
Tip 1: Practise the Tests:
A few days to prepare still leaves you with plenty of time to get to grips with the format and to familiarise yourself with the style of testing.
The Cubiks website has a practice test for you to use free of charge to get you started, while links to full-length versions can be found on the WikiJob site.
Tip 2: Time Yourself
Perhaps the most important aspect of the test is being able to manage your time efficiently.
With so many questions to answer in a limited time you can’t normally be expected to finish them all, but the more you attempt, the greater your chances of passing are.
When practicing, be sure to time yourself. Set yourself a time limit for each set of questions and move on if you run out of time.
Tip 3: Read the Text Properly
Read the text properly: resist the temptation to save time by skim reading the information in the text and jumping straight to the question.
Familiarising yourself fully with the information presented before attempting the questions themselves will save you having to keep referring back to the text for each question.
This could save you valuable seconds or minutes in the long-run and help you pass.
Tip 4: Don’t Assume
Don’t go on assumptions: while a certain degree of common sense will be needed, be wary of basing your answers on anything other than the information provided by the test.
KPMG’s verbal reasoning tests are designed so as to require close reading of the text, with the ‘cannot determine’ option, thrown in to avoid educated guessing. There are no shortcuts!
The Format of KPMG’s Numerical Reasoning Tests:
The KPMG numerical reasoning test, designed by Cubiks, for KPMG graduate applicants is similar in structure to the verbal reasoning exam. The main difference is that there are fewer questions (usually 24), for which you are given 20 minutes to answer.
Again, the questions will be based on source data, which is typically presented in the form of tables, graphs and statistical tables.
There are usually several questions pertaining to each set of data. For each question, you will be given a selection of possible answers to choose from.
The aim of the test is to assess candidates’ ability to digest and analyse numerical and statistical data and, in doing so, demonstrate skills that may be relevant to the workplace.
Tips for Numerical Reasoning Success:
Tip 1 – Know What to Expect
While it’s hard to predict the exact questions that will come up come the real test, the Cubiks and WikiJob websites both provide examples of the Cubiks testing format, giving you a pretty good idea of what to expect.
Percentage-based questions are a particular favourite of the Cubiks assessors, so it’s worth practising how to calculate percentage changes over a specific period of time. E.g. if an asset was worth X amount in year 1 and Y in year two, what would be the percentage increase over the period?
Tip 2 – Take Practice Tests to Get Your Eye In
Get your eye in: if charts, tables and statistics aren’t something you come across in your daily life then now’s the time to familiarise with these kind of data sources.
With a wide range of different graphics, the Financial Times and equivalent business publications are a good place to start.
You could also try getting your hands on an economics textbook. The key here is to practice.
Tip 3 – Master Your Calculator
You’ll obviously be able to use your own calculator when sitting the test at home.
Familiarising yourself with it in advance could save you vital seconds that may prove the difference between passing and failing.
You’ll find lots of walk-through videos and guides on YouTube if you find yourself struggling.
Tip 4 – Focus on the Question
The KPMG testing format is based around offering up several different data points, designed to throw you off guard and avoid skimming for information.
Giving yourself enough time to fully digest the information in the source will avoid you making mistakes and having to go back and double check your answers.
Tip 5 – It’s All in the Timing
It’s all in the timing: finding the balance between being able to answer the majority of the questions well in the time given is your best weapon in passing the test.
Set yourself a time limit for each question; factoring in the number of questions relating to each set of data.
Picture yourself running a marathon; you want to finish the race in a certain time, but you also need a strategy in order to approach each stage of the course.
Just like marathon training, you’ll get better by practicing the KPMG tests.
The Ultimate Tip to Passing KPMG Psychometric Tests
When it comes to Cubiks tests, or indeed any form of online assessment, perhaps the most important piece of advice we can offer is to remain calm and in control.
While this may sound easier said than done, the thing to bear in mind is that KPMG are not looking for mathematical or linguistic geniuses who might score 100% in their numerical and verbal reasoning exams; they want graduates who work well under pressure and who perform to a high standard when the clock is ticking.
While raw intelligence goes a long way, your greatest assets at the online testing stage will be your resolve, time keeping skills, and familiarity with the assessment format.
We hope this guide has provided you with some great insight into KPMG’s 2017 recruitment process, and how they use psychometric tests. For more tips and advise, be sure to check out our other posts: