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Fast Stream 2012

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Applying to Uni? Let Universities come to you. Click here to get your perfect place 20-10-2014
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    Just received this email from the Fast Stream

    Thank you for your correspondence. We take this matter very seriously and we are fully investigating the issues you have raised, which we had no knowledge of before your message. We have made immediate adjustments to the process to remove the impact of any release of this information and have spoken to the parties involved in this release.

    Whilst it is regrettable that information has been released we do not consider, with the actions we have taken, it has compromised the integrity of this process.

    We would like to thank you for bringing this matter to our attention.

    Regards
    Fast Stream Team
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    Well done Schlick-88!!! Sounds like they took your email seriously.
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    Just got notification that I passed the FSAC for TIB, still haven't heard for GFS yet. Pleased, but still doesn't change the fact that I don't know if I have a job yet
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    (Original post by schick_88)
    Just received this email from the Fast Stream
    snap - exactly the same message
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    Good work lm and sc.
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    (Original post by lm222)
    snap - exactly the same message
    Ditto that, exactly the same!
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    ooh i forgot, in other news, they said the first batch of reports should be released at some point next week so we should soon have some concrete score to base more speculation on.
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    (Original post by Evidza)
    There are example FS questions on the kent.ac.uk website, amongst others.
    Yes I found those with a simple Google search when I first applied, they are no where near as detailed as the the Durham document that we were discussing.
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    The problem with that document is although they've removed it, because its now known that the document is out there somewhere, people will go hunting for it and pm'ing others asking for it and it will get swapped around illicitly and gain a status as a golden guide to FSAC and it will mislead people.

    One thing about the fast stream process is there is quite a lot of 'official' information out there, on the website and in the detailed official candidate guide. For the Economist stream they invite all the applicants invited to Economic Assessment Centre to open days where someone from the GES gives them very detailed explanation and advice on what they are looking for and how it's marked. So it's not hidden away as a secret process, the only thing which is kept out of the public domain is the specific exercises as this would spoil it like leaking an exam paper would (hence that document from Durham being inappropriate).

    There is also a lot of 'unofficial' information out there and it's human nature for applicants to trail the internet looking for it. The downside to this is the unofficial information is of variable quality, and nervous fast stream applicants are very suggestible to bad advice.

    The stuff on the net from careers services about FSAC is not great IMO and sometimes confused with other grad schemes, and the stuff on forums like this is word of mouth from past applicants some of whom didn't get in and have an axe to grind (see posts about it being an 'unfair process') and also some strategic behaviour from people that have already done FSAC in that year being selective on what they tell others. A couple of years back on the TSR thread there was that Henrietta Cake character trying to throw people off by providing false 'advice' from her FSAC that was suggesting inappropriate behaviours, which was totally unfair on nervous applicants awaiting their FSACs. I've posted a fair bit of advice on here, hopefully everything I have said is appropriate, my main motivation is to try and counter this misinformation that I know would have confused and hampered me had I been reading it before I did mine.

    As for the Durham document specifically it looks to me like the guy from Durham careers department has written up his experiences of observing the assessment centre for internal purposes and someone has thought this will be useful to make public. The stuff on there about how the process works and what happens at the exercises is accurate but all that is in the official material anyway. The info it gives on the exercises itself is potentially misleading:
    - Group exercise - just describes how that particular group interacted, no real advice here
    - Briefing exercise - the document has listed the exact questions given by one assessor to one candidate but those questions relate to the specific ideas that the candidate has come up with in his presentation. It then goes on to say that the candidate was let down by his initial ideas which lacked imagination and the result was that the competencies did not appear to be met. Presumably this was just the observer's opinion as I doubt the assessor would divulge the mark like that, but this means that this was an example of a bad briefing exercise that hadn't gone well, so it's not a good example for future applicants to be looking at
    - Interview - this seems to be the most controversial part of the document on here as some people that have done FSAC this year have said those are exact questions that have been used. However I would not stress too much about this as these type of interview questions are not a state secret unique to FSAC. I expect they will change the wording of the questions from one year to the next so if you have this document those questions probably won't come up in that form now, but if you remember that the FSAC interview focuses on two specific competences - Learning and Improving, and Building Productive Relationships, it's not hard to anticipate the type of examples they are going to look for. Don't get hung up on the way those questions are worded in that document, I think I only had one of those questions on that list in my FSAC, the others were all different ways of asking for evidence of where I'd learned skills, been adaptable when things went wrong, built relationships with people that were difficult etc, you can infer what you need from the titles of the two competences.
    - Policy Recommendation Exercise - the phrase 'a little knowledge is dangerous' comes to mind here, it doesn't offer much insight other than saying something about 120 key points that could be highlighted and you need to mention 40% of the key points to pass. Without proper explanation that is impossible to understand - and if I'd read that before doing my FSAC I'd have thought it meant you had to get as many points down as possible and trying to focus on small details, when (IMO) it is more important for a time-pressured recommendation to identify the key themes and issues and write a structured piece rather than delving into detail. I expect that line about 120 key points was something an assessor said to the guy from Durham, but with no context of what they mean by that it's got the potential to stress and mislead future candidates. The key advice on how to approach the Policy Rec 2 exercise gets given in the instructions on the day, when you are skim reading everything fast under the adrenaline it's easy to miss out that it will actually tell you what you need to do - eg give you the 5 or 6 criteria to compare the options by, and tell you to include some statistical or financial information (or it may say something like you are told to be sensitive to public opinion which means that should influence your decision if there is some polling data involved). So in the absence of proper explanation of what that 40% of 120 points means, and knowing how they mark the 'points', my advice would be to disregard that as a red herring and look carefully at the instructions in the task to work out exactly how they want you to write it.

    So all in all if you haven't had FSAC yet and are looking for that document to try and gain useful insights I would say if you can resist the temptation try and avoid getting hold of it, but I know realistically lots of people will be curious and will hunt it down, if you do, then my advice is to bear in mind what I've said above and selectively ignore things that could give you a false idea of what you need to do.

    Disclaimer - I'm not an assessor or anything, all the advice I give on here is my own personal opinion on it and things that would have helped me to have known while I was preparing for it, so take my advice with as much of a pinch of a salt as any unofficial sources.
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    (Original post by schick_88)
    Just received this email from the Fast Stream

    (Original post by lm222)
    snap - exactly the same message

    (Original post by lovers in japan)
    Ditto that, exactly the same!

    This is very interesting because I too emailed them yesterday with the link and stating my concerns but have not had this reply. Have you all received your results? The reply which I got said thank you for your email, we are investigating the matter and will reply via the fast stream website. Did I get a different response because I'm still awaiting results and it could have actually affected me or am I just reading too much into it?
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    (Original post by rach2012)
    This is very interesting because I too emailed them yesterday with the link and stating my concerns but have not had this reply. Have you all received your results? The reply which I got said thank you for your email, we are investigating the matter and will reply via the fast stream website. Did I get a different response because I'm still awaiting results and it could have actually affected me or am I just reading too much into it?
    I'm still waiting on my results too so I wouldn't read anything into it.
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    (Original post by schick_88)
    I'm still waiting on my results too so I wouldn't read anything into it.
    Oh okay, strange lol
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    (Original post by rach2012)
    Oh okay, strange lol
    Did you email them via the message facility within the Fast Stream website (where you get your results) or did you email them to an email address?
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    I emailed the email address in the contact section from my own email, I signed it my full name but didn't put the candidate number on so maybe thats why.
    To be honest somebody could come on here and share all of their own experience in detail with everybody else which would be their own choice. But what annoyed me about this was the fact that the guy was allowed to sit in, take notes and then publish them half way through the fsacs. Surely they could have foreseen that and made him delay until after the fsacs, so next years candidates could have used it but at least they all would have had an equal opportuinity. MagicNMedicine you do make some fair comments but imo I think that docment would give an advantage in at least one of the exercises.
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    (Original post by rach2012)
    I emailed the email address in the contact section from my own email, I signed it my full name but didn't put the candidate number on so maybe thats why.
    I send them an email via the message facility so that is why the message may be different and they might email you that same message to you via the message facility.
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    (Original post by lm222)
    Still I'd like something to gain back marks lost at roleplays
    lol - it never used to be that simple.

    They used to do half a day for the roleplays and only if you passed them, would they invite you to come back for another half day for the other tests/interview!
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    I've just read the 'document' in question and too be honest, most of that information has been posted here over the years.

    Part of the document is wrong/misleading though a small part of it does go into more detail than I suspect it should but I'm not saying which parts! (and its just my view having gone through the process..)

    The Civil Service has invited careers advisor's to observe the FSACs for years though.
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    (Original post by MagicNMedicine)
    A couple of years back on the TSR thread there was that Henrietta Cake character trying to throw people off by providing false 'advice' from her FSAC that was suggesting inappropriate behaviours, which was totally unfair on nervous applicants awaiting their FSACs. [/I]
    If I remember correctly Henrietta was rather amusingly sarcastic. Possibly you struggled to understand that!
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    Why have I just checked my inbox even though I know they won't release results today?!?? Losing my mind here and its only been a few days!!!
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    (Original post by MagicNMedicine)
    word of mouth from past applicants some of whom didn't get in and have an axe to grind (see posts about it being an 'unfair process')
    I haven't got an axe to grind, nor do I know whether I have got in or not yet. Even if I do turn out to be successful, I maintain that an entirely competency based assessment isn't the fairest way to select the best applicants - I think there is a lot of luck involved.

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Updated: March 17, 2013
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