Hey there! Sign in to join this conversationNew here? Join for free
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    So i know it's slightly early to be starting this thread, but as someone who hasn't applied before and is clueless on the process i was hoping i could get some hints/tips.
    I've read up on the basics and understand that it's not something you can jump into so i was wondering how exactly people go preparing for it? I have a standard graduate psychometric book although i understand that E-tray exercises are more fitting?
    Any help will be appreciated, and good luck for everyone applying to this years fast streams!
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    Hey thanks for your message! Its a good idea to prepare the e-tray and tests. Loads of book online to help with that. I was wondering if the fast stream application dates for 2014/2015 have been published yet? I haven't found them anywhere...
    • PS Helper
    Offline

    11
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by ChicagoSchool)
    Hey thanks for your message! Its a good idea to prepare the e-tray and tests. Loads of book online to help with that. I was wondering if the fast stream application dates for 2014/2015 have been published yet? I haven't found them anywhere...
    Applications are open from ~1st of September, I believe.
    Offline

    17
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by salinkle_)
    So i know it's slightly early to be starting this thread, but as someone who hasn't applied before and is clueless on the process i was hoping i could get some hints/tips.
    I've read up on the basics and understand that it's not something you can jump into so i was wondering how exactly people go preparing for it? I have a standard graduate psychometric book although i understand that E-tray exercises are more fitting?
    Any help will be appreciated, and good luck for everyone applying to this years fast streams!
    Why can't you just jump into it?

    I didn't do any speciofic preparating until it came to the final selection board for one of the specialist options, and it was fine.

    The length of the assessment process is so high and chance of success so low that putting in much additional time into it is a bit of a waste IMHO.

    Also could you correct the typo int he thread title...?
    • PS Helper
    Offline

    11
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Quady)
    Why can't you just jump into it?

    I didn't do any speciofic preparating until it came to the final selection board for one of the specialist options, and it was fine.

    The length of the assessment process is so high and chance of success so low that putting in much additional time into it is a bit of a waste IMHO.

    Also could you correct the typo int he thread title...?
    I imagine most of us are also applying for other grad schemes which also require you to take certain tests, so it's definitely not a waste to prepare for them. I feel like we may as well give it as much effort as we can: doing it half-heartedly is kind of a waste of time. We're not all as staggeringly brilliant as you.
    Offline

    17
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by TritonSails)
    I imagine most of us are also applying for other grad schemes which also require you to take certain tests, so it's definitely not a waste to prepare for them. I feel like we may as well give it as much effort as we can: doing it half-heartedly is kind of a waste of time. We're not all as staggeringly brilliant as you.
    Yeah, so was I. And my performance on on verbal/numerical reasoning improved as I did more applications (I don't think my score increased significantly, but my time went from 18/19mins for a 20min test to 9-11min).

    I'm not staggeringly brilliant by any means, I was rejected at various stages for other things with little rhyme or reason. Just IMHO there isn't much that will actually prepare you and doing so can be counter productive. If you wind yourself up about etray and the assessment centre by doing a full amount of prep (which won't be quite appropriate in any case) I think you will be in a worse position than being relaxed and just taking it as it comes.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Quady)
    Why can't you just jump into it?

    I didn't do any speciofic preparating until it came to the final selection board for one of the specialist options, and it was fine.

    The length of the assessment process is so high and chance of success so low that putting in much additional time into it is a bit of a waste IMHO.

    Also could you correct the typo int he thread title...?
    From previous appicants experiences i understand that this scheme in particular isn't something that would work in your favour if you jump straight into. Especially for the numerical questions which i and im sure many others are not up to scratch with due to a lack of practice since GCSE's/ Alevels.

    I'm in no means staying up day and night going over practice questions but i'd like to be atleast familiar with the process before starting it. I understand it's a long shot but i'd rather give it my best shot than a half hearted one, as mentioned above!
    Offline

    17
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by salinkle_)
    From previous appicants experiences i understand that this scheme in particular isn't something that would work in your favour if you jump straight into. Especially for the numerical questions which i and im sure many others are not up to scratch with due to a lack of practice since GCSE's/ Alevels.

    I'm in no means staying up day and night going over practice questions but i'd like to be atleast familiar with the process before starting it. I understand it's a long shot but i'd rather give it my best shot than a half hearted one, as mentioned above!
    Gotta source?

    I've been following these threads since 2007 and can't say I've noticed much of a correlation between those who have said they've taken active preparation and those who've tried to wing it.

    Likewise most scheme participants I spoke to didn't prepare for the verbal/numerical, or etray and just gave the assessment centre competancies a bit of a glance and followed things on here a bit.

    Then again, perhaps I should set myself up as a business and 'train' people to pass. Some people on here in perious years have others who've done that money - its hillarious.
    Offline

    19
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Quady)
    Yeah, so was I. And my performance on on verbal/numerical reasoning improved as I did more applications (I don't think my score increased significantly, but my time went from 18/19mins for a 20min test to 9-11min).
    Which is why it is worth doing practice with these verbal and numerical ones, you do improve over time as the fast stream ones use the standard format that most graduate schemes use and you become familiar with the type of questions.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    Congratulations Salinkle_ on setting up the 2015 fast stream thread. For those who didn't follow our discussions on last year's thread this is how the first online tests stage of the applications process works. This information is correct to the best of my knowledge for EFS, TiB, HR, NI. I don't know if it applies to the analytical fast stream.

    1. There are three tests: a numerical test, a verbal test and a competency questionnaire.

    2. The tests are assessed in a two stage process and you have to pass both to be marked as successful for the online tests. In the first stage your scores for the numerical and verbal reasoning tests are marked. In the second stage your competency questionnaire is marked. Only if you pass both of these stages are you marked successful for the online tests.

    3. Only the bottom 40% of candidates who take the numerical and verbal reasoning tests fail. This is important when you get your feedback on the practice tests. If it says that you are in the top 45% of candidates on both of these tests and you perform to the same level in the actual tests then you should be fine, although you may have to wait a while for the final online tests pass marks to be set. You don't need to be told that you are in the top 15% (which was the highest mark on the practice tests last year).

    Evidence:
    "Approximately 40% of candidates are eliminated from the process based on the results on the cognitive tests and an additional 15% are then sifted according to their responses on the competency questionnaire." (page 3)
    http://www.cubiks.com/sitecollection...case_study.pdf

    4. If you are not rejected on the basis of the numerical and verbal reasoning tests then your competency questionnaire comes into play. This questionnaire is marked and the bottom 25% of candidates are rejected. (That is the bottom 25% of those who passed the numerical and verbal reasoning tests.) This means that even if you score really well in the verbal and numerical reasoning tests you can still fail on the basis of the competency questionnaire. Getting "top 15%" on the verbal and numerical reasoning tests does not help you pass the competency questionnaire.

    5. When approaching the competency questionnaire remember that all the statements relate directly to fast stream competencies. A subset of them have been identified (from previous years) as a good predictor of performance at the FSAC. The mark is calculated on the basis of your answers to these (and you don't know which one's they are).

    Evidence:
    "Online competency questionnaire: The competency questionnaire was designed with statements linked closely to the Fast Stream competency model, which had previously been designed on the basis of a thorough job analysis. Several validity studies were conducted to identify a subset of items/ questions which were most predictive of performance at the final Assessment Centre, whilst showing no bias against minority groups."
    http://www.bps.org.uk/networks-and-c...nal-psychology
    [This website does not seem to be accessible any more. I have copied the text from my post 340 on last year's thread]

    All of this information was worked out last year using information publicly available on the internet. The application process might change this year so please post any information which seems to contradict what I have written. The key messages are that "top 45%" is probably good enough for the verbal and numerical tests and to take care with the competency questionnaire.

    Good luck everyone.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    MartinScorcese, thanks a lot for all this information. By competency questions are you referring to the e-tray tests?
    I'm still having a problem finding out when the applications open and close. The civil service fast stream website seems not to have been updated yet: http://faststream.civilservice.gov.u...ion-timetable/
    Does anyone know when they release the 2014-15 applications dates?

    All the best!
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    For GES stream, the 1st round opens 1 September and closes 30 September, see http://www.civilservice.gov.uk/networks/ges. I presume it may be similar for other streams, given that they all open on 1/9 (as per Fast Stream website).
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    Hi ChicagoSchool.

    No, the competency questionnaire is a part of the online selection tests. It is not the same as the e-tray. For more detail see step five on this page:

    http://faststream.civilservice.gov.u...ation-process/

    In terms of applications being open and closed I think that everything opens on 1 September 2014. The best source of information at the moment is: http://twitter.com/faststreamuk

    I also check facebook fairly regularly:
    http://www.facebook.com/faststream
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    Hey guys,

    Applying for the generalist FS in September (few days' time!)

    The Fast Stream website links to two websites to do practice tests. One is the SHL one and the other is Cubiks one. I don't actually think either are that helpful, and I really need to do as much practice as possible for the numerical reasoning part. (I'm not too bad at the maths itself - just slow.) The Cubiks one looks the most like the practice tests I did last year but there are only 6 practice questions available in total, which is next to useless. The SHL one is American and, from what I remember, is quite different from the one we have to do. The SHL one is full length but they don't specify exactly which questions I get wrong - they just tell your score overall at the end.

    My question is - which online tests have people found the most useful? I would really like lots of questions to practice, and more detailed feedback on results would also really help.

    I know that there are absolutely loads of these available when you google 'psychometric/numerical reasoning tests' but any info on which are the better ones would be really welcome.
    Also - has anyone actually bothered to pay for any practice tests? This seems like a bit of a waste of money.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by hm13)
    My question is - which online tests have people found the most useful? I would really like lots of questions to practice, and more detailed feedback on results would also really help.

    I know that there are absolutely loads of these available when you google 'psychometric/numerical reasoning tests' but any info on which are the better ones would be really welcome.
    Also - has anyone actually bothered to pay for any practice tests? This seems like a bit of a waste of money.
    I have never been able to find good practice questions other than the ones Fast Stream recommend. What I do know is:

    1. Cubiks is the company that designed the Fast Stream online tests so their practice questions are the most realistic.

    2. Once you have registered for Fast Stream you get two opportunities to take practice tests in both numerical and verbal reasoning. The questions in these practice tests are great preparation for the actual tests. i.e. they are the same kind of questions.

    3. Before taking the actual tests make sure that you have read:
    http://faststream.civilservice.gov.u...ation-process/
    http://faststream.civilservice.gov.u...estsadvice.pdf

    4. Remember that you are not given any opportunity to practice the competency questionnaire. This is the longest of the three selection tests and its easy to overlook it when preparing for the numerical and verbal reasoning tests.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    Hi all,

    I will also be taking part in the application process this year (will be the second time applying). I would like to agree with comments above - do take care on the Competency questionnaire. I applied for two streams last year - the Generalist and European. While I failed at the first hurdle in the Generalist stream (my competency test was not good enough), I made it through to the Assessment Centre for the European stream.

    If (and it is still a big if) they use a similar marking system to last year, be aware that being successful at a stage for one stream does not guarantee success in others. For example, on the competency test last year, I eventually found out I had scored better than 45% of candidates for the competency questionnaire - that was absolutely great for the European stream (found out I was through to the next stage within a few hours), but I had to wait a few weeks for the Generalist result, only to find out I was unsuccessful.

    Still, to end on a happy note, all the best to everyone applying - I hope to meet you in January for the Assessment Centre!
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    Applying to the economist stream this year :-) fingers crossed!
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    When taking the tests remember that (for the generalist stream at least), the competency quiz is far more important than the verbal and numerical. People who failed the tests posted their results in last year's thread, and I believe it turned out that the pass marks were around 45% for verbal/numerical, and 65% for competency. So don't worry too much if you haven't done any maths since GCSE.

    Also, be aware that good results on one don't balance out bad results on another - if you get 99% on verbal/numerical but 20% on competency then you'll still fail.

    Good luck to everyone applying this year - it's a long process, but well worth it.
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    Good luck to the 2014 Fast Stream cohort starting work/induction tomorrow; and everyone applying to join the Fast Stream in 2015.
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    I am applying for 2015 after getting to the FSAC for 2014 but not getting through that stage. I am applying again because although it was a long process, it was a good experience and it taught me a lot about myself. Im applying for GFS rather than HR this time though as I believe there may be more jobs based out of London.
    Good luck to everyone applying this year!
 
 
 
  • See more of what you like on The Student Room

    You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

  • Poll
    What newspaper do you read/prefer?
    Useful resources

    Featured recruiter profiles:

    HM Treasury logo

    Policy adviser grad scheme

    "Shape the UK’s future and your skills."

    Quick link:

    Unanswered public sector threads

    Groups associated with this forum:

    View associated groups
  • See more of what you like on The Student Room

    You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

  • The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

    Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

    Quick reply
    Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.