Civil Service Faststream Watch

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Jigglypuff
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#721
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#721
(Original post by Quady)
Careful, I said the same thing and got told off for oxbridge bashing
No you didn't-- you said Oxbridge applicants have more money than sense. This guy was talking about the organizations themselves (as in 'Oxbridge Applications' or whatever it is called, which targets Oxbridge applicants)

ANYWAY (:p: ) I'm putting off doing the real online tests as I completely messed up the second round of practice ones by rushing through the verbal reasoning and just being really bad at the numerical reasoning.

Aside from the faststrea, what other jobs are people applying for, out of interest?
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greg11
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#722
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#722
Hi- I'm not oxbridge, nor do I have more money than sense, however I did get the stuff from the faststreamprep website and it didnt cost £45 either- I bought it for £19.99!! And from their website it seems like quite a few others are doing it too. fingers crossed - I'm going to do the selection tests in the next few days!!
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starry skies
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#723
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#723
£20 still seems excessive to get through what is essentially a rough cut, but good luck. I'd still get down to the library & get out some books on pyschometric testing in preferrence, but if you'v spent the money already...
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greg11
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(Original post by Quady)
Apparently (which they have designed themselves) but there isn't even a single example question so how close they are to the fast stream ones only someone with £45 will find out (I'm guessing they are going for the too much money than sence oxbridge brigade)

As I put, for free you can get a bunch of similar verbal/numberical reasoning tests by applying for other jobs and since the appslaces ratio is 30:1 that could be quite a useful thing!

by the way Quady, there are about 50 free questions!! You can get the free demo version through the mock tests page- the other people who I know who have signed up are non-oxbridge as well....
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greg11
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#725
yeah starry skies, I do see your point- but then you get the feel of doing the questions online and the questions are really similar because the writers are recent fast streamers as well. the rough cut is from 15,000 to 3000 so I think its worth it!! lets see
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sherrybaby
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#726
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(Original post by greg11)
yeah starry skies, I do see your point- but then you get the feel of doing the questions online and the questions are really similar because the writers are recent fast streamers as well. the rough cut is from 15,000 to 3000 so I think its worth it!! lets see
Blimey, you lot are keen! I thought I did a lot of preparation and all I did was get a couple of books out of the library.

You're very right to take the first round seriously though. There were a group of people on my course who applied - only two of us bothered to revise for the tests, and we were the only two who passed them. Many people - especially those from "better" universities - see the online tests as just a formality, and assume they will pass, despite the unpromising statistics. I'm sure there are plenty of people who do get through with no revision, but in my view, preparation (free or otherwise!) is really important.
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Quady
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#727
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(Original post by greg11)
yeah starry skies, I do see your point- but then you get the feel of doing the questions online and the questions are really similar because the writers are recent fast streamers as well. the rough cut is from 15,000 to 3000 so I think its worth it!! lets see
Ahhhh went I saw the mock tests I didn't bother going to sign in as I thought it would want money.

50 questions should be ample as well as the actual fast stream practise questions.

Strange it says £45 in the FAQs but 'only' £19.99 when you try to sign up.

Perhaps a fast streamer could give the free ones a go and report back (I would but my net connection is one of those wireless dongles so its too slow for such excitement).

I still agree with starry skies - any more than £5 for me is too much just to try and improve your chances by some unknown amount to get through the 1st screening exercise to get through to the second screen (which itself costs a fiver...)

yes I'm still bitter about the expenses policy :P
at least its more favourable when your in
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moley
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#728
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Right, not totally sure how it works - I registered (you can enter a false email) and had access to five full mock verbal and numerical tests without paying a thing.

Anyway, yes they look similar to the actual faststream tests, but I imagine you could tell that by comparing them with the faststream practice examples?
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axle77
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#729
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#729
(Original post by moley)
Right, not totally sure how it works - I registered (you can enter a false email) and had access to five full mock verbal and numerical tests without paying a thing.

Anyway, yes they look similar to the actual faststream tests, but I imagine you could tell that by comparing them with the faststream practice examples?

Yeah, I had a look at them too- they are similar; i think its a good idea to get the timed practise in especially if its for £20, or is it free currently??
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moley
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(Original post by axle77)
Yeah, I had a look at them too- they are similar; i think its a good idea to get the timed practise in especially if its for £20, or is it free currently??
What's the difference? You could time yourself for those five mock tests and that would be good practice for free?
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themagicmonkey
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#731
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#731
I have to say I read this thread with bemusement. I applied for the Faststream last year - got to the final assessment centre and fell out there - and all this talk of expensive preperation books and courses seems a bit pointless. It's quite right to say that the online tests are as important as the rest of the process, because it's here that most candidates are knocked out. But the tests really aren't rocket science. You get 4 practice runs before you have to do a marked test - two each of reading and maths - which gives you time to swat up for up to a fortnight on the maths questions that stumped you (for example it was percentage changes that I had to work on). GCSE "bitesize" revision websites were more than enough to get me through, and they're free and not £45 or what some of you are thinking of paying! For the verbal reasoning tests, well they require you to be able to read. Presumably most graduates thinking of applying to the Faststream can do that! (Although I know a fair few people panic because they feel they don't know the topic that the paragraph is on - it's emphasised time and again that you only base your answers on what's in the passage itself and not your prior knowledge.)

Still despite that I'd definitely say go for it - it was a great experience once you're through the online tests, and I got a lot of useful experience from the application even though I wasn't successful (and very fair and useful feedback from the assessors). The open days and assessment centres in Westminster are very interesting, I got to go inside the MoD!
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Prince Rhyus
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#732
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(Original post by greg11)
... because the writers are recent fast streamers as well...
And you believe them because it happens to be written on their website?

It doesn't say anything about them being fast streamers - only that their writers were "successful" at the assessment process. (People do turn down their places and drop out for a variety of reasons.) Even then, I'd take their claims with a pinch of salt.
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gt94sss2
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#733
I stop reading this thread for a few days and lots of posts suddenly turn up!

(Original post by cherno_samba)
I'm planning on applying this year, last year I got to the etray event so hopefully I will get further this time around but I am worried about the FSAC. Aside from my dire skills in group work (!) which I will have to work on in, how do most people deal with the competency skills interview questions? Do you derive most of your answers from work and academic situations with certain amounts of embellishment added?
My advice is if you get through to the FSAC, don't embellish in the interview or they will catch you out when they ask follow up questions.

The key thing to remember is that each exercise during the day only tests certain competencies and each competency is tested at least twice during the day.

The interview in particular only tests 2 competencies - as such you should think of possible questions and for each of these and think in advance what answers you might give.. ensuring when you practice your answers you include 'evidence' of what you did and/or your thought processes.

As I believe has been posted elsewhere, all the assessors will not have seen your CV or application form so will know nothing about you apart from what you say on the day.
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gt94sss2
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(Original post by Adarah)
I've looked up the numerical reasoning tests and the verbal reasoning tests online and think I have an idea of what they are now.
For anyone applying this year - its worth stating that the verbal and numerical reasoning tests are not designed to be difficult and I would say they are certainly no harder than GCSE level (in fact they are probably easier)

You just need to keep one eye on the time..

However, when you apply to the Fast Stream you are given two 'optional' chances to take practice tests(+ a week to do each one in) and I suggest everyone does this. They are at the same level and format of the real tests.

Ignore the feedback, if it says you didn't do well and do the real test as well - just practising the test formats/time limits will increase your performance..

If anyone wants to practice further, I found reading lots helped with the verbal reasoning test and things like Sudoku can improve performance on the numerical reasoning tests (as well as knowing your percentages, ratios and when to divide/multiply)

Thanks for the bit about disabilties! But I've never asked anyone to take the fact that I'm slightly dislexic into account and I won't start now. That would mean getting diagnose and for every being labled dislexic for every job I apply for.
I'm not dyslexic but if you might be dyslexic, I would get tested - if you are you would get extra time in the tests. This is worth having as several of the exercises in the Fast Stream selection process are very 'tight' on time and the extra time would come in very useful..

There is also be no need to declare being dyslexic (if you are) for every job etc, if you don't want too..
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gt94sss2
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#735
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(Original post by axle77)
There is a website which looks fairly good and they state that it is fast stream focussed called www.faststreamprep.co.uk.
I woudn't bother using that website - looking at its history it was registered by an individual only 5 weeks ago!

Don't bother wasting your money.. just use the official mock online tests and any other (free) prep you want.
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gt94sss2
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#736
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#736
(Original post by Jigglypuff)
They said my results made me eligible to apply (top 45%) but tbh I doubt I will do particularly well at them and I don't have relevant work experience so I'm doubtful that I will get very far in the whole application process!

I'm applying for the diplomatic service.
The feedback you get from the online mock tests isn't that detailed - I think one set of tests will say something like you were in the top xx% and the other set says you got xx of yy right.

If anyone is applying for the diplomatic service (or any of the other options) when asked for what options you want to apply for (later on in the process) ensure you put diplomatic service 1st but everyone should also put 'Central Departments' as their last option..
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gt94sss2
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#737
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(Original post by themagicmonkey)
Still despite that I'd definitely say go for it - it was a great experience once you're through the online tests, and I got a lot of useful experience from the application even though I wasn't successful (and very fair and useful feedback from the assessors). The open days and assessment centres in Westminster are very interesting, I got to go inside the MoD!
Its worth making the general point that if one doesn't get through the 1st time, its not the end of the world - many people apply 2/3/4 times before they get in to the Fast Stream and anyone who gets through to the assessment centre will meet such individuals..

I even know of current fast streamers who didn't get into the FCO and who now apply again externally, just to have another shot at getting into the Diplomatic Service.

Its a bit weird when some of them then go and fail the earlier selection rounds, which they had passed in a different year!
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Jigglypuff
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I just had a go at the faststreamprep website people were talking about (just the free demo, I didn't pay!)

It was kind of useful. The verbal reasoning was pretty easy...I got 5/5 in only a fifth of the time, but again the maths one was pretty hard. There was a trick question which I didn't really spot because of the time constraints, for example. It was a useful website, though, as you could actually review your answers and see what you got wrong (unlike the practice ones on the actual faststream website)

I think I'll do the actual tests today and get them out of the way!
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starry skies
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#739
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For practice for the online tests what might also be useful is the Saturday Guardian's "Work" section - there are weekly (I think alternating) numerical & verbal reasoning quizzes, on page 2 or 4 usually. I can't find it online though, I'm afraid
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Adarah
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#740
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(Original post by Jigglypuff)
I just had a go at the faststreamprep website people were talking about (just the free demo, I didn't pay!)

It was kind of useful. The verbal reasoning was pretty easy...I got 5/5 in only a fifth of the time, but again the maths one was pretty hard. There was a trick question which I didn't really spot because of the time constraints, for example. It was a useful website, though, as you could actually review your answers and see what you got wrong (unlike the practice ones on the actual faststream website)

I think I'll do the actual tests today and get them out of the way!
i just did the verbal reasoning one of that faststream prep site (the free one). Is that really what the actual test is like? 5 easy questions? Hah, that test was a lot easier than all the others I've been practicing - maybe I don't need to worry about the verbal reasoning test after all.
I'm still going to practice more before I take the test. annoyingly once you sign up and do the practice test you have to do the real one within a week of that or so. So i don't want to sign up until I'm sure I know what I'm going to deal with and won't fail. :o:

edit: I've done the numerical one too now.
I find the reasons for which answer is correct very odd for verbal and reasoning. They seem to overcomplicate things.
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