Applying for work experience and internship advice please

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Hiro2468
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I'm trying to gain experience and want to see how life is in an accountancy firm but I'm constantly being rejected and feeling quite low about myself. I can't do the reasoning tests yet but I really want to do well in them.

My friend is really good at maths and can probably smash them all but I want to be able to do well in those numerical reasoning tests.

I need advice please for applying to accountancy firms. I'm in year 12 btw.
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ajj2000
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Ok - what grade did you get in GCSE maths and what A levels are you taking and what expected grades?
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Hiro2468
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(Original post by ajj2000)
Ok - what grade did you get in GCSE maths and what A levels are you taking and what expected grades?
I got a 7 and I'm taking A level Maths, Economics and German. So far we haven't done a proper mock yet but I've been predicted all Bs. However for maths I'm working below that grade.
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ajj2000
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(Original post by Hiro2468)
I got a 7 and I'm taking A level Maths, Economics and German. So far we haven't done a proper mock yet but I've been predicted all Bs. However for maths I'm working below that grade.
So you are in lower 6th? Anyway, your grades look ok - you probably want to be at BBB or slightly above for accountancy. I'll make some notes later about numeracy tests - basically you need to be very pragmatic about them and practice.
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Mona123456
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(Original post by Hiro2468)
I'm trying to gain experience and want to see how life is in an accountancy firm but I'm constantly being rejected and feeling quite low about myself. I can't do the reasoning tests yet but I really want to do well in them.

My friend is really good at maths and can probably smash them all but I want to be able to do well in those numerical reasoning tests.

I need advice please for applying to accountancy firms. I'm in year 12 btw.
Can you request feedback from any of your rejections? It may not be possible but sending a polite email could help you to understand what you’re doing wrong - unless you’re absolutely certain it’s only the reasoning tests holding you back.

Get someone you trust (perhaps a teacher) to check through your CV again. Ensure your cover letters are very personalised and tailored towards the specific company you’re applying to - do your research and ensure you include their key values and how you demonstrate them/believe in them. Also, I’d recommend mentioning not just what you’d gain from the experience but additionally what you’d bring to it - why should they pick you over another applicant? Showcase what makes you unique, and highlight academic achievements as well as your soft skills - but link your soft skills to examples and evidence.

I’ve never done a reasoning test for an accountancy firm, but would perhaps advise you to look at critical thinking exams or books to help maybe. Ensure you’re GCSE maths is strong and maybe have a go at Oxford TSA papers’ problem solving questions to improve those skills.

Lastly, take as many practice online reasoning tests as you can (and if possible, for any questions you’re getting wrong, screenshot them and ask a teacher to explain them). If all else fails, apply to a wider range of firms as not all of them may require you to do an online test - some may just do phone interviews, some may just want your grades and a cover letter. Keep persevering and best of luck!
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BusMan21
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It's literally practice - practice, practice, practice.

You need to be super confident with using calculator/GCSE basics Maths/understanding the Q and obtaining the right info amongst the noise, and the all other tests? Also practice. There's a lot of paid/free practice packs out there.
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Hiro2468
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(Original post by ajj2000)
So you are in lower 6th? Anyway, your grades look ok - you probably want to be at BBB or slightly above for accountancy. I'll make some notes later about numeracy tests - basically you need to be very pragmatic about them and practice.
Ahhh I'm currently trying to work on my maths as I'm not confident at all. Please do, when I did some practice tests I kept failing.
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Hiro2468
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(Original post by Mona123456)
Can you request feedback from any of your rejections? It may not be possible but sending a polite email could help you to understand what you’re doing wrong - unless you’re absolutely certain it’s only the reasoning tests holding you back.

Get someone you trust (perhaps a teacher) to check through your CV again. Ensure your cover letters are very personalised and tailored towards the specific company you’re applying to - do your research and ensure you include their key values and how you demonstrate them/believe in them. Also, I’d recommend mentioning not just what you’d gain from the experience but additionally what you’d bring to it - why should they pick you over another applicant? Showcase what makes you unique, and highlight academic achievements as well as your soft skills - but link your soft skills to examples and evidence.

I’ve never done a reasoning test for an accountancy firm, but would perhaps advise you to look at critical thinking exams or books to help maybe. Ensure you’re GCSE maths is strong and maybe have a go at Oxford TSA papers’ problem solving questions to improve those skills.

Lastly, take as many practice online reasoning tests as you can (and if possible, for any questions you’re getting wrong, screenshot them and ask a teacher to explain them). If all else fails, apply to a wider range of firms as not all of them may require you to do an online test - some may just do phone interviews, some may just want your grades and a cover letter. Keep persevering and best of luck!
Thank you for the advice! I now know for a fact that I shouldn't do numerical tests and video interviews when I'm half awake because that was a horrible experience.

I'm sure my video interview screwed me over too, as once it started recording my mind went completely blank and one time I almost even forgot how to speak.

I'm surprised I'm still trying, the rejections hurt a lot but make me more numb to them.
I honestly don't know what else to say for the 'why they should choose me over others bit'? All I can say is my resilience and willingness to learn new things? Since I haven't had experience like this before
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Hiro2468
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(Original post by BusMan21)
It's literally practice - practice, practice, practice.

You need to be super confident with using calculator/GCSE basics Maths/understanding the Q and obtaining the right info amongst the noise, and the all other tests? Also practice. There's a lot of paid/free practice packs out there.
Thank you! It's hard to find free papers, I can only do the free trial ones plus apparently different firms use different styles?
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ajj2000
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(Original post by Hiro2468)
Ahhh I'm currently trying to work on my maths as I'm not confident at all. Please do, when I did some practice tests I kept failing.
Cool - did you get feedback on your marks (percentile scores) for each test? Thats the first place to start. You can find a lot about the test styles by googling and checking on forums, but the main numeracy and verbal reasoning ones are not hugely different in style or strategy between firms/ companies (I've done loads!)

You are really blessed by doing maths A level as although the level is not required you are used to solving problems each day so I'm sure you can improve loads. I'd rather know your marks before giving much direction, but would recommend (if you are able to) that you buy a couple of books on verbal and numerical reasoning or see if you can borrow from a library. I can try to remember which were good. If you have a test in the next week or so give me a nudge and I'll think of a quick way to practice.
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Mona123456
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(Original post by Hiro2468)
Thank you for the advice! I now know for a fact that I shouldn't do numerical tests and video interviews when I'm half awake because that was a horrible experience.

I'm sure my video interview screwed me over too, as once it started recording my mind went completely blank and one time I almost even forgot how to speak.

I'm surprised I'm still trying, the rejections hurt a lot but make me more numb to them.
I honestly don't know what else to say for the 'why they should choose me over others bit'? All I can say is my resilience and willingness to learn new things? Since I haven't had experience like this before
You’re welcome.

For the what makes you unique over other applicants bit, you need to think about soft skills you have and evidence - have you been a prefect, or led an event, or been on a sport team etc? Link these kind of things to soft skills and how it makes you more suited for the role you’re applying for.

I’d also maybe advise going to your nearest high street bank, and say that you have an account with them, and would love to know if there’s any work experience available as you hope to go into finance. Asking around commercial banks could be a good way to find out about more opportunities, and I reckon not all of them will hopefully require skills tests. If it isn’t working out with accountancy firms, aim more generally to get finance related work experience then as your CV builds up, again consider applying to the more specific ones that you want to do.

Above all else, keep applying and keep improving and learning from your feedback and mistakes. We all get rejected at times and it’s all about keeping your chin up, learning from it and trying again. Best of luck!

Also, if you meet the eligibility criteria you may like to look at these opportunities too:

http://www.accessaccountancy.org/cur...rtunities.html
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Hiro2468
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(Original post by ajj2000)
Cool - did you get feedback on your marks (percentile scores) for each test? Thats the first place to start. You can find a lot about the test styles by googling and checking on forums, but the main numeracy and verbal reasoning ones are not hugely different in style or strategy between firms/ companies (I've done loads!)

You are really blessed by doing maths A level as although the level is not required you are used to solving problems each day so I'm sure you can improve loads. I'd rather know your marks before giving much direction, but would recommend (if you are able to) that you buy a couple of books on verbal and numerical reasoning or see if you can borrow from a library. I can try to remember which were good. If you have a test in the next week or so give me a nudge and I'll think of a quick way to practice.
To get feedback should I just email them? I'll check my email just in case they offer a feedback link. I'm really embarrassed to say but I do horrendously on the numerical/verbal reasoning tests 😞

I'll be going to the library sometime this week so I definitely plan to scour through any books I can find. I really want to improve my data analytical skills. Thank you btw!
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Hiro2468
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(Original post by Mona123456)
You’re welcome.

For the what makes you unique over other applicants bit, you need to think about soft skills you have and evidence - have you been a prefect, or led an event, or been on a sport team etc? Link these kind of things to soft skills and how it makes you more suited for the role you’re applying for.

I’d also maybe advise going to your nearest high street bank, and say that you have an account with them, and would love to know if there’s any work experience available as you hope to go into finance. Asking around commercial banks could be a good way to find out about more opportunities, and I reckon not all of them will hopefully require skills tests. If it isn’t working out with accountancy firms, aim more generally to get finance related work experience then as your CV builds up, again consider applying to the more specific ones that you want to do.

Above all else, keep applying and keep improving and learning from your feedback and mistakes. We all get rejected at times and it’s all about keeping your chin up, learning from it and trying again. Best of luck!

Also, if you meet the eligibility criteria you may like to look at these opportunities too:

http://www.accessaccountancy.org/cur...rtunities.html
Ah I am a prefect! Could I perhaps link that to communication and interpersonal skills?

Thank you so much for the help! With the link, I'm currently already using it as a checklist, so far I've been rejected from 3 of the places so I still have a few more to go 👍

I found one that doesn't require you to take tests but just write a cover letter and send in your CV. I'll double check tho to see if I really don't need to take tests.
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Mona123456
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(Original post by Hiro2468)
Ah I am a prefect! Could I perhaps link that to communication and interpersonal skills?

Thank you so much for the help! With the link, I'm currently already using it as a checklist, so far I've been rejected from 3 of the places so I still have a few more to go 👍

I found one that doesn't require you to take tests but just write a cover letter and send in your CV. I'll double check tho to see if I really don't need to take tests.
Yes - if you’re a prefect I’d definitely use that! Research the company you’re applying for, and read what they’re looking for on the job description/application page - then link your prefect role to that. For example, if you had to give a talk as a prefect, you could mention how that’s made you a confident communicator. Or if you’ve had to help organise an event, you could link that to leadership skills. It really depends on what that specific company are looking for, so absolutely do your research on their key values.

You’re welcome. Don’t worry - there are still plenty more places to apply to then. And if needed local banks are a good place to apply to as well.

Yes, double check if they need you to take the tests. Even if you do need to, there’s no harm in applying to practice those tests and improve, but yep, if you know they aren’t your strength you may prefer not to waste your time on that then.

Good luck with everything! Also, out of interest are you hoping to apply to Uni (and if so what degree)?
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Hiro2468
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(Original post by Mona123456)
Yes - if you’re a prefect I’d definitely use that! Research the company you’re applying for, and read what they’re looking for on the job description/application page - then link your prefect role to that. For example, if you had to give a talk as a prefect, you could mention how that’s made you a confident communicator. Or if you’ve had to help organise an event, you could link that to leadership skills. It really depends on what that specific company are looking for, so absolutely do your research on their key values.

You’re welcome. Don’t worry - there are still plenty more places to apply to then. And if needed local banks are a good place to apply to as well.

Yes, double check if they need you to take the tests. Even if you do need to, there’s no harm in applying to practice those tests and improve, but yep, if you know they aren’t your strength you may prefer not to waste your time on that then.

Good luck with everything! Also, out of interest are you hoping to apply to Uni (and if so what degree)?
Honestly thank you so much!! I feel a little more confident, I just need to practice my speaking more since it's not the best at the moment!

Yes I really want to go to Uni, as far as it comes to degrees I'm not sure between a law degree or an accounting and finance degree. I am leaning more towards an accounting and finance degreee tho. What about you if you don't mind me asking?
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Mona123456
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(Original post by Hiro2468)
Honestly thank you so much!! I feel a little more confident, I just need to practice my speaking more since it's not the best at the moment!

Yes I really want to go to Uni, as far as it comes to degrees I'm not sure between a law degree or an accounting and finance degree. I am leaning more towards an accounting and finance degreee tho. What about you if you don't mind me asking?
You’re most welcome.

I’ve applied for various economics degrees, and hopefully will be starting my degree later on this year if I can get the A Level grades I need in the Summer.

Good luck with both your work experience and Uni applications!
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ajj2000
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(Original post by Hiro2468)
Ahhh I'm currently trying to work on my maths as I'm not confident at all. Please do, when I did some practice tests I kept failing.
(Original post by Hiro2468)
To get feedback should I just email them? I'll check my email just in case they offer a feedback link. I'm really embarrassed to say but I do horrendously on the numerical/verbal reasoning tests 😞

I'll be going to the library sometime this week so I definitely plan to scour through any books I can find. I really want to improve my data analytical skills. Thank you btw!
Ok - how do you know you do terribly on the numerical and verbal reasoning tests? Have you been told your scores?

Lots of jobs use similar tests so its worth thinking about the strategy. Before I write a lot of irrelevant things, have you ever sat very time pressured exams? I believe that A level maths no longer has any real time pressure? There is a certain skill involved.

My advice to start assuming you don't have tests imminently is to get the verbal and numerical reasoning books in this range:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Practise-Pa...s%2C452&sr=8-7

They start of super easy which is great as you get some ideas on how to look at questions.

Be relaxed, don't worry about time, do each set of questions, then check the answers and particularly the advice given. Figure out where you get questions wrong and consider how to do better in the future.

There are some useful videos on you tube - this for example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d8TBUX8SmCU

Once you've done this we can consider how to manage under time constraints.

Just to add - none of this is hardcore - just a relaxed day having a coffee and working through some questions to get better ideas and see where you need to improve.
Last edited by ajj2000; 1 month ago
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Hiro2468
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(Original post by Mona123456)
You’re most welcome.

I’ve applied for various economics degrees, and hopefully will be starting my degree later on this year if I can get the A Level grades I need in the Summer.

Good luck with both your work experience and Uni applications!
Thank you! I wish you luck too, I hope you get the grades you want! 😊
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Hiro2468
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(Original post by ajj2000)
Ok - how do you know you do terribly on the numerical and verbal reasoning tests? Have you been told your scores?

Lots of jobs use similar tests so its worth thinking about the strategy. Before I write a lot of irrelevant things, have you ever sat very time pressured exams? I believe that A level maths no longer has any real time pressure? There is a certain skill involved.

My advice to start assuming you don't have tests imminently is to get the verbal and numerical reasoning books in this range:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Practise-Pa...s%2C452&sr=8-7

They start of super easy which is great as you get some ideas on how to look at questions.

Be relaxed, don't worry about time, do each set of questions, then check the answers and particularly the advice given. Figure out where you get questions wrong and consider how to do better in the future.

There are some useful videos on you tube - this for example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d8TBUX8SmCU

Once you've done this we can consider how to manage under time constraints.

Just to add - none of this is hardcore - just a relaxed day having a coffee and working through some questions to get better ideas and see where you need to improve.
I did bad in the practice ones I did beforehand The closest thing to 'very time pressured' exams were my GCSEs I suppose, if they count?

Thank you for the links! Could I potentially improve my analytical skills the more practice I do?
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ajj2000
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(Original post by Hiro2468)
I did bad in the practice ones I did beforehand The closest thing to 'very time pressured' exams were my GCSEs I suppose, if they count?

Thank you for the links! Could I potentially improve my analytical skills the more practice I do?
I doubt GCSEs are tough enough to be particularly good practice but yes - you can improve loads. It’s not just practice, it’s understanding the strategies and techniques.

Any idea where you did badly? Not answering enough questions? Answering incorrectly?
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