What if I don’t fully agree with any of the in-tray exercise answers?

 The purpose of the  in-tray exercise is to see how well you are able to deal with a ‘typical days’ in-tray for the role which you have applied. Assessors want to see how well your decisions match those of a ‘good manager or executive’ in their organisation. So with well researched knowledge, sound preparation and practice you should find one of the answers provided that most closely matches your own response.

It is vital that you remember the exercise is designed to show the Assessors at your Assessment Centre how well you perform the key tasks which they have identified as essential for the role. You must be able to show your ability:

  • To gain an understanding of a situation, or issue, raised in the exercise.
  • Make decisions based on the information provided, without making any presumptions.
  • How quickly you can make decisions, even if you have incomplete information.
  • Your ability to evaluate information and respond to a question.
  • How well you handle management issues.
  • Time management skills
  • To set appropriate priorities which endorse the organisational values.
  • Delegation and monitoring of tasks.


When performing an in-tray exercise you must prepare you mindset so that you are thinking as if you were a member of the organisation already. The best way you can achieve this is by maximising your score during this exercise. The best way to do this is to complete the majority, if not all, of the tasks set you. To do this you must develop your skill in quickly and accurately evaluating information provided and in your ability to form a comprehensive overview of a multi-situational environment.

As you practice in-tray exercises you will improve your reading and evaluations skills so that you are able to quickly assess and draw out key points from the in-tray items. You will learn to identify the key strategic and management issues (often hidden within text or administrative details) that enable you to select the best answer to give you maximum marks for the question. A vital part of your preparation must be well research information on the organisation you wish to join so that you have a clear understanding of their ethos, management style and mission. Armed with this knowledge you can then ensure that your behaviours and answers reflect this and show you to be the best candidate for the position.

If your in-tray exercise includes a ‘Justification’ aspect you will have the opportunity to point across your own view point and your reasoning for it. But remember to only use the information you have been provided with do not draw your own conclusions and do not be afraid to say you’d want further information before you made a final decision. During the justification you must present a well reasoned and argued point of view to support your answer; in this way you will maximise your final score.

You may also be interested in:

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Does it matter if I don’t complete the in-tray exercise?
What if I don’t fully agree with any of the in-tray exercise answers?
Is it acceptable to choose ‘none of the above’ as in in-tray exercise answer?
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Pass the In-Tray Exercise