A Guide to the Ernst and Young (EY) Assessment: & Tips
Updated November 18, 2023
Ernst & Young Global Ltd (known as EY) are one of the Big Four accounting companies, with headquarters in London and more than 300,000 employees working out of 700 offices in 150 countries.
Continually ranked for the last 25 years as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For according to Fortune magazine – the only accounting firm to have achieved that – EY has become a career destination for those who are just getting started in a financial career and for experienced professionals.
EY is known for its rigorous and challenging recruitment process if you want to work at the company. With potentially thousands of applicants for each available role, each stage of the recruitment process is designed to filter out those who do not meet their high standards.
If you are applying for a role at EY, you need to be prepared and know what to expect so that you can demonstrate your suitability and show that you have what it takes to be successful.
In this article, we will be looking at the assessments that are used in the EY recruitment process and how best you can prepare yourself, as well as some handy tips to use when you are taking each type of assessment.
The EY assessments are used as an early-stage filter in the recruitment process. There are several different types of pre-employment assessments that you might take, depending on the role that you have applied for.
These tests are designed to evaluate specific things like skills, aptitudes, and personality traits that the recruitment team are looking for in an applicant.
These competencies can be found in the job description and are usually linked to the core values of EY.
Once you have completed your initial application form, your details and the information you have supplied will be screened by the recruiters. If you match the basic requirements for the role, whether that is through qualifications, experience, or other criteria, you will be invited to complete one (or more) aptitude tests.
This invitation will include a link to the test itself, which you will complete online, and a deadline for when the test needs to be completed.
You will need to achieve at least the benchmark score to ‘pass’ an EY aptitude test, and if you do not make the grade, then your application will be rejected. If you are taking separate tests, you will need to pass each of them to receive the next, so your application could be rejected during these initial aptitude tests.
Tests that are used by EY include aptitude tests like:
Other skills tests might be used if you are applying for a programmer or other technology-related role.
The structure and format of the assessment that you will take when you apply for a role at EY will depend on the role that you are applying for.
For almost all Early Careers options, like graduate placements and internships, you will need to complete a test that includes several different types of questions.
These might be presented as simple multiple-choice assessments. Still, they can also be presented as a case study, getting you to demonstrate each competency and answer the questions, but based on different source material that you are provided with as part of the assessment.
Either way, the following assessment question types are likely to be used:
The numerical reasoning test or numerical reasoning assessment is not necessarily a math test.
Still, you will need to be confident in using basic mathematical operations and understanding math principles like ratios, percentages and decimals.
Each numerical reasoning question is presented as some numerical data in graphs, tables and charts. You will need to complete some form of math operation to find the right answer from the multiple-choice options available.
As mentioned, this is not about your math ability but rather your ability to make reasoned deductions based on numerical data in different forms.
If it is a timed test, you will have about 20 minutes to answer 12 to 15 questions.
You have been given a table showing the sales increase of selected franchise products in different cities across Europe. Based on the data provided, which product exhibits the smallest range of sales increase between the cities?
|City A||City B||City C||City D||City E|
a) Product A
b) Product B
c) Product C
d) Product D
You’ll need good language skills to be able to work at EY, and while this isn’t a language test, it does need you to be able to read, understand and analyse unfamiliar data in written form.
In the verbal reasoning questions, you will be presented with a passage of text.
This might be something like a formal report or maybe an email. Following this, you will have a statement, and you will need to decide if it is true or false or if there is not enough information to say based on the details in the passage.
According to the previous quarter forecasts, the last half of the year XYZ Company is looking to continue a period of growth. The surprising increase in sales in Product A is one of the reasons for this, and even though Product D wasn’t showing the same growth so far, the marketing team are working on a new campaign to bring growth in line with the other products in line with the rest of the range.
Product D is the reason why growth is continuing.
c) Not enough information to say
In a situational judgement test, you are being evaluated on your suitability according to how well your strengths match the core values of the EY business.
These questions are presented as fictional but realistic workplace scenarios. Each poses a problem or an issue that needs to be solved and is followed by several different possible courses of action.
In the assessment, you will need to decide which course of action would be the most suitable to solve the problem and which would be the least suitable.
This will tell the recruitment team what strengths you have in different situations and will also show them your soft skills like communication and teamwork.
The important thing to remember in an SJT is that there may be more than one answer that could work to solve the problem, so you need to choose the one that is closest to the way you would behave in that situation.
The SJT is not timed, which gives you some time to consider the best answers to give.
You are working with the marketing team to come up with a way to market Product D better throughout Europe. You have been asked to lead the project, but you don’t have a lot of knowledge about what the product is. You need to get a presentation from an expert, but one of the marketing team thinks that they can provide the necessary information and are unhappy about getting someone else to help. How do you move forward?
a) Get the expert in any way; it is your decision
b) Discuss the issue with the team member who is unhappy to see if there is a compromise that can be reached
c) Go to your line manager and put in a complaint about the team member who is unhappy
d) Just let the team member make the presentation to keep the peace.
The Personality Test used by EY is known as the 'What’s Your Mindset' questionnaire. Like other personality tests, you will need to rank the statements that are presented depending on how well you think that they relate to you.
These statements are presented in groups of four, and you need to rank each one. You won’t be able to rank any of the four with the same answer, and some of the statements will be repeated to build a thorough picture of your work personality.
Self-reporting personality tests need you to be rather introspective and aware of both your strengths and weaknesses.
The questions are based on five facets:
- Learning a new language
- Liking and understanding new technology
- Attention to detail
- Ability to concentrate
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You will get access to three PrepPacks of your choice, from a database that covers all the major test providers and employers and tailored profession packs.
If you reach the required level to pass the initial assessments, you will be sent a link to complete a Job Simulation test.
This is a combination of different types of assessment, all designed to mimic ‘A Day in the Life’ of an EY employee. You will be asked to complete work for customers, respond to communications from colleagues and managers, and provide some insight into the way you work.
There are several different types of questions on this test, and some of the 14 questions are timed while others are not. The assessment takes about an hour to complete, and it must be done in one sitting.
The biggest part of the assessment is the Video Interview. This is a selection of pre-recorded questions that you need to answer on video, and you will be evaluated on your judgement and problem-solving skills here. For each question, you will have two minutes to prepare your answer and another two minutes to record it.
Other things that you might be asked to do in the job simulation include:
- Ranking responses in a Situational Judgement-style question
- Personality profiling with self-reporting on a two-sided scale
- Free text – formulate a response to something like an email from a colleague or a customer
- Case study – analyse a fictitious company to help them make the right decisions for their business
The Job Simulation exercise is all about living a day in the life of an EY employee, so you can expect to demonstrate the skills that you will need to complete the daily tasks of the role you have applied for.
This means that you will need to treat each part as a ‘real-world’ activity so that you can get the right answers.
Questions on the Job Simulation might include:
- If you had to give some bad news to a colleague, what would be the best course of action to take?
- Would you say that you prefer to work in a team or alone?
- How would you advise a struggling business to cut costs so they can increase turnover?
- What makes EY stand out against the competition?
You will need to be able to discuss and analyse financial information confidently and demonstrate that you have good business acumen.
How to Prepare for EY Assessments
The applicants who make the biggest impact at every stage of the recruitment process are the ones who can demonstrate that they match the core values of the company.
- Adaptability, flexibility, embracing changes and constantly learning to improve
- Innovation and creativity
- Growth Orientation
For each of these, try and think of an example from your experience that shows you live these values and use them, either from a work perspective or perhaps from education.
Familiarity will make you feel more confident when you come to take the real assessment, so practice tests are a great way to start your preparation.
Not only will you come to recognise the basic structure and content of the different types of tests, but you will also be able to pick up on whether there are any competencies or aptitudes that you might need to improve on.
You can find practice tests online at places like JobTestPrep, and when you get the link to complete the online assessments from the recruitment team, they will also include some practice tests.
Preparation should start as early as possible for the assessments, and this will give you plenty of time to revise any of the principles that you have highlighted from your practice tests.
Be realistic about your study schedule so that you allow yourself time – not only to do the revision but also to complete any other activities that you usually do, such as work and relaxing.
Stick to the study plan to make the most of the time you have available to practice.
The video interview questions in the job simulation can be challenging, especially if you haven’t had the opportunity to do any formal talking on video.
You want to make sure that not only is your set-up working (audio and visual) but that you are well-dressed and somewhere that has a plain background so the recruiters are not distracted.
In addition, you will also want to practice answering some questions in front of the camera so that you can get used to making eye contact with the lens (rather than watching the screen) and so that you are used to structuring your answers properly.
Getting a new job can be a stressful time, and when you must bring your best in the recruitment process, you need to prioritise your self-care.
Sleep is important for brain health, and the recommendation to get between six to eight hours of sleep is based on studies that have shown changes to cognitive function outside of this.
Resting isn’t just about sleep. You need to give yourself plenty of time just to relax and decompress, even when you are following a study schedule.
Some of the parts of the assessment are timed, and some aren’t. Either way, you need to make sure that you take an extra few seconds to read the questions thoroughly.
This might seem obvious, but if you don’t read the question properly, you run the risk of missing out on an easy mark on the test because you have misunderstood what the recruiters are looking for.
Taking time to read the questions will also give you a moment to calm your nerves.
In the job simulation and in some of the other assessments, you can use scrap paper to take notes.
This is especially useful when you are preparing your answers to the video interview questions, as you can make some notes about the points that you want to make while on video so that you don’t miss anything.
Time limits can be nerve-wracking, but you need to keep track of how much time has passed through the assessment so that you don’t run the risk of missing out on the later questions in the assessment.
The tests that are timed will have timers available on screen, but make sure that you are keeping track yourself, so you know when you need to move on.
The worst thing that you can do is spend too much time on a question that you find challenging.
While you might be focused on getting that one question right, it could mean that you miss out on answering a question that you find easier and that isn’t going to help you get that top score.
If a question needs too much thought, move on to the next one, and come back to it later if you have time.
The EY online test or assessment is part of the recruitment process at EY and consists of several different types of aptitude, personality and behavioural questions.
It is used to filter applicants to ensure that the candidates that reach the next stage have the right skills and competencies.
There are several different online assessments for EY. The first set of assessments is about aptitudes, skills and competencies.
These include verbal and numerical reasoning, as well as situational judgement and personality tests. This is followed by an online job simulation, which is designed to emulate a day in the life of an EY employee.
The best way to prepare for an EY online assessment is to complete some EY online assessment practice tests like the ones at JobTestPrep. These will help you get used to the structure and content of the tests, as well as showing you if there are any areas where you need to improve.
The EY job simulation is an assessment that is designed to give a taste of the role to prospective employees while also providing different types of questions that allow the candidate to demonstrate that they have what it takes to be successful.
The job simulation includes situational judgement and personality-based questions.
The best way to pass the EY job simulation is to practice. There are resources available at JobTestPrep that are designed to give you the best preparation for the EY job simulation, and these will give you the practice and familiarity that you will need to make the most of the real assessment.
The standard that you need to meet to pass the EY online assessment is very high, which means that if you want to pass, you need to get the highest score possible, and this means practising and revising.
Use resources like those at JobTestPrep.
The EY online assessments are structured to filter out the least suitable applicants, and they can remove up to 80% of candidates from the talent pool - those who haven’t made the grade according to their test results.
The best way to prepare for a job simulation at EY is to practice. You can use the resources available at JobTestPrep for full-length practice tests and revision materials. Still, you will need to get used to recording yourself on video because this might be the most unfamiliar part of the job simulation for you.
After you have completed the EY job simulation assessment, you can expect to hear back within a couple of weeks. The recruitment team will keep you updated on your progress.
Getting an EY interview is tough. They are very particular about who they employ, and as one of the Big Four accounting teams, there are always a lot of applications for each advertised role. To be in with the best chance, you need to really prepare yourself and practice all the different types of assessment that you might face.
The EY online assessment does not take very long. Some sections are timed while others are not. You will need to complete them at the same time, though.
If you make it to the job simulation stage, you can expect that to take about an hour.
If you are serious about working in finance or in accounting, then a role at one of the Big Four global companies is the ultimate goal.
Whether you are looking to start your career with an apprenticeship or a graduate team, or you want to expand your horizons as an experienced professional, there are many reasons why EY is the place to apply.
However, they are very discerning about who they employ, so if you want to be one of the lucky 20% that makes it through the initial stages of the recruitment process, you need to be prepared so that you can demonstrate your suitability.