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How to ace a group exercise

20 May 2020

Group exercises can be tricky, but an enjoyable part of an assessment centre process. Read our tips on how best to succeed in a group exercise scenario.

Group exercises are a common part of training contract and vacation scheme assessment centres. They should be an enjoyable part of the day, allowing you to showcase your skill set and demonstrate how you can work successfully with potential future colleagues.

Along with the interview and the proof-reading exercise, the group exercise is an important part of us building up a picture of how successful you would be as a DWF trainee. Therefore it's important that you consider the best way of tackling the group exercise to achieve a positive outcome. As the DWF values are at the heart of what we do, we have prepared some advice on the best way to tackle a group exercise based around our values.

Be better together

The essence of the group exercise is assessing how you work as a team, which is a crucial part of being a trainee solicitor and also a core value at DWF. Therefore it's important to:

  • Be inclusive of all members of the team. Even though you are all being assessed, it's important that you work together for the collective goal of the exercise.
  • Consider quieter members of the group – if someone isn't engaging as much as others, make sure to ask their opinion and include them in your discussions.
  • Weigh up all opinions before coming to an agreement. Other applicants may bring in different perspectives that you haven't thought of, which can help the exercise to progress.
  • Be mindful of approach if you disagree with others; it's okay to have a differing opinion to another applicant, but make sure that you approach it in a sensitive and positive manner.

Always aim higher

At DWF we are always looking at how you can go above and beyond for our clients and our business. Within the group exercise, you can demonstrate this by:

  • Ensuring that you have a commercial approach to the exercise, being aware of sector and industry trends and knowing where to tie them in to the exercise.
  • Considering where you can link in your knowledge of DWF and our values.

Keep all promises 

To 'keep all promises' within the group exercise, we're looking at whether you can take ownership to reach the best possible result. This would involve:

  • Ensuring that clients are at the heart of the decisions that you make – you should try and make reference to this when giving rationale behind your decisions.
  • Being positive and pro-active in your engagement with others. 
  • Time management is key – you should be pro-active and make sure that time keeping is being recorded and considered throughout the exercise. If you're running out of time and are yet to achieve your goals, think of how you might manage this.
  • In certain scenarios, don't be afraid to find out what peoples strengths are and delegate where possible.
  • Finally, make sure that you refer to the brief throughout the exercise and ensure that you have covered all parts of the exercise before the end.

Disrupt to progress

As a business, we always look at new ways of working which may benefit our business and our clients. In a group exercise, you should:

  • Think of new ways of approaching the task if you're not getting the desired result.
  • Work with the group to come up with a successful strategy.
  • Have a positive, 'can-do' attitude.
  • Be proactive in sorting out any problems which may arise.
  • Share ideas and information which could benefit the group and be open to ideas that others may suggest.
  • Take into consideration risks and adapt quickly if you need to change.

Attend to details

Our final value ensures that you pay attention to every last detail to ensure that the best of DWF comes through in each interaction. To practice this in the group exercise, you should: 

  • Read the brief carefully and ensure that you understand it in full before you get started.
  • Ask questions to the assessor if you're not clear on the instructions before the task begins. Once the task starts, the assessor may be unable to answer any further questions.
  • Be sure that the group is on the right track and keep the group moving forward through any obstacles.

Remember, a group exercise is usually designed to mirror every-day working life, and to test your approach to situations that you may face. If you can demonstrate that you would be a real asset to the business, you could be on your way to securing that vacation scheme or training contract.

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