PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) is a Big Four firm, together with Deloitte, EY and KPMG. PwC is a professional services company, and the second largest in the world. PwC covers 158 countries and employs over 250,900 people. In the US in 2017, PwC received 300,000 applicants for non-entry level roles and hired only 6,000 of those, which means only 2% of applicants received a job offer. PwC jobs are highly sought after so as you might expect, they have an in-depth recruitment process, with many hurdles to pass.
As part of the recruitment process at, you will be asked to complete PwC online aptitude tests. The online tests are usually provided by the assessment company SHL. SHL provides a range of assessments to companies, to enable them to make better, smarter and more competent hires. In some instances, you may receive tests by cut-e or Saville another solution assessment company. Which test you will be asked to sit depends on which part of the business you are applying to. You can be sure that no matter what test you are given as part of your PwC recruitment journey; it will be challenging. The tests will be sent to you via email, and you will be able to complete them within the comforts of your own home.
If your initial application is successful, you will be invited to complete the situational judgement test. In this part of the test, you will watch video or text scenarios, showing what working at PwC is like, and then there will be some questions to evaluate suitability, both for the role and the company culture. You will then move on to the PwC online verbal test.
The PwC online verbal reasoning test consists of passages of text from 80-300 words and around two questions to be answered, based on the text. There are 30 questions in total and 19 minutes available to answer these. You don’t need to remember this, as there will be clear instructions before you begin. The question will have a ‘true’, ‘false’ or ‘cannot say’ answer. Answers should only be based on the text and not on predictions or other knowledge you may have. If you state ‘cannot say’, it means there is not enough evidence to answer accurately. This PwC online aptitude test is designed to test your understanding of the text. Understanding information, or being able to decipher this, are fundamental aspects of day to day life at PwC.
The PwC online numerical reasoning test will consist of tables, graphs and/or charts, which will contain information and you will be required to answer questions on these. In most cases, there will be two questions for each table, graph or chart. The whole test has 12 or 18 questions and there is around 17 minutes in total to answer the questions. You will be required to perform calculations, identify trends, and convert data from one format to another.
The PwC online logical test will consist of five boxes. The boxes will contain shapes and you will need to work out which shape would be next in the sequence, using logic and reasoning. There are 18 questions in the test and 18 minutes to answer. It is important to read the instructions carefully at the start, in order to understand how to tackle each question. To see examples of these questions go to www.big4prep.com
The scoring system of the online tests is ranked as percentiles. The rankings are determined by a comparison group, either those within the role or other applicants. In short, there isn’t a specific pass rate, it is based on standards set by the company and is done on a comparison basis. PwC are dealing with huge volumes of applications and a comparison is the best way to determine suitability for the role.
It is important to be prepared for your PwC online aptitude tests, otherwise you won’t know what to expect. With the PwC online verbal reasoning test, it is a good idea to prepare by reading news articles and other business related content. The texts will have usually been sourced from news articles, and your ability to both read and summarise the text, are imperative. Practice by reading the content and then summarise it. The tests are timed and you need to be able to absorb information quickly. This is the key to passing the PwC online verbal reasoning tests. Practice your reading speed and ability to understand and summarise the text you have read. Look at articles from different sources, as this will give you the ability to read alternative styles of writing.
The PwC online numerical reasoning test will consist of graphs, charts and data tables. These will include business related content. The most effective way to practice for the test is to look at content containing graphs, tables etc, and try and summarise the content within these, before you read the interpretation. For example, you might be looking at a chart on the number of people using social media. Try to decipher why this has changed, what has affected the changes and summarise what this means. It is also a good idea to practice calculations, you may need to go back to the drawing board with this and back to your school days! You are permitted to use a calculator for some questions, however, in some cases, it can be easier just to do the calculation in your head. Preparing by looking at calculations in different forms can help too. With the PwC online logical tests, you can practice by looking at logic puzzles, as well as flow charts, project plans etc. You are required to think logically and sequentially for these questions, and solve problems. Think logically, but try to do it as quickly as possible, as you are on a time limit with these questions.
The recruitment process has been developed to ensure the right person is hired for the role, especially for a company like PwC. They really can’t afford to make the wrong choice. It is important to keep in mind that there are certain skills and behaviours the recruiters are looking out for, in order to ensure your suitability for both the role and the company. These are the five core competencies of PwC, and are worth bearing in mind, not just during the PwC online aptitude tests, but throughout the whole recruitment process.
Business acumen – PwC are looking for employees who are looking to learn about the business, as well as bringing new business ideas to the company. With these tests, you want to show them that you have strong business acumen. You understand the business and the company, but you are passionate about learning and developing your skillset.
Technical abilities – PwC are a company who pride themselves on delivering an exceptionally high standard of service. They want to see that you are able to provide this through your strong technical abilities, and that you are also willing to learn and share your knowledge with others.
Whole leadership – You are someone who takes pride in your work and you are able to lead yourself and others. PwC want to understand that you take responsibility for your own workload, you are authentic in what you do and you are passionate about your work and performing to a high standard.
Relationships – One of the reasons PwC are such a high performing organisation is their ability to build relationships. Throughout the recruitment process, keep in mind that the recruiter wants to ensure you have strong communication skills, and the ability to both listen and speak well, and that you are committed to delivering an exceptional service. You will go above and beyond for your customers, and you will support your colleagues, whenever necessary.
Global Acumen – As a global organisation, PwC need to recruit people who have a broad outlook and are not scared of change, but rather embrace this and will look at any ways to enhance global presence. Preparing for the PwC online aptitude tests
Make sure you practice the online tests in a quiet and comfortable environment. When you are ready to sit the test, make sure you get a good night’s sleep. In some cases, the PwC online aptitude test might be at an employer’s base, and in that case, give yourself plenty of time. Don’t spend too much time on questions, if you are unsure, move on, you can always return to it at a later stage. It is important to perform quickly, but rushing through the test will only lead to mistakes. It is better to answer the questions you know first and then return to those you have passed, if you have time. You will receive a feedback form of your results after the test, take note of these as they might help with further stages in the process, if applicable.
If you pass the PwC online aptitude tests, you will be invited to an interview and then an assessment day. You can expect quick feedback from PwC throughout the process.