Concentration Test Preparation

About a dozen companies across the UK, including Govia Thameslink Railway, have incorporated concentration tests into their hiring processes. 

We are going to take a look at the principles behind the test for attention and concentration in general and better understand the dynamics of the SCAAT Test and Group Bourdon tests specifically. 

Whether you are applying to Govia Thameslink Railway or any other transportation company, our Concentration Test PrepPack will provide you with all the tools you need to pass and get the job you want.

Are you ready? Let's take a look!

What Is a Concentration Test?

Before we get into the SCAAT, we have to understand what the concentration test is all about.

A concentration test evaluates how well you can focus on a task even whilst there are distractions around you.

Some jobs require you to be able to concentrate hard at all times - even when you are tired, bored, or distracted. They are especially important for jobs where it is crucial that you don’t make mistakes:  including administration and clerical positions, pilots, or most commonly train drivers and other railway workers.

For example, while driving might sound like a simple task, one that we all do daily, few of us do it all day long. Being on the road or tracks for such a long period can become monotonous and challenge our ability to concentrate and focus. Therefore, many transportation companies have included a concentration test. 


So, ok, the test measures your ability to focus, but what are some of the qualities judged.

  1. Alertness: Being alert in this line of work is super important, 
  2. Assessment: The ability to assess a problem is key to finding a solution. 
  3. Attention: As they say, the devils in the details, you cannot miss a beat.
  4. Organization: Those who are not focused are generally "scatterbrains" and less productive.
  5. Outlook: Looking at something from a variety of perspectives shows mental flexibility.
  6. Verbal reasoning: people with executive functions tend to be more eloquent and articulate.

So, now that you have an idea of the overall concept of the concentration test let's take a look at the two primary tests; the Group Bourdon and the SCAAT.

Group Bourdon 

Let's start with an explanation of the Group Bourdon test, and then briefly explain how it is graded.

Test Details 

First, it's important to mention that this test will be administered either on paper or electronically on a computer, so it's important to be ready for both scenarios. 

You will be presented with five sheets of multiple boxes of dots or letters, you will have 2 minutes per sheet, for a total of 10 minutes.

Every page will contain 21 rows containing 25 groupings each. Each grouping of dots or letters can range from 2-6, and you will be tasked with finding grouping of four throughout the page. Ever heard the idiom "finding a needle in a haystack?" Well, this is sort of like finding a needle in a stack of needles – it takes practice.

Moreover, as the test progresses, your ability to concentrate will weaken, which is the entire point of the exercise.

Test Grade Metrics

There are three primary metrics, and our accurate practice test covers every element.

  • Accuracy 

Checking for accuracy is actually broken down into two distinct metrics.

  1. Omissions: These are grouping that you may have missed to mark. 
  2. Incorrect answers: These are groupings you got wrong. It's important to note that wrong answers are held against you.


  • Time

You will next be graded on the total number of clicks made during the allotted 10 minutes on the test. It will take into consideration the total number of cells. While speed is essential, it should not come at the expense of accuracy, as every wrong answer is a point against you.


  • Consistency

Aside from looking at the overall speed at which you worked, you will also be tested to ensure that you kept a good pace. 

JobTestPrep’s Group Bourdon PrepPack™

As you can see, this test is no simple feat. 

Our PrepPack™ will fully prep you to pass every segment of the test by allowing you to practice under real test conditions, both in time and format.

Look at the following sample question, to get a sneak peek.

Dot Groupings:

SCAAT test

Grouping to look for:



Now that we covered the Group Bourdon, let's move to the SCAAT Test t, which is very widely used by many companies including Govia Thameslink Railway, Transport for London, and TFL among many others. (See below for a full list.*)

Unlike the GBT, which uses very formatted shapes, the SCAAT is much more fluid, which brings its own challenges. Additionally, unlike the consistency throughout the GBT, SCATT questions become harder as the test moves forward.


Test Overview 

Like the other test, this too will be administered in either paper or electronic format. However, you will only have one minute to complete each page, and once 60 seconds are up, you will automatically move to the next page. So, it's crucial to learn how to maximize your time and get as many answers correct as possible. 

You will be given three exercises, each containing three sheets. On each sheet, you will find a wide range of figures with only minute details between them. Moreover, the type of figures changes from line to line and set to set, meaning there is no continuity from which to draw reference. So, let's take a brief look at the overall test format.

Why is this important: For those in public transportation, the job is mostly monotonous. From stop to stop, not much changes and when it does, it can mean catastrophe. These tests ensure that your eye can catch the smallest details immediately. Your life and the lives of your passengers will depend on that ability. 


Test Set by Set

Set 1: You will be presented with a target shape that you must detect throughout the page. This is much more like finding a needle in a haystack than a needle in the stack of needles (a bit easier.)

Set 2: Set two takes things to a different level because you will have to now find two target shapes instead of one with no extra time allotted.

Set 3: This last stage is the hardest because, in addition to a target shape, you will also have to identify a changing shape within each individual line. 

Don't expect to finish each page; do your best to solve as many problems as possible correctly. 

Note: Govia Thameslink Railway uses a modified version of the test known as the "Mini SCATT."


*Companies that use the SCAAT

GTR, Cross Country, Arriva Rail London, c2c, Chiltern Railways, Crossrail, East Midlands Trains, Eurostar, Hull Trains, Irish Rail. 

JobTestPrep SCAAT PrepPack™

Our prep test is designed to help you learn how to take the test in real-time and overcome the difficulties presented by the confusion of the varying shapes. While no one finishes all the questions (you are not expected to) we will boost your chances of passing with flying colours (or shapes to be exact.)

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