30 Minute Time Limit
38,800 Have Taken This Test

About In-Tray Exams

In-tray exercises usually include the following question types:

  1. Multiple-choice – Choose the best answer from a set of options, or rank answers according to priority for action.
  2. Written tasks – You are asked to respond to a question by letter or email. This may be a short response email or an answer setting out your professional opinion on a matter of top importance, such as strategic decisions, market analysis, cutting the HR training budget, etc.

In-Tray Exercise Examples

In the examples below, we look at two different types of in-tray questions. Our practice pack contains more samples of both styles.

Example One

You are assigned to the role of president of a pharmaceutical company and are given the following question to answer:

You received an invitation to a conference on innovative treatment for obesity on 15th December. Will you be attending?

  • I shall inform Paul that I will only attend the panel and discussion.
  • I shall inform Paul that I will be sending Dana instead.
  • I will confirm my attendance.

The skills assessed in this question are time management of different aspects of your weekly schedule, handling of internal politics, delegation of authority, and setting priorities.

Example Two

In this example task, you are asked to respond by writing a letter:

Assuming we do enter the field, do you recommend that we develop a new medical product in the G.O.N labs, or do you prefer to form a strategic alliance with N.V.Y?


Important Tips for In-Tray and E-Tray Exercises

Prior to performing an in-tray exercise, it is vital to briefly look through the documents provided, including the organisational chart. This will give you an overview of the organisation, as well as a feel for the inter-personal relationships, politics, and issues you must consider before deciding on the appropriate method for handling each document.

Points to consider:

  • Does the document require your personal attention or can it be delegated to a member of staff? If so, who should it be delegated to?
  • Does the document require immediate attention or can it be postponed. If so, until when?
  • Does the document concern the entire organisation or is it a personal matter?
  • What is the deadline for this task? Does it depend on the completion of other tasks? Does it clash with any other tasks?
  • Does the task involve an important member of the organisation?
  • How important is the task?

Prepare For Success

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