Government Actuary’s Department Aptitude Tests, Assessment Centre and Interview Preparation

Are you applying to the Government Actuary’s Department Trainee Actuary Programme? The GAD run a specialist recruitment process, separate from the Civil Service Fast Track recruitment, and testing the skills that are important to them. Learn more about this process and gain tips on how to prepare in this article.
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The Government Actuary’s Department (GAD) provide consultancy actuarial services to government departments and organisations. The Trainee Actuary Programme is their graduate scheme training up the actuaries of tomorrow. The recruitment process is designed to ensure that they pick the candidates who have what they consider the best potential to fulfill their requirements.

The GAD Trainee Actuary Programme recruitment process contains three stages:

GAD are looking for a set of skills in their applicants beyond your actuarial skills. Throughout the application process, you need to demonstrate where you have the following skills:

  • Communication skills - you need to be able to explain the concepts behind your work and the implications of your results to people who know nothing about actuarial work.
  • Determination and responsibility - you will be studying as well as working when you begin at the GAD. You must be able to combine both tasks.
  • Confidence and maturity - confidence to deal with decision makers, and be able to take on management responsibilities.

GAD Application Form

The first step towards working with the Government Actuary’s Department is the application form. This application form asks for the usual information including your personal, educational and work experience details. The form also asks for you reasons for choosing to become an actuary and why you want to work with GAD.

One of the key parts of your application form is the skills and experience section. In this part of the form, they are looking for evidence of your skills and achievements. You need to show how the experiences you have had in the past have honed your skills. Think carefully about each answer, and use the STAR method to develop each answer. The three questions are managing a double challenge; working with others; and responsibility and proactivity.

GAD Online Aptitude Tests

If your application form impresses the recruitment team, the next step is to take a set of online tests provided by CEB's SHL. For the GAD trainee scheme these tests are likely to be numerical reasoning and verbal reasoning tests.

Numerical Reasoning Test

Numerical reasoning tests are designed to assess your ability understand information provided in numerical formats (tables, charts, graphs and so on), make simple calculations and use the information you have to answer questions and evidence points. These tests are multiple choice usually with less than a minute to answer each question. Although not complicated mathematically, they do require you to utilise information in a different way to straight maths. Find out more about numerical reasoning tests, and what they entail with our SHL-style numerical reasoning practice pack.

Verbal Reasoning Test

Verbal reasoning tests examine your English language skills, more specifically how you use and understand written information to reach conclusions. The GAD it is important that their Actuaries are able to communicate with customers, so this is an important test to score well in. Verbal reasoning tests involve a text to read with a series of questions to answer, either using a true/ false/ cannot say format or multiple choice options. They are time limited tests, usually with around a minute for each question. Each answer must be based on the information in the text only. Learn more about how to approach verbal reasoning tests with our SHL-style verbal reasoning practice tests.

GAD Assessment Centre

The final stage of the GAD recruitment process is the assessment centre. The assessment centre takes place over one day and is made up of two parts, a written exercise and an interview.

Written Exercise

The written exercise lasts 60 minutes, and involves analysis a variety of resources to draft a letter for your manager or a customer of the department (for example an MP or another government department). Materials include emails and correspondence, data tables, other forms of statistical information or background reports. One of the key things to remember with this exercise is to pace yourself to ensure that you do not run out of time before you have finished everything you wanted to put in. Prepare the skills needed in this test with our written exercise preparation pack.


The interview is your only chance to meet the recruitment team face to face, so it is crucial that you make a good impression. The interview will focus on you application form as well as some competency or technical questions (for example explain standard deviation). Prepare for the interview by reading over your application form. Be prepared for in depth questions about the information you have put on your application form, and prepare responses that go further than you originally had space for. Organise any new examples you put together using the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result). Don’t forget to review statistical and technical terms ahead of your interview to build up your confidence in the interview. Review your interview technique using our interview preparation pages, and then pull all of your preparation together with a mock interview. Our JobTestPrep Skype based interviews offer you a mock interview with a trained assessor who will provide tips to help you perform your best in the real thing.

In Summary

Trainee actuarial places are highly sought after, with high competition for relatively few places. The GAD is no exception to this. In order to get that offer you will need to perform as best you can at each stage of the recruitment process. This article goes through each stage telling you what to expect. We hope you have found this article useful and good luck.

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