Government Statistical Service Assisstant Statistician Fast Stream Assessment Centre Preparation

Are you applying to the Government Statistical Service's Assistant Statistician scheme? Once you have passed the GSS's own statistical assessment centre, you will next be invited to attend a Civil Service Fast Stream Assessment Centre. This page will take you through the exercises at this assessment centre, pointing out resources to help you prepare for each one.
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The stages of recruitment to the Government Statistical Service Assistant Statistician role are as follows:

Fast Stream Assessment Centre (FSAC)

If you pass all the earlier assessments, including the Statistical Assessment Centre, you will be invited to a Civil Service fast stream assessment day. This assessment day is a whole day exercise containing several activities. Three assessors will watch you in each exercise. Throughout the day you are being assessed against the fast track competencies.

These activities can be taken in any order.

There is a common theme running through the assessments at the centre. The exercises you take are based on a government department, set in the future and created shortly after a government election.

Group Discussion

In this exercise you are expected to work together with a group of colleagues to solve a problem. You are being assessed on your ability to make effective decisions, work collaboratively with others, show leadership, communicate effectively, and deliver value for money.

The whole exercise is 45 minutes and is split into two parts. The first 30 minutes are individual preparation time, based on a brief that you all receive. Each member of the group will be given a slightly different brief as their role will be different in the discussion. Your aim in the discussion is to both secure the best outcome for the group, and for yourself. At the same time you are being assessed on how you present your case, listen to your colleagues, and negotiate in the group discussion. Always remember that you are not in competition with the other candidates in your group. The balances needed to achieve all of these tasks can be challenging. You should think about the approach you want to take ahead of the assessment centre. JobTestPrep’s group exercises preparation pack can give you ideas to help you create that approach.

Written Policy Recommendation Exercise

The written exercise lasts 1 hour 45 minutes, and you are asked to do two tasks. In this task you are being tested in your ability to see the bigger picture, make effective decisions, lead and communicate, and assess value for money.

In the first task, you are given a file of papers containing information about two possible projects from a variety of sources. In this exercise you are asked to prepare a recommendation paper setting out a balanced argument for one of the two projects. You need to compare the two projects, and provide reasons for your recommendation.There is no right or wrong answer, it is how you back up your case that counts.

In the second task you are told to use some of the provided material to persuade a stakeholder of the position you have taken. You must ensure that you have time left to do this exercise. The recommendation is 10 to 15 minutes.

You may want to brush up on your written exercise skills ahead of the assessment centre. JobTestPrep’s written exercise preparation pack will give you all the preparation you need for both your report and presentation. 

Leadership Exercise

The leadership exercise lasts 30 minutes. It is designed to test your ability in a leadership role, how you deal with team members and stakeholders and the variety of issues you may come up against.

This task is a one to one role play, with your assessor playing the role of a senior manager. You are tasked with giving your manager an oral briefing as to how you as team leader will take on the issues given to you in a written brief. You are given time ahead of the briefing to prepare, and you have up to 10 minutes to give over your briefing. The remainder of the time is spent with the assessor asking you questions on the briefing.

Case study exercises can be nerve wracking as you have to play the role of someone else entirely and put yourself in their role. JobTestPrep’s case study preparation can give you useful advice on how to approach the exercise.


The interview is a competency based interview about your experiences to date. It lasts about 40 minutes. The competencies you are being tested on are: managing a quality service, delivering at pace, collaborating and partnering, and building capacity for all.

Knowing the topics in advance means that you can prepare examples from your experience against each of these competencies. The best way to organise your examples is using the STAR method. Examples can come from your education, work, or personal life.

The interview is an important part of the assessment day, as it is your opportunity to represent yourself and your previous experience and showcase the skills you will bring in to the job. It may be some time since your last interview at the Statistical Assessment Centre, so you will want to refresh your skills ahead of time. JobTestPrep’s online interview practice offers you helpful advice for every aspect of your interview.

Numerical and Verbal Reasoning Tests

You will take new versions of the tests you took earlier in the recruitment process. It may be some time since you last took the tests, so don’t forget to refresh your memory again. JobTestPrep’s Cubiks style practice tests are here to help.

In Summary

The GSS recruitment process for an Assistant Statistician at the Government Statistical Service is challenging as it covers two tracks. You are expected to demonstrate the skills of a statistician whilst also impressing in the more general skills required to gain a place on the Civil Service fast stream. Preparation will help you stay ahead of the game at each stage, and JobTestPrep are on hand to provide just that. We hope you have found this article useful, and good luck.

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