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About the HMRC Tax Professionals Graduate Scheme

The HMRC Tax professionals graduate scheme assessment centre assesses you on your performance in four exercises. These four exercises are not connected to each other, and your performance in each is marked on its own merit, not as part of your overall performance. Preparation is vital to ensure that you do your best on the day(s), and that you come out as one of the best candidates. Here we go through each exercise highlighting resources available for you to practice ahead of the day.

The exercises at the HMRC assessment centre are:

Day one:

  • In-Tray Exercise
  • Group Exercise

Day two:

  • Written Exercise and Presentation
  • Role play Exercise
  • Summary

Throughout these exercises you will be assessed against six competencies expected from all HMRC graduates. You have to demonstrate these skills at each stage. These six competencies are:

  • Analysing information
  • Decision making
  • Planning and organising
  • Team working
  • Focusing on customers
  • Communication skills

In-Tray Exercise

The HMRC project management exercise requires you to manage your in-tray for a theoretical workload. In this exercise lasting 75 minutes, you are given a number of items to make decisions on and respond to. The information that you will receive will be presented in a range of different ways, for example tables or graphs as well as written sources. In this exercise you are being assessed on the competencies decision making, team working, planning and organising, and written communication. When carrying out the exercise there are several actions that you need to do, including prioritising the most important task on your list, managing time to get through to the bottom of the list, as well as carrying out the actual tasks.


Group Exercise

In the HMRC assigned role group discussion you are given two briefs: one, a core brief for the whole group, and the second, your individual role within that group. As a group you have to discuss the situation and come to a set of agreed recommendations. You are being assessed on the following competencies: focusing on customers; team working; and oral communication. Taking part in a group discussion can be difficult and frustrating. It may be useful to think about some of the different situations you could find yourself in in the group and how you want to respond to those situations.You are being assessed on the quality of your contributions to the discussion; your attitude to the group, and your aggressiveness towards others; how you deal with any difficult people in your group; or how you include any people who are not taking part enough; and how you listen to the contributions of others. 


Written Exercise and Presentation

The HMRC analysis exercise is a paper based written exercise. There are two parts to the exercise. In the first part you have 90 minutes to prepare a written report based on the materials given to you. These materials can be in any format. For the second part of the exercise you are given 30 minutes to prepare and present a briefing on your findings to an assessor who is acting as a client. In this exercise you are being tested on your analytical skills, decision making, communication skills (both written and oral), and planning and organisation. The second part of the exercise involves presenting a briefing to an assessor, which requires a whole different set of skills. 


Role Play Exercise

The HMRC role play exercise contains four different parts, and lasts 55 minutes in total. The aim of the role play exercise is to resolve an issue with a customer. The role of the customer is played by a trained HMRC role-player, and another assessor will be watching your interaction with them. You are being assessed on your analytical skills, focusing on the customer, decision making, and oral communication. Acting in a role play is tough. You have to put yourself into a role that you may not be familiar with and play a part. 


Prepare for HMRC

You will have already completed the HMRC numerical reasoning test and other HMRC online tests, so the HMRC Tax Professional Graduate Scheme assessment centre is your final stage in the journey. You will be notified by email shortly after of the outcome of your HMRC assessment centre. The HMRC Tax Professional Graduate Scheme is a popular scheme, with over three times as many applicants as there are spaces. You will need to perform your best throughout the assessment centre in order to be offered a job at the end of it. 


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