In-Tray Examples and Tips

Learn more about the in-tray exercises. Here we provide examples of questions similar to our online in-tray practice, together with important tips and guidance.
In-Tray Practice

Practice in-tray and e-tray concepts online. Learn about tasks prioritization and decision making.

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 In-tray exercises usually include the following question types:

  1. Multiple choice - choose the best answer from a set of optional answers, or rank answers according to priority for action.

  2. Written tasks - you are asked to respond to a question by letter or email. This could be a short response email, or an answer setting out your professional opinion regarding a matter of top importance, such as strategic decisions, market analysis, cutting the HR training budget, etc.

In-Tray Pack Examples

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

Example One:

You are assigned the role of president of a pharmaceutical company, with 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; setting priorities, and more.

Example Two:

In this example task you are asked to respond to 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 doing an in tray exercise it is vital you have a brief look through the documents given, including the organisational chart. This will give you an overview of the organisation, a feel for the inter-personal relationships, politics and the issues you have to consider before deciding on the appropriate method to handle 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 and 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?

Practice our In-Tray Exercises
in tray exercise

Are you applying for a job as an administrator or deputy head? Read more about the in-tray exercises you may come across on our dedicated pages. Take our free In-Tray exercise now.

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