Prepare for HM Treasury Policy Advisor Online Aptitude Tests

Are you applying to the Treasury Graduate Policy Advisor scheme? This prestigious scheme is a great start to your civil service career, and as such you will want to thoroughly prepare for each assessment to ensure you get the job. This page will advise you on how to do just that.

  • Gain instant access to dozens of online practice materials
  • Aptitude test and assessment centre preparation

About Treasury Roles

HM Treasury policy advisors work with all areas of government with a remit to formulate policy.The Treasury graduate scheme offers a minimum of 60 roles a year, but competition for these places is intense, with many candidates fighting for each place. The key to getting the position is effective preparation for each stage of the process.

The Treasury policy advisor recruitment process is as follows:

Treasury Policy Adviser Application Form

The application form is your gateway into the recruitment process. The main aim of the application form is to checks your eligibility for the scheme and to tell the recruitment team about your education and experience. The application form does not include any competency questions, which come later in the recruitment process.

Treasury Policy Advisor Online Tests and Competency Based Questions

Once the closing date for applications has passed, you are next invited to sit a set of online tests. There are two assessments in total: a combined numerical, verbal and diagrammatic reasoning test, and some competency based questions.

Treasury Policy Advisor Online Aptitude Tests

This online test is known as the Swift Analysis Aptitude test provided by Saville Consulting. The test is made up of three components - verbal analysis, numerical analysis and diagrammatic analysis. There are 8 questions to answer in 6 minutes in each section, and you must take the test in one sitting.

Verbal Analysis

In this part you are given two short texts to read followed by four questions to answer based on these texts. You have three minutes to answer the four questions on each of the two sets of texts. Questions may either ask you to choose the statement that best fits the information on the texts, or they may ask you to determine whether an answer is true, false or you cannot say based on the that information. To answer these questions you must be able to read and understand written information quickly, and identify the sentences needed to answer the question. Taking practice tests will help you learn how to approach these questions.

Numerical Analysis

In this part test you are given two pieces of numerical information in the form of a table, graph or chart, and then you are asked four questions on each set of information. There are two sets in total, and eight questions to answer in six minutes. In order to answer each question you need to be able to calculate and pick the answer out the correct choice from a list of options. You may use a calculator to work out percentages, ratios and more. The time frame for these questions can be tough given the calculations you need to make to identify the answer. Practice with our tests to refresh your skills, confidence and ability to work effectively.

Diagrammatic Analysis

The final part in the series is the diagrammatic reasoning. This is a non-verbal test aimed at assessing your ability to understand logical processes. In this test you need to interpret a set of pictorial operations in order to understand the change between two sets of shapes. Four questions are asked on each set of rules, there are two sets of rules in each test, and you have six minutes in total to complete this part. By preparing for this test you will better identify techniques for recognising the rule and choosing the correct answer. The diagrammatic reasoning test can help you prepare.

Scenario Based Questions

In this assessment you are asked to answer a set of three competency-based questions. In order to answer these questions, you need to provide clear and concise evidence and demonstrate your suitability for the role. Two questions are competency-based, asking about your motivation in applying for this role, and for examples of when you utilised analysis or research to support making a decision. The third question is based on a scenario. You need to read the scenario and write a 200-word explanation of how you would respond if you were faced with this situation in your workplace. Learn about situational judgement and how to identify the most appropriate responses with our practice pack. Your answers are assessed against a set of competency-based assessment criteria. There is a word limit for each question, so plan your answers carefully to ensure that you include all you have to say.

Treasury Policy Adviser Assessment Centre

If you successfully pass the online tests you will next be invited to the final recruitment stage, the assessment centre. Assessment centre exercises include a presentation, written case study and a competency based interview. You will be told what to expect ahead of your assessment day.


Ahead of the assessment centre you are given a presentation topic to research. This is just the topic as the actual title of the presentation will be given to you at the assessment centre. Once you are at the assessment centre you will be given 45 minutes to prepare a 5-minute presentation to present to your interviewers. You will be given materials and IT equipment to help you deliver your presentation. Prepare carefully, and keep it within five minutes as you will be cut off whether you have finished or not. The interviewers will ask you questions on what you have said, so make sure that you really understand the materials.


The competency based interview follows on from your presentation, and lasts around 45 minutes. Three interviewers will ask you around 8 competency questions about your skills. Ahead of the interview, think of examples from your previous experience that you can use to demonstrate your skills. Prepare your answers using the STAR method to ensure that you include all relevant information. Use the competency framework and job description to identify the types of skills you will be asked about. The questions you are asked in this interview can be challenging, so it is worth taking the time to practice and raise your confidence ahead of your assessment centre. 

Written Exercise

In this exercise you will be given a set of materials on a case study and a brief to write a report or briefing note for a senior manager or minister. This exercise lasts an hour and a quarter, which may feel like a long time, but will fly by when you have to read over quite a lengthy set of materials, summarise and analyse them to create your report. The topic of your written exercise will be relevant to the type of work you may do as a policy adviser. For example, you may be asked to summarise the burden of student loans on the Taxpayer and advise how to reduce it. Prepare for how to approach this exercise, including all important time management advice, with our written exercise preparation pack.


If you impress the assessors at the assessment centre, the final stage is a reference check and offer of employment. However, in order to get there you have to compete against equally talented applicants. The right kind of preparation is key to giving you the edge, so use every resource available at JobTestPrep to prepare for your assessments. Good luck!