How to shine at writing exercises

Assessment Centres are used by a huge number of aviation employers as a way of helping them select the right candidate for their vacancies.  Assessment Centres may involve a whole host of activities, such as presentations, group exercises, role plays and written work.  Many candidates make the mistake of thinking that there’s little or no preparation you can do for Assessment Centres, but in fact being prepared truly is the secret to shining ‘on the day’.  In this this article, we’ll share with you some secrets on standing out when it comes to written exercises.

It’s worth remembering that when you’re seeking your next aviation position, what you’re effectively doing is marketing yourself to someone who has a need.  It’s all too easy to forget this and think that it’s only you who has the pressing need – for a new job!  Because of this, it’s important that you prepare to present yourself at your forthcoming Assessment Centre as the very best solution to your potential employer’s problem.  In order to do this, you really need to understand what their business is about, so you can incorporate things that will tick their boxes in each exercise you’re faced with.

Written case studies

When it comes to Assessment Centre writing exercises, a common situation you’ll face is being asked to write a case study.  Case studies are a great way of showing an employer that you are quickly able to analyse a described situation, consider what needs to be addressed in terms of problems or issues, succinctly describe the situation and come up with a range of solutions from which you will recommend one.  The key to getting this right is staying calm, carefully reading and re-reading the question and staying firmly on track, particularly in respect of time and your response.

Read, re-read and re-read again

In amongst the stress of an Assessment Centre, it’s all too easy to assume that you’ve understood what you’re being asked to do and push on with a response, only to discover (with horror) at the end that you haven’t actually answered the question.  For this reason, it’s well worth reading, re-reading and re-reading again what you’re being asked to write about before you start.

Make a plan

Once you know that you’ve thoroughly got to grips with what’s required of you, take the time to plan your answer.  The more you plan, the better the end result will be.  The secret to shining at written exercises (beyond good spelling and grammar which goes without saying) is getting all your points in the right place, in the right order and making sense.  You’ve got a much better chance of doing this well if you plan.  What’s more, the time you spend planning will save you time in the end; so it really is time well spent.

Write with all your might

As we’ve already mentioned, it’s going to be a tough call to shine at any Assessment Centre if your written piece is riddled with spelling mistakes and jam-packed with grammatical errors.  Accustomed as we all are to relying on Word to call us to task when we misspell or make an obvious grammatical error, it’s all too easy to get lazy when we’re forced to write longhand.  Don’t fall into this trap.  If you’re asked to write longhand, make sure your writing is legible and you take time to check spelling and grammar thoroughly.

Check, check and double-check

In your planning, it’s well worth setting aside sufficient time to carefully check your written piece once you’ve finished.  Failing to do so could lose you crucial marks and could even cost you your dream job if things are close between you and another candidate.  It’s for this reason that you need to weigh up the benefits of having to cut your writing short but having the time to check and correct it over forcing ahead and leaving mistakes that you could have sorted.  It’s a tough call, but in most cases, a perfect written exercise that’s 95% finished is usually more attractive than a piece that’s 100% finished but riddled with errors.

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