Once you’ve completed the initial form stage of your law application, you will most likely have to complete a series of job assessments. This could involve interview (s) and/or psychometric tests. Here is a breakdown of the different assessments you could be required to complete and how to succeed in them.

There are two main parts to a job assessment: psychometric tests and interviews. Before delving into this guide, it’s important to understand what they are.

psychometric test, also known as an aptitude test, measures a candidate’s cognitive ability or personality. These tests are believed to be a better indication of a candidate’s job performance, especially because it’s based on analysis and not subjectivity.

Psychometric tests include:

  • Numeric reasoning
  • Verbal reasoning
  • Gamification
  • Situational Judgement Tests
  • Watson Glaser (for law)
  • Job Simulation

job interview is an interview consisting of a conversation between a job applicant and a representative of an employer. During the job interview, the employer has the opportunity to appraise the applicant’s qualifications, appearance and general fitness for the job opening. In parallel the applicant tries to learn more about the position, to appraise the employer and to find out if their needs and interests will be met. The interview may mirror elements of a psychometric assessment.

The different types of interviews you could do include:

  • Video interview
  • Group interview
  • Competency-based/skills-based interview
  • Role-play interview
  • Case-study interview

Watson Glaser Test

The Watson Glaser test is used by many law firms to assess your critical thinking skills. The test is made up of five sections, each assessing a different aspect of critical thinking.

These five sections are:

  1. Inference: This is where you will be presented a statement and have to determine how true or false a series of inferences are based on the statement. These inferences will be given to you in the test.
  2. Recognition of Assumptions: This is where you will have to determine whether a person’s statement, based on a given scenario, is an assumption or not.
  3. Deductions: This is where you will determine, based on a given premise, if the conclusion provided follows or does not follow. In this section, you are not to rely on common sense or intuition and make your judgement solely based on the premises provided.
  4. Interpretation: Confusingly, this section seems quite similar to section three. The interpretation section differs from deductions, because you must determine if the conclusion follows the premise beyond a reasonable doubt – making it a more ‘informal’ section.
  5. Arguments: In this section, you will have to determine if a series of arguments, based on a yes/no question, are strong or weak in answering the question.

Find out more on how to pass the Watson Glaser.

The tricky part about the Watson Glaser, is that there is no central benchmark for what constitutes a pass mark. What I mean is that whether a law firm progresses you depends on the highest percentile of candidate scores. This means that the benchmark can change every application year.

You also do not find out your scores or which questions you got right. The first time I ever did the Watson Glaser, which was with Clifford Chance, I passed, but I failed with other law firms. But if you follow the guide provided and keep persevering, you will surely succeed.

Some law firms may use their own aptitude test that is similar to the Watson Glaser test.

Find out which law firms use the Watson Glaser.

Reading blogs and guidance, watching YouTube videos and doing practice tests are great tools to make sure that you’re prepared for the test. Job Test Prep is a great resource for this, since they offer a diagnostic Watson Glaser test, 20+ additional practice tests and five interactive study guides. For the best results, it’s important to practice frequently, assess your performance and learn from any mistakes to keep improving.

Situational Judgement Tests

Firstly, a situational judgement test (SJT) is a psychometric test used to assess a candidate’s decision making and judgement skills. Typically, in SJTs, you will be shown video-based work scenarios, which will involve interacting with lawyers from the firm, as an employee also.

Based on the scenario, you will be given a number of possible actions/responses and be asked to pick the likely response you would take in that situation. You could also be asked to rate how likely/unlikely it is you would do each possible response, or how effective/ineffective each possible response is.

For example: ‘You and your co-worker have been tasked with completing a group project. Your manager informs you both that the project is due in seven days. However, since starting the project, your co-worker has not been doing his share of the tasks and has stopped communicating with you altogether. You also have a lot of other work to complete for other projects and worry this project won’t be completed on time, as a result. What is the best response?’

  1. Report them to your manager. You don’t want to look bad and be blamed for the failure of the project.
  2. Speak to your co-worker and find out what is happening. Suggest coming together to find a method that will help you work together and juggle other commitments.
  3. Ask another co-worker who isn’t busy at the moment to help you.
  4. Complete the project by yourself and try to put in extra hours to complete it on time.
  5.  Ask your manager for advice on how to deal with the situation.

Your responses will mainly be used to predict possible job performance. It is also used to assess skills like critical thinking, flexibility, customer service, decision making, judgment, perception, communication, and prioritisation.

For more info on SJTs, check out our guide on how to pass Situational Judgements Tests.

You can also access free practice SJTs here.


Law firms, like Ashurst, use game-based assessments as a more interactive and fun way of assessing candidate’s potential. The games typically involve numerical, shape, pattern, memory, or word exercises. For example, you could play a game where you have to figure the code to a safe or guess the next shape formation in a pattern. Another example is matching emotions to a series of pictures of human faces.

Even though assessment games are perceived as more fun, these games can also be just as challenging or even more. Here are three things you should know before completing a game assessment:

  1. Getting points does not mean a good (overall) performance. Do not try to guess how recruiters will assess your performance and what your results mean. So, if you are unable to get to the last stage of a game, for example, don’t let that deter you or think it means you have failed.
  2. Each game is different so do not try to make choices based on predictions and instead treat every game with a fresh perspective. Of course, there will be games where you have to guess something within a pattern, but that is a different issue.
  3. You do not have to be an experienced gamer, just make sure to practise as much as possible and treat it like any other test.

Find more game examples here.

Online Job Simulation

With some law firms you may be progressed straight to the interview stage after passing the initial application stage or Watson Glaser, but for many other firms you will be invited to complete an online job simulation before the final interview.

This simulation may be as ‘simple’ as a series of SJTs or may include an online platform where you will engage in a range of activities. These activities could include aptitude tests, video interviews, gamification, reasoning tests, numerical tests, written exercise, etc.

Personality Questionnaire

A personality questionnaire is used for recruitment to highlight personality traits and competencies which are valued in the company. The questions are typically in multiple choice format, requiring candidates to give a numeric ranking or rank how much they disagree, for example.

An example personality question would be “I like to identify new business opportunities” or “I am likely to made decisions based on facts and figures alone”, requiring the candidate to rate on a given scale how much they agree or disagree with the statement.

Click here for more information on personality questionnaires & a practise questionnaire 

Numerical Reasoning

Numerical reasonings tests measure your ability to logically evaluate numerical information. For example, in a job simulation, you may be asked to confirm if the numerical data is true, pick the worst result in a data set, predict results, etc. Thankfully, you do not have to be an expert at maths. You can prepare by familiarising yourself with basic GCSEs maths and taking your time.

Take a practice numerical reasoning test here

Written Exercises

In an online job simulation, you may also have a few written exercises. In this exercise, it is likely that you will be asked to write an email from the perspective of an employee. Make sure to thoroughly check your grammar and follow professional writing etiquette based on the task.

Click here to read how to write a professional email


Find A Training Contract

Take a look at training contracts currently open to applications.


Competency-Based Interview

A competency-based interview helps employers identify whether a candidate has the right skills for the role, and are less focused on qualifications and industry experience. They assess a candidate’s strengths and weaknesses in the key competencies required by the role.

Examples of competency-based questions include:

  1. Tell me about a time you had to get on with a difficult co-worker
  2. Describe a situation in which you led a team
  3. Tell me about a big decision you’ve made recently. How did you go about it?
  4. Describe a project where you had to use different leadership styles to reach your goal

An effective way to prepare for a competency-based interview is by:

  1.  Making a list of a variety of typical competency questions. It is best to format this in a table (one row for each questions)
  2. For each question, write down three personal examples (one columns for each example)
  3. Organise these examples using the STAR method. This method will ensure you answer these interview questions successfully

Click here to find out more about competency-based interviews

Online Interviews

There may be a situation where you have to complete a video interview. This could make up your whole assessment or be part of an online job simulation. In this case, these online interviews are not live, and you will be given a few minutes to prepare your answer for the question and answer it.

The nature of the online interview is like any interview, but with the digital aspect there are some things to be aware of. It is likely that your video interview will be assessed by AI, and right now the technology for that isn’t perfect.

Here are a few ways to make sure that you excel in these type of interviews:

  1. AI uses indicators to determine if you are a good candidate. For example, AI will scan for your use of certain words. Therefore, it is important that you include words from the question in your answer. You should also include words used in the company’s values and strategy, as well as the necessary skills a lawyer needs.
  2. Controversially, recruitment AI tools may also assess your body language. Make sure to sit upright and answer the questions with passion and enthusiasm.
  3. Make sure to speak loudly and clearly, so your words can be understood.
  4. Make sure you are positioned in the centre of the video and in a room with bright lighting.

Check out our video interview tips

Case-Study Interview

A case study interview involves a business/organisational problem the company may have faced and is a chance to demonstrate your analytical, reasoning and communication skills. They are designed to assess your ability to do the work of a lawyer, work with a client to identify key challenges facing their business/ organisation and develop effective solutions to address these.

You may be given an extract, such as a contract or article that includes a problem scenario related to an imaginary business. Your task will be to provide analysis, identify problems and provide solutions.

The PESTLE(M) analysis studies the key external factors (Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal, Environmental & Moral) that influence an organisation. It can be used in a range of different scenarios, and guide people in strategic decision-making. This is a great framework to use to analyse case studies and problem scenarios.

Click here to read more about PESTLE(M) how you can apply commercial awareness skills to ace your case-study interviews

Role-Play Interview

role-play interview is a type of job interview where you act out an imaginary scenario that you’d likely face in the role you’re applying for. Role-play exercises are designed to show employers that you can think on your feet and handle difficult or unexpected situations.

All interviews are essentially a form of role-play, and this type is not so different so don’t be intimidated by it. Like a case-study interview or job simulation, you will assume a role in the company, such as a managerial position.

You could be given a case study to read beforehand and be asked in the interview what your thoughts are or what solutions you would offer as a manager based on a given problem, for example.

The important thing is to:

  • Do your research on the services the company provides and their strategies/ways of working in previous deals and success stories. This will help you come up with a solution whilst showing your knowledge of the company
  • Practise role-playing in a variety of scenarios, either recording yourself or with other people

Group Interview

group interview is a type of interview where multiple candidates are interviewed at the same time by one or more interviewers. The purpose of a group interview is to evaluate how candidates interact with each other, their communication skills, and their ability to be a team player.

This typically involves activities such as project work, case studies and/or role-playing.


To conclude, law firms take extremely diverse routes when it comes to further assessments, but they all have the same purpose. Just remember to be yourself and get enough practice!


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