Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) Assessments

Prepare for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) recruitment process with tailor-made practice materials.

Careers in the DWP (Department for Work and Pensions)

As part of the Civil Service, the DWP is the largest public service department in the UK and is the body responsible for pensions, welfare and child maintenance policy.

Operationally it is split into four divisions which, between them, deliver core services and benefits to around 20 million people:

Jobcentre Plus - helping job seekers find employment, and issuing Universal Credit and Working Age benefits to those out of or unable to work.

Pensions services - delivering pension payments and retirement advice to UK citizens, and issuing pension age benefits such as Winter Fuel Payments.

Child maintenance services - working with separated parents to calculate, collect and give advice on child maintenance payments.

Disability services - providing disability-related benefits such as Personal Independence Payments and the Disability Living Allowance to those with additional needs.

Types of DWP Jobs

The DWP employs around 80,000 people across the country, promoting a culture of diversity, inclusion and development.

Job opportunities exist on the front line across its four service divisions, as well as behind the scenes in business-critical departments like IT, finance, administration, communications and HR.

There are also many roles to be found in the DWP's digital team as it looks to transform the way services are delivered through new technologies and innovation.

How to Get a Job in the DWP

The DWP offers many paths to entry including apprenticeships, graduate programmes and direct entry opportunities.

To be successful in your application, you'll need to show a commitment to meeting the needs and delivering on behalf of service users.

You'll also need to be familiar with the Civil Service Success Profiles Framework, as this informs the recruitment process for the DWP.

DWP Application Process

For every job opening, the DWP assigns a set of relevant criteria taken from the Success Profiles Framework. This lays out the experience, behaviours, skills, abilities and technical know-how of the ideal candidate.

To assess how well you meet the criteria, the DWP uses multiple techniques. These can vary between roles, but the typical process includes an application, screening tests and interviews.

DWP Online Application

The first step to securing a role in the DWP is to submit your CV and complete an online application form.

Your CV should be tailored to highlight the specific criteria detailed in the job description, with a particular focus on experience, skills and technical knowledge.

The application form will also assess relevant behaviours as laid out in the Success Profiles Framework through one or more long-form questions.

These will ask you to give examples of how you've applied these behaviours in the past, usually in around 500 words or so.

The application form will make it clear which behaviours are under assessment. These may include:

  • Communicating and influencing
  • Delivering at pace
  • Working together
  • Making effective decisions

DWP Aptitude Tests

On submission of your application, you'll be sent a link to one or more online assessments. You'll also be given a deadline by which you'll need to complete them.

These tests are used to further measure your behaviours, as well as focusing on your natural abilities. Common tests issued are situational judgement, numerical reasoning and verbal reasoning.

DWP Situational Judgement Test

The DWP uses a situational judgement test to better understand your professional decision making, problem-solving skills and working preferences.

The test is structured in two sections. In the first, you'll see a series of statements that may or may not apply to you, for example, “I enjoy meeting new people” or “I prefer to work as part of a team than on my own”;. You'll need to rate each statement on a scale from completely agree to completely disagree.

The second section contains hypothetical scenarios that you'd reasonably expect to come across in the job. Each will be accompanied by four ways of responding to the situation. You'll need to decide how appropriate each response is and rate it as effective, fairly effective, ineffective or counterproductive.

Whilst technically there are no right or wrong answers here, you should keep in mind the behaviours outlined in the job description, as they will influence the decisions you make.

DWP Numerical Reasoning Test

If you're asked to take a numerical reasoning test, you're being assessed on your ability to process, interpret and draw conclusions from numerical information that is new to you. This relates to your natural problem-solving skills and gives the DWP an indication of how well you'd perform in the job.

The numerical reasoning test is multiple choice. Each question will show data in the form of a table, chart or graph with an accompanying word problem. There will be five possible answers, with one correct and four distractors.

The DWP's numerical reasoning test does not have a time limit, though it is adaptive, meaning that for every question answered correctly, the next will increase in difficulty. Equally, if you get a question wrong, the next will be easier.

Though not a maths test, you will need to perform basic calculations and have a good grasp of things like percentages, ratios and conversions.

DWP Verbal Reasoning Test

In the verbal reasoning test, it is your ability to solve problems based on written information that is under assessment.

For every question, you'll need to read through a passage of text, at the end of which you'll be given a statement in relation to it. Based only on the information you've read, you'll decide if this statement is true, false, or if there is not enough detail to say conclusively either way.

A strong performance on this test shows the DWP you're able to sift through lots of information to find relevant detail, understand the differences between fact, inferences and assumptions, and can draw logical, evidence-based conclusions.

As with the numerical reasoning test, this is an adaptive assessment with no time limit.

DWP Interviews

Based on your performance in the online assessments, you may then be invited to interview. Depending on the circumstances and the role applied for, this may be a pre-recorded video interview, a face to face panel interview, or both.

For the video interview, you'll be sent an invitation link and instructions. When you access the interview, you'll be given an introductory guide and some time to practice before moving on to the real thing.

You'll then face a series of questions with a minute to think about an answer, and three minutes to record your response. Questions will be based on the Success Profile behaviours, and you should provide strong examples for each.

A panel interview will focus on much the same and may be conducted by two or three people.

Tips to Get Hired at DWP

1. Take Plenty of Practice Aptitude Tests

If you've never come across them before, these are perhaps the trickiest part of the DWP application process, particularly the numerical and verbal reasoning tests. Practice tests will help you understand their format, strengthen your reasoning ability and build confidence.

2. Be Honest With Your Answers

This applies to the situational judgement test in particular. Whilst there are certain responses that will be looked on more favourably, you should avoid trying to cheat the test by giving the answers you think the DWP wants to hear. If your working preferences and behaviours don't fit, you'll find little satisfaction in the role anyway.

3. Use the Success Profiles Framework

This was introduced to guide a fair and inclusive recruitment process and tells you exactly what you need to be considered a strong candidate. Read the job description and highlight the experience, behaviours, skills, abilities and technical elements required, then reference the framework to learn more about each. This understanding will be helpful at every stage, from initial application to interview.

4. Use the STAR Technique

The questions you'll be asked at the interview will be competency-based, meaning you'll be expected to provide examples. The best way to construct these is by using the STAR techniques, explaining your past experience in terms of a situation, task, action and result.

Sample Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) Assessments question Test your knowledge!

Score: /5

From the following options, which would be the best measure to evaluate the effectiveness of a new welfare policy designed to reduce unemployment rates?

  • The change in the number of individuals registered as unemployed over the policy period
  • Public opinion polls on the popularity of the policy
  • The total budget spent on implementing the policy
  • Comparing current unemployment rates to those from 10 years ago

If the annual budget allocation for welfare benefits is £12.5 billion and the number of beneficiaries is 5 million, what is the average allocation per beneficiary?

  • £2500
  • £250
  • £25
  • £25000

The cost of living adjustments for benefits is projected to increase by 2.5%. If the initial welfare benefit is £650 per month, what will be the new monthly benefit after the adjustment?

  • £666.25
  • £665.50
  • £675
  • £700

A passage from a policy document states: 'The revision of the child maintenance system is aimed at encouraging increased private arrangements, thus reducing the administrative burden on public services. This policy will enhance the autonomy of the involved parties and reduce government expenditures.' What is the primary goal of revising the child maintenance system according to the passage?

  • To encourage private arrangements and reduce public service involvement
  • To increase government expenditures on child maintenance
  • To remove all types of support systems for child maintenance
  • To introduce stricter regulations for child support

An internal report mentions: 'The latest pension reform initiative has received considerable support among the younger demographic due to its flexibility and the inclusion of sustainable investment options.' What aspect of the pension reform initiative appeals most to the younger demographic?

  • Flexibility and sustainable investment options
  • The increase in mandatory retirement age
  • The decrease in contributions required from their wages
  • The restriction on investment choices

Build your confidence today

Try one of our Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) tests for FREE.

Psychometric Tests was an invaluable resource to ace a multitude of different pre-interview screening assessments.

Natasha used Psychometric Tests in preparation for her interviews at Think Ahead


Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) Assessments Tips

Know the Department Inside Out

Familiarize yourself with the DWP's mission and values before taking the test. Understanding the ethos of the Civil Service will give you a leg up, as it could shape the way questions are presented and the kinds of scenarios you'll be asked to navigate. Don't just cram; immerse yourself in their culture.

Practice Under Real Conditions

Create a simulated test environment similar to the one you'll experience on exam day. At Psychometric Tests, we offer practice exams that mirror the types and formats of tests you'll face at the DWP. Use these to hone your time management and get comfortable with the pressure, so come test day, you're ready to go.

Understand Question Formats

Public sector exams can involve a mix of multiple-choice, short answers, and situational judgement tests. By using Psychometric Tests, you can get familiar with each type. This means no nasty surprises on the day, leaving you free to concentrate on showcasing your abilities.

Stay Calm and Positive

It's natural to feel some nerves before a big test. Minimize stress by preparing thoroughly and utilizing relaxation techniques. Remember that Psychometric Tests are the stepping-stones to your success. Keep a positive mindset and believe in your preparation. You've got this!

Review and Reflect

After each practice exam at Psychometric Tests, take the time to go over your results. Reflect on what you excelled at and where you could do better. Make note of any patterns in the questions you find challenging and focus your studies there.

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  • 30 Numerical reasoning tests
  • 30 Verbal reasoning tests
  • 30 Diagrammatic reasoning tests
  • 30 Situational judgement tests
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  • Full solutions and explanations
  • Tips, tricks, guides and resources

  • Access to free tests
  • Basic performance tracking
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Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) Assessments FAQs

Where can I practice free test questions for the DWP assessment?

You can practice free test questions using our online platform - no credit card sign up required.

How difficult are DWP assessments?

The difficulty of the assessments can vary depending on the role you are applying for and your individual skill set. Generally, these assessments are designed to be challenging. Adequate preparation and practice can help improve your chances of performing well in these assessments.

Are DWP assessments timed?

Yes, DWP assessments are typically timed to evaluate your ability to work under pressure and complete tasks efficiently. The specific duration of each assessment may vary depending on the type of test and the role you are applying for.