Preparing for your Online Tests

Online tests are remote assessments used to shortlist candidates. They are most commonly used for larger courts and tribunal exercises and non-legal exercises. They are a shortlisting tool and scores for the tests are not carried forward and do not contribute to your final assessment. 

They test candidates’ ability to analyse information, identify issues, understand the law appropriately, apply sound judgement, and succinctly and clearly explain how decisions are reached. 

Qualifying Tests 

Qualifying tests are multiple choice tests typically made up of two parts: Situational Judgement Test, and a Critical Analysis Test. 

The Situational Judgement Test presents candidates with a range of different situations that they might experience in the role. For each situation, a number of possible actions are suggested. Candidates are required to select which action they consider to be most appropriate and the action they consider the least appropriate. For non-legal exercises, qualifying tests usually consist of only the Situational Judgement Test.  

The Critical Analysis Test presents candidates with a written document (e.g. a speech or judgment) and a series of questions and possible answers, based on the content of the document. Candidates are required to use their critical analysis and logical thinking skills to decide upon the correct answer. 

When taking the test, you can choose which part of the test to sit first, and you can take a break in between the tests. However, once you have started a test you must complete that test before moving onto the next.  

Please see here for further guidance on accessing the Qualifying Test.

Scenario Tests 

We also use a Scenario Test as a second shortlisting tool for some exercises. Scenario Tests require candidates to assess the information contained in the materials provided to them and identify from these the relevant issues in order to provide a written response to the questions.

How Online Tests are Scored 

The qualifying tests are scored automatically and a minimum score of 30% on both the Situational Judgement Test and the Critical Analysis Test is needed to be considered for the next stage.  

The JAC converts candidates’ marks on each part of the test into a standard score, which is a standardised measure of how a candidate has performed on each part of the test relative to the rest of the field.  

These two standard scores are then combined by taking a weighted average. 60% of the weight in this average is given to the Situational Judgement Test and 40% to the Critical Analysis Test. Candidates are then ranked by their composite scores in a merit list and a pass mark is determined. Some further information on how the scoring works in practice for qualifying tests can be found here.

Please note that for multiple choice tests prior to July 2023, the two tests were weighted equally. The new weighting reflects the fact that the Situational Judgement Test assesses candidates on three competencies (Exercising Judgement, Working and Communicating with Others and Managing Work Efficiently) and the Critical Analysis Test assesses candidates on two competencies (Possessing and Building Knowledge and Assimilating and Clarifying Information).

The Scenario Test is marked, name blind, by judges from the jurisdiction and moderated to ensure consistent marking. A minimum score of 30% is required to be considered for the next stage.  

Scheduling of Online Tests 

Unfortunately, as we deliver many exercises throughout the year it is not always possible to avoid school holidays and judicial holidays. It is also not possible to avoid all religious festivals that may occur for our candidates. We therefore do not attempt to avoid religious festivals, not least because some festival dates cannot be determined many months ahead as required by our planning process. 

To support candidates in their planning to participate in a selection exercise, we publish the dates of any online tests for an exercise on its information page. If you are interested in participating in an exercise and are unable to sit the tests on the date specified due to exceptional circumstances, please contact the Selection Exercise Team as soon as possible. If you consider a circumstance to be exceptional then you are encouraged to contact the team to discuss them. Exceptional circumstances could include, for example, religious observances or a religious holiday. The Selection Exercise Team will arrange for you to take the test on a later date, which will usually fall one to two weeks after the original date. 

In advance of the test: 

You will receive an email at least one week in advance of an online test containing the pre-reading (if any) that is required for the test, the links required to access the test and the timings of the test. If you have not received the email on the expected date, please contact the Selection Exercise Team running the competition at the earliest opportunity. 

Reasonable Adjustments 

If you requested a reasonable adjustment, you will be contacted separately by the Selection Exercise Team prior to the test. Please refer to your personal reasonable adjustment confirmation email for details of your individual allocation. If this includes extra time, this will be reflected in the test timer shown on screen. 

If you are unsure of your reasonable adjustment allocation, please contact the team in advance of the test by emailing the exercise mailbox. 

Details relating to reasonable adjustments can be found here. 

What do I need for the Online Test? 

– A tablet, laptop or desktop computer 

To take part in an online test you will need a laptop/desktop/tablet.  

  • Please do not use a government device as this may reduce the functionality of the test. N.B CPS laptops are not compatible with JAC online tests. 
  • Some work devices may not provide full functionality of the test. Please check with your IT department if you plan on using a work device as we cannot assess test functionality on all devices; 
  • We recommend that you perform any software updates or upgrades before the day of the test; 
  • You should use Google Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge or Safari browsers; 
  • You should not use Internet Explorer as this does not support the test; 
  • You should not take a test on a mobile phone as you may not be able to see everything clearly; 

 – A stable internet connection 

You will need to have a home/office Wi-Fi connection with an acceptable upload and download speed; this should be above 8mb/s. Please test your broadband speed in advance on taking the test. If your speed is below 8mb/s, try relocating closer to the Wi-Fi router if you can. You should also test your speed on the qualifying test day itself and inform the Selection Exercise Team if the speed is below 8mb/s.  

It is your responsibility to ensure you have a stable internet connection before starting the test. We also recommend you avoid sitting the test abroad, as we cannot guarantee the accessibility or stability of the test when accessed from another country. 

Test your download speed: Broadband speed test 

  • A quiet environment 

Make sure you will not be disturbed by other people in your office or home.  

  • Check your platform email address 

Prior to the test, please check that you can access the JAC platform using the email address used on your application. Please contact the Selection Exercise Team in advance of the test should you have any concerns that your application email address may differ to your log in email address for the platform.  

  • Practice Qualifying Test 

A practice qualifying test has been designed as a practice tool to help you get familiar with the format, software and question style used in qualifying tests. This can be accessed here: Practice Qualifying Test. 

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