IBM Assessment Day



Hi everyone!!

This is my very first forum post because I really need help! I applied for the extreme blue summer placement scheme (business roles) and Just received an email that I passed the first round/selection day and have been invited for the assessment day/interview stage.

Was just wondering (and hoping) if anyone had been to one of these and what they had to do, in terms of the exercises (how many were they and what were you asked to do?) and also in terms of the interview( what questions were you asked? how many interviewers? how many interviews?).

I would also like tips on how to prepare specifically for this day!( what should I know about the company? what other research should i do? etc. )

Thanks a million!


I’m sorry but I don’t have an answer to your question… I actually have a couple of questions myself :wink:
I was told I passed the online test in the end of January and no one has contacted me since. How long did it take before they invited you to the first round/selection day? I’m starting to think that they forgot about me :smiley:
Also what was the selection day like? How did you prepare for it?
Sorry for the many questions!
Thanks for your time and good luck in the next stage :slight_smile:


Which position you’ve applied for? They have recalled all their jobs (all but Strategy Consulting) putting candidates on hold till further notice. HP topic has some details on what happened.


I was given an selection day date immediately after I was told i passed the test. it was due for the following week.
I don’t know why they are taking so long to process the applications actually. its been almost 2 weeks since they told me I had passed the selection day but I haven’t heard anything else from them.
The selection day itself was ok I guess. You can’t prepare for it either. you do the best u can on the day… First, they give you a talk(presentation) about the scheme, then you are put into groups. if u are in the first group, you immediately go for your group session which is in a room with 3 assessors and the rest of your group members and there’s a problem you have to solve as a group. its really hard to get ur point across and noticed individually since there will be people who are really aggressive but do the best you can. or try using tactics like being the time keeper, or the one who writes down the points, you know, stuff like that.
after that you have a short break, then u rewrite the IPATO test (but it is shorter with less time, and a lower pass mark). Then u have a tour of the premises. Then lunch. After lunch, if u are doing business role, you have to write a case study test and if you are doing technical roles, you write a programming test. Then the day is over.
My only advice is to do the very best you can, and have as much fun as possible.
Hope it helps! XXX


I applied for a business role for the extreme blue scheme and they have taken long to invite me to the interview as well (even though I passed the selection day)!
what do you mean b they recalled their jobs? and do you know if or when the problem will be rectified?
Thanks! X


The information you provided was really helpful. Even I have been called for First round of selection day but for the technical role. Do you have any idea about how many students does IBM recruit in extreme blue program?
Also please let me know if the test you gave was multiple choice or a subjective.
Finally, how was the overall day?

Hope you get through the Assessment Center!!!

Thanks for the help!!!



Any news from IBM on when they are going to re-open their Grad positions?


i think you will have to wait for 2010 intake now. they have stopped recruitinh for grad position for this year!!!


Hey All,

Thanks for the very helpful posts here… My first visit to this forum and I feel lucky to have googled it…

I am going for their selection day in Hursley the day after and wonder if any of you can tell me what exactly is the programming test about :slight_smile: do we need to know any particular coding language like C++?

cheers… will keep you guys updated…



@ msd502, Congratulations for passing your selection day. Also, thanks a lot for your help and sharing your experiences.

Could you please explain the details of:-

A problem you have to solve as a group. What kind of problem they have given to you ? Any tips or idea ?

What kind of tasks they assign to the groups and does it involve some presentation or Group discussion or Group activities ?

Do you recommend any technical points or soft skills which needs to be considered while participating in those 2 group activities.
Wish you best of luck for your next stage of Assessment centre.

@ bondman008, would you like to share your experience of attending a Selection day in Hursley? Any guidance would be really appreciated, Many thanks in advance.


Hi guys,

I did IBM’s assessment day last Monday (15th Jan) for the Business Consulting grad scheme. I went through to the final round. (they’ve changed the application process this year and there is only 1 assessment day instead of 2. I think the morning corresponds to what the 1st assessment day used to be, and the afternoon what the second one was)

It was in Portsmouth North Harbour (IBM UK HQ), we were 36 candidates (mostly business consulting, a couple of tech consulting) split into 6 teams of 6. Here is how the day went:

  • Logic group exercise *
    30mins to solve a logic problem about a fictitious art gallery exhibition. Given information about the artists, how many paintings they each produced, the categories they could enter paintings in, and pieces of info about the placement of the paintings, we had to determine the placement of each painting.
    The 3 IBM assessers said nothing during the half-hour, they just listened and took notes (each keeping an eye on 2 candidates).
    TIPS: Engage others, keep track of time, stay calm & respectful, go through the project rigorously to make sure you do not omit anything

Case-type group exercise
Again 30mins. In the same group of 6, we had to come up with a plan for a corporate event that our fictitious client wanted to throw. Given client requirements (type of event, budget, etc.) and info about each venue we could host the part at (food & drink prices, size of room, amenities) we had to come up with a suggestion for where the event would be held and a schedule of the evening.
We had the opportunity to ask questions to the client during a 4 min period - use that time wisely. We asked: total invitations required (including spouses/partners)? Sit-down dinner or buffet? etc. At the end we had to present our plan to the fictitious client. It went pretty badly because we were debating which venue to choose so we didn’t have time to come up with a detailed budget and schedule.
TIPS: Set your group some deadlines. Work together, not against eachother.

Confirmatory IPAT test
22mins, same type of questions as online, except on paper (which means you spend as long as you want on each question)

— BREAK: 28 candidates out of 26 were sent home… —
The 8 remaining got a mediocre lunch.

Group case exercise in 2s
Our fictitious client was an ecommerce company looking to develop a mobile app. We were meant to represent a mobile app development company, and convince the client of the best plan for them. We were given lots of info about what the client needs, and what are the app solutions our company provided. We had 20mins to prepare and 5 (or 10, can’t remember) mins to pitch our solution to the client.
TIPS: make sure you have a recommendation ready by the end of the 20mins. Make sure you & your partner speak more or less the same amount of time. Put yourself in the shoes of the client (you can imagine what concerns they will have: price, app security, etc.).

Individual communications exercise
20mins. We had to write a follow-uo email to the CEO of the client firm, who had reservations about our solution (price & ROI of our solution). I’m a slow writer, I didn’t write much but I repeated the key points that we’d presented.
TIPS: Write professionally.

Individual interview
About 30mins.

  • You have moved around quite a lot (I’ve lived in a few countries) - what has been the most challenging aspect of that?
  • Tell me about your robotics project (I’m on a robotics team at uni)
  • Was your leadership position (in robotics team) self-appointed or a vote?
  • What do you know about IBM?
  • What has been most challenging as captain of your amateur football team?
  • (I said getting people to show up to training.) How do you do that?
  • Anything else you’d like us to know
    TIPS: Be confident, energetic, passionate.

I was told a week later that I was through to the final round.

Good luck guys.


Hi all. In order to help you all get into IBM, the process I had to follow is as follows:

1 - Apply to your desired position via the job websites.
2 - If successful, you will be sent an email with instructions of your log on details for the online aptitude test.
3 - Get this test completed asap. Don’t wait around as other applicants may get ahead of you with lower scores, yet pass to the next round.
4 - The aptitude test is intense. You have only a couple of minutes to answer each question. There is a timer in the corner that will count down to the next question. The timer can not be paused, so you need to think quick.
5 - The test is half on numbers and half on visual pattern sequence.
6 - There are no answers to these questions on Google, Yahoo, Bing etc, so no point in searching for them.
7 - Once you have completed the test, hit submit.
8 - If you have been successful, you’ll get a phone call to inform you if you have passed or failed.
9 - If you have been successful, you’ll be invited to an Assessment Centre. This will be a 3 week wait.
10 - Be sure you arrive at the centre 10 mins before the start time. You’ll be asked to fill out a couple of forms. Take a copy of your passport and degree with you.
11 - You’ll all be taken to a room where IBM will hold a short presentation on their strategy and how you fit into that business model.
12 - You’ll be teamed up in groups of 6 and expected to circulate between the interview, logical test and presentation.
13 - The interview is one on one and you’ll have your chance to explain why you want to work for IBM. Do not kiss ass. Just be yourself as the interview is a relaxed meeting.
14 - The logical test will be assessed by two IBM persons. You won’t be able to interact with them in the 30 mins you are given to find the answer to two questions asked.
15 - The presentation will be in the form of Dragon’s Den and at the end of the 30 mins you will need to pitch your idea and gain a Dragons interest in investing in your idea. Think on your feet and make your invention the best there is.
16 - When the day is done and all tasks completed, you’ll be given an interview slot time and day. My interview took place the next day.
17 - The telephone interview is with one person from IBM. Make sure you are in a quiet place and with good reception. This is your chance to sell yourself and secure a job with them. In the 45 mins allocated, don’t babble and be direct in your response. You’ll have a chance to ask any questions at the end of the interview.
18 - Keep an eye on your emails as you’ll get an email asking you to remain patient whilst they review your CV, Assessment Centre and interview.
19 - If you have been successful in all the three areas, expect an email within two weeks. The email will either offer you a job or explain that you haven’t been successful.
20 - The acceptance email will contain your letter of offer and all the documents you are expected to fill and submit. You will be expected to reply back within 3 days of the offer to accept your job. Get the documents submitted asap as they will need to start the HR process of setting you up with an IBM account, expenses, pay cheque, personal details etc.
21 - The letter will state your annual pay rate, date of start and location.
22 - On your first day, you’ll be issued an IBM Carbon laptop, iPhone 6 or 6s as a business phone, iTunes account, email account and business car. So you may need to travel by train one way as you’ll need to drive back. You’ll only be given a quarter tank, so be sure to fill up on your way home.
23 - If you are required to travel for business purposes, all expenses will be paid back at the end of the month. Air travel abroad will be booked on your behalf as well as a rental car. Be sure to carry your paper and plastic drivers license at all times.
24 - Hotel bookings are also made on your behalf. You’ll need a form of id whether you stay abroad or onshore.

I applied for a position at North Harbour as a Test Analyst on August 3rd. On August 7th, I had my first email with my aptitude test log on. I completed the test the same day. On August 10th, I had a phone call to say that I passed with flying colours and the highest scores on record internationally, ever. They then said that I got a perfect score (100%).

I was then told I will get a further email confirming which day I would need to attend the Assessment Centre. Mine was for 30th August.

On the day, I was in a group with 5 other people from all sorts of background. I worked in a factory for 7 years as a caretaker. The day started off with the interview and I explained I have a high IQ which aids me in my ability to see patterns and problems and high degree of mental calculations.

In the logical test, we were able to correctly identify the two answers. In the presentation, we choose the underwater hairdryer and explained why we wanted £100,000 investment. We marketed the underwater hairdryer by saying that the device would be used inside a perspex box so you could see where you were swimming and that the dryer can dry in less than 10 secs. We had to really use our imagination. The trick here is to go for the most obscure invention and run with it.

I was given a next day technical interview. I got an email two days later to ask me to remain patient whilst they went through the deciding process. On Sept 2nd, I was made an official offer as a tester and I started on Sept 20th on £59, 650 per annum. In these few weeks, its already travelled to Spain, Portugal, Scotland and several cities in England. Be prepared to travel a lot. However, it’s not all work as in the evenings, you are allowed up-to £60 for food and drinks and entertainment (been to a couple of strip clubs and comedy shows).

So for me, the process was all done in a little over a month. I left my job at the factory and now earn 5 times more than what I did for 7 years. So, it pays to be on the look out for opportunities no matter what your background is or where you’re from.

Good luck to everyone, and feel free to email me with any questions you may have.


can you please tell me about your experience on what happened at AC please