I successfully did my a/c for London Tax back in Nov now, but think I can still remember most of it!
First off, the candidates are taken into a room that will be the base for the day, where you reconvene between the tasks. A light breakfast is offered and this is a chance to chat to the other candidates and to the HR people. Ask them any questions, they are really helpful. This is also a good way to get over any nerves you most certainly will have, you will realise that everyone is feeling the same!
Then you are taken to another room to sit your tests. There is one maths test, and one logic test, pretty much exactly the same as the ones you will have had to do online, apart from this time they are on paper. It may seem pretty nerve-racking but at the end of the day this is probably just because it is the first task of the day rather than that they are hard. I found them slightly easier than the online ones actually, and you are still allowed calculators and things.
Once these are completed (and believe me the time passes ridiculously quickly!) you are taken back to the ‘base’ room. You will be split into two groups, and one will do the group exercise and the other will have the partner interview. I had my group exercise first. About 6 candidates are taken into a room with two assessors, employees of PwC. They will briefly explain the task and then sit back and observe your behaviour.
In my group exercise, we were all given the same case study on an environmentally friendly camping ground, and had about 15 mins to read through it and make notes. It is important you scan read this to get all of the info and realise what the objectives of the case are, which will be on the back page. Make notes that arent too in depth or you will miss important parts of the text, as again the time passes very quickly.
Each person is also given a sheet of paper, individual to them, with different info on it to everyone elses. Once the discussion time starts (I think about half an hour?) it is a good idea to go round the table and briefly explain what individ info everyone has (although don’t spend too long doing this). The main points regarding the group exercise are:
Dont be the quietest but don’t be the loudest…
Invite people to speak if you realise they haven’t been…
Do not be pushy or too dominant…
Do not interrupt anyone, or if you do, acknowledge this and apologise…
Try and forget that the assessors are there, this may put you off…
Remember the objectives and keep going back to them in your discussion, give it some structure…
Keep track of time! It looks really unprofessional if you are asked to stop half way through coming up with a solution.
Overall, it prob won’t be as bad as you think.
Then it is onto the partner interview. This is really dependent on how much the partner likes you and how much they think you will fit into the firm, and this can be the decider on if you get an offer or not. Try and build a relationship with the partner from the word go, if you pick up on any similar interests talk about them and sound enthusiastic. Keep eye contact at all times, but try to relax, they will be able to tell straight away if you don’t and it may create an awkward atmosphere.
HR will have given you the competencies that you will be asked, and just make sure you prepare 2 solid answers to each one. The partner will prob include the questions in the general chat that you have and it will be much more informal than your first round interview. On top of these competency questions, come prepared with an example of a good and bad company, and what makes them so. Read the financial press every day and think of a current issue that interests you and be prepared to talk about it with the partner (even though they prob will have more knowledge on it than you!).
It is not definate that you will be asked these extra things, but you will be asked something else, and these are the things we talked about in mine. I was lucky in that my partner actually attended my school when she was younger, so I made an effort to chat about that and build a relationship.
All I can say is that the partner interview is complete luck of the draw, hopefully the partner will like you and be in a good mood on the day!! Have some questions ready to ask them, for example I asked how she got to partner level, and how I would go about getting involved in the company pantomine.
After the interview you can relax, and will be taken for lunch with a few current grads. This is not examined and does not count, so chat amongst yourselves and ask questions.
Just stay relaxed and keep calm!! Good Luck!