Game-Based Assessments: All you need to know

Written by Peter Thornton, Consultant at Graduates First

What is a Game-Based Assessment?

Game-Based assessments use gaming technology to help employers decide if you are suitable for the role you are applying for. ‘Game-Based assessment’ refers to different forms and combinations of games you may be asked to take.

There are several types of games in assessment that can be split into two groups:

  1. A single, short game that assesses a specific skill(s) (e.g. a balloon game below).
  2. Scenario based games that are longer, and measure sets of skills and give you a taste of everyday tasks, putting you in a business situation to understand how you handle it. Some of these are immersive, taking you through a whole day in the life of the role you are applying for.

Which companies use Game-Based Assessments?

Game-Based assessments, or gamified assessments, are becoming increasingly popular tools for recruitment, now used by 10% of employers. The companies that harness game technology in their recruitment processes include PWC, Deloitte, P&G, Unilever, Coca Cola and many more. As such, it has become vital that you are ready when you face one.

Why do employers use Game-Based Assessments?

While Game-Based assessments come in many forms, there are two key reasons they are used:

  1. To engage candidates. They put applicants in a test environment that is more enjoyable, and allows candidates to become engrossed in. This is great for improving the company’s all-important user experience and reputation as an innovator.
  2. They help employers find the best person for the role. Using these tests, employers can get an overview of a candidate’s personality and/or their technical ability, as well as indicating how candidates may behave on the job.

What do Game-Based Assessments measure?

In this particular example, we have an assessment based on a game designed by Arctic Shores, who are assessment developers that specialise in designing Game-Based Assessments for top companies including Deloitte, RBS, and PWC.

PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC) for example, use a ‘Balloon Game’, designed to assess how risk averse candidates are. This assessment will assess you on a scale of emotionality based on how you perform. The scale ranges from those who pay more attention to detail and take a considered approach, but can be more anxious and less sociable, to those who are relaxed and quick decision-makers but can be disorganised.

As a University of Manchester student or alumni, you can register for free with Graduates First using your university email, where you can practise Game-Based assessments.

In a Game-Based Assessments companies typically measure:

  • Your memory
  • Your attention
  • Teamwork
  • Reaction time
  • How you prioritise
  • How you adapt to different tasks
  • Problem-solving
  • Risk-taking
  • Decision-making

How can you prepare for Game-Based Assessments?


  1. Practise. And Practise Again.

Get familiar with this style of tests before you attempt the real thing – on your mobile phone or laptop. This will allow you to stay calm and develop many of the skills that they will be expecting you to display. Nerves and unfamiliarity are factors that shouldn’t affect your score. You can take practice Game-Based assessments with Graduates First for Free today as a University of Manchester student.

2. Search for and read articles about Game-Based (gamified assessments) Assessments

Find out in advance if the employer you are applying to uses games in their application process. If yes, do some additional search to identify what types of games they use.

You may start by reviewing specific employers’ profiles on GF. For example the PWC page offers a very detailed description of 11 games that they use. 

During the real assessment:

3. Check your internet connection beforehand

Often, you only get one chance to complete Game-Based assessments. And as these are online, your internet connection could affect your score. It may mean that the game runs slowly, or that you lose connection mid-way through. Test the connection before taking the test, and it may be a good idea to have a backup in case the internet drops midway through.

4. Read the instructions…

This may sound obvious, but surprisingly many people overlook these either out of over-confidence or forgetfulness. It is important that you are clear on the controls for the assessment and that you understand the objective.

5. Identify what is being measured

In the process of practicing, you may come to understand what is being measured and how. For example, a game that wants you to remember certain items, is clearly assessing your memory. Apply this insider knowledge to all the Game-Based Assessments you take to identify what skill you must show – even if it new to you. This will allow you to focus on what really matters and how to score well.

6. Don’t get demotivated as you progress through the game

Game-based assessments collate your scores as “data points”, according to how you perform on each task. Contrary to traditional aptitude tests they measure not only the scores but your actual behaviour and interactions with the game. They collect thousands of data points from just one assessment. It is best to react positively even if you think that you have performed poorly on the previous task. As well as your actual ‘score’, the assessors will be able to see if the poor previous performance affected you. Remain positive, forget about the test that you have just completed, and focus on the next task at hand. This will reflect positively on your report.

7. Use a computer or laptop

While you may practise Game-Based Assessments on your mobile phone, it is advisable to use your computer or laptop for the real thing. This will ensure that the test is clear to you, easier to use, and is likely to be better for eliminating distractions such as someone ringing you midway through the assessment.

Good Luck Gamers!

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