Initial Test of Potential

Before being invited to attend an ADC or even further assessment exercises you will probably need to pass an initial stage, or sift.

The Tests

This will vary across different FRS. They are often one of the following:

  • An inbox/ in-basket exercise (taken early instead of being included in the ADC day)
  • A situational judgement test
  • Other psychometric tests (ability tests such as verbal or numerical reasoning)
  • An application form
  • An operational assessment
  • A line manager’s appraisal.

Taking the sift

For many, the tests that you have to take can be unfamiliar and daunting. Getting to grips with what is required can lead to candidates making simple mistakes, such as not managing their time effectively, or failing to adequately detail what their actions would be.


  • The inbox exercise will need you to write fairly lengthy answers to 3 or more tasks. This can be difficult if you are not used to writing, so try to do some practice, writing quickly and legibly prior to the test – its amazing how quickly you will improve
  • Explain why you would do things, not just what you would do. A clear rationale can make all the difference, and unless you write it down, no-one is ever going to know what your reasoning was
  • In an application form make sure you are showing your potential for doing the next role up, not just how good you are in your current one
  • Don’t panic! Read the questions slowly before putting down your answer in your SJT, double checking to make sure you have understood.
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