GWR Assessment Centre - Trainee Train Driver

Discussion in 'Railway Jobs & Careers' started by Steo91, 28 Dec 2018.

  1. Steo91

    Steo91 Member

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    Afternoon,

    I thought I would start a new thread for advice/chat to do with the assessment centre for GWR for the position of Trainee Train Driver.

    Does anyone have any top tips on the best way to prepare for the assessment? I have read that a few people have failed the bourdon test so assume lots of practice is required for this. Is there any links available for online tests to help with preperation? I am going to start with searching YouTube.

    I can't see that an interview is on the itinerary for my assessment so I am just assuming they if I pass the various tests then I will be asked to go back for this.

    I have applied for Bristol but the assessment is in Reading. I have read that some people have the assessment in Bristol and Newport which are closer to me but maybe there is none running which is why it's so far away.

    Good luck to anyone else who has applied for the trainee train driver role and has an upcoming assessment! Any help/advice is much appreciated!
     
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  3. Oggs

    Oggs Member

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    My advice is practice practice practice you'll be sent the materials except the GB test. I paid £5 for GB practice materials online.

    I passed my assessments with Arriva ( failed the DMI) and now start with GA on 7th Jan.

    Good luck.
     
  4. Unknockable

    Unknockable Member

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    If you pass all the stages of a trainee train driver assessment apart from the DMI and MMI then go to apply for another TOC, do you skip all the stages and go straight through to the DMI & MMI for the duration your results are held for?
     
  5. Oggs

    Oggs Member

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    Yes I only had a DMI with GA, I passed the MMI as that was on the 2nd assessment day.
     
  6. jad

    jad Member

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    Does failing the DMI count as one of your two chances?
     
  7. martin2345uk

    martin2345uk Established Member

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    No, it’s not part of the OPC psychometric assessments.
     
  8. Driver2B

    Driver2B Member

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    I recently attended an assessment day with a TOC which accepts national standards.


    I understand that many TOCs have around 20-25 people taking the tests on that day. The TOC which assessed me, however, assesses fewer people at once (8 were due to attend but only 5 did). Of the 5 who attended, two worked for the TOC in guard or ticket office roles, and at least one of the absentees, too.


    The TOC should have e-mailed you an information pack telling you what tests would be conducted, the procedures for them and giving your ideas for practice before the day.


    The tests are designed to be psychometric, hence they assess your capabilities. I saw that when doing the tests. There are some people I know who I think could practice full time and still never pass. It assesses innate abilities, although, of course, some practice in advance can help you a little.


    Initially, we were asked to wait in a waiting room. We were asked 1-by-1 to go into an interview room where our identity, including NI number, was checked. We were also given a colour-blind test. In this test, you have to read the numbers which you can see in circles made of different colours. Warning: There are some trick ones! There are no numbers on some of them - don't try finding one; just say you can't see one!


    When that was conducted, we were taken to a room where we each had a desk with stationery provided. I brought my own pens which I usually use which I find comfortable.


    The first test was the Group Bourdon Test. This is the test which most people find the hardest and I recommend that you spend most time practising. You need to find groups of four dots. There's a downloadable online tool: https://www.railforums.co.uk/attachments/bourdon-zip.36183/. I initially started doing it online and then moved on to printing and doing them on paper. You do get used to the patterns of dots on the tool, and they are different on the actual test, although the skills are transferrable. There are various people on this forum who quote how many lines you need to complete and how many errors you can make to pass. I was doing about 9 or 10 lines on the printouts from the tool with only 1 or 2 mistakes per page and I passed. Be very sceptical of people who say you need to complete 14 or 15 lines with no more than one mistake! (Of course, some TOCs require enhanced testing, which may require slightly more.) There was also a practice section at the start. The practice grids in the information booklet were less helpful than the tool (using letters rather than dots).


    We then had a break while the test was marked. One person was asked into the interview room to be told that he failed so he was sent home.


    The next test was the Test of Everyday Attention (TEA-Occ). This measures attention to multiple things and how well you can multi-task.

    Part 1 required us to listen to beeps (some with low tones, others with 'high' but I'd call them moderate-to-low). You will need to count just certain tones (can't remember if it was low or high). An example is available here, but there weren't so many tones for each question: https://traineetraindriverinfo.com/low-tones-test-track-1/

    Part 2 required us to do some simple telephone directory work. I think it was finding companies in a particular trade with a rating of three stars and with a phone number with a particular area code. It wasn't rocket science and probably doesn't need much practising, but it is designed to make you work quickly. You might not finish and don't need to.

    Part 3 was the hardest, combining both part 1 and part 2. You hear number 1 read out and a number of beeps (only one tone this time). You need to write the number down when told. This continues. At the same time, you have a telephone directory task similar to part 2. You are told that both parts are of equal importance. You must use different pens for both tasks. When doing it, I got a good sense that I was truly multi-tasking. It's a good test, actually!

    The booklet gives you some activities to help you. Recognising symbols probably isn't too difficult for most people. If you have somebody who could play patterns of two tones on a keyboard or piano (written down first so the answers can be assessed), that might help you, and also if they can play similar tones while they asked you to do a reading task / telephone directory task / wordsearch. However, I didn't practise much for this test and I know some others didn't either, and we passed.


    The next test was the Trainability for Rules and Procedures Test (TRP), Part 1 which assesses how well you can learn new things. The railway rulebook is huge for a start, and you will also need to learn about fault finding and repairing, not to mention route knowledge. We were given a two-page information sheet explaining how "GLOP" is applied to the rails using a locomotive and application vehicle operated by a driver and a guard, including what controls there are, the colours and locations of them, when they should be used, the signalling system between the driver and guard, etc. We also heard a recording of this. We then had to hand back the information sheet and answer questions on the procedure. I found this quite easy, but some people don't pick up new information well, especially when there are lots of details. They give a very clear example in the booklet sent before the day.

    Part 2 is sometimes known as the dials test. You get sets of 3 dials with pointers pointing to the number on each dial, and you have to order them in order (I believe starting with the largest). However, each dial has a different number range (one might go from 0-150 and another might go 0-500) so in that example, halfway on the dial going up to 500 would read '250' but the whole way on the dial going up to 150 would be only '150'. You have 43 questions to complete in 8 minutes and I don't think that anybody ever completes them all. Apparently, you are scored for correct answers but not downgraded for any wrong answers.


    The final written test was the Written Communication Test (WCT), although I understand that this is no longer compulsory and some TOCs no longer do this. We were given a cartoon strip showing a taxi booking, a taxi picking a person up on time, delays on the route, and arrival at destination late. We had to write what happened. The only thing that matters is clarity so your writing needs to be legible but not neat. You do not need to write in sentences - bullet points are acceptable. Grammar and spelling is not important if it does not obscure meaning. You can continue to look at the cartoon strip during the test - you do not need to turn it over or have it collected. I have been told that almost 100% pass this test - if your handwriting is legible and you can convey a simple story, even just in bullet points, you're fine!


    Again, we were sent to the waiting room while the tests were marked - this took a long time (almost an hour, I think)!


    The final tests were the computerised tests. There might not be one computer per person so some people might have to take the test while other people are waiting.


    I think the first computerised test was the ATAVT Perception Test. You will view a picture of a street scene for approximately 0.5-1 second. You will then have to choose from the list what was in the picture from: pedestrians; motor vehicles (excluding motorcycles); bikes, motorcycles or scooters; road signs; traffic lights. There might be as few as one or as many as five in any one picture. Many pictures are busy scenes and you will notice the presence or absence of some things, but for most of the time, you will not be certain that you have got them all right - there will be some guesswork or subconscious decision-making involved. This will suit people who are observant and can process quickly.

    This video will give you a good idea of the test, but I think the pictures disappear more quickly in the assessments than shown on this video:

    Asking a friend or family member to download some pictures from the internet and test you on them (giving you only a brief peek) might help.


    I think the second test was the 2Hand Co-Ordination Test. You will have two joysticks, one will only go up and down, and the other will only go left and right. You have to control a ball around a track trying not to let it go off of the grey track, which includes curved sections. You will hear a screech when it does. This is repeated many times. It is aimed to be difficult and most people will not keep it on the track all the way around. We all thought we did really badly on this!


    The final test was the WAFV (Vigilance) Test. You will see a grey square flashing on the screen. When it changes colour to a different shade of grey, you press the large green button as quickly as possible. This continues for 30 minutes, sometimes for long periods between changing. Also, your eyes imagine it changing when it doesn't. It's a good assessment because if you can't concentrate on being vigilant for 30 minutes, being in charge of a train might not be a good idea! When your eyes lose focus, move closer to or further away from the screen. Also, surprisingly, the colour changes aren't random but pre-programmed. Therefore if one person starts their test, another starts two seconds later and another starts to seconds later, you will hear the first person press their button, then about two seconds later the next person, and another two seconds later the next person.


    We were then asked to wait in the waiting room again while the results were generated.


    Finally, we were congratulated for passing the tests and advised about the next procedures in the application process. We were also given some basic pieces of advice for the DMI.


    Hope that this is helpful. Feel free to ask any further questions!
     
  9. Driver2B

    Driver2B Member

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    Some people say yes, others say no. It probably depends on TOC.

    Since I passed mine, I applied a second time for a TOC which had previously turned me down in the sift, but processed my application the second time with the psychometric passes.

    But I also applied to another TOC after passing psychometrics and got turned down by them.

    I reckon it helps, but is not automatic!
     
  10. Driver2B

    Driver2B Member

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    No, not DMI as that's just an interview between you and your potential employer.

    The six months and two striles rules only apply to psychometrics, which include MMI.
     
  11. Steo91

    Steo91 Member

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    That is really useful! Thank you very much for an insight on how the day will run! :)

    Anyone else on here applied for Bristol and got an assessment coming up in the next few week?
     
  12. Daydr3am3r

    Daydr3am3r Member

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    Not for Bristol but I am booked in for an assessment centre for 11 January for Exeter.
    The date is coming around very quickly!
     
  13. Andy79

    Andy79 Member

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    Some really useful comments on this thread, thanks. I’ve got mine in Feb for Oxford.
     
  14. Steo91

    Steo91 Member

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    I wish you the best of luck!! :)
     
  15. Steo91

    Steo91 Member

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    Good luck also! :)
     
  16. Willum

    Willum Member

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    Thanks Driver2B.

    I’ll see you in the morning Daydr3am3r!
     
    Last edited: 10 Jan 2019
  17. Daydr3am3r

    Daydr3am3r Member

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    Ha good stuff! Wonder how many will be attending tomorrow?
     
  18. Willum

    Willum Member

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    Ooh I reckon about 25
     
  19. Fiesta89

    Fiesta89 Member

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    What was the DMI advice please?
     
  20. Steo91

    Steo91 Member

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    How did your assessment go? Was there a lot of people there after?
     
  21. Daydr3am3r

    Daydr3am3r Member

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    To be fair I felt that it went ok overall. The tests are demanding but I can see exactly why they use them to pick out the skills required to be a train driver.

    Pass or fail I actually really enjoyed it!

    I think there were 25 in the morning with 4/5 spaces.
     
  22. Daydr3am3r

    Daydr3am3r Member

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    Excellent guess! It’s like you were there!
     
  23. Steo91

    Steo91 Member

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    A lot of people lol... Glad it went well. Fingers crossed for you! Good luck.
    I got mine in Feb. Got to go to Reading... Plenty of time to keep practicing that Bourdon test.

    What did most people wear to the assessment? It's not an interview really so is it a full suit job or not?
     
  24. Andy79

    Andy79 Member

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    Had you been practising all the tests prior to going? I’m finding listening to the low/high tones whilst doing the phone directory checks at the same time quite hard to do! If anyone has any tips it would be appreciated. Thanks
     
  25. Twotwo

    Twotwo Member

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    Your counting all the tones. When I did it i stopped what I was doing and listened to the tones then continued circling all the double symbols. This isn't so bad tbh. Tbh the hardest one for me was part 1 as the tones started to sound similar.
     
  26. Andy79

    Andy79 Member

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    Just counting the high tones but seem to have a brain freeze when trying to find phone book symbols/numbers!!
     
  27. Twotwo

    Twotwo Member

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    In the actual test your counting every tone irregardless of high or low. And your looking for the double symbols (you don't need to glance at the numbers). So when I did it I circled all the double symbols and as soon as the beeps started I stopped and listened then continued. Part 2 and 3 is very easy. If anything I suggest you pratice the first bit.
     
  28. Andy79

    Andy79 Member

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    Thank you
     
  29. Daydr3am3r

    Daydr3am3r Member

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    Apart from the internals wearing uniform all but two were in suits/shirt and tie. I appreciate that there is no interview but I would always go smart as it is still part of the application process.
     
  30. Daydr3am3r

    Daydr3am3r Member

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    To be honest I used the practice material a little beforehand on this one but didn’t do too much.
    Don’t overthink it and it will be fine. I agree the two tones actually takes more concentration than the other two parts.
     
  31. Andy79

    Andy79 Member

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    Re parts 1/2/3....
    Is one just counting all tones.
    Two looking for letters, numbers or symbols.
    Three a combination of one and two - counting all tones and finding symbols.
    ??
     

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