Trainee Driver Assessment Process Tips

TraineeTips

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This forum was very helpful to me as I went through the application and assessment process to be a trainee train driver, so I thought I would pass on a few tips to help others, too!

So, you made it through the paper sift and you get invited to the assessment centre – well done, you have an opportunity to give it a go! Depending on the train company (TOC) you have applied to, you will do a mixture of the tests below (and maybe one of two others). I would strongly advise you to become very familiar with the practice materials you get sent, and go over them as much as you have time for – they are an excellent preparation for what you will do.

You may do some or all (and maybe one or two others) of the following tests as part of the assessment process:

• Mini Scaat – you may do this online at home before selection. It is basically lines and lines of letters and you have to cross out (or mouse click) the letters they ask you to. There are no tips for this (it’s not hard!) except work as quickly and as accurately as you can.

• Visual Search Exercise (VSE) – you may do this online at home before selection for assessment centre, but will likely have to do it again at the assessment centre. There are three parts to this test. The first part you watch a blue dot move around a “track”. If anything out of the ordinary happens with the blue dot or the track, you press error. You do this for several minutes. The second part is looking at two columns of about 8 shapes. Two shapes become highlighted in each column and you have to see if they match or not. If they match, you click No Error; if they don’t match, you click Yes Error. Do this as quickly as you can – I think you have about 4 seconds for each change. At times during the test, there will be three shapes in each column; and you have to do the same thing. In part two, it tells you if you have made an error as you go along. Don’t be distracted by this, just keep going. You do this part for several minutes. The third part of the test you do both parts at the same time. Keep in mind that you need to prioritise the Part 1 section over Part 2. You get to practice parts 1 and 2, but not part 3. My tip is to stay calm and if you make a mistake (you will!) just put it out of your mind and move on.

• Group Bourdon – otherwise known as the 4 dot test. You can google some practice material for this and print it out. Use a pencil, and just keep practicing!

• Driver Fault Finding Test – the practice material you get sent before the day is similar in principle to what happens on the day, so practice those as much as you can. The instructions given on the day are very clear, and you get to do a few practice questions before the real test. If you get the practice questions wrong, you are shown where you went wrong.

• Test of Everyday Attention for Occupational Assessment – In part one you listen to a recording of high and low tones and I think count the number of low tones (I did this some months ago so can’t quite remember!). In part 2, you have a page from a type of phone directory and have to find specific numbers in that – do this as quickly and accurately as you can. In part 3, you do these two parts together – searching for things in the directory while listening out for the tones.

• Situational Judgement Test – this is a test to see how you would handle different situations. Once you know how the questions are structured, there is nothing more to know before the test. Read the scenarios and use your common sense to answer!

• Trainability for Rules and Procedures Part 1 (TRP1) – This is to test your memory. You are given a sheet containing written information about the procedure to do with something called ‘glop’. This information is also read out to you, and then you have 5 minutes to read through the sheet of information again and you need to try and remember as much of it as you can. You are allowed to make notes if that helps you remember things. All the information and your notes are then taken away and you wait for a few minutes. You then get about 18 multiple choice questions to answer. NB: You do not need to have any previous knowledge about glop; the test is about how quickly you can learn and remember information.

• Trainability for Rules and Procedures Part 2 (TRP2) – This is also known as the dials and cables test. The practice material is pretty similar, so if you can do that you will be fine. The instructions on the day are very clear, and you get three practice questions which are checked. If you get the practice questions wrong, then the examiner will show you where you went wrong. There are then 43 questions to do in 8 minutes. From what I can gather it would be pretty much impossible to finish so don't be put off if you get nowhere near the end! Just work as fast and as accurately as you can.

• WAFV – this is in principle very straightforward. You sit in front of a screen that is white. A grey square flashes on then off, on then off, on then off. Every so often, the grey square will appear and then turn black. Your job is to press the green button on the keyboard as soon as you see it go black. It tests your vigilance (did you miss it turning black?) and your speed (how quickly did you press the button after it went black?). The difficult part is that you do this for 30 minutes, so you need to concentrate. My top tip here is don’t be distracted by other people clicking their buttons, and definitely don’t follow them – they may miss one, or they may press their button accidentally! You have the option to wear headphones, which I recommend as it just takes a little of any background noise away.

• ATAVT – For this, you are shown images of traffic scenes and you have to indicate what you saw. The images are shown very briefly (maybe 1 second) and then you select if you saw pedestrians, vehicles, bikes, traffic lights and traffic signs. If you search ATAVT in Youtube there are examples of exactly how it works. From what I remember, these images on Youtube are not identical to the ones on the real test so there is no point trying to remember these specific images!

• 2HAND – The practice materials tell you what this test is about. The joysticks are very sensitive, which I think is the point! The left joystick goes left and right; the right joystick goes up and down. My best tip is that if you go outside of the lines, just come back in again as quickly as you can. You have 2 practice attempts which is good to get used to the joysticks. In the test, you do it 10 times and will likely get better as you go along. On a couple of my attempts I went out of the lines several times, but still passed, so don’t panic if you do – just bring the ball back in and keep going. You wear headphones for this and hear a beep if you go out the lines.

• Multi Modal Interview (MMI) – this is also known as a structured interview. You will get asked 6 questions that are all “Describe a time when…”. The great thing is that these questions are given to you before the interview, and you have time to think of an example and write that example down to hand back to the interviewer before your interview. You only need to write down one line about what your example is, and then the interviewer will ask you about that example during the interview. The practice materials are good for knowing how to structure your answer – use the STAR method and you can’t go wrong. My tip is not to make up examples as they may ask you quite specific details about the example and, if it’s not real, you may become flustered or forget what you have already said! Remember, the key to answering interview questions is always to bear in mind the job description and the skills needed for the job you are applying for, and then link them to your answers.

• Personality Questionnaire – very simply, answer these questions honestly. It can be very tempting to try and second guess what your TOC might be looking for. But, you will be surprised at what that might be! There are around 120 questions, and you can take your time. You may do this at home or at the centre. It is my understanding that, however you answer, this will not alone disqualify you from the next stage of the process – it will just perhaps guide the TOC to ask you more about it in your driver manager interview (DMI).

• Driver Manager Interview (DMI) – this is when you get to meet your employer! This is basically very similar to a normal job interview with the same sort of questions you would get asked for any job. My tip here is to have in mind the qualities you need to be a train driver at the front of your mind, and give evidence to show that you have them. Use the STAR method of answering when they ask you to give an example. As with any job interview, know the role you are applying for, know why you want it, and know about the TOC you are applying to.

I hope these tips help you stay relaxed during the process. Remember, this process of assessing your skills is very important not only for the TOC but also for you, to ensure that YOU don’t end up in a job that isn’t suited to you. Believe me - you will not want to be in a position of driving a train responsible for the safety of hundreds of people if you don’t have the skills to do it exceptionally well! Trust the process and, if you don’t make it through, remember you have a unique set of skills that will be a great fit somewhere else! Good luck!

Oh, and one other tip – the timings between each stage of application wildly differ. Don’t panic if you don’t hear back when others have. They have thousands of applications for every position, and applicants are taken through the assessment process at different speeds. You could wait days/weeks/months to hear back but in this process, no news means you are still in with a chance! Contacting them will not speed things up – in fact, it will probably slow things down if they have to keep replying to people to tell them to be patient. So, at each stage, just be prepared, do you best, wait to hear from them, and carry on with your life until you get contacted for the next stage. Is the wait excruciating? Yes! Is it worth it? Yes! :)
 
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centro-323

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Yep, check websites for any local train operating companies at least 3 times a week. Adverts put up on a Monday may be gone by Wednesday afternoon if they get a lot of applications, so be ready to jump on them.
 

LRV3004

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With regard to the “traffic pictures” test - I would NOT look on YouTube! They show you a picture for about one second and ask a question which will probably nothing about what you attempted to retain! On the actual test itself it was much better - you have a list of things which always remains the same, and you just click the relevant boxes for what you saw in the pictures.
I made the mistake of looking on YouTube and it stressed me out! Yes, it’s a good framework to give you an idea, but don’t take it as gospel!
 

centro-323

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With regard to the “traffic pictures” test - I would NOT look on YouTube! They show you a picture for about one second and ask a question which will probably nothing about what you attempted to retain! On the actual test itself it was much better - you have a list of things which always remains the same, and you just click the relevant boxes for what you saw in the pictures.
I made the mistake of looking on YouTube and it stressed me out! Yes, it’s a good framework to give you an idea, but don’t take it as gospel!

Yeah there's a guy who sells practice material who takes the mick a bit with his example for that one... The one below is far more representative (in fact it's the exact practice question I was given on the day, and the others are very similar)

 

LRV3004

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Yeah there's a guy who sells practice material who takes the mick a bit with his example for that one... The one below is far more representative (in fact it's the exact practice question I was given on the day, and the others are very similar)

One YouTube video showed a picture of a car driving past a forest. I looked at it in the brief moment I saw it and tried to take in as much as I could. I remembered there was a forest, the car was white and quickly memorised the registration plate. The picture went off and then the question came up: “How many wooden posts were in the picture”?
 

HLK97

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One YouTube video showed a picture of a car driving past a forest. I looked at it in the brief moment I saw it and tried to take in as much as I could. I remembered there was a forest, the car was white and quickly memorised the registration plate. The picture went off and then the question came up: “How many wooden posts were in the picture”?
Yes, this one is ridiculous! There is another one though that is much more like the real thing and looks for the same 5 things each time.
 

LRV3004

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Yes, this one is ridiculous! There is another one though that is much more like the real thing and looks for the same 5 things each time.
Exactly - if you at least have a framework of what to look for, you have an idea of what to look out for as opposed to trying to take in absolutely everything and hoping for the best.
 

jonge88

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I recently sat my tests, passed all except the ATAVT. I rushed submitting my answers and I didn't check what I was selecting, I was choosing road signs instead of traffic lights and only realised my mistake half way through, by then it was too late. So I would advise people to not rush submitting their answers, I'm not sure if there even is a time limit on the actual test to click your choices thinking about it. Only click things you are sure you saw, don't guess and assume because you saw a traffic light you'd have also seen a road sign etc. - from what I can gather from speaking to others in the group who did pass this, it seems that missing maybe 1 item per photo is far better than selecting something that wasn't actually there.

RE: 2 hands - everybody in my group failed this other than me. The only similar thing I have ever done to this is messing around with R/C drones/quadcopters - I am in no way a serious flyer, my most expensive one was £25 off eBay, but I quite enjoyed flying them around the warehouse at my work for a while, until the novelty wore off. For the sake of £20-25 I would recommend buying one just to give you a bit of hand/eye co-ordination practice, I can't think of anything else you could use to practice for this. You can get them small enough to fly about in a room of your house and just moving the thing around the room will help you.
 

centro-323

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Part three only has one type of tone played, so you can just count all of them, no need to try and distinguish between high or low.

As well as this thread, there's another excellent post here which helped me get through the psychometric assessments.
 

SJN

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Birmingham
Hi. I was very worried by this test too but to be honest on the day I found it one of the easiest.
 

PickleTree

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10 Jan 2020
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Hampshire
Generally I found all the tests on the day easier than I anticipated, computer based ones as part of stage 2 were trickier. MMI will always the toughest part for me. It’s important to try and stay relaxed and don’t put too much pressure on yourself.
 

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