Qualifying tests are online assessments used to shortlist candidates. They are generally used for larger selection exercises.
They test candidates’ ability to:
- absorb and analyse information
- identify issues
- apply the law appropriately
- apply soundness of judgement
- succinctly and clearly explain procedure and the decision reached
When planning online tests, the JAC tries to avoid school and judicial holiday dates. It is not possible to avoid all religious festivals as some festival dates cannot be determined many months ahead.
If you are unable to sit a test on the date specified due to exceptional circumstances, which may include religious observance, the JAC will arrange for you to take the test on a later date. This will usually fall within a week of the original date.
Content of tests
The JAC sets 2 types of qualifying tests:
- multiple choice
- scenario tests which require a written response
Each test is designed to suit the particular post and is developed by a judge from the relevant jurisdiction.
Candidates are told in advance what type of test is required for the post, its format and the dates. For some tests additional materials will be provided 1 week before the test date.
Deciding the pass mark
Qualifying tests are marked in 2 ways:
- multiple choice tests are scored automatically
- scenario tests are marked by judges from the jurisdiction and moderated to ensure consistent marking
The JAC does not decide a fixed pass mark for tests in advance. Generally a minimum score of 30% on any part of the test is required to progress to the next stage.
The pass mark for each test is determined by how candidates’ scores are grouped once the test is completed. The pass mark depends on how strong the candidate field is and how much clustering there is at the highest marks, so the pass mark is relative in each exercise.
The JAC determines how many candidates will progress to interview in each exercise based on the number of vacancies for the role that HMCTS has requested. Usually 2 to 3 candidates for each post are interviewed.
As a result, a candidate’s score on one test might result in a pass for that selection exercise, although this may not have the same outcome for another selection exercise.
If there are 2 parts to a qualifying test, the JAC will calculate a pass mark that is based on the average scores in both parts of the test weighted equally.
Next stage: telephone assessments