In-Tray and E-Tray Exercises

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In-Tray and E-Tray Exercises

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How do In-Tray and E-Tray Exercises work?

Does your job application require you to pass a in-tray or e-tray exercise? Don’t worry we’ve got you covered! offers realistic test simulations developed by psychologists with years of experience designing tests for large publishers such as CEB/Gartner, Talent Q, Saville Assessment, Kenexa (IBM) and Thomas International.

Ability tests are a typical part of the selection process, or for development within the workplace. In-Tray and E-Tray exercises are one of the most commonly used aptitude tests that come up during a job application. In-Tray and E-Tray exercises are standardized psychometric assessment tests that provide the employing organization with information about a candidate’s general ability to manage and respond to a series of different tasks, to negotiate conflicting demands and analyze different priorities. 

The exercise is based around a fictional business-related scenario where candidates are given a particular job role. It is important to know that both tests are in general based on the same principle. The largest difference between the In-Tray and E-Tray exercise is that the E-Tray variant is presented on a computer and all your responses are entered on-screen. The In-Tray exercise is based on a series of paper-based materials. 

In-Tray and E-Tray exercises are usually given to candidates at an assessment centre, however they can be given at any stage and are sometimes given as a group exercise.

In-Tray Exercises

The In-Tray exercise is, as said earlier, a paper-based simulation to assess job candidates as part of the selection process. Employers use this test to measure a candidate’s ability to process information quickly, prioritize, analyze problems, make decisions, manage time, work accurately, express yourself logically and answer questions tactfully. 

During the test candidates are presented with a business-related scenario, accompanied by a list of related tasks, including details of the role, company information, policy documents, organizational charts, letters of complaint, emails and reports. Candidates are required to prioritize each task in accordance to their perceived information, providing reasons why they have chosen the selected sequence. 

It must be noted that business are starting to move away from the traditional, paper-based exercise to the similar online administered E-Tray exercise.

E-Tray Exercises

The E-Tray is similar to the In-Tray exercise in that they consist of the same type of tasks and also require the candidates to read and respond to a series messages presented in an email inbox. Candidates are required to respond to as many emails as possible, while prioritizing each task in accordance to their perceived information. 

Just like the In-Tray exercise, the E-Tray exercise assesses the candidate’s ability to perform the necessary functions of the position applied for. Typical skills and attributes assessed during these exercises are managerial ability, decision making, organizational skills, interpersonal skills and time management.

What you should know about In-Tray and E-Tray Exercises?

Employers choose to use psychometric testing during their recruitment process to help give a better overall evaluation of candidate’s and their suitability for the job that they’re applying for. Psychometric testing could help to gauge the future performance of candidate's and also improve employee retention by making successful hiring decisions.

Preparing for an assessment centre or online aptitude test can be stressful due to the fact that you don’t know what to expect. The best way to familiarize yourself is with practice aptitude tests that mimic the tests used by employers and recruiters. has prepared thousands of candidates for their assessments and aptitude tests by offering realistic test simulations with fully worked solutions. 

In-Tray and E-Tray exercises are used in combination with other selection techniques, such as psychometric tests (numerical reasoning, verbal reasoning etc.), group exercises, presentations, case study interviews and role play exercises. This means that the performance on all exercises included in the selection procedure are taken into account. So don’t worry if you didn't perform your best on one of the tests; performance on others may make up for this. However, it must be noted that due to the character and work place relevance of this exercise it is widely regarded as a reliable tool for selection purposes, and performance on this specific exercise could be an important factor in the decision making process.

Tips and tricks to ace your In-Tray and E-Tray Exercise

Doing some research about the tests that you need to take is the most important step in preparation for any aptitude test. If you know what to expect you will increase your chances of performing well due to the fact that you’re familiar with the formats. Also, by practicing aptitude tests you will reveal your own strengths and weaknesses that you can work on in preparation for the actual assessment. 

Therefore, we advise you to find out the test publisher and exact name of the tests that you are about to take, and then search or contact us to get more details about this test. 

These effective test-taking strategy tips and tricks are well worth remembering before you take the actual in-tray and/or e-tray exercise:

  • Practice, practice and practice some more to ace your assessment and aptitude tests!

  • Try to stay calm under the the pressure of a time limit and being under observation. Attention to detail and the ability to read and interpret instructions correctly will be the key attributes in this exercise.

  • Read the question, instructions and other information provided carefully before you start the test.

  • Read through the material provided; gain a sense of how much there is to do and try to identify if there is any connected information or clash of appointments/meetings. 

  • Make a plan and make sure you approach the exercise in a structured way. 

Scan, Prioritize and classify:

  • Urgent and important

  • Urgent but not important

  • Important but not urgent

  • Neither important nor urgent

Identify important information by using these indicators:

  • Who is it from?

  • What date was it written? (is it still relevant?)

  • Is action required? If so by who? (Delegate tasks where necessary)

  • Does it refer to deadlines? 

  • It’s impact on the organization (i.e. complaints)?

* Avoid making assumptions; only use the information that has been provided. 

* Remember: there is no one right answer in these types of tests. What’s important is that you are able to provide a logical and clear explanation of the reasons for your decisions.

Why is the market leader in online assessment preparation. With our continuous research and development, we provide a leading-edge e-learning platform. We keep improving our tests to deliver tests with the same standards of the latest tests of all the big assessment publishers. Our products help candidates complete their application fully prepared. Our goal is to help you get ready for your assessment, regardless the company, job, or level you are applying for!

To help you ace your In-Tray and E-Tray Exercises we put together a preparation package, tailor made for your assessment. These tests contain the same questions you can expect in your actual assessment.

All practice aptitude/psychometric tests come with worked solutions and an explanation on how to get to the right answer. Our Personal Progression System will help you track your progress and give a detailed view of your performances. Assessment-Training is more than just a training platform, we are here to help you!

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In-Tray and E-Tray Exercises

These are workplace simulations. They assess your ability to prioritize tasks and interpret information (i.e. letters, emails, memos, reports).
  • 3 Tests
  • PDF downloadable booklets
  • One-off payment


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