Firstly, whether you take our coaching or not, go to our Resources page and take a look at the Numerical Analysis books. Doing the book-work for this element of the Policy Analysis exercise will greatly increase your performance in this exercise.
After that, this exercise tests your written communication skills. In your job as a Fast Streamer, you’ll be expected to deal with a problem swiftly; not only digesting it and recommending a solution, but to communicate that to your seniors.
You will be given a problem with various options as a solution. While there is no set correct answer, you are being tested on what information you use to convey your message – why your suggestion is the best answer. Your evidence needs to come from the information pack itself, do not use your own knowledge to add weight to your argument, as you have no credence in this exercise as a candidate.
You have to weigh up all the options, and not just argue your option as a solution. You should be acknowledging the merits and draw-backs of all options given to you. Balance is key to this exercise so it looks like you have given all options a fair chance (it does not look like a sales pitch). Then your narrative of the options needs to be supported by the facts and circumstances in the information pack logically leads to one solution – your recommendation.
Stay on target. In the real job, your paper will be read by your seniors who have many other responsibilities; the specifics and details of your job are not necessarily relevant to what they need from you. You will read the information pack and there will be far too much information to comprehensively read and convey in your recommendation. You have to scan it all and choose as much information as you can that is pertinent to your recommendation – but as above, that is not just cherry-picking the best information for your option and ignoring the negative. All this information leads to your conclusion, and nothing in your conclusion should not logically flow from what has been written earlier on in your paper.
Keep it simple. As a basic rule, you should be writing sentences no longer than two lines and speaking actively, and not passively; you are making the recommendation, take ownership of it. Leave out any jargon from your script, and use simple language; your readers may not have the knowledge or intellect you have (your work could be passed wider than just your seniors).
Be unambiguous; practice writing in your emails, texts, current job as a senior should only have to read a sentence once, it is probably all they have time for. Even if the spelling and grammar is correct, your choice of words may mean it could be read another way, or the sentence needs to be read again with the following sentence to know the meaning. Make sure this does not happen in your writing.