This is an example of one kind of GE PI group exercise that you may encounter at an assessment centre:

You and your group have found yourselves in a perilous situation as described in the attached document. There is a long list of items that you can use to aid your survival, but you can only take a small number of these items with you (the number will be specified).
Your task is to work out between yourselves which items you will take, and explain why you have chosen these items.
The assessors will normally watch from the edge of the room, with each assessor focusing on a specific candidate. They will play no part in the exercise and you will normally forget they are there.
There will be no definite right or wrong answer to this task; the assessors are interested more in how you work as a team and the process through which you come to a group consensus. Group members will be scored on their individual input, rather than the overall result for the group, so someone may still do very well in a team that has failed to reach a conclusion.
The exercise will usually last 15 to 20 minutes. At the end of the exercise, a member of the group will be asked to write a list of chosen items on a flip chart.
Read through the attached exercise, and if possible, try it out with some friends.

Group Task – Survival
On your way back from a holiday in South America, your shuttle flight to the airport is forced
to make an emergency landing in a small clearing in the Brazilian rainforest. You, the pilot,
and your fellow passengers have only sustained minor injuries but the plane has broken into
pieces and the communication equipment has been destroyed in the impact.
Before the plane crashed the pilot had reported a problem with one of the engines, so there is
a good chance that the authorities will start looking for you when you fail to arrive at your
destination. However, the forest is very dense and it will take days to reach the edge of it on
You cannot remain where you are as there is a danger that the aeroplane fuel will catch fire.
On searching through the wreckage and the remains of your suitcases you find the following
1. A guide to South American plant species
2. 3 elasticated luggage straps
3. 6 frozen airline meals
4. 4 blankets from the plane
5. A pack of 24 anti-malaria tablets
6. A 3 metre square piece of opaque plastic sheeting
7. Tourist map of Brazil
8. 2 large bottles of factor 12 sunscreen
9. Mobile phone with GPS, fully charged
10. 1 litre bottle of the local alcoholic spirit
11. 3 boxes of chocolate chip cookies
12. 4 current paperback novels
13. First aid box
14. Compass
15. Flare gun with one flare
16. A Swiss Army knife
17. A book of matches from the hotel
You are unable to carry more than 7 items from this list. (items containing more than one
object still count as one item).

Ethical dilemmas

These exercises are used to get you to work as a team to come up with the best solution that you can to a given problem.

The attached files contain 5 different dilemmas with an education basis. Read through these, consider what your potential solution would be to each problem and think of how you would justify your answers to team members.

In order to make the most of these exercises you may wish to find three or four friends to go through them with you.

An Ethical Dilemma
Scenario 1
You are a newly appointed lecturer and you are asked to invigilate a final
honours-level exam. It is not in your subject but you recognise some of the
students from your own course. About half-way through the exam, one of
students known to you puts up her hand and asks to be accompanied to the
toilet. As you wait outside you hear her speaking to someone, although you
can’t hear what she is saying. You walk into the bathroom and see that she is
talking to someone on a mobile phone. She immediately turns it off when she
sees you. The student claims that it was a personal phone call, and that she
didn’t know that mobiles weren’t allowed in the exam hall. You find that hard
to believe, but on the other hand you have no concrete evidence that she was
cheating. In your experience, she is an amiable, bright and hard-working
You should discuss as a group what you would do, why you have chosen that
option and what the possible consequences of your actions may be.

Scenario 2
You are studying Educational Psychology and have been asked to participate
in a paired project, which involves a research component. At the beginning of
the project you discuss ideas and decide to write something about autism,
beginning with a small-scale literature review. You agree how to apportion
the background reading and also agree the time and place of the next
meeting. Half an hour before the meeting you get a text message from your
project partner saying that ‘due to circumstances beyond control’ they can’t
make it. They don’t appear in classes that week and you have to arrange the
next meeting over e-mail. Again, they don’t turn up to the meeting, but this
time you receive no explanation. As the deadline for the project write-up is
fast approaching, you decide to do the best you can on your own. You are
understandably annoyed as you have lost a lot of time already, but at least the
mark doesn’t count towards your end of year grade. Or so you thought.
During the next seminar for the Ed Psych module the tutor announces that
there is a mistake in the handbook and the project will make 25% of your final
grade. Your partner doesn’t turn up to another seminar or meeting, and, as
far as you know, they know nothing about the mistake in the handbook. You
get on with the project single-handedly. Just before the date it is due, you
receive a panicked phone call from your partner apologising and saying that
their ‘little brother has been ill and there isn’t much support at home’. They
plead with you to allow their name to appear on the project.
You should discuss as a group what you would do, why you have chosen that
option and what the possible consequences of your actions may be.

Scenario 3
You are a volunteer tutor for a community class in basic skills. You work with
adult students who are a range of different ages, many of whom are in a
classroom for the first time since they left school. At first, you enjoy the work,
the group is lively and the students all seem to get on. Then it becomes clear
that one student is being ostracised by the others. This individual often
volunteers a response in class, but typically that response is unrelated to the
matter in hand. They also have the habit of interrupting other students –
seemingly without realising that this may aggravate the others. After a couple
of weeks you decide to have a word with this student after the class. You try
to be as sensitive as possible and begin by asking if they are enjoying the
classes. The student opens up to you and confides that, although they are
enjoying the classes, they find it hard to concentrate because they suffer from
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. They don’t want you to tell anyone else
about their condition. You reassure them that that isn’t a problem and
encourage them to continue with the course. However, at the end of the
following week’s class one of the other students stays behind and tells you
that if you don’t have the disruptive student removed, none of the others will
return to the class. They know nothing about the disruptive student’s
You should discuss as a group what you would do, why you have chosen that
option and what the possible consequences of your actions may be.

Scenario 4
You are a teacher in a secondary school. You have strict deadlines about the
submission of class-work, but exemptions in exceptional circumstances – for
example, documented illness – are possible. One of the highest-achieving
boys in your class misses the deadline. He has never missed a deadline
before. It happens to be a substantial piece of work that, if missing, would
compromise his overall grade. You ask him to stay behind after the class and
encourage him to volunteer a reason for the absence of the work. ‘I’m sorry, I
don’t really have one’, he replies. ‘But it won’t happen again.’ You are very
conscious that this uncharacteristic behaviour will have a tangible impact, and
are tempted to grant him an extension over the weekend even though there is
no proper explanation. But at the same time you are aware that you would
not make this concession for every child.
You should discuss as a group what you would do, why you have chosen that
option and what the possible consequences of your actions may be.

Scenario 5
You are working in an English department at a secondary school. You have
only been there for a few months. The team seems to get on well, however
when you are alone with one of the team members she is very patronising
and offensive to you. She is never like this in front of the others and you feel
it is unfair as you have always tried to be professional and pleasant towards
Her attitude gets much worse over the following weeks and months. You
know, although you are unable to prove it, that she is spreading malicious
rumours about you. You cannot approach your subject head as you know he
thinks this person is a wonderful and committed teacher. Lessons you have
prepared have disappeared from your desk, and you have missed team
meetings because she ‘forgot’ to tell you about them. You are becoming
more and more stressed and have started dreading going to work in the
morning. Just as you think it couldn’t get any worse you learn that your
bullying colleague is going to be promoted, which means that you’ll be
reporting directly to her. What are you going to do?
You should discuss as a group what you would do, why you have chosen that
option and what the possible consequences of your actions may be.

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