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Group discussions in assessment centers generally consist of groups of six participants.  This number can vary, depending on the number of participants involved in the assessment center and the exercise design.  Generally, any number less than four makes it very difficult to assess an exercise as a "group" exercise.  Likewise, any number of participants beyond nine makes it difficult for a group to function efficiently within the constraints of the assessment center.  Group dynamics are very active in these exercises, and many factors affect and are impacted by the number of participants in a group discussion.

Focus on the dimensions of this exercise.  Work towards being the one who keeps the group on track, who listens well to others, and can synthesize what the group has discussed.  Focus on the larger perspective and keep the goals of the group constantly in mind.  The group will wander from topic to topic.  Someone should keep them focused and within the artificial parameters of the exercise.  Be sensitive to the needs of others, and facilitate discussion and group involvement, rather than dominating the conversation.  Wrap up, be accurate and concise.  Did you meet the goals of the exercise that were spelled out for you?  Did you hear from everyone?  Did people "cut" each other off in the conversation?  Were some people "wallflowers"?  These are just some things to keep in mind.  Next time you are in a department meeting, look to enhance your participation.  Practice!

If you would like to review additional promotional exam prep packages, go to our Assessment Center Exam Prep pages at the links below:

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Don McNea Fire School's Assessment Center Exam Preparation has been put together by Fire Chiefs who are nationally-recognized authors and who have been assessors for thousands of assessment center examinations.

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