UCL Careers


Problem Solving Skills

The process of assessing a variety of situations and finding an outcome or solution.

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Explore your understanding

You will find that in every career sector, problems and setbacks occur. Some of these problems are expected and some can be more complex than others.

Employers are looking for evidence that you can think creatively, apply logic and offer solutions.

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Find and develop your skill

Where can you improve your problem solving skills at UCL?
There is a lot of support here to help you develop this skill!

  • Employer–led Skills Session:
    Attend a skills session delivered by employers to learn more about the problems and challenges that would be typical for graduate employees to tackle in their organisations.  You can attend one of our mock assessment centres and take part in a problem solving activity.

    Visit myUCLCareers for upcoming events.

  • Innovation and Enterprise:
    Attend a 2 day boot camp with the Innovation and Enterprise team and learn about the problems businesses look to address. You'll also get the opportunity to practice problem solving skills whilst working alongside others. 

  • Students' Union UCL:
    Be part of a club or society within the Students’ Union and further develop your problem solving skills. Take on a role within a committee and contribute to the operations and success of the wider group including challenges and problems when they arise. The Students Union also offer a variety of skills sessions such as problem solving and project management where you can gain practical problem solving experience. 

  • Volunteering:
    UCL’s Volunteering Services Unit partners with more than 400 local charities to promote their volunteering opportunities. Many volunteering roles will require you to engage with problems faced by the organisation and contribute to finding and implementing solutions. 

  • Information Systems Division (ISD) Digital Skills Development:

    Access a wide range training opportunities with ISD, where you can develop your digital skills through face-to face training, drop in sessions and online learning.

  • Go Abroad:
    UCL Go Abroad programmes encompass an enriching selection of worldwide opportunities tailored to support UCL students to perform at their full potential and further develop their problem solving skills. Attend an event to learn more about the global opportunities available both short term and longer term as part of your degree.

Postgraduate Researchers:

Prepare your examples:

Practicing case studies and tests can help develop your problem solving skills. You can find more information on these on the ‘prepare to apply’ section of our website. https://www.ucl.ac.uk/careers/applying/psychometric-tests

Applying for work experience gives you a chance to develop a variety of skills. You can find more about internships and other opportunities available to you through UCL careers. https://www.ucl.ac.uk/careers/

Your department also may be able to tell you about internships and opportunities as part of your course.

Can you describe a difficult problem you faced in your studies or extracurricular activities? What steps did you take to solve it?

Can you think of a time where you had a creative approach to solve a tricky problem? Did things go according to plan? If not, what would you have done differently?

Can you describe a time where you have suggested an improvement?

Need some support on how to prepare for problem solving?
Visit our 'Psychometric and aptitude tests' page to see the different examples of problem solving and situational judgement tests.

Want more support on how to talk about and demonstrate your problem solving skills as part of an interview?
Visit our Interview Skills page. Here you can find out more about how to structure your answer and demonstrate your skills along with many more resources that will help you prepare.

If you have written a draft application for any type of opportunity, our team can provide personalised practical tips and advice to help you better understand how recruiters will shortlist your application, and how you can best demonstrate your motivation and your most relevant skills / experience.