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Everything You Need to Know About the 2021 Amazon Online Assessment (Interns, New Grads, and Experienced Roles)

Once you move through the initial resume screening, your next step will be passing the Amazon online assessment.

You’ll be taking the online assessment on either SHL’s AMCAT platform or on HackerRank’s one. Both platforms are not proctored, and it doesn’t matter which one you get, so don’t sweat about it.

Now:

As the assessment differs depending on the SDE position you’re applying to; I’ll only focus on the most popular ones: Internships, New Grads (also named SDE 1), and Experienced (SDE 2).

Let’s review each of them.

Amazon SDE Intern and New Grad Online Assessment

The assessment structure for both position levels is similar and includes three parts. So, I placed them here together.

Note that you get all three OAs regardless of how well you do on them. The result (pass or fail) will only be revealed after you have completed all three segments.

Amazon OA1 (Part 1) – Code Debugging:

On this segment, Amazon will give you seven debugging questions that you must complete within 20 minutes. These include, figuring out what the functions do, and how to fix them, along with additional typecasting errors, etc.

Amazon OA2 (Part 2) – Coding and Workstyles:

This contains two subsections - a 70-minute coding assessment, in which you need to answer two coding questions; and a 10-20 minute Workstyles Assessment where you must choose statements that represent your work style.

Here's an example of the question types you'll see on Amazon's Work Style Assessment:

Amazon Work Style Assessment Sample

Amazon OA3 (Part 3) – Technical Problem Solving:

The last part of the online assessment for interns and new grads is a work simulation (in previous years it also included a logical ability test).

Amazon gives you up to four hours to complete the work simulation portion, although many need even less time. This section includes scenario-based questions that simulate a day in the life of an SDE at Amazon.

Important: It’s crucial to base your answers on Amazon’s Leadership Principles, as the scenario questions are built around them. You’ll also need to use these principles in your interview, but more on that later.

Amazon SDE 2 Online Assessment for Experienced Positions

For more senior SDE roles at Amazon, you’ll get only one assessment invitation email (as opposed to three emails for a New Grad/Intern position).

The 2021 Amazon SDE 2 online assessment includes the following:

  • Amazon Coding Assessment (105 minutes):

    Here you get two coding questions and a Coding Approach Questionnaire, in which you need to describe your preferred approach for solving coding questions.

    Don’t make light of the Coding Approach part as real people will read it, and you’ll be asked about it in your interview.
  • Amazon Workstyle Assessment (approx. 15 minutes):

    This is a personality test designed to evaluate your preferred work style (as the name implies) through multiple-choice statements.
  • Feedback Survey (5 minutes):

    A quick survey Amazon has been using on its OAs over the past years.

The Amazon SDE 2 coding challenge's opening screen will be similar to this (the coding questions will vary, of course):

Amazon Coding Challenge Sample

 

You don’t get a second chance to take Amazon’s SDE online assessment. This means that the results you get on the assessment stay with you until you apply for a different position level.


Useful Tips for the Amazon Online Assessment and Interviews

 

Get Used to Coding Under Time Pressure

As you already know, your online coding assessment will be timed. So, it’s crucial that you use a timer while you practice coding questions at home.

Try to analyze how much time every part takes you and finetune it. For example, see how long it takes you to read and understand the question.

The more you practice working under time pressure, the less you will be panicked on test day (plus it’ll make your coding way more effective!).

Focus on the Logic Behind Your Solutions

When you practice for the online assessment, don’t just memorize the answers. Strive to understand the reasoning and patterns behind the solutions, so you can use them on other coding questions.

Amazon changes its coding challenges frequently. So, you might encounter a coding question that hasn’t been uploaded to LeetCode yet.

However, if you know the logic behind every solution, this won’t bother you at all.

Learn How to Articulate Your Though Process

It’s one thing to master dozens of coding questions at home. But explaining your solution and thought process in a high-pressure situation like an interview is taking things to a whole other level.

Like almost any other thing in life, it’s a skill that can be improved.

Here are a few tips for you to use as guiding points:

  • Get used to talking and thinking out loud as you code. This way, even if you’re stuck with an answer during the interview, you’ll be able to express your thought process (and avoid awkward silences).
  • Don’t use abstract or ambiguous wording, make sure to refer to a coding concept by its formal name.
  • Break down your coding explanations into logical sequences, thus making it easier for the interviewer to follow along.
  • If you have several weeks until your Amazon interview, go to a few “practice makes perfect” interviews in other companies. It will help you gain more confidence, and with time, the answers will start rolling off your tongue.

Study Amazon’s Leadership Principles Hard

As you may already know, Amazon is OBSESSED with its Leadership Principles.

In fact, Amazon recruiters and interviewers expect you to answer using them.

So, to get hired you must learn them by heart and use them throughout your assessments (Workstyles and Work simulation) and interviews.

Specifically, you’d want to be ready with at least two real-life work-related examples for every leadership principle (and don’t use the same example more than once!).

Master the Art of Presenting in Front of a Webcam

As of 2020, Amazon has replaced its on-site interviews with virtual ones. And I’m talking about a 5-hour interview for experienced roles, and between 45 minutes to a few hours for New Grads and Interns.

Pretty tough.

Now: These interview sessions cover not only behavioral questions, but also coding solutions on virtual whiteboards. So, make sure you know how to run it smoothly and without any technical glitches that could mess things up.

Don’t Stress Out from the Bar Raiser Interview

The Amazon Bar Raiser interview is hard. I won’t lie to you.

The coding question is going to be a difficult one. And on the behavioral section, the Bar Raiser interviewer will drill hard on questions, asking you about every little detail you provide (yes, this will be annoying).

But if you prepare beforehand, you can significantly increase your chances of passing it:

  1. First, keep in mind that the interviewer doesn’t have anything against you. It’s just part of Amazon’s hiring policy to make part of the interview much harder, so it shortlists the most suitable candidates.
  2. Second, when you practice your answers at home, ensure to break them down into little pieces and details, so you’ll be ready with an instant comeback for any question.
  3. And lastly, remember that the Bar Raiser is a “freak” of Amazon’s Leadership Principles. So, your whole interview will be based around them.


How to Prepare and Pass the Amazon Online Assessment?

Our experienced SDE are currently working on crafting an accurate prep pack to help you pass the Amazon SDE Online Assessment - for Interns, New Grads, and Experienced roles.

Fill out the short form below to get notified once it’s live:

Amazon, SHL, AMCAT, HackerRank, and other trademarks are the property of their respective trademark holders. None of the trademark holders are affiliated with JobTestPrep.

 

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