A Short Guide to Acing the Amazon Work Simulation

One of the most common tools used by Amazon to evaluate candidates is the Work Simulation test. This is intended to be a simulation of scenarios that real Amazon employees encounter in the workplace.

The test is made out of 5 parts called ‘modules’ and typically takes about 50 minutes to answer. Each of those modules has you resolving workplace situations that are typical of real-life work challenges.

To succeed in this test administered by Amazon you should be familiar with the Amazon Leadership Principles and be able to prioritize the principles correctly.

If you have a good working knowledge of the Leadership Principles, this will be useful to you not just when taking the Amazon Work Simulation test, but also when you’re being interviewed for the position later.

Amazon takes the Leadership Principles very seriously and wants candidates to take them seriously too.

amazon work simulation

Table of Contents

Taking the Amazon Work Simulation Test? Learn how you can boost your score

A Short Guide to the Amazon Work Simulation

The Amazon Work Simulation Assessment can be very challenging for unprepared candidates.

This is because it puts candidates face-to-face with real-world scenarios that members of the Amazon team can face in the workplace.

For example, if you are a Program Manager at Amazon, you might be put in charge of Black Friday discounts. It would then be up to you to figure out which of the many products to put on the front page – how would you decide?

In the assessment, you are confronted with hard data (for example, costs), and team member opinions. After reading through the different emails, you must choose the right option.

sample question

To improve your test results, you must show both your judgment and leadership skills. Knowledge of the Amazon Leadership Principles (LPs for short) is paramount for success in this test. Consider the sort of ideal leader that the Leadership Principles describe and try to make the same decisions that person would.

What to expect for the test?

The test is sometimes given different names (for example, ‘hiring simulation’ or ‘job simulation’).

In the past, similar tests that follow the same principles were still used. Generally, the ‘Amazon Hiring Simulation’ is far less common.

If you get an email telling you to expect only a work style assessment and a work simulation test, prepare for both of these tests.

If you are informed specifically that you have to pass a hiring simulation, then you should prepare for it.

After you receive an invitation to an online Amazon Hiring Simulation, you must complete the assessment within seven days (including a work style simulation).

You received an email telling you that you need to take only a work simulation test and a work style assessment. In that case, you should practice both the work and the hiring simulation tests.

What is the Test Like?

The assessment is divided into four sections. Each section contains a workplace scenario and three questions that relate to it. Candidates must rank or grade different responses to the situation.

The opening two sections focus on analytical questions. Candidates are given data to use as the basis for their response, for example, in the form of statistical graphs or tables.

The next two questions focus on Amazon’s workplace values, as summarized in the 16 Leadership Principles (in previous editions, there were 14 of the Principles).

The data in those two sections is presented in a less specific form, and the candidate must make a decision based on the Leadership Principles rather than data. For instance, Customer Obsession is an important value for Amazon, so you should pay attention to this in your answers.

Sample Question
Here’s an example question for the first, more data-oriented, half of the test. Read the message, and then make use of the data underneath it to decide how to rate the answers.

payment process sample question
sample question

Answer to sample question

Here you must recognize trends and rate them by urgency. Rating here means evaluating each choice on its own, rather than in comparison to others, but the scale we use to rate the options remains the same.

Use the data below to identify the trends.
If you look at the first option, it’s clear that you must evaluate two factors when rating the response.

The first of them is transaction volume and the second is the rate of server crashes. We can identify the trends and check for correlations.

It becomes readily apparent that while transaction numbers decline, (100 → 85 → 70) the server crash rate increases (+1% → +1% → +1%).

Option 1 claims that server crashes are caused by there being too many transactions, but the data contradicts this. The option isn’t relevant and thus we will rate it “4”.

In Option 2, we must look at the data in row 3. The change in the percentages isn’t very big, but the fact that it is positive at all demonstrates that the problem is growing somewhat.

incorrect recepites printed

Because there is, in fact, a small amount of growth, we should rate the response “2”.

For Option 3, in the first row (% Payment method not accessible to customer), we see a significant upward trend, from 3% on Week 1, to 5% on Week 2, and finally 9% on the last week.

This shows us that the problem is rapidly escalating and the situation must be addressed urgently. This is the issue that you should prioritize. We can rate the third option to be “1”.

In option 4, the second row (% Payments declined due to unexpected reason) we can see a clear downwards trend.
This shows that every week fewer payments are declined for unknown reasons, which is a good thing. Therefore this option needs to be rated with “4”.

Clearly, this test question requires good judgment and reasoning skills if you want to succeed. But there’s another aspect to the question that you must be ready for – it is used by Amazon to evaluate your prioritization and workplace skills.

Tips for Passing the Amazon Work Simulation

Don’t forget about time: The test is essentially untimed (it is timed for 2 hours, but most candidates won’t need it). Some questions might take more time to answer, and that’s okay!

Be familiar with the 16 Leadership Principles: Amazon takes these values very seriously. They expect the same from you, so be ready.

Answer in A Quiet Location: Many of the scenarios are quite complex. Answering them correctly requires you to concentrate – so choose a place that’s distraction free.

Practice for the test: The Amazon Work Simulation Test is fairly challenging, so don’t lull yourself into a false sense of security. Doing several practice runs with mock tests is the best way to get a leg up on the competition.


How to Pass the Work Simulation Assessment?

The most important part involves studying and practicing for the test ahead of time. The Work Simulation test is one of a kind, and it is intended to evaluate whether your values align with those of Amazon.

What Is the Difference Between the Amazon Hiring Simulation and Work Simulation?

The main difference between the two simulations is that the hiring simulation evaluates analytical and numerical skills along with critical thinking skills and Amazon leadership principles, whereas the work simulation only focuses on the latter.

Is Passing the Work Simulation Test Hard?

The test is very challenging, combining both elements of a personality test and a skills test. Amazon is a very selective employer, and most candidates do not pass this test.

What is the Work-Style Assessment?

This is a personality test commonly given in conjunction with the Work Simulation or Hiring Simulation.

Is the Test Limited in Time?

The test is essentially not timed (there is a clock, but it gives candidates a lot more time than they’ll ever need) and usually takes a candidate 15-30 minutes to complete. You should also expect to finish the Work Style Assessment within an additional 15 minutes.

If you are serious about getting the job, prep with our recommended resource