Sample tests

Everything you need to know about our tests

As part of the selection procedure for each open competition published on the EPSO website, candidates will be expected to take a series of tests to assess both their general and professional skills and competencies. The first round of tests that most candidates will be asked to take are computer-based multiple-choice tests, unless they are applying for specialist roles in which case the initial selection procedure may be judged on qualifications only.

Candidates who succeed at the computer-based multiple-choice tests and/or the selection based on qualifications, and whose online application forms show that they meet all general and specific eligibility conditions of their competition, are invited to an assessment centre.

The assessment centre is normally held in Brussels or Luxembourg, and may take place over one or more days. In the assessment centre, candidates’ general competencies and their specific competencies related to the duties in question are tested.

Sample tests for these two rounds of tests are given in the following pages. They are designed to give candidates an idea of the type of questions they may face. Please note that the number and type of tests candidates take vary according to the competition type and level for which they apply. For details on the tests included in a specific selection procedure, please check the Notice of Competition (or Call for Expression of Interest).

EPSO does not provide any preparatory courses or material apart from these sample tests, neither does it endorse any other organisations' publications or training courses.

Some EU member states offer training and support for EU nationals, through the following contacts or via their Permanent Representation to the EU.


Assistants (AST-SC)

  • Reasoning skills tests: verbal, numerical and abstract interactive tests
  • Professional skills tests:  
  • E-tray exercise: sample E-tray question: EnglishFrenchGerman
  • Language tests: English, French, German
  • Office skills test: English, French, German
  • Finance skills test: English, French, German
  • MS Word and Excel test: English, French, German
  • Editing test:

    The editing test is about correcting linguistic errors and formatting mistakes in a translation.

    The source text in Language 2 is provided on screen. A translation of this text into Language 1, provided as an editable MSWord file, contains mistakes in the language and the format in comparison to the source text. The candidate is asked to detect and correct these mistakes, in order to match the source text.

    The test lasts approximately one hour.
  • Role Play:

    The candidate receives a written briefing right before the play. In the briefing (around 5-10 minutes of preparation), the candidate is invited to prepare a meeting with a "customer". The candidate must take the role of the job he/she is applying to. The role of the "customer" is also explained, and a problem is described.

    The role play itself lasts around 15 minutes and allows testing several general competencies. It consists in a meeting with the "customer" about the problem. The "customer", a trained member of staff, provides additional information during the meeting, according to a semi-structured script. The meeting is done in presence of two members of the Selection Board. The Selection Board members do not intervene and just take notes. At the end of the exercise, the scoring is made by the Selection Board members. 


Assistants (AST)


Administrators (AD-Generalists)


Administrators (AD – Specialists)


Lawyer-linguist (AD)


Translators (AD)


Interpreters (AD)


Contract Agents

  • Reasoning skills tests:
    For FG II, please refer to Assistants (AST-SC) section.
    For FG III, please refer to Assistants (AST) section.
    For FG IV, please refer to Administrators (AD - Generalist) section.
  • Competency-based test:
    Finance: English, French, German
    Projects/ Programmes: English, French, German

Glossary of terms

Abstract reasoning test :

assesses candidates' ability to think logically and understand the relations between concepts involving no linguistic, spatial or numerical elements

Case study :

generally a computer-based test based on a relevant scenario, in which candidates are faced with various problems that they are asked to solve or to which they must react, relying solely on the material provided

E-tray :

a computer-based test in which candidates are asked to answer a number of questions using the documentation provided in an e-mail inbox

Group exercise :

after absorbing a certain amount of information on their own, candidates are put in a group with several other participants to discuss their conclusions and reach a collective decision

Numerical reasoning test :

assesses candidates' ability to think logically and understand numerical information

Oral presentation :

an individual test of analysis and presentation, in which candidates are asked to come up with a proposal concerning a fictitious work-related problem. After analysing the documentation provided, candidates have to present their ideas to a small group of people

Situational judgement test :

assesses a candidate's typical behaviour in a working context

Verbal reasoning test :

assesses candidates' ability to think logically and understand verbal information