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 comprehension tests: English, French, German
  • Finance skills test: English, French, German
  • Microsoft Office skills test
  • Drafting skills test:
    This practical test is designed to assess the candidates' drafting skills (particularly spelling, lexical and grammar) in their language 2, not their knowledge of the topic dealt with in their composition.
    Candidates will be provided with a list of different topics, from which they will need to choose only one. They will be asked to draft a composition on the chosen topic.
    The test will be performed on computer and last for 30 minutes.
  • 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)

  • 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.


Administrators (AD-Generalists)


Administrators (AD – Specialists)


Lawyer-linguist (AD)


Translators (AD)

  • Reasoning skills tests: verbal, numerical and abstract interactive tests
  • Translation tests
  • Language comprehension testsEnglish, French, German
  • Group exercise: EnglishFrenchGerman
  • Oral presentation: EnglishFrenchGerman
  • Main language skills test: sample
    The main language skills test is a pilot test. In 2017 it is not eliminatory and the marks scored by candidates will not be taken into account in the course of this competition. The results will be processed on an anonymous basis solely for analytical purposes with a view to the organisation of future competitions.
    The main language skills test is a multiple-choice test made up of 25 independent questions. Each question comprises 4 options, out of which only one (A, B, C or D) is the correct answer. Candidates have 25 minutes to finish the test. The questions may target any of the following competencies: grammar, vocabulary, idiomatic usage, spelling and punctuation.


Interpreters (AD)


Contract Agents

  • Reasoning skills tests:
    For FG I, please refer to Assistants (AST-SC) section.
    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: This is a multiple-choice question (MCQ) test that evaluates your knowledge in the field of a specific profile. See the call for expression of interest for details.

    CAST Permanent (EPSO/CAST/P1-P17/2017): The competency test for contract agents includes a series of 25 multiple-choice questions which are designed to test the inherent competence to the duties required for the specific profile. The questions in the competency tests are related to the duties described in the Call for Expression of Interest. They are not in the field of a specific institution/agency/service. Each question is based on a scenario linked to four different answer options, only one of which is correct.  Each question yields one point and wrong answers are not penalised. Candidates have 50 minutes in total at their disposal to answer to the 25 multiple-choice questions.  While the time factor is part of the assessment as well, the tests are designed in a way to allow candidates to possibly answer all questions within the allocated timeframe. The competency tests will be taken in the candidates' second language. The pass mark is 13 out of 25 points for both function groups II and III whereas for function group IV candidates need to score 16 out of 25 points to pass.

See our sample test for Finance profile: questions on financial procedures, accounting management, analysis and advice (audits and controls), which may also cover economic theories and tools to monitor and analyse economic and financial trends, developments and data.
See our sample test for Project / Programme Management profile: questions on knowledge of project/programme management (planning, monitoring, evaluation, etc.) which also cover relevant financial aspects, communication and quality assurance.
See our sample test for Secretaries/Clerks profile: questions on a range of secretarial tasks/clerical duties such as organising meetings, preparing missions, filing documents and mail, sorting post, maintaining appointment diaries, etc. Basic knowledge of MS Office software products is also tested.
See our sample test for Administration / Human Resources profile: questions mostly related to personnel management and professional training.
See our sample test for Communication profile: questions on practical tools such as, but not limited to, briefings, factsheets, online communication, social media as well as on pertinent project management aspects related to e.g. definition/implementation/execution of communication strategies.
See our sample test for Political Affairs / EU Policies profile: questions are on knowledge in political areas, both on general and EU level, but can also cover legal and economical subjects.
See our sample test for Law profile: questions on knowledge of EU, national and international law which may also cover political and economic subjects.
See our sample test for Information and Communication Technology (ICT) profile: questions on a variety of ICT related topics such as, but not limited to, the use of programming languages such as JAVA, Visual Basic, Visual C#, etc., user environment administration (e.g. Windows and Unix) and network and telecommunications management.

CAST Permanent (EPSO/CAST/P18/2017 - FG I): There is no competency test for this function group.

All these tests will be computer-based and you will take them at the same time in a test centre of your choice (to be selected from those available). The list of available test centres will be accessible to candidates in their invitation letter.

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