Sample tests

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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/field related competencies 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 (consult the official directory of the European Union).

 

Is an EU Career for you?

Completing the 'EU Career, My Career?' questionnaire will help you to determine whether a career in the EU institutions is for you and if you are likely to meet the standards required of an EU official. The questions and replies will give you a realistic overview of the work environment in the EU institutions.

Try the questionnaire

 

Assistants (AST-SC)

  • Online tests: samples
    • Reasoning skills tests:
      Verbal (assesses your ability to think logically and understand verbal, numerical information).
      Numerical (assesses your ability to think logically and understand numerical information).
      Abstract (assesses your ability to think logically and understand the relations between concepts involving no linguistic, spatial or numerical elements).
    • Professional skills tests:
      Accuracy and precision (assesses your ability to process information quickly).
      Prioritising and organising (assesses your ability to organise and prioritise work).
       
  • E-tray: sample
    Computer-based simulation of a real work situation and replicates an email inbox which contains information relating to a particular issue. You need to find solutions in the best way possible within a fixed amount of time. The exercise is taken in your language two and is designed to measure three competencies: Analysis and Problem Solving, Delivering Quality and Results and Prioritising and Organising.
     
  • Language comprehension tests: sample
    The language comprehension test includes a series of 12 Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ), which are designed to assess your linguistic abilities in terms of vocabulary, grammar/syntax constructions and style. 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 30 minutes in total at their disposal to answer to the 12 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. Questions do not require additional knowledge and are only based on the information provided in the text.
     
  • Finance skills test: samples: English, French, German - This is a test to assess your skills in the field of finance. There are a total of 25 questions in your second language that you will have to answer in 30 minutes.
  • Microsoft Office skills test: sample - This test will assess your skills in the preparation and/or processing of MS Word and Excel documents (MS Office Version: Windows 7 – MS Office 2010). The test will last for 60 minutes.
     
  • 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 assignment and background information to read right before the role play in order to prepare for the exercise. In the assignment and background information, the candidate is invited to prepare a meeting with a "role player" (around 5-10 minutes of preparation). The candidate must take the role of the job which he/she is applying for. The role of the "role player" is also explained, and a problem is described.
    The role play itself lasts around 15 – 20 minutes and allows testing several general competencies. It consists in a meeting with the "role player" about the problem. The trained role player may provide additional information during the meeting, according to a semi-structured script. At all time, the candidate has access to the written briefing and background information as well as their note. Two members of the Selection Board observe the exercise. They do not intervene and just take notes.
    After the exercise, the scoring is made by the Selection Board members. 
     
  • Field-related test: The field-related test includes a series of multiple-choice questions (MCQ) which are designed to test the inherent competence to the duties required for the specific profile. Each question is based on a textual scenario linked to four different answer options, only one of which is correct. Further information is indicated in the notice of competition and in the invitation letter.

 

Assistants (AST)

  • Online tests: samples
    • Reasoning skills tests:
      Verbal (assesses your ability to think logically and understand verbal, numerical information).
      Numerical (assesses your ability to think logically and understand numerical information).
      Abstract (assesses your ability to think logically and understand the relations between concepts involving no linguistic, spatial or numerical elements).
    • Professional skills tests:
      Accuracy and precision (assesses your ability to process information quickly).
      Prioritising and organising (assesses your ability to organise and prioritise work).
       
  • Situational judgment test: samples: EnglishFrenchGerman and scoring example - This test assesses your typical behaviour in a working context.
     
  • Field-related test:
    The field-related test includes a series of multiple-choice questions (MCQ) which are designed to test the inherent competence to the duties required for the specific profile. Each question is based on a textual scenario linked to four different answer options, only one of which is correct. Further information is indicated in the notice of competition and in the invitation letter.
     
  • Language comprehension tests: sample
    The language comprehension test includes a series of 12 Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ), which are designed to assess your linguistic abilities in terms of vocabulary, grammar/syntax constructions and style. 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 30 minutes in total at their disposal to answer to the 12 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. Questions do not require additional knowledge and are only based on the information provided in the text.
  • Editing test: The editing test is about correcting linguistic errors (numbering, punctuation, grammar/spelling and vocabulary) 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 (MS Office 2010) 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.
     
  • Drafting of a note relating to duties/Written test in the field:
    The test is designed to evaluate some of the competences inherent to the duties required for a particular profile. A specific situation is provided in the form of a short written briefing, and candidates are asked to draft a note including the ways to address this situation. The test is on computer and must be taken in the candidates' second language. The pass mark is indicated in the Notice of competition.
     
  • Specific competency-based interview/Field related interview:
    The test is designed to evaluate some or all (see the Notice of competition) of the competences inherent to the duties required for a specific profile. It is a structured interview by two members of the Selection Board. The interview is in the candidates' second language. The pass mark is indicated in the Notice of competition. The specific competency-based interview/field related interview should not be confused with the general competency-based interview, which is also structured but which focuses on general competencies rather than specific duties. 
     
  • Group exercise: samples: EnglishFrenchGerman - After absorbing a certain amount of information on your own, you are put in a group with several other participants to discuss your conclusions and reach a collective decision.

 

Administrators (AD-Generalists)

  • Online tests: samples
    • Reasoning skills tests:
      Verbal (assesses your ability to think logically and understand verbal, numerical information).
      Numerical (assesses your ability to think logically and understand numerical information).
      Abstract (assesses your ability to think logically and understand the relations between concepts involving no linguistic, spatial or numerical elements).
    • Sample situational judgment testThis test assesses your typical behaviour in a working context - some more samples: EnglishFrenchGerman and scoring example.
       
  • E-Tray: sample: Computer-based simulation of a real work situation and replicates an email inbox which contains information relating to a particular issue.  
  • Group exercise: samples: EnglishFrenchGerman - After absorbing a certain amount of information on your own, you are put in a group with several other participants to discuss your conclusions and reach a collective decision.
  • Oral presentation: samples: EnglishFrenchGerman - This is an individual test of analysis and presentation, in which you are asked to come up with a proposal concerning a fictitious work-related problem. After analysing the documentation provided, you have to present your ideas to a small group of people.
  • Case study: samples: EnglishFrenchGerman - This is a computer-based test based on a relevant scenario, in which you are faced with various problems that you are asked to solve or to which you must react, relying solely on the material provided.
     
  • Motivational interview:
    The motivation to join the EU Institutions is multifaceted, involving several elements: the origin of the interest to work for the EU, the awareness about and commitment to EU values, the understanding of present and future challenges of the EU, the expectations regarding an EU career, knowledge of the EU and its origins, of the EU institutions and of the main EU policies.
    On this basis, a motivational interview has been developed and consists of a 20 minute structured interview by two members of the Selection Board. The EU motivational interview will test each of the above elements.

 

Administrators (AD – Specialists)

  • Online tests: samples
    • Reasoning skills tests:
      Verbal (assesses your ability to think logically and understand verbal, numerical information).
      Numerical (assesses your ability to think logically and understand numerical information).
      Abstract (assesses your ability to think logically and understand the relations between concepts involving no linguistic, spatial or numerical elements).
    • Sample situational judgment testThis test assesses your typical behaviour in a working context - some more samples: EnglishFrenchGerman and scoring example.
       
  • E-Tray: sample: Computer-based simulation of a real work situation and replicates an email inbox which contains information relating to a particular issue.
  • Group exercise: EnglishFrenchGerman - After absorbing a certain amount of information on your own, you are put in a group with several other participants to discuss your conclusions and reach a collective decision.
  • Oral presentation: EnglishFrenchGerman - This is an individual test of analysis and presentation, in which you are asked to come up with a proposal concerning a fictitious work-related problem. After analysing the documentation provided, you have to present your ideas to a small group of people.
  • Case study: EnglishFrenchGerman - This is a computer-based test based on a relevant scenario, in which you are faced with various problems that you are asked to solve or to which you must react, relying solely on the material provided.
     
  • Specific competency-based interview/Field related interview: 
    The test is designed to evaluate some or all (see the Notice of competition) of the competences inherent to the duties required for a specific profile. It is a structured interview by two members of the Selection Board. The interview is in the candidates' second language. The pass mark is indicated in the Notice of competition. The specific competency-based interview/field related interview should not be confused with the general competency-based interview, which is also structured but which focuses on general competencies rather than specific duties.
     
  • Drafting of a note relating to duties/Written test in the field: 
    The test is designed to evaluate some of the competences inherent to the duties required for a particular profile. A specific situation is provided in the form of a short written briefing, and candidates are asked to write about the ways to address this situation. The test is on computer and must be taken in the candidates' second language. The pass mark is indicated in the Notice of competition.
     
  • Field-related test:
    The field-related test includes a series of multiple-choice questions (MCQ) which are designed to test the inherent competence to the duties required for the specific profile. Each question is based on a textual scenario linked to four different answer options, only one of which is correct. Further information is indicated in the notice of competition and in the invitation letter.

 

Lawyer-linguist (AD)

  • Online tests: samples
    • Reasoning skills tests:
      Verbal (assesses your ability to think logically and understand verbal, numerical information).
      Numerical (assesses your ability to think logically and understand numerical information).
      Abstract (assesses your ability to think logically and understand the relations between concepts involving no linguistic, spatial or numerical elements).
    • Sample situational judgment testThis test assesses your typical behaviour in a working context - some more samples: EnglishFrenchGerman and scoring example.
       
  • Language comprehension tests: samples: English, French, German
  • Translation tests: samples: German, English, Spanish, French, Italian
  • Summary test: sample
    In this test, you will be given a text in language 3 and asked to write on computer a summary of it in language 1 (the language of the competition). The length of test is approximately 2 hours. The use of dictionaries is forbidden.
  • Group exercise: samples: EnglishFrenchGerman - After absorbing a certain amount of information on your own, you are put in a group with several other participants to discuss your conclusions and reach a collective decision.

 

Translators (AD)

  • Online tests: samples
    • Reasoning skills tests:
      Verbal (assesses your ability to think logically and understand verbal, numerical information).
      Numerical (assesses your ability to think logically and understand numerical information).
      Abstract (assesses your ability to think logically and understand the relations between concepts involving no linguistic, spatial or numerical elements).
    • Sample situational judgment testThis test assesses your typical behaviour in a working context - some more samples: EnglishFrenchGerman and scoring example.
       
  • Translation tests
  • Language comprehension tests: samples: English, French, German
  • Group exercise: EnglishFrenchGerman - After absorbing a certain amount of information on your own, you are put in a group with several other participants to discuss your conclusions and reach a collective decision.
  • Oral presentation: samples: EnglishFrenchGerman - This is an individual test of analysis and presentation, in which you are asked to come up with a proposal concerning a fictitious work-related problem. After analysing the documentation provided, you have to present your ideas to a small group of people.
  • Main language skills test: sample
    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)

  • Online tests: samples
    • Reasoning skills tests:
      Verbal (assesses your ability to think logically and understand verbal, numerical information).
      Numerical (assesses your ability to think logically and understand numerical information).
      Abstract (assesses your ability to think logically and understand the relations between concepts involving no linguistic, spatial or numerical elements).
  • Group exercise: samples: EnglishFrenchGerman - After absorbing a certain amount of information on your own, you are put in a group with several other participants to discuss your conclusions and reach a collective decision.
  • Oral presentation: samples: EnglishFrenchGerman - This is an individual test of analysis and presentation, in which you are asked to come up with a proposal concerning a fictitious work-related problem. After analysing the documentation provided, you have to present your ideas to a small group of people.

 

Contract Agents / CAST Permanent

  • Reasoning skills tests:
    For FG I, II and III please refer to Assistants (AST-SC) or Assistants (AST) sections.
    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.

    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.

    This type of test is applicable to the following profiles:

Finance: 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.
Project / Programme Management: questions on knowledge of project/programme management (planning, monitoring, evaluation, etc.) which also cover relevant financial aspects, communication and quality assurance.
Secretaries/Clerks: 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.
Administration / Human Resources: questions mostly related to personnel management and professional training.
Communication: 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.
Political Affairs / EU Policies: questions are on knowledge in political areas, both on general and EU level, but can also cover legal and economical subjects.
Law: questions on knowledge of EU, national and international law which may also cover political and economic subjects.
Information and Communication Technology (ICT): 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.
Child care staff: questions on childcare in after-school facilities and outdoors (children aged 3.5-14), kindergarten teaching and nursery/nurses and childcare work for children aged 0-3 in crèches.
Educational Psychologistsquestions covering different aspects such as the coordination of work of a nursery or after-school centre and its staff,  the quality of life of the children and interaction with the parents, the development and monitoring of the educational mission statement (including training).
 

  • Language comprehension test: this is a Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ) that assesses your comprehension of the Language 2 (English, French, Deutsch) in terms of vocabulary, grammar/syntax constructions and style.

    The language comprehension test for contract agents includes a series of 12 Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ) which are designed to test your comprehension of the L2 (EN-FR-DE) in terms of vocabulary, grammar/syntax constructions and style . 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 30 minutes in total at their disposal to answer to the 12 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 pass mark is 6 out of 12 points for function group III and 7 out of 12 points for function groups IV.

    This type of test is applicable to the following profiles:

    Translators / Proofreadersa test aiming at assessing that candidates have a good comprehension of the L2 (EN-FR-DE) in terms of vocabulary, grammar/syntax constructions and style. Questions do not require additional knowledge and are only based on the information provided in the text.
     
  • 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.
     
  • For Manual and administrative support workers profile: there is no competency test and no language comprehension test, only reasoning skills tests.

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