2015 EPSO AD Competition: How The Changes Affect Your Chances Of Success | EU Training

2015 EPSO AD Competition: How The Changes Affect Your Chances Of Success

There have been major  changes this year to the EPSO AD Competition that will greatly affect your preparation  for the exams. Here is our  advice on how you should approach the exams to maximise your chances of success. 

If you are totally new to this process, you’ll want to know exactly what to expect. Make sure you watch our FREE 2015 EPSO AD Information Webcast, which explains very clearly the application process and exam steps.

Key changes to the 2015 EPSO AD Competition that you need to know about

Change #1 – The scoring system for the Pre-Selection exam has changed. 

The tests still comprise of Verbal Reasoning, Numerical Reasoning, Abstract Reasoning and Situational Judgement, but adjustments in how the results of these tests are calculated greatly changes how you should prepare for these tests. 

  • Your results in the Verbal Reasoning and Numerical Reasoning tests will NOT be taken into account in the calculation of your total Pre-Selection mark. You still need a minimum pass mark of 50% in these tests to qualify for the next stage of the competition, but the overall result you attain in the Verbal Reasoning and Numerical Reasoning tests do not count towards the final score.
  • The two tests that WILL be taken into consideration when calculating your total Pre-Selection mark will be the Abstract Reasoning and Situational Judgement tests. To put this change into perspective, the Situational Judgement test now accounts for 66% of your total score, while the Abstract Reasoning test accounts for 34%. With the Numerical Reasoning and Verbal Reasoning tests it is enough to “just pass”, however with the Situational Judgment and the Abstract Reasoning tests, you need to pass with an amazingly good score.
  • The number of questions, time limits and pass marks for some tests have been adjusted. The number  of questions asked in the Abstract Reasoning test has increased from 10 to 20, however the time allotted to answer each question has remained the same – 1 minute. Situational Judgement test conditions have remained the same, however a pass mark in this exam is 24 out of 40 (NOT 20)! Having said this, you need to do much better than a pass mark in the Abstract Reasoning and Situational Judgement tests if you wish to get to the next stage of the competition. 
Tests Questions Duration Pass Mark
Verbal Reasoning 10 questions 18 min 5/10
Numerical Reasoning 10 questions 20 min 5/10
Abstract Reasoning 20 questions 20 min 10/20
Situational Judgement 20 questions 30 min 24/40


Change #2 – The number of selection steps has increased from TWO to THREE. 

An “Intermediate Test” stage has been added in after the Pre-Selection stage and before the Assessment Centre stage of the AD Competition. Those who attain the highest score in the Abstract Reasoning and Situational Judgement tests (during the Pre-Selection stage) will move on to the Intermediate Test stage. The new process looks like this:

  • Stage 1 – Pre-Selection Exams: This stage consists of 4 computer based tests - Numerical Reasoning Test, Verbal Reasoning Test, Abstract Reasoning Test and Situational Judgement Test. Everyone who registers for the AD Competition will take part in this stage.
  • Stage 2 – Intermediate Test: This stage consists only of an e-tray exercise. Those who scored the highest in the Pre-Selection exams will progress to this stage. EPSO plans to invite  about 10-11 times the number of places advertised in the Competition to this stage. So, if there are 149 places available on the Reserve List, somewhere between 1500-1600 candidates will be invited to compete at this level.
  • Stage 3 – Assessment Centre: This stage consists of attending an assessment day in Brussels. During the day candidates will be required to take part in activities to test their “Competencies”. Approximately, 300-350 candidates make in to this stage from the Intermediate Test stage. 

While this change may not seem very significant at first glance, it has the potential to radically increase your chances of moving on to the next round and changes how you should strategically approach each stage of the competition. 

Before, you needed to do remarkably well in the Pre-Selection tests to get invited to the Assessment Centre. With the addition of this new level and changes in the scoring system of the Pre-Selection tests your chances for success have massively improved. Consequently, your preparation for the various stages and exams need to be adjusted to ensure you focus your practice energy where it is most beneficial to gaining a competitive advantage. 

How best to prepare for the 2015 AD Competition?

Don’t leave your application to the last minute!

Applications for the AD Competition close on 21 April, 2015. Experience has shown that the EPSO application system severely slows down and often experiences technical problems in the days leading up to the close date. So make sure you apply as soon as possible as this is the most easily avoidable mistake and you have total control over it. You can access the AD Notice of Competition here.

Plan your preparation and start practicing right now.

The most prepared candidates further increase their chances of success. To be successful in this process you need to prepare and train for the competition. For almost a decade now, Online EU Training has helped thousands of participants train for the EPSO exams and has observed that the typical successful candidate:

  • Started regularly practicing 10-12 weeks before the exam date. 
  • During this period solved at least 850 test questions.
  • Practiced a minimum of 1 hour per day or 10 hours per week.
  • Attended online webinar methodology training.
  • Answered 87% of the questions correctly.
  • Was able to answer an EPSO exam question within 1 minute.

Planning out the weeks leading up to the exams and having a solid study routine will ensure you have enough time to prepare for each test without experiencing stress and will greatly increase your confidence.

5 Things To Do If You Really Want To Become An EU Administrator 

Learn the exam methodology and do tons of simulation.

Learning the test methodologies means you become familiar with  shortcuts that will help you perform much better in the actual exam. For example, in the Numerical Reasoning test, know how to quickly find those important pieces of information in the chart. Familiarise yourself with easily identifying the flow and patterns in the Abstract Reasoning test. Learn the science behind the Situational Judgment Test. 

Online EU Training has an extensive library of webinars to help you better understand the methodology behind each test. Some of these are live, where you can ask questions from our tutors and coaches. Additionally, browse the Tips and Tricks section of our website for useful articles on test methodology, such as: 

Do lots of simulations to familiarise yourself with the interface. You want to be able to go into the exam and ensure you don’t waste a single second learning the interface or risk losing a single point because you’re not intimately familiar with the way the computer system works for the computer based tests.  Please note that our interface simulate the one used by EPSO. See Online EPSO Test Preparation Packages.

Understand the detailed rules of the competition

Make sure to ALWAYS check the official Notice of Competition and understand the rules relating to the exams. This will also help you highlight which tests are the most important when it comes to scoring and exam results.  

To test your abilities in the various test areas (Numerical Reasoning, Verbal Reasoning, Abstract Reasoning and Situational Judgement) we recommend you complete our FREE EPSO Tests Demo which will help you identify your strengths/weaknesses between the tests and key areas that need improvement.

As your EPSO AD Pre-Selection exam result will be based on your Abstract Reasoning and Situational Judgement test scores, these two tests are extremely important to focus on during your practice period. While your Verbal Reasoning and Numerical Reasoning test scores will not be directly counted towards your final Pre-Selection exam score, you will still need to be able to reach the minimum pass mark of 50% for each test. Don’t forget about practicing for these crucial tests, especially if you are having difficulties reaching the pass mark of 5/10. 

Our recommended study plan…

  1. Do and revise at least 1-2 Situational Judgement practice tests per week. Remember this test accounts for 66%of your total score! Understanding test methodology is crucial here. Invest time into familiarising yourself with the right and wrong  behaviours for each competency (Analysis & Problem Solving, Delivering Quality & Results, Priority & Organising and Working with Others). Candidates who study these competencies in detail strongly increase their chances of success in the Pre-Selection stage, as well as in the subsequent stages of the competition.
  2. Do at least 20-30 Abstract Reasoning practice questions per week. This test accounts for 34% of your total score, so it is also very important to master. The more you practice this type of test, the greater you enhance your ability to identify the most common patterns used in this form of testing.  
  3. Do at least 20-30 Numerical Reasoning and Verbal Reasoning practice questions per week. As mentioned above, it is vital that you can confidently attain a pass mark of at least 5/10 for each of these exams ALL THE TIME! While the scores of these exams do not count towards your final Pre-Selection exam score, you MUST pass each exam to be eligible to progress to the next round. If you are facing difficulties reaching a pass mark, then you will need to dedicate more time to these exams.

How can we help you?

As Europe's #1 EPSO preparation site, we offer the widest range of materials for all stages and levels of the EU institutions’ selection exams. Use the practice tests, webinars, e-learning materials and classroom training and coaching sessions to master the methodology and the tests to get an EU job.

If at any point you have a question or need additional help in understanding the EPSO processes, do not hesitate to contact us.

What are you waiting for? Get started right now by trying our free EPSO Tests Demo.

Best of luck and GO FOR IT!