2017 EPSO Competition for SECRETARIES/CLERKS Released

The European Personnel Selection Office (EPSO) released the SECRETARIES AND CLERKS ( EPSO/AST-SC/06/17 - SC1 and SC2) Notice of Competition yesterday.

While this notice covers two grades (SC1 and SC2), you can only apply to ONE. It is important to note that you will not be able to change your choice once you have confirmed and validated your online application form.

Below we will explore the specifics of this competition and the selection process that you will need to undertake.

Getting ready for the EPSO Secretaries/Clerks competition?

We are in the process of putting together an AST-SC practice package with the new information from the notice of competition. 

We will update this article and notify users on Facebook when the new package has been uploaded.

Until then you can practice with the Administrator pre-selection package, or buy questions separately for Verbal, Numerical and Abstract Reasoning.

Join the conversation with other candidates in the AST-SC Facebook group.

We are also planning a webinar for this competition- so watch this space!


Snapshot of the 2017 EPSO SECRETARIES/CLERKS Competition

The deadline for registrations 12 December 2017 at 12.00 (midday) CET, giving you a little more than one month to apply.

Successful candidates will be placed on reserve lists from which European Union institutions may recruit new members for civil service as 'secretaries/clerks' (function group AST-SC).

The tasks expected to be performed by function group AST-SC includes carrying out clerical and secretarial duties, office management and other similar tasks. For full details of the tasks expected for AST-SC please make sure to read ANNEX I under the notice of competition.

The number of successful candidates sought for Grade SC1 is 210 and for Grade SC2 is 123.


Eligibility Criteria

Candidates will need to satisfy the following:

  • Have EU citizenship
  • Fulfilled any military service requirements
  • Meet the character requirements for the duties concerned
  • Have knowledge of at least 2 of the EU’s official languages
    • One language at minimum C1 level (thorough knowledge)
    • One language at minimum B2 level (good command)
    • Scroll down for more important information on choosing your languages
  • Qualifications & Work Experience:
    • A level of education which corresponds to completed post-secondary education of at least 1 year attested by a diploma directly related to the required duties 
    • OR a level of education which corresponds to a completed secondary education attested by a diploma giving access to post-secondary education FOLLOWED by at least 3 years's professional experience directly related to the required duties
    • OR minimum 1 year professional training equivalent to European Qualification Framework Level 4 (see the definition for this level here), followed by at least 3 years' of professional experience. Both the training and the work experience must be directly related to the required duties.
  • Additional Work Experience required for Grade SC2 ONLY:
    • Minimum 4 years' professional experience directly related to the required duties
    • This additional work experience is only relevant if you've met the qualifications and work experience requirements above (Grades SC1 and AC2)


Determining Language 1 / Language 2

You must have knowledge of at least 2 official EU languages. You should have thorough knowledge of one of the languages, minimum C1 level, and good command of the the other, minimum B2 level.

How to choose your Language 1 and your Language 2

Language 1: This will be the language used for the computer-based Multiple-Choice Question tests

Language 2: This is the language used to fill out the second part of your application, for other MCQ tests, the assessment centre and for communication with EPSO. This must be different from Language 1.

PLEASE NOTE: For this competition Language 2 will be the top 5 languages most frequently declared by candidates at B2 level or higher in the first part of the application process. Please make sure to read the Notice of Competition for full details on how the 5 languages will be determined and why it will be done in this manner.

Be very careful which languages you declare in PART 1 of the application process:  If you did not declare on your initial application at least one of the top 5 languages announced by EPSO, you will be disqualified from the competition.

  • Based on previous competitions and the institution’s requirements, we predict that English and French are probably safe bets, with German, Spanish and Italian most likely ranking high on the listing. But until EPSO officially announces the top 5 languages, no one will know with 100% certainty.


Selection Process


  • PART 1: This first part needs to be submitted by 12 December, 2017. This involves confirming your eligibility to participate in the competition, as well as picking a MINIMUM OF TWO official EU languages in which your knowledge is at B2 level or above. You can complete Part 1 of the application in one of any official EU language.
  • EPSO will then analyse the applications and announce the official Language 2 options based on the 5 languages most frequently declared by candidates in PART 1 of the application process. The working language requirements of the EU Institutions will also be factored in before the top 5 languages are announced.
  • PART 2: if you managed to choose one of the Top 5 Languages announced as your Language 2, you will be invited to complete this part of the application process by a new deadline. Here you will need to provide specific information about your qualifications (diplomas/work experience), as well as select your official Languages 1 and  2 from the languages you already declared in PART 1 of the application process.You must complete this part of the application process in your chosen Language 2 – that is, the one you will pick from the top 5 options offered by EPSO.​

On the application form you will have to select your language 1 (any of the 24 official EU languages) and your language 2 (one of the top 5 chosen by EPSO). PLEASE NOTE: You will have to fill out the application form in your chosen language 2.


This phase of the competition is made up of a series of computer-based multiple-choice questions and competency-based tests that will include the following:





Pass mark

Verbal reasoning

Language 1

20 questions

35 min

Verbal + abstract combined 15/30

Numerical reasoning

Language 1

10 questions

20 min


Abstract reasoning

Language 1

10 questions

10 min

Verbal + abstract combined 15/30

Professional skills:

Basic IT Literacy

Language 2

30 questions

12 min

Basic IT Literacy + prioritising and organising combined 27/54

Professional skills:

Prioritising and organising

Language 2

24 questions

30 min

Please note that these tests are eliminatory and do not count towards the other tests held at the Assessment Centre.


The eligibility requirements will be checked for each candidate in descending order of the total marks obtained from the MCQ tests, until the threshold of eligible candidates required is reached. EPSO will check whether you meet the general eligibility conditions, while the Selection Board will check compliance with the specific eligibility conditions.

PLEASE NOTE: During the the eligibility check, the selection board may reassign your application to SC1! This will happen if you meet the following conditions:

  • If you scored one of the highest overall marks for grade SC2 in the MCQ tests
  • If the data you provided in your application meets eligibility requirements for SC1, but not for SC2
  • If you gave consent on your application for reassignment
  • If you ALSO scored one of the highest overall marks for grade SC1 in the MCQ tests

IF these points are met, you will from that point on be considered an SC1 candidate.


Approximately 2 times, but no more than 2.5 times, the number of successful candidates sought will be invited to the Assessment Centre.

Tests taken at the Assessment Centre will need to be completed in your chosen Language 2.

Seven general competencies will be tested through 4 tests:

  • E-tray exercise
  • Competency-based Interview
  • Two field-specific tests
    • Microsoft Office skills
    • Drafting skills


After checking candidates’ eligibility against their supporting documents, the selection board will create a Reserve List for each grade, consisting of those candidates who have obtained all pass marks AND the highest overall marks following the assessment phase, until the number of successful candidates sought is reached.


How to Apply

Make sure to ALWAYS check the official Notice of Competition and to fully understand the rules relating to the exams. For full details on the this competition and the selection procedure read the official Notice of Competition and the General Rules Governing Open Competitions to ensure you have the required qualifications and satisfy the eligibility criteria before applying. 

To start the application process for the EPSO/AST-SC/06/17 - SC1 and SC2 Secretaries and Clerks EPSO competition, click here.


Are you new to EPSO Competitions? 

EU Training offers a wealth of practice materials for all stages and levels of the EU institutions’ selection exams.

Check out our FREE E-bookswebinarswebcasts and Tips&Tricks articles to help you excel.

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

Want to see what these EPSO Pre-Selection exams look like? 
Try our FREE EPSO Exam Demo

Unsure how the EPSO selection process works? 
View our sort video - ‘New to EPSO Competitions’


Useful reading:

The Motivation Challenge - What To Write In Your EPSO Application?

How To Make The Most Of Your EPSO Talent Screener

13 Best EPSO Preparation Resources - Free and Paid

What EU Job Applicants Should Always Keep in Mind

6 Reasons Why EU Exam Candidates Fail