Here you will find the complete recording and presentation of the 2018 EPSO AD Information Webcast (EPSO/AD/356/18).
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2018 EPSO ADMINISTRATOR GENERALISTS (AD5) EXAMS INFORMATION WEBCAST
Transcript Quick Links
Where Will You Work?
Selection Process and Recruitment
Intro to the AD5 Competition
Qualifications and Work Experience
Why is it a Great Opportunity?
Two-Part Application Process
How do you get an EU job?
Situational Judgment Test
Summing Up the Pre-Selection Phase
Reserve List and Recruitment
Resources Available on the EU Training Website
Questions From Participants
A warm welcome to everyone for this one-hour webcast. We are going to be talking about something fascinating in broad terms: I’m going to cover lots of things regarding the EPSO AD5 Administrator exams. Today we’re going to look at the freshly announced and brand-new AD5 exams.
Getting started, it’s me [Andras Baneth], from Brussels, live on the 8th of March, 2018. But you may be listening to a recording because we will upload this webcast to share with you afterwards. These are the things we will be sharing with you afterwards: the presentation slides and the full recording, as well as the transcript.
Just a few words about our community: we have 80,000 registered users over the roughly 10 years we’ve been operating EU Training, and over 50,000 members on Facebook, hopefully you are one of them! If not, make sure to join the community to connect with other candidates to ensure you do not feel alone, and to be motivated to work towards passing the competition. We have several thousand test packages in our database, over 17 million questions have been used, which is an incredible number, that never ceases to amaze me! We also have many webinars, which are available to you, many of them free of charge, with full transcripts and different presentations and we have had over 5,000 participants.
Let’s get to the heart of today’s discussion, the EPSO AD5 Competition, which was announced today, the 8th of March, 2018. Before we go and look at the actual details of the competition, let’s get a few things clear about EU jobs. The first question you may ask is where is the place of work and which institutions can you end up working for once you pass the competition? The answer to the place of work is straightforward: there’s a large chance that you will work in Brussels. This is because the vast majority of the jobs that EPSO selects for (which is not exactly accurate to say, because EPSO selects, but they do not recruit), but the EPSO selection tests result in a Reserve List, and once you are on the Reserve List you can be recruited in Brussels or in Luxembourg. There’s very little chance that you will work in Strasbourg because there’s barely any positions available there. But, there are a lot of opportunities outside of Brussels or Luxembourg if you end up working in the European Commission representation in one of the EU member states, or, perhaps, beyond if you get a job at the European External Action Service, which represents EU interests around the world.
In terms of institutions, as a main rule, the recruitment will happen at the European Commission, the European Parliament, Council of Ministers, European Court of Justice, European Court of Auditors, Committee of the Regions and the Economic and Social Committee. Basically, these are the ones we call EU institutions. Many other EU organisations are legally called EU bodies or EU representative bodies, but those are, by law, what we call institutions. EPSO, as I said before, handles selection but they don’t handle recruitment. Recruitment happens later, once you are on the reserve list and from there it is not EPSO’s responsibility. Where you end up working is decided at the moment of recruitment. It’s not something that you can decide up front, for example ‘I want to work at the European Parliament, hence I will apply for this competition’. This is not something you can influence at this stage, you can deal with that once you have successfully passed all the exams, you get on the Reserve List and you are recruited.
With that in mind let’s look at AD5 EPSO Administrator Competition, the main topic of discussion for today, which is a generalist competition. Now, we say generalist because there are certain specialist competitions as well, but that’s not something we’re going to cover today. Those competitions have a few particularities, they are not exactly the same as this [generalist] competition, but it’s not something we’re going to cover today. We are, however, happy to provide materials for them if you ever decide to sit for the Food Safety Expert Competition, for instance.
So, with this [generalist] competition the reference number is one you can easily Google, easily find, easily memorise, and if at any point you want to get more information about it then this is the number you need to reference: EPSO/AD/356/18. The number 158 is not the reference number, that is the number of places available on the Reserve List. So that is the number of candidates who can be placed on the Reserve List and who can then be recruited. This has an impact on your chances and on the various phases of the competition – how many candidates will be admitted to each subsequent phase, this is something we will look at closer later in the presentation.
The application deadline is very important: 10th of April, 2018 – do not miss it! Do not leave your application to the last minute. Make sure you fill out the right pieces of information and the right questionnaires on time, and at least a couple of days before because a lot of candidates leave that to the last minute and if the server crashes, or any last-minute hiccup happens, you will miss the application deadline.
Are you eligible? That is a very important question. You probably meet the general conditions. Make sure you are aware that you have to have EU citizenship, you have to hold a passport from one of the 28 EU countries. If in your country there is compulsory military service you need to have completed it, which is quite rare these days, I believe. You need to meet character requirements where the police are concerned. So, if you have ever been convicted for whatever reason, you may not be eligible.
The language rules are probably more important than the general eligibility rules. Language rules are somewhat complicated, and that is due to the fact that there have been multiple court cases; there have been multiple instances where the language regime of the EPSO competitions have been challenged. So, it is very important that you get the languages right because that will have an impact on how successful you can be in the Pre-Selection phase of the competition and how fast you can process information in all subsequent stages. If you process information, read and comprehend better in a given language, you probably want to choose that as your Language 1. Whereas for Language 2 you need to be better at oral expression and better in writing. This will have an impact on which language you choose for Language 1 and 2. I will explain in a moment why that matters, with the caveat that you have the luxury to choose from two, three or more languages. Some candidates may speak two languages, the first one being their mother tongue (as long as it’s an official EU language), the second one would be a foreign language. If you have the ability to play around with the languages it’s perfectly legal, perfectly ethical, to make an informed choice about which one you will designate as your Language 1 and your Language 2.
Let’s take a look at the rules. Language 1 has to be one of the 24 official EU languages, so that can be any of these 24, this is completely up to you. If you happen to be Greek, Hungarian, Croatian, Swedish, etc. – you can choose that language as Language 1. Then, for Language 2 it gets a little bit complicated because it’s going to be the top 5 languages indicated by applicants that match the needs of the EU institutions. So, this is a little odd. You need to indicate in your initial application all the languages that you speak and at which level. Once you’ve done that, the institutions - or more specifically EPSO - and even more specifically the Selection Board, is going to crunch the numbers and look at which languages have been designated as Language 2. It has to be different from Language 1. So, if your Language 1 is French, then your Language 2 might be English. Or if your Language 1 is Polish then your Language 2 might be German. You need to be very careful with Language 2 because it has a bearing on whether or not you are going qualify to sit the competitions. And we’ll come back to this point because it is a vital one. Just to mention why that matters: If your Language 1 is Latvian, for example, and your Language 2 is Finnish, this language combination could disqualify you from sitting for the competition. Therefore, for Language 2 you probably need to pick one of the so-called ‘big languages’, just to ensure that you secure a place at the competition. We’ll come back to this point.
The AD5 is entry level, that means you need to have a three-year university degree attested by a diploma and you need to get that by the 31st of July . So even if you don’t have it now, but you will get your degree before the end of July, you don’t need to have it in your hand right now at the time of the application. Most importantly, you do not need any work experience.
These are the rules, once you meet these formal criteria then you can sit the competition.
With that in mind, is this a good opportunity and should you even do it? Well, I’m probably preaching to the converted and I don’t need to sell the idea about why EU jobs are a pretty good career opportunity and the other benefits that come with it.
Salaries tend to be very attractive and very competitive. We have a salary calculator on the eutraining.eu website so you can estimate your future salary if you pass the competitions and get a job. You can get an idea of your income depending on whether you have kids and where you are re-locating from. Benefits are multiple. If you are married you get an extra allowance. You do get health insurance - a generous coverage. If you have kids they can go to European schools, kindergartens, and there are all sorts of facilities that you can take advantage of.
Let’s go back now to the actual process and what the competition looks like. The Pre-Selection phase is a little different from the way it used to be in the past couple of years. Why do I say that? Because most of you would probably know that you need to sit a Verbal, Numerical and Abstract Reasoning Test. The difference this year (and it was similar last year as well), is the following: You only need a pass mark of 50% for the Verbal and Numerical Reasoning Tests. So, the actual score you get on these tests do not count towards your Pre-Selection score. That’s usually good news for a lot of candidates because some people are not so good at Numerical Reasoning and others are pretty bad at Verbal Reasoning. So now they only need to pass with 50% and that’s it. There’s not going to be a ranking. So, you don’t need to be in the top percentile of the candidates, you just need to pass with 50%. When it comes to Abstract Reasoning the pass mark is 50% and for the Situational Judgment the pass mark is 60%, but, for these two, (the Abstract Reasoning and the Situational Judgment Tests), the scores actually count. There is the objective criteria, which is passing by at least half, or in the case of the SJT passing at least 60%, and then there is a ranking based on how many points you received. Candidates will be ranked on the basis of their scores for the Abstract Reasoning and for the SJT.
Let’s go through each of the phases and look at it in a little more detail. There is a two-part application process. Here is where we come back to the language issue. The first part is eligibility and language declaration. This is the application you have to start with, this is what was opened up today. You need to declare by word of honour that you are eligible for the competition, that you are not a convicted criminal, that you have an EU 28 citizenship, and confirm your chosen languages. So, you declare at least two languages and the application itself can be submitted in any of the 24 EU official languages. If your first language, or mother tongue is Russian, that is not an official EU language so it cannot be used at any point during the competition.
Once you have done this first part, and the deadline is the 10th of April, so you have roughly one month to complete this very easy part (don’t leave it to the last minute!), EPSO will review the languages declared. They will then announce which are the top 5 second languages. Be very careful which language you declare. If you do not list one of the top 5 as your Language 2 then you could be disqualified from the competition. Again, going back to my earlier example, if your first language is Latvian and your second language is Finnish, these languages, especially Finnish as a Language 2, are simply not going to be among the top 5 languages of the candidates. Let’s say Greek might be, if there are enough Greek candidates and all of them declare it, then Greek might be in the top 5. But it’s a bit of a gamble. What’s not a gamble is looking at historic data, and typically (I’ll insert my legal disclaimer here – that this is not a certainty), but typically over the years it’s been English, French, German, Italian and Spanish. This might change depending on the declarations and the profile of the candidates. As I said before it’s possible that Greek will qualify, maybe Romanian will qualify. This depends on which parts of Europe candidates apply and which languages are the most popular among these candidates. If you want to be sure, it is probably best to choose as your Language 2 English, French, German, Italian or Spanish. Then again, this depends on what you choose as your Language 1. If I take my own personal example, I speak Hungarian, English, French and Spanish. As my Language 1 I would probably declare my native Hungarian, and as my Language 2 I would choose English, French or Spanish, depending on which one I speak the best, and that’s probably English, so that would probably be my choice. This is just to show you that Hungarian is not a widely spoken language, but the others are very likely to be among the top 5.
This is the way EPSO has cut the Gordian knot of the languages so as not to be challenged at the courts and at the same time providing democratic access for those who speak multiple languages coming from different countries in the EU.
Then the actual full application, the full declarations, filling in even more questionnaires on-line comes afterwards. This comes after the 10th of April once you have completed the initial phase. The full application comes sometime after, we estimate this will be in the middle or towards the end of April, because the Selection Board needs a couple of weeks to crunch the numbers. On this second part of the application you will need to list your qualifications, pick your Language 1 and 2 from the ones they [EPSO Selection Board] have proposed to you and this is actually when you submit your full application.
It is important to remember to validate your application after each round. If you do not confirm the application, if you do not confirm the language, especially your Language 2 from the options proposed in the second part, then you will not be admitted to the competition and you will not be invited to sit for the multiple-choice Pre-Selection tests.
And I see a question here: Who is the Selection Board?
So EPSO is the administrative organisation that handles the competitions, the notice of competitions, the logistics and everything that goes with it. But each and every competition has its own Selection Board. The Selection Board is comprised of EU officials who have been seconded, which means they are sent to sit on these panels. The Selection Board is the one that supervises the smooth running of each and every competition. So, each competition has its own Selection Board, just like the 2018 AD5 Generalist has its own Selection Board. The names [of the members] are public, so you can look it up on the [EPSO] website. You must never contact any of the Selection Board members, don’t even bother looking them up on LinkedIn, or anywhere else, because they will not give you any information whatsoever. They are the ones that take care [of things, for example] if a question needs to be neutralized. Which means that a question has been challenged because it was not properly formulated in a Verbal Reasoning Test, for example. Then the Selection Board reviews it and decides whether or not to remove it from the database. These are the types of things done by the Selection Board. If there is any question about the validity of someone’s application, and all such questions are handled by them. And EPSO is the institution around it, but the Selection Board acts independently from EPSO, but obviously EPSO provides all the logistical support.
It’s a little complicated with the language regime, but make sure you choose your languages carefully. So, your first language can be any of the 24 official ones and the second one is where you need to pay extra attention to ideally choosing one of the top 5. I see one of the questions here...
The answer to that is what I just told you, that those 5 are the most popular [English, French, German, Italian, Spanish] and in some instances there may have been Greek or another language but that’s a bit of a gamble to designate Greek as your Language 2.
To emphasise the deadlines: I mentioned for the first part of the application is 10th of April, and for the second part we don’t know. EPSO will announce it, chances are you will have two or three weeks to pick your Language 2 and fill in your degrees and qualifications before the deadline. It could be middle of May, or perhaps even the end of May.
Let’s look at the actual steps. How do you get an EU job? It all starts with the Pre-Selection tests. To be more precise its starts with the two-step application. But once you’ve completed [the application] that is when the real work begins. This year and for this competition the Pre-Selection is comprised of Verbal Reasoning done in your Language 1, Numerical Reasoning done in your Language 1, Abstract Reasoning done in your Language 1 and the Situational Judgment Test done in your Language 2. That is the language regime.
Verbal Reasoning is a pretty straightforward exercise where you have ten questions and you have 18 minutes to answer them. That’s a very little amount of time. That means you barely have two minutes per question, reading a certain text, then understanding the question about it. Having to process all this information and selecting the right answer is a difficult thing to do in such a short time.You need to be careful about outside information because these texts, especially the four statements, might mention something that you could only know from the outside, real world but not from the text. There are generalisations sometimes in the text where generic, very open-ended statements are made, sometimes possibility versus fact, e.g. this might happen, this could happen, and these prepositions totally change the meaning. Sometimes they use synonyms which do not necessarily mean exactly the same thing.
The Numerical Reasoning part is basically data crunching. You’re given ten questions to do in 20 minutes. Again, there is severe time pressure here that you need to handle - two minutes per question. You will be given a chart (like the one you see on the screen), and you will have to find the relevant pieces of information. This means you have to identify which cells, which pieces are important to solving the problem. Make sure you do as little calculation as possible because it takes time. You need to do some reasoning, logical thinking. After that, you estimate. You don’t necessarily calculate because if you can find the answer through estimation then you don’t even need to calculate. But if it’s absolutely necessary you are given a calculator on-screen, and even a physical calculator, that you can use at the test centre. You can definitely find the right answer as long as you have practised and are up to speed with your math. This is something a lot of candidates find challenging. They may not have dealt with mathematics, they may not have dealt with data interpretation since leaving university. If you are an accountant, then of course you have. But most of us do not deal with mathematics on a daily basis, at least not to this extent and not under such time pressure. Make sure to refresh your arithmetic and your data interpretation skills so you can solve these mathematical problems within the allocated time frame.
Then comes the Abstract Reasoning, which if you recall is very important. It is more important, to a degree, than the Verbal and Numerical Reasoning because the actual score of the Abstract Reasoning test counts towards your final score. When you look at charts like this where there are 20 questions (there used to be only ten), but now there are 20 questions that you need to solve in 20 minutes. So, there are a lot of questions. You have one minute per question and that is high time pressure. You need to identify patterns, you need to identify how a symbol moves around in the little boxes. [Presentation slide] What is the black dot doing? What is the empty square doing? How do they relate to each other? Which is next in the series? You’ll have to choose from 4 or 5 options, it’s usually 5 these days, and find the next in the series. And you need to be able to do this very fast. And that is what creates so much pressure and a challenge.
After these psychometric tests comes the Situational Judgment. The Situational Judgment is a very special and a very interesting type of test which requires you to identify the Most Effective and Least Effective options. The SJT has 20 questions in 30 minutes. Again, there is strong time pressure, but for the SJT the biggest challenge is finding the Most Effective and Least Effective answer. You are given a workplace situation, a real-life situation where you need to find out what you are supposed to do. What’s the best way to handle a given situation? For example if there is a conflict with a co-worker, or there is a challenge in meeting a deadline, or any similar issue that you might face at the workplace, especially an EU workplace (which is a unique environment because its public administration is based on hierarchy and it has a lot of unique features to it), what is the best way forward or what is the worst possible course of action? The Situational Judgment Test is testing certain competencies, or as the name suggests, it tests your judgment and how you adapt to a given situation.
Just to sum up the scoring again: for the Verbal and Numerical Reasoning there is a 50% pass mark and the score does not count towards your final score. Then you have the Abstract Reasoning and Situational Judgment where you not only need to pass by 50% and 60% respectively of the overall score, but the score also counts towards your final score. That’s where the true ranking happens and that’s where you need to pass with flying colours because you need to be better than the other candidates.
Just to sum up the Pre-Selection phase: you have the Verbal, Numerical and Abstract Reasoning, and the Situational Judgment Test. Be mindful of the importance of each. Because, [for example] if you are not very good at Abstract Reasoning then pay a lot of attention to [improving] it. But, especially focus on the Abstract Reasoning and Situational Judgment more than the Verbal and Numerical. We don’t know when the Pre-Selection tests will happen exactly, but our guess is probably in May and June . Therefore, when you are planning your preparation you probably want to target the end of May and June.
The E-Tray exercise is the one that comes after the Pre-Selection tests. It doesn’t happen immediately and it only comes after you have passed the Pre-Selection. Do not focus on the E-tray exercise at this stage. Focus on what you need to do to pass the Pre-Selection exams with the best possible score. Once you have done that, then comes the Intermediate phase, which is the E-tray exercise in Language 2. The number of candidates invited to the E-tray is 1,580 to 1,738. This number comes from the notice of competition, because EPSO states they will invite roughly 10 to 11 times the number of places available on the Reserve List. This means that the scoring of the Pre-Selection tests will be decided according to this number. They will establish what the pass mark is for the Pre-Selection tests so they can get around 1,600 candidates to the E-tray. Your scoring depends on you. But whether or not you pass depends on how others perform. Again, the E-tray exercise is done in Language 2, and when you get there – let us know! We have lots of preparation materials, tools, articles, webinars to help you prepare.
Here I am showing you a sample from an E-tray exercise. It is basically processing various emails in Outlook as if you were dealing with a real inbox situation, but in an exam environment. You will need to process information coming from your boss, from colleagues, coming from all sorts of people and, similar to the Situational Judgment Test, you need to decide which is the best/worst possible course of action, in reaction to an email thread. Competencies are being tested, such as Prioritising and Organising, Working with Others, Analysis and Problem Solving, and Delivering Quality and Results.
The Assessment Centre is the final stage of the selection competition. This usually happens in Brussels and the number of candidates invited to this final stage is usually 2 times the number of candidates they seek. Multiply the number sought by 2 and you get roughly 316-395 invited to the Assessment Centre.
Let’s look at the types of exams you have at an Assessment Centre. You have a Case Study, an Oral Presentation, a Group Exercise and a Competency-based Interview. This all happens usually in a single day. Though the Case Study tends to happen a couple of weeks before. The other three you do in Brussels at the Assessment Centre at EPSO’s headquarters.
Then there is a new test, it is very unique. It has just been introduced this year, 2018. It is called the EU Motivational Interview. It is a very interesting one, where the Selection Board wants to test whether you are motivated to work in the EU, and not just to work hard, but whether you are supporting the EU as an idea, as a political project. They want to know your thoughts about European integration. It’s a very interesting idea, and I’m not passing any judgment for or against, but the purpose is to make sure that candidates are not only motivated for the job, but they are motivated to work in an EU institution working on European matters. We’re still gathering information on how this is going to look, what are the best ways to prepare and how they will actually test your motivation. By the time you get there, we should know far more. What is already known is that it will be worth a lot. You will need to get 5 points out of 10 on the EU Motivational Interview, and it is now part of the Assessment Centre.
To sum up the Assessment Centre there are 8 competencies being tested through these various exercises. These competencies are worth 10 points each, 80 in total. The pass mark is per competency, so you need to have at least 3 points in Leadership, 3 points in Communication, 3 points in Working with Others, etc, and then at least 50 points total out of 80. The scoring is quite interesting because you need to possess a good level of competency plus the overall score needs to be high enough. Then there is the Motivational Interview, that I just mentioned, where you need to have 5 points out of 10. The E-tray exercise score is actually added to the overall score from the Assessment Centre because the E-tray test also tests certain competencies.
This was the selection process in a nutshell.
If everything goes well, and why wouldn’t it -you’re here, you are motivated, you are listening to me sharing ideas, best practices, and best preparation tools for the competition – you end up on the Reserve List. Once you end up on the Reserve List, and we know how many of you will end up on it, 158 in this particular case. The Reserve List has a validity of one year, so you have one year to land a job at one of the EU institutions during recruitment. Recruitment, as I mentioned at the beginning, is not handled by EPSO, it’s handled by individual institutions and within that the various Directorate Generals, HR offices and others. Just as a side note I’d like to mention that we have a webinar and a couple of articles on how to actually get a job once you are on the Reserve List because there are some best practices that you might want to look at.
How do you get ready? There are a couple of broad principles and ideas we suggest you know. First of all, practice consistently. It’s very similar to sports preparation. You cannot run a marathon without preparation. You need to consistently prepare and not just a two-week rush, binge preparation before the exam. You should do it several times a week over the course of many weeks. Be consistent, whether it’s every day or not, just make sure it is regular. Very similar, again, to sports preparation. You make yourself a plan, perhaps you make a study group, talk to your friends, your colleagues, your neighbour, your spouse, whoever it may be that you prepare together with so you motivate each other.
The most important message is that there is a system to it. There is a methodology you can follow. There are ways where you can read faster, process information faster, you can get to the bottom of a Numerical or Verbal Reasoning exercise faster. We have tons of E-books, lots of webinars, free Tips&Tricks articles where you can read up on this and find methodology shortcuts to save time, because time is the biggest challenge, especially for the Pre-Selection phase. There is also methodology for the Assessment Centre, for the E-tray, for each of these exercises.
Be persistent, do not give up if you see difficulty. If you are unmotivated, if the new series of Game of Thrones is being shown, do not give up no matter what happens. Be very, very persistent in your preparations.
Do lots of simulation. When you get to the exam centre you want to be fully familiar with the interface, with the timing, with the pressure, with the sweaty palms, with the unease in the chair. It’s not just the physical space, but also the online environment. You want to be fully focused while doing these tests and not lose a single second, you want to be fully familiar with everything that is coming up on the screen.
With that in mind, here are a couple of screen shots to show you what a Verbal Reasoning question looks like. And our interface is 100% like EPSO’s interface. We have made a lot of effort to replicate it and to make sure it’s a fully realistic situation (even if we would have liked a fancier colourful interface), we wanted to make sure that you get the same interface that you will see at the real exam. Numerical Reasoning with the charts and the different options, you see the buttons at the bottom, the calculator - you get an on-screen calculator to help with calculations, but then again, time is the problem, not necessarily the numbers that you need to crunch. Looking at Abstract Reasoning there’s a very cryptic chart and you need to find some logic in it and figure out which one is the next in the series. And when it comes to the Situational Judgment Test you will now see a realistic description about a situation for which you need to find the Most Effective and Least Effective course of action.
I encourage you to browse through our site and take a look at our resources. We have collected thousands of resources over the years which are all there for you to read, to download, to watch and to listen to. And do practice with our Verbal Reasoning tests because we [EU Training] are the only ones in Europe or, dare I say, on the planet, who provide Verbal Reasoning for EPSO competitions in 16 languages. From Croatian, to Greek, to Romanian and Slovak, etc. – all the languages are listed up there. In Numerical Reasoning we have a fair number in Spanish, and thousands in French and English. Abstract Reasoning, we have in English and French. Situational Judgment we have available in English, French and German. So you can practice those, we’ve just added a large number of new Situational Judgment tests to the platform - I think we have 21 full tests - not just individual questions, but full tests that you can do simulations with, given the importance of the SJT and the Abstract Reasoning in the 2018 selection system.
For methodology tips take a look at the webinars which I mentioned which are for the Pre-Selection and we have pro-level webinars which are available for a small fee. There is also a maths refresher for those of you who may have forgotten what you learned in high school. There are also various resources that I mentioned including the free demo and Tips&Tricks section. The next Pre-Selection Classroom Training, which we recently started offering, will be held in Brussels [on 24 March, 2018] with our expert coach and trainer. It will be a hands-on competency training with discussions, methodology and ideas on how to make the most of it.
So, you can see here on our interface that you can not only do Practice Mode with explanations and without timing, but you can also do Exam Mode where you can simulate the exam where the timing, the layout, the style is exactly the same as it will be at the EPSO competition.
If you haven’t yet joined the specific group on Facebook for the administrator exams make sure to look it up and join it. There’s always a very lively discussion happening there with fellow candidates. It’s a very collegial and supportive atmosphere, so I encourage you to take a look at that.
This is my pitch for my book, which just became available yesterday at most book shops. It is the 2018 version of the administrator book and there is also the Assessment Centre, the revised addition.
Is it true that the Abstract Reasoning will have a higher level of difficulty than before?
It may, but it’s highly subjective. The Abstract Reasoning test tends to have an increasing level of difficulty as you go forward in the exercise itself. Sometimes Abstract Reasoning starts with relatively easy questions and then as you get towards the end it gets more difficult. It’s all a question of settings in the EPSO system where they say this is the level of difficulty we want to aim it at. Because if they make it way too difficult and most candidates fail or there are very low scores then that’s not good for them [EPSO] either. The configuration of the level of difficulty, for one, is somewhat subjective, because something what might be difficult for you, might be easy for another person. Second, it’s all a question of how they configure it in their system. It is hard to say yes or no to this question.
Should we mention our work experience if we have any?
You could, and there will be fields in the EPSO application that you can add this in. It’s not going to make or break anything in the competition itself. Where it might become relevant is during the recruitment phase. When they look at your profile once you are on the Reserve List those factors become more important. You’ll always be given a chance to update your profile once you get to that stage. So, you can fill it in, put some basic information there. But, given the fact that there is no work experience needed for this competition, it’s actually less important and has no impact on your application.
Will there be a Talent Screener in this competition?
No, not in this one. A Talent Screener is only used in specialist competitions and this is a generalist one. If you’re interested in the Talent Screener and specialist competitions you can always look up more information on our website, www.eutraining.eu, there you can find out more about specialist competitions.
Does the first language have to be my mother tongue? Or can I choose English as first, even if I’m Italian? Then choose Italian as second language? thank you
The answer is yes. Well, yes to the second part because you can choose English as Language 1 and Italian as Language 2. It’s a pretty safe bet that Italian will be among the most popular 5 languages. You are under no obligation (legal, moral, ethical) to choose as Language 1 your mother tongue. Because what if you are bi-lingual, or you have been living abroad, or English is your dominant language for whatever reason? So, you are completely free to choose it as long as you can speak, read and write in that language at a sufficient level.
Can we apply even if we have work experience?
Of course you can apply. Not requiring work experience benefits graduates. But if you have 1, 2, 5, 10 years of work experience you’re still absolutely free and welcome to apply, and you will not be discriminated against in any way, shape or form.
How can we find out more information about how EPSO actually works?
I’m not sure exactly what you mean by that, whether as an internal organisation? Or perhaps you mean how the EU works? And how the EU works is indeed quite complicated, but there are great books on the subject, we can recommend them if you are interested. We also have a couple of E-learning courses on our website free of charge, all you need to do is register on eutraining.eu. Then you can watch those videos about the Commission, the Council, the various decision-making processes, etc.
I thank you very much for your time, your attention and your questions. Feel free to send your questions even after this webcast has ended, at any point during your preparation, we’ll always be happy to answer. We do our best to answer within 24 hours, if it’s a more complicated question that requires more research then it may take a few days, but we’ll do our best to answer quickly and as comprehensively as possible. We’re here to help you in your preparation and help you succeed. Thank you for your participation!