EPSO Case Studies - Your Questions Answered | EU Training

EPSO Case Studies - Your Questions Answered

On 10 November, Online EU Training held a Live EPSO Case Study Webinar to give current EPSO candidates the best chance to excel in this component of the competition.  Following the lively engagement on this topic we collected and answered the most revealing questions asked during the session to share with you.

I would like to know more about the case study for specialists. Do we also get background documents and where does 'applying the knowledge in the field' come into the equations?

For specialists (such as ‘food safety inspectors’, ‘doctors’, ‘nuclear experts’ or others, but NOT Auditors who are still under the ‘Generalist’ heading) there is often a second case study where your ability to apply your knowledge to the subject matter is tested, but this is still based on background documents supplied. Even for Auditors, who are not specialists, the application of the subject matter knowledge is a factor that impacts 25% of the final score. For the AD5 generalists, there is no testing of such knowledge (at least not this year). 

Why is the time limit set to 60 minutes? Is it because they only evaluate two competences? 

Yes, most likely this is the reason but we don’t have any additional information either.

Does the 60 minute timeframe mean less documents to read?

Most likely, yes. Since we can only rely on feedback from participants and industry best practices, it is safe to assume there will be fewer background documents, but EPSO has not officially communicated anything about it yet.

In AD5 generalists, are the two competencies weighted more? Or the case study will count less than the other tests with more competencies?

All competencies have an equal weight when it comes to the Assessment Centre (including the case study), as there is usually 10 points that can be given for each competency, with a total of 8 (for AD) and 7 (for AST) competencies, that is 80 or 70 points in total. Moreover, the scoring of the two competencies tested for the AD5 case study are also influenced by the other two exams (e-tray and oral presentation), so even if your case study performance is mediocre, you can still improve it (even though for most candidates the e-tray exam has already passed). 

The knowledge in the field for audit is tested only by the case study?

Yes, it’s important to note that no other exercise (e.g. oral presentation, group exercise or structured interview) tests the domain knowledge in any way.

Does jargon that the audience is supposed to know (e.g. every HoU knows what MEPs means) needs to be explained?

As mentioned in the webinar, there are a number of abbreviations defined in the instructions of your case study, so most of these would not need to be defined (unless it’s not so obvious and is considered jargon). 

I know it is forbidden to sign with our own name at the end of a letter/mail/report what should I use if the assignment only gives me information about my role?

Never put your own name, and even if you decide to sign the document, you could either use a very common/sample name such as “Joe Smith” or write “[signed] XY, Unit D.3.” or similar.  

In the 60 minute case study, how much time should I spend reading documents?

Approximately 30% of your time, i.e. 20 minutes, and try to take notes in the meantime. Even when you start writing you can of course always go back to the background documents and read more, so the initial familiarisation should not be considered a final, comprehensive task.

Is it reasonable to write the introduction later?

Yes, it makes sense to write the summary or “lead paragraph” or introduction in the end, once you have a somewhat better grasp of the contents of the document and essay.

Can I mention procedural aspects of the legislative procedure not included in the materials? Sometimes samples speak about the legislative procedure but do not specify the phase? What should we do?

Yes, if you know more about a certain decision-making procedure then its “established knowledge” you can indeed reference it.

Can you perhaps repeat: shall we use bullet points?

Yes, absolutely - but bear in mind the tips and additional information we covered in the webinar.

Is it ok to use 3 levels of bullet points? Can I use  “<” for subsections/specific points?

Depends on the context, but if it adds a clearer structure to your essay, then yes.

When we write lists while reading documents, it's only for our guiding? We should complete those "lists" after with more text about the subject?

Yes, absolutely - don’t use a purely “telegram-style” bullet points as it will probably not make much sense to the markers/assessors.

Re introduction works also for multiple questions?

No need to have an intro for each sub-question, as your essay should have a continuous flow and be a ‘single’ document in terms of its narrative.

In some cases should I use the second person for the reader? For example if it is a “new HoU” can I add at the beginning something like “Welcome to the unit, sorry if I need your attention immediately…”?

Most likely you will not be required to write an email/message document but rather an analytical note, a briefing or similar. That means you are probably going to use an impersonal style rather than ‘you’ writing to your boss.

Can we find out what the topics of the previous years’ case studies were?

We don’t have such a list but you might find references to it in our Forum. You may also wish to ask other candidates in our forum to share their experience. 

Do you have any hints/ideas on subjects that could be covered in a medical field competition?

Worth reading the notice of competition as the case study will relate to one of the fields listed as your future tasks/responsibilities. You may also wish to search for keywords like “medical”, “health”, “doctor” and similar terms in the EU Officials’ staff regulations to understand the benefits and procedures required for certain interventions. These will surely not be asked directly but it will serve as helpful background knowledge.

Still haven’t found the answer you are looking for? To access additional insights from last year’s live Case Study Webinar’s question and answers session have a read of Case Studies - All the Details You Wanted to Know. Alternately, you may wish to get in touch with us, and we’ll do our best to help you!