EPSO/AD/303/15 and the missed SJT.... | EU Training

EPSO/AD/303/15 and the missed SJT....

Anonymous (not verified) Sat, 08/08/2015 - 01:04

Hi everyone,

first time here and first time preparing an EPSO competition (EPSO/AD/303/15 — Development cooperation and managing aid to non-EU countries (AD 7), I am discovering a new world...

I am reading this and some other forum, plus some publications, and I have a doubt that maybe someone between you can simply and rapidly solve.

In the Notice of open Competition of Official Journal of the European Union related to EPSO/AD/303/15, there are the rules about the Multiple Choice Question test...
well, we have to do as usual Verbal + Numerical + Abstract Reasoning test... SJT are not mentioned....

Is it normal a competition without the SJT? Have I missed something? Maybe I am too tired with VR simulation tests, but I read the Notice 3 times and I cannot find nothing.

Thanks in advance for your kind support.

christine Wed, 08/12/2015 - 13:57

Hi there. Apparently, the SJT is not part of the test. See also http://blogs.ec.europa.eu/eu-careers.info/2015/05/07/open-for-applicatio...
I am still wondering whether it is realistic to prepare for the test. "A maximum of three times the number of successful candidates sought will be invited to the assessment center". This means that the CBT pass grades need to be very high. I only have two weeks of practice to go and wondering whether it's worth the effort.

Eternal candidate Thu, 08/13/2015 - 12:40

@Tony: Tony, it's a good thing that you are paying extra attention to the Notice of Competition. To answer your question: who told you that SJTs are a standard part of ALL competitions? Of course they are not!

@christine: sorry, but if we want to be realistic, you have very few chances if you have NEVER taken part in an EPSO competition before. Unless, of course, you are especially good at maths, for example, or at some other part of the test, and you spend many hours a day to get good at the rest.

tony.org@libero.it Thu, 08/13/2015 - 16:00

Hi Eternal,

when I read the Ultimate EU Test Book AD 2015 (that seems to be the "bible" for EPSO AD competitions, to my eyes) and it is mainly structured in 4 parts (Verbal, Numerical, Abstract and SJT), well, I don't think it is too strange to guess this as the standard structure of the prelimindary test, at least as newcomer in the EPSO competitions. Clearly, my assumption was wrong.

Thanks to both you and Christine for the clarification.


Sara Fri, 08/28/2015 - 20:12

Just took the test today, math was difficult for me, run out of time badly. Suprisingly abstract was easy, just one question that had me puzzled. Verbal was ok, for couple of questions I was not completely sure, but otherwise found them easy with extra time to go through the ones I marked. Unfortunately due to math I think I will not get through :( Just thought I share my experience, how did you other candidates do?

CanDo Sat, 08/29/2015 - 16:29

Hi Sara, thanks for sharing your experience. I am curious to know if you found the EPSO-Numerical and Abstract more difficult, more simple or at the same level of the training tests proposed here by Eutraining.
And about your test, everything can happen...

Sara Mon, 08/31/2015 - 12:10

The math was more difficult in the test, the abstract I would say about the same level, perhaps slightly easier in test. Good luck if you are still waiting to do yours!

CanDo Thu, 09/10/2015 - 12:20

my update after the test:
Verbal was ok, same level of Eutraining, Numerical much easier, Abstract difficult, much more than the simulations.
Good luck to everyone.

lola Mon, 09/14/2015 - 09:56

hello, as CanDo, I found the numerical much easier than entraining and that previous competitions, and this time, verbals and specially abstracts much more difficult.

Verónica Mon, 09/14/2015 - 14:28

Hello everybody! I agree with Sara; not enough time for the numerical, I found it a bit more difficult, more "confusing" in the problem definition I would say. Anyway, I was slightly blocked in the first two questions so I think this also affects.
Verbal was OK, but I cannot trust 100% because during my training I have found some verbal tests easy and then I failed... and abstract was easier than expected.
That's my experience... Good luck everyone!

Sara Tue, 11/03/2015 - 12:08

So the results are out, I'm bit shocked to be honest! Did ok in numerical (8/10) and abstract (9/10), but was completely lousy in verbal, only 11/20! And I thought the numerical was my doom, so strange. How did you others do, congratulations to those who will go through!

Sonja Tue, 11/03/2015 - 15:14

Hello Sara,

Back to your first post, your feelings were right for the abstract and you were unsure for the verbal and finally numerical was ok.

Thanks a lot for sharing your results and feelings. I was shocked also here by the verbal results... quite similar to yours and my total points are the same as you. Let's see if we can still be among the 540 files to be screened (if I am correct?).

Cheers and good luck to every body.


Miro Tue, 11/03/2015 - 16:31

Hi! To share my own experience so far. This was my first application and my preparation was minimal so I did not have high hopes. It is still the same after receiving the results. It is a long way to go till the reserve list. Results were close to the expectations as I had no regrets after the test. I did my best concerning the time given. Maybe I could do better with some better preparation, but I think I could not do much better than this.
10/10 in numerical - generally have good math skills and enjoying doing calculations.
18/20 in verbal - satisfied with the result but a bit surprised as none of the questions were giving me some trouble. 7/10 abstract - biggest surprise and biggest worry before the test as I never enjoyed or did such exercises in my own time. The last question showed as unanswered and I am quite sure I answered all.

We'll see if this was enough for the next phase. According to my previous browsing, 90 and up percent was usually needed. So 35/40 is not enough but hopefully this time it will be different :)

And lesson learned so far - make sure the answer is marked before the time runs out, despite still not sure the correct answer.

Sonja Tue, 11/03/2015 - 16:52

Hello Miro
Well done! I am sure with such a result if you are eligible your file will be screened based on the qualifications. With 28 points in total in my case the screening stage is much more uncertain in case I am eligible but I still have a very little hope. :)
Next step should be information about screening of our files or not (at least based on what candidates of the Head of Admin competition said about their competition process).

JB Tue, 11/03/2015 - 19:34

Hi everyone

Experience during assessment:
- verbal much easier,
- numerical somewhat easier (but I lost 2.5 minutes because I left the room for a break and the stopping of the clock didnt work somehow)
- abstract OK, safe for 1 question where I had no real clue.

Today's results:
- verbal only 15/20 - for three of the wrong ones where I spend very little time (60-65 seconds), so I must have been pretty sure, really disappointing performance...
- numerical 10/10
- abstract 10/10 (so even the one where I was at a loss was a lucky punch apparently...

Total thus 35/40. I think that may come quite close, but it may just fall short of the cut-off as well... Based on the results of the other assessments with 80 questions where you had to score between 68 and 70 I guess 35 plus/minus 2 may be the cut-off? Also, google search tells me that in 2010 there used to be assessments without situational judgment and results appear to have been 34 or 36... Any guesses from the rest of the crowd? Also, any experiences about the time span between publication of individual results and publication of cut-off point (I can see no real reason for the delay tbh)?

Fingers crossed for everyone.


Sonja Tue, 11/03/2015 - 19:47

Well done guys. There is talent screening right? For the Head of Eu delegations 31 points at CBT were enough to have the screen of the CV and people went to AC with TBC 31 then (but with good point in CV screening too). So with 35 points it should be more than enough for having your cv screened if eligible :) You need to compare with competitions including CV screening after CBT. Great guys. Now you just need to wait for a good score in the screening :) Good luck to all.

For the timeline, check the exchange on the competition AST/135/15, it gives an idea.


JB Tue, 11/03/2015 - 20:17

thx a lot Sonja, I wasn't aware of the Head of EU delegation scores... But those where probably quite old guys/gals who may have not been used anymore to such test situations? Still, hopes rise a tad... cheers, JB

Sonja Tue, 11/03/2015 - 20:38

Sorry the title of the competition was Head of Admin Eu delegation. The eligibility criteria (number of years of experience required) for the Head of EU admin was similar this AD 303.... The key in this type of competition which I find good is the eligibility check (also based on working experience). So may be some who scored high are not eligible and will not go ahead with their CV screened. That why the cut off point is normally a bit lower than for generalist concours (where no eligibility check is done), If you have a high score this is enough. That's why 35 sounds great to me in your case. Lets's see the rest will follow soon anyway.


JB Tue, 11/03/2015 - 20:51

I see. u seem to know way more about these procedures than I do - this was my first shot at EU as I am a complete dev aid specialist, working at UN and bilaterals so far and just decided to throw my hat in the ring as competitions in this field appear to be quite rare...

ah, now I also understand why there is a delay between individual results and communication of the cut-off point: this must be the period for the eligibility check then (if I correctly get u that the eligibility check is separate from and prior to this talent screener thing)...

Sonja Wed, 11/04/2015 - 07:14

First time here too, and a very good experience. Check again the vacancy notice and letter received and exchanges in this forum that's how I understood it, I hope I am right.

Cheers and good luck :)


mishtone Wed, 11/04/2015 - 08:44

One may also draw inspiration about the threshold from another recent competition with similar format, where the scores needed were 27 and 31.778, respectively: http://blogs.ec.europa.eu/eu-careers.info/2015/04/17/admission-results-p...

Of course, there are numerous factors that can affect the final threshold, including the number of candidates per position, the overall fit with the eligibility requirements, how tough each Competition Board is etc.

TamTam Wed, 11/04/2015 - 08:45

Hi everyone,
I have done some research and saw that three years ago (AD7 EPSO 229/11) also for development cooperation/aid the minimum score was 27,778 to pass to the selection based on qualifications.


Maybe it will be similar this time? What do you think?

Ern Wed, 11/04/2015 - 08:51

Hi everyone!

I have been so lucky and I get 38 on 40. I can't even believe it because it was my first time and in my preparation at eutraining I didn't make it that well always. So I really hope to go through... However, I still don't know how long will they take to publish the cut-off point (Sonja, I have been reading the competition AST/135/15 but I don't find this specific information, cause I don't find when did they inform about individual results...).

Anyway, I have been looking carefully the "indicative planning" in the competition procedure, and I have found some interesting things... First of all, it looks like the assessment centre (if we get there...) will take place the 1st of April, but second and more disconcerting, there is a "Case Study" the 28/01/2016...

Does anybody knows what is this about??? I don't find this phase in the Notice of competition. I have posted a comment at the official page but they haven't answer properly. They simply say this is just "indicative", without further information. I don't know what does it mean but I don't want to be tiresome (hope they will assess me! ;-). I guess this "study case" is after the second phase based on qualifications, but I still wondering... Any clue???

Thanks in advanced! Ern

Sonja Wed, 11/04/2015 - 13:13

Hello All

Thanks to all and well done.

Ern regarding the timeline for the competition AST/135 you understand it from the post on this forum. One candidate published a post saying, "I just got my marks for the CBT", then 10 or 12 days later (I do not remember the exact number) he came back and said "I received today letter informing that my cv is screened minimum mark required if eligible was 31" etc.... That's how I got it an idea.

Great Tam Tam and Mishtone for your searches. Let see if the threshold is close the ones you found. I did not know that it could be below 30 even (it was 27 in 2 cases?). Let's see then.

There is Facebook group for this competition I think so, if I happen to continue... may be I join it. Is one of you member? It is useful?

Thanks and best

julteng Wed, 11/04/2015 - 18:03

There's a survey going on to see the different scores in the FB group, although I suspect that the sample of candidates isn't entirely representative. At the moment it seems that half of the respondents (only 60 out of more than 700) got 34 and above, which seems very high. As the survey isn't anonymous, I think people are more inclined to respond if they had a good score. It's still interesting to get an idea of the scores people got.

On the threshold, it also depends on the amount of candidates as the threshold are completely related to this number. For the law and corporate finance competitions, it seems that there weren't more than a few hundred candidates which explains why the threshold were quite low. For the AST/135 it's an AST and not AD so people could be slightly less qualified, and also there were less than half the amount of candidates of the AD 303 (about 2600 vs more than 6000). It therefore seems to me that the threshold for this competition will be closer to 35 than 31.

Sonja Wed, 11/04/2015 - 19:04

Thanks Julteng for sharing this info with us here.
Scores were high I can see even with this post (so 30 candidates had 34 points and more, right?).

Yes the number of candidates of the AST 135 was lower but the number of candidates whose cv was screened was also lower (270 they said on the forum if I remember well against 540 for the AD 303 based my calculations). Anyway I am far even from the 31 even so I am not dreaming.

If I may still check my understanding of the procedure please Julteng: they will take the 540 eligible best scores at the CBT and screen their CV and invite 180 of them to the assessment centre, I am correct?
Very good luck to all,


julteng Thu, 11/05/2015 - 04:18

Indeed, my understanding is that they'll first check the candidates' eligibility to select the 540 whose files will be assessed based on answers to the talent screener tab. So there's still a chance that a certain percentage of top scorers won't be eligible (language level, 4 years of studies + 6 years of relevant work experience or 3 years of studies + 7 years of relevant work experience) which would lower the threshold a bit.

Then the top 180 candidates based on the talent screener will be invited to the assessment center (and I'm guessing that contractual agents and temporary agents with experience in EU delegations or at DEVCO will have a clear advantage at that stage, and even more so at the assessment center).

Sonja Thu, 11/05/2015 - 07:24

Thanks a lot Julteng.

Let's share again once the next results are out. And mainly I hope that those continuing can create working/exchange groups from here.

makazl Thu, 11/05/2015 - 07:41

So this competition is for Devco ppl mainly ?

TamTam Thu, 11/05/2015 - 08:39

Hi Julteng,

I expect the treshold to be in the early 30s as this is a specialist competition where a number of People will not be eligble, although they have high marks. I got screened out last time because I didn't had 6 full years of experience...Although there are more people who took the exam this time (around 15% of the 6600 didn't Show up according to the Facebook page, so that's 5600), there is also more People that will be invited to the assessment centre 180 vs 135 last time. And I agree with you - the average users are intimidated to participate in the poll since it's not anonymous.

Sonja Thu, 11/05/2015 - 19:23

Hello All

Results are out and I am out :) the minimum required is 32. Very good luck to those continuing. Cheers,

JB Thu, 11/05/2015 - 19:41

Sorry Sonja.
I am also out with my 35. They ruled that I have too little work experience which implies that they must have excluded some part of my work experience, most likely my years working at the University, although that work was under a cooperation contract with the bilateral development aid program.
Really unfortunate, particularly has they apparently didnt spend much times with the screening as it went so fast...
Good luck to all others...

Miro Thu, 11/05/2015 - 20:16

I'm also out. Despite having 35. The same reason - less than 6 years professional experience after the diploma. I got my MA diploma in 2004 and since then have 11 years of working experience in international development programmes (project and coordination work). Do not get the reasoning behind this decision. I've sent a complaint but seems not much chance this decision to be changed. Ah. Really disappointed now. Good luck to all who got through!

JB Thu, 11/05/2015 - 20:32

... Miro, that sounds even more crazy than in my case. My guess is that it may depend on what was selected in the drop-down menu and only certain selections count and others not (in my case I selected academia, although it was a middle thing between academia and Devco consulting. One would have really wished for better and clearer instructions in this regard (i.e. explicitly ruling out certain experiences). Could have saved me time and money...

Sonja Thu, 11/05/2015 - 20:37

Thanks JB and sorry also for you guys with so high marks.

Any good news?

I now need the necessary motivation to continue practising and try other competitions in generalist field (when EPSO will solve the court case and language issue).

Terry Fri, 11/06/2015 - 07:27

Just sharing my experience here since I got confirmation yesterday that I have been admitted to the talent screener. I passed the multiple choice part with 36 Total ( 19/20 Verbal, 9/10 numerical, 8/10 abstract).

My EPSO account says: "I am pleased to announce that you are admitted to the next stage of the competition (Talent screener). Your scores in this exercise will be sent to you soon."

So I guess we will get information in due time whether or not to proceed to the assessment. I think there will be a case study for all on one specific date for all and then assessment centers spread out over a number of days.

Being nervous now how the information will be rated and I agree that I would be more careful in a future competition on how to present my experience ( eg. choosing dev coop over academic if it is in between...)

Good luck to all

Terry Fri, 11/06/2015 - 07:32

jultengThere's a survey going on to see the different scores in the FB group, although I suspect that the sample of candidates isn't entirely representative. At the moment it seems that half of the respondents (only 60 out of more than 700) got 34 and above, which seems very high. As the survey isn't anonymous, I think people are more inclined to respond if they had a good score. It's still interesting to get an idea of the scores people got.

CAN you paste the name of the fb group to have a look?

Thanks and regards Terry

Practising hard Sun, 11/08/2015 - 10:21

Hello Terry,

I think they have now made the group not visible on Facebook. I found the group some weeks ago by just starting typing AD 7 EU delegation or something like that. But now when typing the same, there is no result. Good to learn that you better join the Facebook groups created for competitions early and not try after the first step results. I am guessing that they do not want new members.

I do not understand why those types of groups are not created here too... with highly motivated candidates who could practise together, exchange tips, even via Skype.

Good luck for the rest.

Online EU Training Sun, 11/08/2015 - 10:39

Dear "Practising hard",

We are in fact working on such a functionality to offer to our users, ie to create more meaningful groups and facilitate the exchange of tips and ideas. It will take a few months but certainly on our to do list!

Kind regards,


Practising hard Sun, 11/08/2015 - 12:04

Dear Andras,

Thanks for reacting so swiftly to my message. Such a group would be really useful for those like me, who do not live in Brussels and have less opportunities to find study partners.



Ern Sun, 11/08/2015 - 18:06

Cogratulations Terry and the rest that have passed. So sorry that they haven't recognised your experience for the others.

I have passed to talent screener too, so I'd really like to join such a group, Andras, as I live in a corner of Europe, so far away from Brussels... Hope it will be ready soon!

Does anybody knows how long will they take to send us our scores in Talent Screener phase aproximately? I guess it will be less than the first phase as there aren't so many people...