EPSO AST Assessment Centre Preparation

Are you expecting to attend an EPSO assessment centre for an AST competition? This is a full day of different activities and is held in either Brussels or Luxembourg after you have already passed the EPSO CBT. In this article we will go through the different tests and assessments you are likely to face at the assessment centre and provide tips and guidelines to success.

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By getting to the EPSO assessment centre stage you have done well and have as much as a 50% chance of success. This is a much higher percentage than almost every other company so you can feel proud of your efforts so far.

Throughout the entire EPSO AST assessment centre you will be measured against the EU/EPSO competency framework. Moreover, for each of the assignments and assessments you face, your score will be given to you as a mark out of 10 in relation to the EPSO competency framework. These competencies are:

  • Resilience
  • Prioritising and organising
  • Analysis and problem solving
  • Working with others
  • Delivering quality and results

For some selected positions you will be tested on your communication skills as well as your learning and developmental skills. These however, are mainly used for AD competitions.

In this assessment centre you will be tested and interviewed in your second language.

The EPSO Assistant Level Assessment Centre Exercises

There are various exercises and assessments that you will face at the assessment centre and we will detail them below. For the complete guide to which of the assessments you will actually face, please refer to the table on the main EPSO assessment centre page. The different possible assessments you can face at the assessment centre are:

EPSO Structured Interview

In this interview you will face two assessors who will quiz you for 40 minutes. This interview is competency based and is set up in such a way as to go through the competencies listed above. For each one of them you will be asked a specific question. When answering these questions it is very important to give full answers as they want to find out about the real you. The best way of ensuring that you do this is by using the STAR method where you showcase your skills through a real life situation that you have been through.

In this interview each question is actually introduced by the competency that you are being assessed on. Some example questions are:

  • Here we are finding out about the competency of resilience: Tell me about a time when you had to handle a major crisis.
  • Working with others: Tell me about a time when you had to work on a team that did not get on well with each other.
  • Delivering quality and results: Tell me about a time when a project that you were part of didn’t achieve the results you wanted.

When preparing for this EPSO structured interview you should prepare real life examples demonstrating where you have shown these skills in the past. As well as this, as this interview is conducted in your second language of choice ensure that you prepare your answers in this language. It doesn't create the best impression if you are translating your answers as you go along. The interviewers will see this and put it down to bad preparation and organisation skills, one of the key competencies. For more information on preparing for interviews see our in-depth PDF guide to interview preparation.

Practical EU Tests

Depending on the position you have applied for you have to take a different number of practical tests. They include: drafting a letter, editing and formatting a word document, editing and formatting an Excel spreadsheet among other skills based tests. Make sure you know which test you are getting, you will find out on the email from EPSO when you are invited to the assessment centre.

EPSO E Tray Exercise

In this exercise you have 50 minutes to complete a variety of tasks that centre on an email inbox. You are given instructions on how to deal with the various emails and you have to respond to them in the correct manner. As well as this section of the test, you also have to answer a situational judgement test relating to the content of the e tray exercise that you have gone through. See our dedicated page about e tray exercises for more information on this test.

EPSO Case Study and Written Exercise

Some applications, typically the higher AST levels require you to take a case study exercise. This is a bit of an anomaly in the EPSO assessment centre as the other assessments that you are taking test you against the competency framework whereas this case study is skills based. You are given a 15 page brief that contains all the information you need to answer three questions that are presented at the beginning of the brief. It is your task to answer these questions in the form of a report. See our pages on case studies and written exercises to learn how to best answer and produce this report.

Group Exercise

For some of the AST level competitions you have a group exercise. This is an hour long exercise with six other candidates. You are typically given a 10 page brief that relates to the position you have chosen. For example, if you are applying to audit you will have a case study that relates to an audit subject of the EU. You are given approximately 15 minutes to read through the documentation and take notes on the subject. You then have the remainder of the time to discuss the content. This discussion will take place with four assessors looking on.

In order to succeed in this exercise you have to keep in mind the key competencies that you are being tested on. This will help you craft your comments and suggestions in relation to them. It is worthwhile to bear in mind that whilst you are up against the other participants, you have to view them as your colleagues and not as your competitors. If you are speaking do not be overbearing and over forceful as this doesn't show up well in relation to your teamwork skills. For more information on how best to deal with group exercises see the JobTestPrep blog.

In Summary

We have gone through the different stages that you will face if you are invited to an EPSO AST assessment centre. Here at JobTestPrep we have many different resources that can help you throughout the entire application, from your EU application form to the final stage of the assessment centre. By fully preparing yourself for the different tasks you will face, you are giving yourself the best chance of success. If you've got any questions feel free to contact us, we aim to answer any question within 24 hours. We look forward to helping you on your journey. Good Luck!

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EPSO Test“ I went to an assessment center in Brussels, and my overall grade was 58.9. The first candidate they took obtained 60.2 for this competition. A pity. Your help was a must to get to the assessment center and to pass on site their e-tray. So thank you so much. If I did not make it this time, it was because of things i could have done better from my end, all tests I studied from your site were of invaluable help. „

AD Level 8 competition, April 2015

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