9 Worries and 9 Answers about the EPSO Administrator (AD) Exam Preparation
1. Can I apply for multiple profiles or for both AD5 and AD7?
No, you cannot. You have to select one of the profiles (either European Public Administration, Law, Audit, Communication or External Relations), and you have to decide between AD5 and AD7.
There is one little exception to the above rule, however. If you applied for AD7, but it turns out that your work experience is insufficient or incompatible (remember, at least 6 years of relevant work experience is needed at this level, so the information mentioned in the webcast needs to be precised as per above), you can request that EPSO reclassify you to the AD5 competititon and consider your score there.
2. If I fail, can I apply again?
Yes! There is no rule against trying again, and EPSO doesn’t keep records of your previous results, so you can always try again with a clean slate.
3. Are there national or linguistic quotas?
Let’s divide this question into two. By default, there are no national quotas: citizens from any EU member state can apply to all competitions. The only exception from this rule is when a new member state joins he Union and EPSO announces a so-called ’enlargement competition’ – one such competition is coming up, for example, for Croatia in the summer.
Linguistic ’quotas’, however, do exist. There are competitions which are only open to candidates with specific first languages (regardless of citizenship). This is usually not the case in AD5 competitions but it is quite widespread in AST1 or Head of Unit exams, for example.
4. Can I use the time I save on one test in another test?
Let’s answer this via a concrete example. You have 35 minutes for the verbal reasoning test. What happens if you save 5 minutes (finish in 30 minutes)? Can you use these saved 5 extra minutes in the abstract reasoning test? The answer is unfortunately no, and the reason is that no matter how strong you are in, say, verbal reasoning, EPSO wants to test you under the same conditions in abstract reasoning and numerical reasoning as everyone else.
You can, however, save precious seconds in one question within a test and then use them to ponder another question within the same test.
5. Is the difficulty of the AD7 and AD5 tests the same?
The answer is: probably yes. We have no definite information about this, but we have clues that we can rely on. The most important clue is that EPSO tends to publish samples of the tests it uses, and it publishes samples of different difficulty levels, for example AST-level verbal reasoning and AD-level verbal reasoning. There isn’t a separate sample for AD5 and AD7 tests, however.
6. Which domain or profile should I choose?
Good question! There are quite a few considerations:
• even though there is internal mobility and the chosen profile does not really limit your recruitment options, you should pick a profile that really interests you and you are formally eligible for
• profiles that do not require a specific diploma (e.g. Public Administration or External Relations in 2012) usually attract more people: pick the most specifc one you are eligible for
• There are profiles which are more popular and those that are less popular: expect more competition in Communication than in Audit or Statistics
7. What is the secret to succeed?
The secret is... that there is no secret. There are, however, several things you can do to increase your chances:
• practice consistently for at least 8-10 weeks
• practice regularly, at least 4-5 days a week
• be familiar with the methodology of the tests (check out the live Online EU Training webinars, for instance)
• be aware of your strengths and weaknesses (you will discover these quite naturally while practising and also by checking the comprehensive exam statistics page)
8. Which cities / countries can I take the exam in?
There are 35 test centres in the EU (at least one in each of the 27 EU member states) and 37 in other locations around the world. You can take the test in any of them, you just need to decide at the time of booking the test.
9. When is the exam going to be? Should I apply early?
Yes, you can be strategic about the time you validate your application (although don’t leave it for the last minute). In general, the sooner you do that, the earlier your exam period (the range of dates from which you can pick) will be, though EPSO uses a special booking system which is hard to devise sometimes.
Is there any other question we have not answered? Put a comment below!