Preparing for a new EPSO job opportunity is one of those life-events that can be incredibly exciting and completely nerve-racking at the same time. And, when the Epso Assessment Centre company introduces another step into the interviewing process, such as the EPSO group exercise, knowing exactly what to do can make the difference between snatching your dream job and having to look elsewhere. No worries though, we are here to show you exactly how to do brilliantly!
What Is the EPSO Group Exercise?
The EPSO group exercise, also known as a role play exercise, is added to the Assessment Centre process to help EPSO gain a better understanding of who you are and how your work ethic would fit into the organization’s profile. They assess abilities such as Analysis and Problem solving, Learning and Development, Prioritising and Organising, Resilience, Working with Others, and Leadership. This exercise will be held with several candidates participating in a scenario.
This exercise is divided into two sections: preparation and the actual interaction with around six participants. Here, you will be given a unique brief that contains information on a particular European subject that is related to your application. It will be approximately fifteen to twenty pages long that will be in the form of mail messages, reports, meeting minutes, and details of the other participant’s briefs. You have 15 minutes to go through the information in the brief and the actual interaction goes on for 50 minutes. This interaction is done in the presence of the assessors. From here, you will be asked to prepare a recommendation or a solution on a particular problem as reflected on the data given.
What to Know Beforehand
In order to showcase your brilliant self, before taking part in the EPSO Group exercise, you should know that the scenarios will correspond to the professional role you are being interviewed for. So, if you have experience at a similar position, it is likely that you would have encountered a situation like that before. Remember that the interviewers won’t expect anything unusual or alien of you – all they need to know is how you would normally react if you were to find yourself in a tricky situation.
Furthermore, as with the nature of the exercise, you will have to answer as a group. So it is important to remember that this is not about fighting against other candidates. Rather, it should showcase how well you work with others just as when you are at the actual job.
Candidates are not judged and evaluated on the final proposal they come up with. Rather, they are assessed on the team’s discussion process, how each of you interact with your peers and how you collectively get to that final outcome.
Also, in the brief provided, it is important to know that the documents are identical for each participant except for the last page. Here, the brief outlines a participant’s specific stakeholder’s position in relation to the issue presented in the exercise. But before you go ahead and try to exert your given position, always remember the nature of this exercise. The candidates are your colleagues in this simulation, thus, you are expected to remain loyal employees working collectively to reach a goal in the interest of the EU commission, institution, or the public.
How to Do an Excellent Job
Although EPSO has its own set of scenarios for the group exercise there are certain general rules you can apply in order to go through the experience successfully. Follow the advice below and you will likely pass your role play exercise with flying colors!
Before starting the EPSO group exercise you will be given a short scenario to read. It usually includes your role within one of the European Institutions, a situation you need to deal with and a time frame. Make sure you read and assess every word very carefully, so as to not miss any important details.
Decide what you’d like to achieve
Are you a Head of Unit who has to deal with a hot EU topic? Do you work as part of a team that has to tackle a time-sensitive project? Think about your role and what you would strive to achieve if you experienced this situation in real life. Being goal-oriented always makes a great impression!
Devise a plan
You will have time to prepare before the exercise begins, so use it wisely and devise an action plan. It is crucial to be flexible, as you don’t know how the other participants may act, so you need to change your behavior accordingly.
The clichéd phrase “Practice makes perfect” is actually applicable here – the more you practice the less nervous you will feel during the exercise.
Ask open-ended questions
More often than not, essential information is omitted from the brief you are given. That is why one of your tasks is to clarify the situation. You can do that by asking open-ended questions such as: “please tell me more about…” “could you please elaborate on…” “please describe…”
Keep in mind that your goal is to portray your actions in the fictional scenario as realistically as possible. So, try to jump into character as soon as you see the other participants. Concentrate on the role, rather than on feelings of discomfort or awkwardness. Act as natural, open and positive as you would in real life and chances are you will really impress the interviewers!
Stay calm and positive
This is certainly easier said than done, but it is a role play essential. Feeling jittery and nervous is natural when your character and abilities are being tested, but remember that nerves can only sabotage your performance. In order to stay calm, try applying quick breathing techniques before the exercise and during preparation. Equal breathing, for instance, is a reliable option. Smiling, employing a positive tone of voice and a positive body language can also go a long way. Even if you don’t do as well as another candidate, if you have been upbeat and inviting, chances are the interviewers will be left with a favorable impression of you.
Some Additional Yet Necessary Tips on Managing a Dominant Member
With all the tips that are probably out there when it comes to taking this test, there is probably one that is often left out yet is very necessary. That is what to do when you have a member on your team that is dominant and monopolizing the entire exercise.
No practical tips and tricks could prepare you for dealing with other people, especially one who could make or break the team. So in this particular section, we have prepared some tips that address this, helping not only you but also the rest of your team keep the integrity of the exercise’s goal, which is teamwork.
It also helps to remember that when one person hijacks the exercise, assessors will then have far less time to evaluate you and the rest of the team member’s performance. The result can only be unimaginable.
Likewise, the skill to remain level-headed in situations like this will not help you in EPSO competitions. This is undeniably an important skill when it comes to the actual job, where you are thrust into an environment with people you don’t know and whose personalities could collide with yours.
Nonetheless, you should never let one person bring the whole group down. So let us cut to the chase and get on with the tips below:
Setting Some Ground Rules
Before going straight into the task, it is important that your group set some ground rules first. After all, prevention is always better. During assessment day, make sure that you get familiarize with your team members and their personality types. Talk with each of them and try to come up, as a group, an agreement to function as a group. With this conversation, you make sure that those who tend to be dominant are reminded and even warned not to monopolise the exercise. Likewise, those who are naturally shy will not be caught off-guard.
Don’t Rely on the Assessors
During the group exercises, there will be four assessors in the room tasked to observe the group and only that. That means they will not take part in the simulation; they are simply bystanders who will watch how you work together. So always keep in mind that no assessor can help you keep a dominant member in their place. You, as a group, will have to take the reins and remind each other when not to step the line. It is also a great thing if you can show that you are able to handle this very common situation in the working environment.
Keep Yourself In Check
While looking out for a dominant member is important, it is also necessary that you also keep yourself in check. Sometimes, it can be difficult not to get overwhelmed by our emotions and get carried away in the heat of the moment. Always remind yourself not to lose it in the process of taming down a dominant member. Remember, body language reveals a lot. You don’t have to resort to being rude or overbearing, or else, you will just be mimicking that person yourself.
Be Aware of Other Members
As said many times, this is a GROUP exercise. You must therefore not leave anyone out in the team. A dominant member can often keep you from minding other people. As you are busy checking in on that member, always remember that there are other members of the team. Do not leave them hanging. Keep an eye out for them and see if they want to speak. Look into their body language. Take notes and lead the conversation over to them.
Strategize a Course of Action
In any group gathering, we can’t avoid times where conversations become awkward and stagnant. However, you must remind yourself that you are in an important competition, and it is no time to be these things. So in order to avoid these moments, propose a procedural approach to get the dialogue going. This also splits the time properly for everyone to speak and not have a dominant member take over the exercise.
On Handling Interruptions
When a particular member has been noticeably going far too long than necessary, interruptions can be the best course of action. Nonetheless, you have to take notice not to be rude in the process. Continue being polite and ask kindly to let other members for their input.
Give Credit Where Credit Is Due
Even if it can be so easy to be annoyed by a dominant member, never forget to give credit where it is due. Give credit to their contributions from time to time so they feel like they are being heard. This not only keeps the team together, it also empowers the members. Rather than having a member mope on the side because they feel like an outcast, create an environment that is unifying.
The Epso Accuracy and Precision test is one of the challenges proposed by EPSO for AST 1 and AST 3 (Assistants) EU Competitions during the preselection phase. Anyone who wants to be an Assistant or at the Council of the European Union, European Parliament, European Commission or any other EU institution needs to pass this test during the preselection.
What Does the EPSO Accuracy and Precision Test Involve?
The EPSO Accuracy and Precision module is quite unique in its nature as this type of aptitude test is rarely used by other recruiting organizations. The major challenge is that the test consists of 40 questions that need to be answered in six minutes. Despite the fact that the candidates will have to take the test in their second language -a choice between English, French or German – the test does not pose particular language comprehension problems. Considering the very short time limit, the test requires incredible concentration. The following lines will provide you with some tips on how to succeed when faced with this challenge.
Observation and Instinct Instead of Considered Thinking
Some people may say that, considering the necessary average time of 9 seconds per question, the EPSO Accuracy and Precision test is impossible to solve. However, the questions are visual and are generally very easy to answer. For each question, candidates are given two tables, one of which contains an error. Their challenge is to spot the error as quickly as possible.
It normally takes just a fraction of a second before the image of the two tables is analyzed by the eye, and then by the brain. The rest of time should be used for spotting the actual errors as some exercises involve multiple errors, which is the problem most candidates deal with. And the reason why most of them find it difficult to provide answers to the questions proposed in this test is that they are overthinking.
One of the best suggestions you can consider when preparing for this test is to avoid analyzing the images too much. A six-year-old would have a better chance for a high score in the Accuracy and Precision exercise, and this is not because his or her brain is more agile. Instead, children tend to see the errors in the tables without questioning them and without thinking too much about it. This is the approach you should consider. The keys to success are to avoid analyzing the images too much and to follow you instincts.
Don’t Lose Your Concentration
The fact that the EPSO Accuracy and Precision test requires great concentration is no longer a secret. And, since you will have better chances to pass if you answer all questions, you should make sure all your attention is on the two tables in each question.
With this challenge, one of the qualities the EPSO wants to assess in their candidates is their ability to remain in control and focus on a problem, regardless of the circumstances. Exercising your stress-management skills will, therefore, be to your advantage when it comes to taking this test.
Practice Time Management
Do not waste time on a particular question just to get it right because you can, as this will eat into your time on subsequent questions. If you don’t see the obvious answer, move on to the next question. Remember, it’s all about speed.
Practice EPSO Accuracy and Precision tests online
Now that you went through the tactics involved in mastering Accuracy and Precision tests, it’s time to practice some free epso accuracy and precision tests to get yourself accustomed with the questions. Since the format of our EPSO accuracy and precision tests are more or less similar, more practice means a more instinctive ability to answer the questions in the shortest time possible.
When it comes to EPSO Competitions it is not always easy to succeed on your first try, but not impossible either. Speaking from personal experience, I consider that these several steps taken before the exam which could improve your chances.
Understand the Epso Exam structure – Do EPSO Account, CBT, SJT, AC, Interview, Reserve List ring any bell? Do you know how these link between themselves? Is there an order between all these? Are there any special cases where the EPSO selection procedure might be slightly different? These would be among the first questions a potential EPSO candidate would pose himself before applying. The response to all these questions you’ll find by browsing EPSO Site, our site and other internet resources. If you already have some experience with EPSO Competitions you can directly head to the notice of competition from the Official Journal.
Know the 4 W’s – Who is eligible? If you want to apply you need to make sure that you will meet the eligibility requirements – general and specific. Those are usually expressed under 3rd chapter of a notice of competition. What will the whole selection process consist of? When will it take place – know when you can start applying, what the deadline for applying is and when will you will then be scheduled for the exam. Where will the exam be held? You need to know where each phase will be held. It is usual that last phases of the competitions are held in Brussels but initial exams are held in numerous different cities. Does your city have a EPSO Test site or will you have to arrange for travelling to the nearest test site?
Closely follow EPSO communications with candidates – After registering for the competition you will receive notifications from EPSO (on application validation, booking of preselection exams, etc). You need to pay close attention to the messages especially those concerning deadlines. A considerable number of candidates found themselves disqualified only because they forgot to either validate their application or the scheduled date for the exam. You wouldn’t want this to happen.
Benchmarking – Wouldn’t it be useful to actually know what to expect in terms of competition, candidates, available places? Before taking the exam , I would use history of EPSO competitions as a predictor of what is to be expected in the future. I would try to estimate the pass mark for the preselection tests to know what I would need to score and I would look into the ratio between registered candidates for the competition and the number of places on the reserve list. If you look at 2011 and 2012 statistics you will have an idea of what goal you’ll need to fulfill.
It’s all about training or practice makes perfect. Or, at least good enough to pass the preselection tests 🙂 I’ve saved this tip for the last as I consider it the most important. Preselection tests are the most important step of the selection process as they are the most difficult in terms of competition. If during the assessment centre phase you’ll find yourself usually competing against 2 more candidates for the reserve list, during the preselection phase, you could even be competing against 99 other candidates. Knowing already the structure of the tests, the time needed to complete those tests, how the tests and the computer test interface look like is a great asset in your challenge of passing the EPSO Exams.
What about you? What are your thoughts now after taking your first EPSO Competition? Share your thoughts!
Since you are here, then you are most probably invited to take EPSO’s MCQ (Multiple Choice Question) tests! One important part of it that you must ace is the Numerical Reasoning. If you are feeling a little insecure about how you will do in this particular test, don’t be. Because here at EPSO Training, we aim to guide you in your journey towards your dream EPSO career.
In this article, we have you covered with all the important things you need to know about Numerical Reasoning CBT (Computer-based Test). What is more, right at the end, we offer you ten crucial tips that will help you pass the test in flying colors!
First on the agenda, what is EPSO’s Numerical Reasoning Test? According to EPSO’s website, it is a test that assesses your ability to think logically and understand numerical information. To put it simply, like all the other reasoning skills tests under the MCQ, the numerical reasoning test uses data that, instead of letters or words, is expressed with the use of digits, ratios, percentages, tables, and the likes.
This test is used in the assessment of candidates who are applying to all EPSO positions. There are usually ten numerical reasoning questions for which they have to answer in 20 minutes. The focus is on candidates ability to find the specific information asked from the numerical data provided. They must draw conclusions and calculate changes within the data sets. Usually, these tables center on different European economic subjects.
To pass the Numerical Reasoning test, the candidate must get 50%. However, with the number of competitions, candidates must strive to get a higher score of around 80% to ensure that they will get an invitation to the next phases of the EPSO competitions.
In essence, the use of numerical reasoning tests and other psychometric tests helps employers assess whether a candidate is fit for the job. These tests are great at predicting future job performance, identifying in a quick, accurate, fair, and low-cost manner.
What is more, most workplace roles involve dealing with numerical data. Those with higher levels of numerical reasoning ability are more likely to quickly grasp numerical concepts, effectively solve problems, and make logical decisions, most especially involving numbers.
Now to the juicy part. How can you best prepare for the numerical reasoning test? To best illustrate, let us look at some sample questions.
Option A: 35.08
Option B: 14,729
Option C: 151,764
Option D: 231,973
Option E: None of the above
The three most populous EU capitals in 2017 were London, Paris, and Berlin.
# of live birth in London = 8,790 * 8.6 = 75,594
# of live birth in Berlin = 3,711 * 11.58 = 42,973
# of live birth in Paris = 2,228 * 14.9 = 33,197
Total number of live birth = 75,594 + 42,973 + 33,197 = 151,764
Option A: 6:5
Option B: 8:9
Option C: 11:13
Option D: 137:100
Option E: None of the above
Number of deaths in Brussels in 2017 = 1,175 * 11.1 = 13,043
Number of deaths in Amsterdam in 2017 = 856 * 12.5 = 10,700
The ratio is [Number of deaths in Brussels] : [Number of deaths in Amsterdam] = 13,043 : 10,700 = 6 : 5
Option A: 2.7
Option B: 988,200
Option C: 996,516
Option D: 1,040,394
Option E: None of the above
the population under 15 in Berlin in 2017 = 3,711,000 * 0.16 = 594,000
the population under 15 in Berlin in 2018 = 594,000 * (1 – 0.014) = 585,684
the population under 15 in London in 2018 = 8,790,000 * 0.18 = 1,582,200
Difference the population under 15 in London – the population under 15 in Berlin = 1,582,200 – 585,684 = 996,516
As you can see from above, each question refers to the statistical table before it which covers a particular subject. In this case, the table centers on the City Population Composition in the year 2017.
Now let us look at question number one as an example, which asks “What was the number of live births in total in the three most populous EU capitals in 2017?” The answer is Option C. Looking at it, the question asks you to add the number of live births in the three most populous EU capitals. These are: London, Berlin, and Paris.
As such, the rests of the questions asks you to deal with the numerical data on the table and conduct the appropriate calculations in order to solve it. That is why it is very important that you must get yourself familiar with mathematical equations together with how you translate the data well according to what is asked of it. It is also very handy to use a calculator in some hard cases, which tend to require more than one calculation.
Finally, we are down to the namesake of this article. Before diving deep into taking the test, it is very crucial that you equip yourself with some tips and tricks that can help separate yourself form the competition. Thorough familiarization with formulas paired with some strategies is undeniably the perfect combination to not only pass but ace this test. Below are the ten tips you need to keep in mind:
1. Know the test format – The first thing you need to search for is how the Epso Numerical Reasoning exam is structured. You can go on and search this on Epso’s website and through official journals of the competition or you can read on. Regardless of the EU competition – be it Administrator or Assistant, the numerical reasoning exam is made of 10 questions for which you will have 20 minutes to solve. The questions will present a table or a chart with a brief explanation of the context, a question on the table/chart and then 5 possible answers from which only one is right. This CBT (computer based testing) epso numerical reasoning test follows right after the epso verbal reasoning exam and is followed by the abstract reasoning one.
2. Budget your time – Two minutes / question some would say that it’s more than enough, others that it’s clearly not sufficient. It all depends on your previous numerical skills and exercise. Someone with technical background might find the Epso Numerical Reasoning exercises a piece of cake while people with other skills might find the questions a bit tricky. In both cases, you should always keep an eye on the clock and try to fit in the two minutes time frame for each question. In exam conditions, it’s easy to get stuck with a particular question and waste more time on it. The best option would be just to mark the question and if time allows it come back to it in the end. If there’s no time, don’t leave the question unanswered and make an educated or a lucky guess.
3. Read the statements carefully – It is essential for the epso numerical reasoning test to make sure you have clearly understood what is wanted from the statement. Double check the tables with the data from which you deduct the answer.
4. Make use of given items – In the CBT exam room you will receive rough paper, marker and a calculator. Mark down complex calculations on the rough paper so that when you would need to go back to that value it stays written. Also, if you would want to revise a particular question, you would have the data already calculated on the rough paper. (more…)
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