EPSO competitions assess how much you can deliver for the role you are applying for. That is why EPSO tests are designed as much as possible to reflect how much you can perform in real life scenarios. One of the tests that clearly do that is the Situational Judgment Test.
In this article, you’ll get familiar with the Situational Judgment Test, helping you understand its nature, what to expect from it, and, most importantly, how to pass it in flying colors.
The EPSO Situational Judgment Tests are part of the EPSO computer-based testing phase. You take this test in your second language (English, French or German). In here, candidates will be presented with scenarios that relate to the position they are applying for. The scenarios reflect real-life scenarios an EU official will be faced on the job.
Furthermore, the EPSO Situational Judgment Test measure one’s decision-making skills, particularly in work-related scenarios. It also measures one’s behavior and attitudes when confronted with these situations. As such, the SJT tests are formatted in a way that asks you to choose the “Most Effective” and ‘Least Effective” answer based on a short description of a work-related scenario. Below is an example:
“Your colleague is struggling to complete a project and this is impacting on the rest of the Unit. You have heard rumours that she is unsure how best to proceed, but she has not confided in you personally about this.”
From this passage, you will be presented with four solutions to the problem. Your job will be to choose the best and worst course of action from these.
Since 2010, EPSO has made changes on the recruitment process for Assistant and Administrator profiles. They have moved from a knowledge-based selection to a more competency-based one. With Situational Judgment Test, EPSO assess a candidate’s practical abilities on the job with a profile on your competence. Below are the specific areas the SJT will assess:
Analysis and Problem Solving
This competency pertains to a candidate’s ability to identify the critical facts in complex issues and develop creative practical solutions. This includes how you gather information from sources and critically evaluating them.
Delivering Quality and Results
EPSO defines this competence as a candidate’s ability to take personal responsibility and initiative for delivering work to a high standard of quality within set procedures. This takes into account your initiative to carefully check for errors as an example.
Prioritising and Organising
Here, you will be examined for your skill to prioritise the most important tasks and work flexibly and organize your own workload efficiently. This is very important because it demonstrates how you determine the order of dealing with tasks as they affect your overall process. It assesses the speed of your deduction skills as well as your ability to organize a schedule while analyzing information.
Resilience as a competence is your ability to remain effective under a heavy workload, handle organizational frustrations positively, and adapt to a changing work environment. This counts your ability to cope under pressure and handle organizational or administrative stress.
Working with Others
This last competency is about how you work cooperatively with others in teams and across organisational boundaries while maintaining respect for the differences between people. This is important because it actually shows how you can deal with one of the realities of being on the job, which is actually dealing with people on a daily basis.
EPSO’s scoring system is based on the Most/Least effective answers. Both of them, when picked correctly, corresponds to one point each. The in-between selections will be scored with 0.5 point. As such, the scoring varies according to the degree of the effectiveness of the answer. Below is an example:
Taking this into consideration, you can get a maximum of 2 points per question. The following combinations are also possible: 0, 0.5, 1, 1.5 and 2. Therefore, by simply picking the neutral answers (1/2 marks) you could easily reach a mark of 50%. This is why the SJT test has a pass mark of 60%.
However, just because you want to pass does not mean you should aim for just that. Remember that you are in a competition. To secure your spot, then you need to reach for high percentages in this exam.
Now to the juicy part. As simple as the situational judgment test sounds like, you still need to have a proper preparation for it. Your judgment calls won’t suffice when picking answers. You need to know the actual ins and outs of how EPSO will consider your choices. Take note, everything in this test is well thought of. So you need to carefully examine your answers with a simple consideration of the information you are presented, particularly with EPSO’s core values in mind. The core values are as follows:
Keeping these values in mind, you should now be able to apply it to actual scenarios. But in service of giving you more information to help you ace the tests, we have compiled further tips that will help your see through the Situational Judgment Test:
Use of Best Judgment
Firstly, the simple tips are based on what you would normally experience during your working day as an employee or manager. During the EPSO SJT exam you should use your best judgment, however, on the interpersonal skills side you should follow the following tips.
Most companies and government branches will place a high emphasis on interpersonal relationships. You should always be thinking from the viewpoint of the team and not of the individual. You should be able to collaborate easily and work well with others and you should also try to avoid conflict without losing your assertiveness.
You must never lie; this includes stating assumptions. What you should do is tell the truth and tell facts to the best of your knowledge. You should never get involved in a situation that does not involve you. This involves situations, discussions or general matters that do not involve you. You should only get involved if you believe some form of wrong doing is happening, at which point you should inform the proper authority within the company.
Work as a Team
All group work must be done as a team, meaning the fair and even distribution of work among all. Decisions should be made together as the situation calls for it and the resolution of problems and conflicts should be swift and clean.
Attention to Detail
Furthermore, a good tip and trick is to have a good sense of attention to detail as well as a good attention span. If you skim read or skipped that previous paragraph because it was a bit long, then you will trip up on your Epso Situational Judgement Tests.
You should read the questions carefully. Some of them ask for your preferred choice and others ask you to rank choices. You could fall foul of simply misreading a question.
Practice with Time Limit
If you are naturally nervous about timed tests then try a few online and at home. Teach yourself to ignore the time limit whilst still being aware of it. Practice with the online epso tests so that you become comfortable with reading the questions and answering them swiftly but without rushing.
Learn, Learn, Learn
There are a great many books out there that will help you improve your skills in general, so that questions like the ones on the EPSO Situational Judgement Tests will be a breeze. There are books on working relations, interpersonal skills, conflict resolution skills and negotiating skills. There are even books out there that are written specifically to help you get along better in a working environment. Instead of looking for cheats and tips on how to do well on a Situational Judgement Test, why not simply read up on the subject and get good at it. Sometimes, the things at work are common sense, especially when it comes to interpersonal skills, but if you have never been taught these things then you are going to have to go out there and read some books on the subject. We only grow through learning.
Good Night’s Sleep
Finally, you should be sure to have a good night’s sleep before your test and don’t bother trying to train for it the night before. Sleep well then get to the test on time so that you are not rushed or flustered when you take it, and then relax into the test and allow your brain to work at one hundred percent efficiency.
Read more EPSO Situational Judgement Tests tips.
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