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Certification: what’s being tested?

*20.10.2022–14.122022: Evaluation and pre-selection of eligible applications by the DGs/Services for 2022/23 exercise [1]* We have been contacted in the meantime by colleagues who are interested in participating but who are disappointed by the lack of detailed information about the exams and the skills tested. Sadly, the MyIntraComm European School of Administration My EuSAnet Certification [2] page has little more than an outline to offer on this topic.

‘The examinations test the skills that candidates have learned during the training programme and that are considered indispensable for a post at [administrator] AD level. Candidates must pass three examinations in order to be successful in the Certification exercise:

E1 – Assessment by observation testing candidates’ ability of:

E2 – written examination testing candidates’ ability of:

E3 – oral examination testing candidates’ ability of:

But do not worry, we are here to help you!

We have identified a very useful document that contains exactly the information that you are looking for, namely Annex 8. Examination programme and skills to be tested to the Call for tenders EPSO/2022/OP/0001 [3] ‘Consultancy services in examination and testing techniques in the framework of the Certification procedure under Article 45a 1(c) of the Staff Regulation of Officials of the European Union’.

This document clearly explains the skills, abilities and behaviour that the candidates must demonstrate to excel in the oral and written exams and we reproduce it here:

‘Examination programme and skills to be tested

The exams assess the skills covered by the training programme. There is thus a clear link between the training programme and the exams.

In order to be certified, candidates must pass four exams. Assessment of the candidates’ level of performance during the exams is conducted by an interinstitutional Examining Board.

Overview of the exams

E1: This exam is designed to test candidates’ interpersonal skills, their reasoning ability and ability to put forward creative ideas, and their negotiating ability and powers of persuasion.

At the start of the exam, each candidate is given some background documents and a specific role (for example a specific project or point of view to defend in a group discussion). After a period of individual preparation, a group discussion takes place which must result in a decision as to which project should be recommended. The Examining Board assesses candidates’ skills by observing their behaviours during this discussion.

The exam takes place online or at a testing centre.

For this exam, candidates are seated around a table in the middle of the exam room, or alternatively, are connected on an online exam room (Zoom, Webex, etc.)

The group discussion is observed by the members of the Examining Board, who sit at tables around the outside of the room. Or in case the exam is online, who are present in the online room without being visible (camera switched off with the “hide non-video participants” option on).

Skills tested in this exam

  1. Negotiating ability

Candidates must:

  1. Reasoning ability and ability to put forward creative ideas

Candidates must:

  1. Interpersonal skills

Candidates must:

E2: This exam is designed to assess candidates’ analytical and problem-solving abilities, their strategic reasoning skills (contextualisation), and their effectiveness in written communication.

Candidates receive a file containing information they must use to draft a briefing note of three to four pages proposing one of the three possible options presented in the note, taking account of the advantages and drawbacks of each option, the different risk factors, and the existing conflicts between priorities.

Candidates must type their text on a computer.

The exam takes place online or at a testing centre.

Skills tested in this exam

  1. Analysis and problem-solving

Candidates must:

  1. Strategic reasoning/contextualisation

Candidates must:

  1. Conveying a message

Candidates must:

E3: This exam is designed to assess candidates’ ability to find, understand and process information, to present arguments in a logical and coherent manner, and to communicate convincingly.

Candidates must give a presentation to the members of the Examining Board on a general topic sent to them 10 working days before the exam date. The maximum duration of the presentation will be 12 minutes, followed by a question-and-answer session lasting 10 minutes.

Candidates may choose to use a PowerPoint presentation and/or a flip-chart.

The exam takes place online or at a testing centre.

Skills tested in this exam

  1. Finding, understanding and processing information

Candidates must:

  1. Presenting arguments in a logical manner

Candidates must:

  1. Conveying a message

Candidates must:

Check out all of our articles on Certification [4] to understand the process and the pitfalls.

As always, we would love to hear from you. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with us [5] or leave a comment below.

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