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Prepare for the EPSO CAST Financial and Project Manager Competitions

Are you thinking of applying for a EU position? Read below to learn about the EPSO CAST function groups 3 and 4 competitions. 
What tests do you have to take in the EPSO/CAST/P/1-4/2015 Competitions?
Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert in Brussels

What tests do you have to take in the EPSO/CAST/P/1-4/2015 Competitions?
EPSO have announced four new competitions for contract workers. They are in the financial and project management positions. The details of the competitions are:
  • EPSO/CAST/P/1/2015 - Financial officer – Function Group III (FGIII) 
  • EPSO/CAST/P/2/2015 - Financial adviser – Function Group IV (FGIV) 
  • EPSO/CAST/P/3/2015 - Project/programme officer – Function Group III (FGIII) 
  • EPSO/CAST/P/4/2015 - Project/programme adviser – Function Group IV (FGIV)

What do these EPSO positions entail?

There are two main sections to this competition: Financial and Project managers. The different duties involved include:
  • Budget planning, financial coordination and advice, support, management of financial information, administrative tasks related to assets, etc.
  • General programme management, preparation of technical specifications, financial evaluation of projects and programs, preparation of reports and statistics, etc. 

What EPSO tests do I have to take?

There are four main tests that you have to take which you have to pass in order to move forward. If you do so with a high enough mark you will be invited to have an interview. This is the final stage of the recruitment and if you impress there you will be offered a position immediately. There is no formal assessment centre for these competitions.

The tests that you have to pass are outlined below:

Verbal Reasoning: In this test you have to answer 20 questions in the 35 minute time limit. Each question is based on a text that is often a topic of interest in the European Union. You are presented with four different options and you have to select the correct statement of the four. In order to do well in this EPSO test you have to understand the skills and methods needed to perform well. Taking practice tests gives you not only the ability to do this but also the confidence to know that you can perform at the required level when needed. Get our practice pack to give yourself the best chance of success.

Numerical Reasoning: Here you have to answer 10 questions within 20 minutes. Generally the questions focus on your ability to use a variety of different numerical skills such as working with percentages and ratios. Learn more about this test and get EPSO style practice questions on the JobTestPrep website.

Abstract Reasoning: Here you have to answer 10 questions in 10 minutes. In this test you are presented with a group of five different shapes that have a predetermined pattern running through the sequence. You have to work out what the pattern is and use it to decide on the next shape. You can see how these questions look in through a worked example.

In order to pass this stage of the EPSO competition you need to score at least 50% in the verbal reasoning, and a combined 50% in the numerical and abstract reasoning tests. However, this isn’t the complete truth as the number of places offered to get through to the next stage is few. This means that unless you score highly on these tests you will not be offered the chance to take your application further.

Get the full pack or try your hand with our free practice.

Any Other Stages?

If you do well enough in the EPSO tests you will be invited to have a panel interview assessing your suitability for the job, your qualifications, experience and linguistic knowledge to perform the tasks involved. If you impress in the interview you will be offered a position.

How can we help you?

Here at JobTestPrep we have created EPSO tailored preparation packages in order to give you the best chance of success. If you have any questions feel free to contact us. We aim to answer all questions within 2 days. We hope you have enjoyed this blog and look forward to helping you in your application.

Get Free KPMG Aptitude Test Sample Questions

We just found some official sample questions on the KPMG China website. These include verbal reasoning and numerical reasoning timed sessions.
Get Free KPMG Aptitude Test Sample Questions

While the tests provide basic feedback on whether you got the questions right or wrong, they do not include explanations!

So we welcome you to join the discussion below and help the community and yourself learn some tips and tricks through these questions. If you tripped up on any of the questions, feel free to write your difficulties below and one of our experts will answer it within 24 hours!

If you are looking for more KPMG style practice resources, please check our KPMG section of articles here.

Talent Q Elements Verbal Test – Why Is It So Perplexing?

Work through a Talent Q Elements verbal sample question and gain tips on how to approach this test with this post. 

It's important to practice the Talent Q elements test

How is the Talent Q Elements verbal test different?

The Talent Q Elements verbal test is aimed at professional and management level candidates. It consists of five passages and three multiple choice questions per passage (15 questions in total). The test contains several quirks making it different to other verbal reasoning tests, and which also ramp up the stress factor.
  • The passages can be quite long and contain an abundance of detailed information. Passages may discuss regulations, finance or other subjects relevant to the corporate sphere.
  • Each question is individually timed. For every question, the time allocated to both read the passage and answer the question is limited – either 60 or 75 seconds per question. There may not be enough time for you to carefully the read the entire passage.
  • In most verbal tests there are four answer choices. In Talent Q, there are six, making choosing the correct answer an even longer process.
  • The test is adaptive, meaning the difficulty level changes according to the answers you give: If you get one question right, the next one will be a little more difficult, and vice versa. In this way Talent Q can use fewer questions than other common verbal tests to determine a candidate's level. What this means for you is it is difficult to make up for mistakes made at the beginning of the test. 
All the above makes the Talent Q Elements Verbal a very stressful test!

How should you approach the questions? 

Let’s review a question and see:

Railroad Transport

Europe has long benefited from a dense railway network and is the world leader in the supply of railway systems. Employing 1 million people in rail operations and another 250,000 in manufacturing, the European railway sector has a 60% share of the world market and an annual turnover of €95 billion.

Rail transport offers a viable and competitive means of shifting more cargo traffic away from the continent’s crowded roads, thus improving traffic circulation and cutting vehicle-emitted pollution. The EU places particular emphasis on stimulating new investment in trans-European transport infrastructure such as rail, and supports research efforts to create new methods of interoperability, higher safety standards and the reduction of rail-related noise levels.

One of the main advances in the EU's railway system is the recently launched MODTRAIN project. The project brings together, for the first time, all the main European rail system manufacturers, sub-system suppliers and rail operators. Working towards interoperability of national rolling-stock systems, MODTRAIN offers a radical approach to rolling-stock construction. Its goal of reducing the number of single components in a railway carriage from 1,200 to 120 parts and cutting construction time by more than 50% should give a huge boost to the sector’s competitiveness.
Adapted from europa.eu

Which one of the following is NOT a feature of the railway system?
  • Reduces vehicle-emitted pollution
  • Provides large-scale employment
  • Reduces traffic from roads
  • Creates competition
  • Stimulates new investments
  • Generates high revenue

This sample question asks which of the answers is NOT mentioned in the text as a feature of the railway system. This negative phrasing means that instead of looking for information mentioned in the passage, we should determine which piece of information is missing from it.

How should you solve this type of question? Here, we will start with the answer choices instead of the paragraph and try to eliminate them one by one until we are left with just one answer we cannot eliminate.

But we’ve got very little time to eliminate five answer choices! One great tip is to avoid reading the entire text and scan for keywords instead. For example, take a look at the first answer choice: the main word here is 'pollution'. Briefly scan through the passage and search for this word or other closely related words. This way, you can locate the information relatively quickly: the first sentence of the second paragraph says 'Rail transport offers […] thus improving traffic circulation and cutting vehicle-emitted pollution.' This confirms the first answer choice. Since you are looking for something we cannot confirm based on the text, you can now eliminate the first answer choice and move on to the next one.

The same can be done for the second answer choice: scan for the word 'employment'. You’ll find this word on the first paragraph – 'Employing 1 million people'. So this answer choice can be eliminated as well. Repeat this process until you are left with the one answer choice that isn’t mentioned in the text – answer choice 4.

How can I combat the quirks of this test?

The Talent Q Elements verbal test can be very stressful. It includes several challenging elements, including the time limit, length and complexity of the questions, and the small number of questions.

The above sample question is just one of Talent Q's different question types. Other questions may ask for two correct answers instead of just one, or even require reading the entire passage in order to be able to choose the correct answer. It is important to understand what the question is asking, but not lose sight of the time limit as you’ve got very little time for each question.

One of the best ways to deal with this stress is to practise, practise and practise some more – you will be better prepared and much less stressed when the real test arrives. Here at JobTestPrep, we offer a specially created preparation pack designed to a unique practice environment aiming to simulate the real test experience. Our recently updated pack now contains more questions and a new dedicated study guide offering many tips and useful strategies that will help you improve.

We hope you have enjoyed this post and look forward to helping you in your preparation.